Most of us aren’t athletes, but we all can be fit! Listen to Maya Nasser, the fitness instructor and sports nutritionist from Lebanon who succeeded to fight off her unhealthy habits and rise up to the challenge of earning first places in international modeling competitions! We have teamed up with her so she lets us in on her secrets to living well. She talked to us about incorporating fitness into day-to-day life, the importance of a good diet and her top tips for endurance and recovery. It’s a lot of fun and only the beginning of it! Getting started…
When did you discover your passion for fitness?
I first discovered my passion for fitness after gaining a lot of weight and feeling quite insecure about my body. I initially had no background in fitness and used to lead a very unhealthy lifestyle. I used to eat lots of bad food and never do any exercise. After hitting rock bottom, I had a wakeup call and I realized that I am responsible for my own lifestyle. I did not want to end up majorly overweight and unhealthy. This is when I started going to the gym and completely changing my diet.
How about your experience with modeling competitions?
After losing all my excess weight and reaching my ideal weight, I decided it was time for a new challenge. I did not want to stop there. This is when I had heard about fitness modeling competitions. I had heard that these competitions require you to push to your limits mentally and physically with a strict diet and intensive training. I realized that I enjoy the fit and healthy lifestyle and was really excited to challenge into a competition. I have now competed for a total of four years and have won six trophies in total.
How do you manage to keep yourself motivated?
I keep myself motivated by reminding myself of how rewarding a lifestyle of health and fitness is. I compare my old lifestyle to the one I’m adopting now and realize that it is always worth it to get up and exercise and eat healthy food. Health and fitness is not just about the way you look and feel but also about prolonging your life to be around while your grandchildren grow up. We all have days where we don’t feel motivated, but what matters is consistency. I always say you will never get anything done, if you only work hard on the days you feel good.
Your definition of a Figure Extraordinaire?!
My ideal figure would be one that is curvy but also athletic. Many girls contact me saying they want to be skinny but I always say when you train, you should do so to become healthy, fit and strong. I also like soft and feminine muscle definition.
Piece of advice for the ladies out there to look their best?
Lift weights! Many women falsely believe that they will bulk up and look like a man if they lift weights. This is incorrect. Women do not have enough testosterone in their bodies to bulk up like a man, unless they were to take steroids. Lifting weights has been proven to boost metabolism, help burn fat and also shape and tone the body.
Workouts that give the best outcome?
For the best results, a woman should lift weights and do cardio. Cardio is any physical activity that increases the heart rate such as swimming, cycling, jogging, etc. Women should train all muscles in the body and do cardio at least three times a week for optimal results. However, it is also important to follow a healthy diet as you will never see any results if you are not eating properly.
Fitness tips that would double the result of exercise?
One quick and easy way to lose weight without changing anything in your diet is not to drink any liquid calories. Many beverages are very high in calories and because liquid calories are not satiating. It is very easy to overindulge. My advice is to stick to water, coffee and tea and to always use low calorie sweeteners. My other tip is to eat natural, unprocessed foods every day and to restrict junk food and sweets to no more than once or twice a week. It might be hard at first, but I always say it takes three weeks to establish a new habit. Cravings for sweets and sugar will eventually disappear and our bodies will become conditioned to eating healthy. I always say healthy food is the only food our bodies are actually craving. It is essential to follow a good diet in order to see physical results from exercise.