This article was first seen on the Huffington Post. For this installment, we are joined by Traisha Martin.
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 Traisha Martin, and I have been an athlete since I was 3 years old, so fitness has always been part of my life. Health did not happen until 2013. I was a party girl living the “college girl dream”, but that turned out not to be the way of a truly happy life for me.
I started going to the gym consistently, challenging myself to 99 minute stairmaster intervals, attempting hours of intense cardio workouts, and became the skinny fit girl, I was obsessed. One day I was at the gym doing a run, and a trainer asked me if I competed. I had no clue what he even meant by that term. After he explained that he meant bodybuilding shows, I just laughed. Long story short, the next 10 weeks I trained with him, and he taught me how to lift weights.
One day I went to the gym, and found out he actually did not work for the gym any longer, so I decided to get ready for a show (that he always hinted at), completely by myself. I learned everything the hard way, and 16 shows later, I hired a coach, and I am still competing.
Where does your motivation come from?
There is no question that some days are harder than others, but being an athlete there really is no question of whether I want to do something or not. Being an athlete, motivation nearly comes natural, and you just learn to do it.
As you decided to make a career out of your passion – what were your biggest stumbling blocks along the way?
I am still on my journey of making this a career, but already I can tell you that what I have learned is no matter what, just being yourself draws more people to follow your journey, than changing to someone you are not.
What’s your perspective on the importance of self-care?
Investing in yourself is number one. You have to feel good to look good, and if you are not feeling your best, you are never able to truly be your best. Self-care is the biggest part of true mental, physical, and emotional health.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about women lifting weight?
I could be typical and say “one of the biggest misconceptions is lifting makes you bulky”, but besides that, the biggest misconception is that there is only one way to lift. Women need to truly integrate every type of lifting possible, just to figure out what their body truly needs most, or what combinations of lifting works for them (heavier lifts, lighter lifts, aerobics classes with weights, high intensity cycle training, etc.)
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?
Mainstream magazine covers have a lot to do with the current “healthy nutrition” mindset. There are many many coaches and “online trainers” that also will write meal plans for people and sell them, to let’s say the younger woman just looking for anything to be able to follow. And those “diets” are usually very low in calorie, low in carbs, low in fats, and 6-8 food items, which is nowhere near “healthy”.
What are the most unexpected lessons you’ve learned on your health and fitness journey this far?
The most unexpected lesson that I have learned is that eating a donut or a couple slices of pizza will not kill me.
What do you do to maintain balance in your life?
I schedule things out. If I am planning a social activity or vacation, I plan workouts for the week and calories in the week around being able to enjoy those with a little more flexibility. Planners and calendars are a huge part of my success.
How do you stay productive?
Knowing your own strengths is key, and when I am busy and on a schedule, I am the most productive, I stay on a schedule.
How important have the people around you been when it comes to your success?
One of the most important aspects of health and fitness is having people around you that understand how important you think it is, then it comes easy.
Can you give a breakdown of your current diet, training and supplementation regimen and the thinking behind it?
I am a strong advocate for flexible dieting, which is the approach to dieting through counting fats, carbs and proteins, and keeping a very well rounded eating pattern. I don’t keep any food groups out of my diet, nor do I let myself restrict.
My training is mixed with heavier powerlifting movement workouts, mixed with HIIT and lower weight high rep lifts. I lift 5 days a week, and utilize only HIIT for my cardio, which I currently do 4-5 times per week, never lasting longer than 15 minutes each. My lifts last about 60-90 minutes.
As far as supplements go, I am currently only taking Calcium, and pre-workout with amino acids before I lift. I used to be very heavy into 5-10 supplements per day, but have strayed away from that during the last 9 months, and I am still making plenty of progress without any of them.
Name 3 things people don’t know about you.
I am obsessed with playing Gin-Rummy, I never missed a day of school from kindergarten to senior year of high school, I eat 2-3 bowls of cereal everyday.
If you could only choose one thing, what would you tell your younger self?
My first year of attempting to live a true “fit girl” lifestyle, I skipped out on lots of family gatherings, I would tell myself life is short, don’t skip any of those things.
What are your biggest goals for this year?
In 2016 my goal was the attain a truer “balanced” lifestyle, and I feel like I truly did that, I wish to make even bigger strides this next year, and to inspire more women to understand that living a flexible dieting lifestyle is the easiest way to stay consistent with health and fitness.
Where can people go to learn more about you online?
Stay tuned for the next interview of Real Talk Real Women!