This article was first seen on the Huffington Post. For this installment, we are joined by Panny Powell.
Let’s start off with a general introduction. How would you describe yourself, what are you all about and how did you get involved in health and fitness?
My name is Panny Powell. I’m 30 years old and I started my fitness journey 9 years ago in 2008. I was born in Thailand and had moved to Germany at 9 years old. I had applied to be an Au Pair and moved to the US from Germany at the age of 21.
I had grown up in tough environments in both Thailand and Germany and was completely unhappy with my life. As a teenager, I partied with friends 2-3 times a week and drank and ate whatever I wanted.
Today I realize that I did that to numb myself of all the domestic pain I was experiencing at the time. Those habits damaged my body and I didn’t feel comfortable in my skin. I was always tired and had no self-confidence. By the end of 2008 I just hit a point where I didn’t want to feel like that anymore and committed myself to joining a gym and following a plan from a trainer every single day of the following year.
It was the best decision I could have made for myself because not only did my body change drastically but so did my confidence and 2 years later I competed in my first NPC BikinI Competition and started my own business as a trainer and coach and now have my own Bikini Competition Team called PF Dolls.
Where does your motivation come from?
My motivation comes from not wanting to go back to the place I came from, mentally. I love feeling healthy, strong and confident. Having the ability to help others live happier lives gives me a sense of purpose, knowing that the hard times I went through was not wasted.
As you decided to make a career out of your passion – what were your biggest stumbling blocks along the way?
I had to realize that I couldn’t “fix” or “save” everybody. Some people just don’t want to help themselves as much as I want to help them. I had to learn to let go and know that it’s not my fault for not being able to change their lives for the better. It’s a two-way street.
The other stumbling block was to have the courage to ask for what I think I deserve. I love helping anyone that comes my way but I learned that I needed to be fair to myself as well.
What’s your perspective on the importance of self-care?
I think self-care is the most important thing in life. You can’t love fully and give your best to other people and your goals if you are unhappy with yourself.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about women lifting weight?
Getting too big and looking manly for sure. I wish it were that easy to be as shredded as some people think haha.
Many young women who want to lose weight believe that not eating is the way to do it, without realising the consequences of that kind of behavior.
Why do you think this is and what’s your perspective on educating society on healthy nutrition habits?
Unfortunately, most young women care more about their appearance than their health. I know it because I used to be that young woman. I would eat badly all day some days and then think I could make up for it by not eating for most of another day. Now that I’ve been taking care of my health for a while, I’m constantly trying to educate others about healthy diets and exercise through my social media platforms and by working in the fitness industry. I think people don’t realize that our eating behavior affects every aspect of our life.
What are the most unexpected lessons you’ve learned on your health and fitness journey this far?
1. I am stronger than I thought. I’ve never been athletic before I started my fitness journey. I thought I would never be, let alone have the confidence to step on stage in front of hundreds of people. But I learned that it’s never too late to start something.
2. Besides lifting weights, your diet plays an even bigger role in shaping your physique.
3. Living a healthy lifestyle has brought the best out of me. I have found my passion and have something valuable to give to others.
How important have the people around you been when it comes to your success?
Very important. I could have never done it alone. I keep my circle very small with people who love and support me no matter what. People I can learn from, who inspire and push me to be better. For me, that is enough.
What do you do to maintain balance in your life?
Making time to be with the people that matter in my life. My friends, family and my husband and making time for me.
How do you stay productive?
I’m constantly working on new ideas to grow as a business and as a person. Sometimes it gets overwhelming. What has helped me is taking it day by day and writing a daily to-do list. When I get those things done, my day was successful. And I do that with the next day. These small steps eventually add up and get me to my big goals.
Can you give a breakdown of your current diet, training and supplementation regimen and the thinking behind it?
I always take a multivitamin with my breakfast for active women because I train 5-6 days a week. I take CLA 3 times a day with breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s beneficial in lowering body fat while preserving muscle tissue. And sometimes before bed I take casein. It’s a slow digesting protein that will fuel and prevent your muscles from breaking down while you sleep. During my workouts I take BCAA’s. It has many benefits including endurance performance enhancement and I take Glutamine post workout to help reduce muscle soreness.
Name 3 things people don’t know about you.
1. I can’t watch or do scary things.
2. I speak, read and write 3 languages fluently: Thai, German, English.
3. I never owned a Barbie Doll.
If you could only choose one thing, what would you tell your younger self?
You are being prepared for a life of your dreams.
What are your biggest life goals?
Continue to grow in the fitness industry and help as many people as I can to accomplish their dreams and encourage more people to live a healthier lifestyle. Just doing what I love.
Where can people go to learn more about you online?
Stay tuned for the next interview of Real Talk Real Women!