Athlete Profile: Marta SzelestInstagram: @marta.wonderfit Twitter: wonderfitinc Category: OPA Athlete Do you use a trainer? Yes Trainer: AJ Campbell Trainer Website: https://www.facebook.com/wonder.fit.training
What Motivated You To Begin Training?
I’ve had issues with my weight (mostly the scale) since I was 10. Throughout high school and my late teens I tried every crash diet just to get into that insane size 0. I would do hours of cardio but still not seethe results I wanted. In my early 20’s I was introduced to weight training. After yo-yo dieting and breaking many unhealthy food habits,I was at my heaviest and lifting was terrifying at first. It was intimidating stepping into the weight room for the first time but I’ve never looked back and it’s become my career
If you have transformed yourself what do you attribute to arriving at your starting point:
On my 21st birthday I went dress shopping and had to buy my first (and last) size 14 dress. That was my rock bottom when it came to my body and my self image.
Tell us a little about your training philosophy:
I believe in lifting over cardio for the most part. My show prep included short HIIT sessions and a mix of heavy lifting days as well as lighter hypertrophy days. The mix of the two helped me really build up my glutes and hamstrings while maintaining strength
Tell us a little bit about your diet philosophy:
I’m a firm believer that there’s more than one way to reach your goal. Personally I follow IIFYM/flexible dieting and find it’s the best option for me. I react well to carbs so it allows me to incorporate carbs I like. It also works well with my busy schedule so even on the go I can still hit my macros and see results.
Please tell us about your competitive history and placings:
May 9th, 2015 was my first show. I competed in Bikini Medium and did not place. My prep was almost a year and included many ups and downs from opening my business to having unexpected surgery 5 weeks prior to my show which caused major water retention. I learned a lot about myself as a person and overcame many personal issues when it came to food. I will be stepping on stage again but currently am enjoying my off season and building those glutes even more!
How many years have you competed?
Tell us about some of your short and long term goals:
My short term goals include continuing my reverse dieting while building some muscle mass in my glutes and delts. I’ve also been focusing on my business as we are currently trying to grow and hire more trainers. My long term goals are to step on stage again within the next 6-8 months.
Who do you look to for motivation and why:
My motivation is mostly the people around me. My coach, AJ, is a HUGE motivation. He is incredibly smart but it’s his approach and kindness that will keep me with him. His motivation is what pushed me past all my obstacles, both external and internal. My close friends all lift as well so I’m lucky enough to constantly be surrounded by people who live the lifestyle.
What are some of the most difficult obstacles that you have had to overcome?
In October of 2014 I had to open my gym with only 3 weeks to do so. I was mid cutting for the November show and that clearly had to be postponed. It was stressful and threw me off track mentally but it showed me I could push past a lot and work well under pressure. As I began prep for the May show, 6 weeks out I was told I had to have surgery 5 weeks before my show. I wasn’t allowed to lift for 10-14days. Against my better judgement, I was back at the gym (doing very slow cardio) 50 hours post surgery. I was drugged and sore but I learned enough about myself to know I could push through anything.Within 5 days I was lifting lightly again and managed to hit my macros every single day. I was up 15-20 lbs of water which was really discouraging and took a full 6 weeks to fully come down.
Tell us some of your pet peeves surrounding healthy life and the gym:
My biggest pet peeves are definitely unsafe coaches.Coaches who support huge amounts of cardio on limited food with restricted food choices. I also wish it was more socially acceptable for women to lift weights without the misconception that they will end up looking bulky like a man
What is the number one piece of advice that you would give someone that looks to you for inspiration?
Love yourself. Fitness isn’t meant to “fix” you. It’s there to make you healthy and a better version of you. However, if you don’t start loving yourself throughout the process, you won’t enjoy hitting your end goal nearly as much. Love yourself NOW and not only will the end goal come faster but you’ll enjoy the process much more.Love it and yourself enough to let it come a lifestyle not a process with an expiry date.
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