Posted 17 October 2019 by interview:

Kristina Vassilieva

Published: Oct 16th  2019

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When did you get started training?

I was always into sports and athletics as a child and joined the gym at age 15. Then, in my late teens, I descended into a whirlwind of eating disorders, obsessing over my weight and plummeting to 46kg at my lowest point with Anorexia. This soon followed by bulimia in my early twenties. At a breaking point, around the age of 24, my health had deteriorated so much and a couple of hospital trips really kicked me into gear psychologically. After years of battling with my situation, I made the choice to help myself, in 2012, which also led me to join the gym again and simply get healthy. The physical, emotional and even hormonal benefits of exercise is a subject I'm incredibly passionate about spreading.

Getting back into the gym was simply a matter of health; cardio, a lot of bodyweight training to build up the muscle mass I had lost Kristine Vassilieva quote 1.pngover the years whilst trying to manage any imbalances (something that tends to be really tricky after losing a lot of muscle mass). I remember distinctly, a couple of years later, I had a pretty OK physique and realised that I wanted to look different - I realised I wasn't really achieving the results I envisioned. Then it suddenly hit me - I need to lift weights... Properly. I want to get stronger. I want to look more muscular and those press-ups and chin-ups won't cut it. I had never even imagined that I would get into 'lifting'.  it just wasn't a popular thing at that time - I was literally the only female in the weights area of any gym I went to but I felt empowered!  

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How do you stay motivated to reach your goals? 

It isn't easy - now at 31 I've had my fair share of ups and downs. The worst thing that I'm guilty of is falling out of the environment - my motivation completely escapes me. So, to stay motivated, I stay in that environment and also change things up when I get bored - but not the same as changing a workout. Not long ago I got incredibly bored of simply being at the gym and it was killing my motivation. I just couldn't shake the feeling every time I went into the gym, I didn't want to be there. So I decided to throw myself into a new challenge and started kickboxing. It did the trick! Sometimes, we need new challenges or simply new environments. So if you get bored chronically, maybe look for a new activity to get your mind focused and passionate again.

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Do you do cardio? If so what types of cardio have worked best for you?

Cardio is so important for cardiovascular health and simply feeling good and fit - especially when you're no longer in your 20s.  I love to do a session of skipping and burpee intervals (do your burpees with good form and complete press-up instead of just throwing your body on the floor) - so practical to do absolutely anywhere and at any time. Aside from that, I do have my favourite cardio machines if I feel like it - the Stairmaster, or the Skier machine (for those of you who are lucky to also have one of these in your gym).

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Do you meal prep? If so do you have a favourite healthy recipe?

I don't meal prep - I'm a big advocate of eating healthy balanced meals without calorie counting and getting used to your routine so much that you can make adjustments every day, depending on how you're feeling and looking.

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What does your nutrition consist of?

I tend to stick with whole foods but that's not to say I don't have a treat here or there. The majority of my diet consists of chicken, lean mince, fish/seafood, all sorts of veggies and salads, potatoes or wraps tend to be my choice of carbs although my weakness will always be freshly baked bread (ever heard of Date and Walnut Cob?!). My vice is lactose-free yoghurt with some granola or muesli - some might say that I could live off yoghurt and cereal - I just don't know what it is... I have to be real here! 

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Do you listen to music whilst you train?

I listen to a lot of obscure house music unless I'm doing cardio on the Stairmaster, in which case I prefer to stream youtube videos. I'll give you one of my favourite DJs - Boris Brejcha. 

What is your training routine like?

I joined an MMA club and got into kickboxing about 4 weeks ago, started training 3-4 times per week; sparring, skipping and bodyweight exercises - which I absolutely love - getting back to my roots! ;) I then found out that I'm pregnant a few days ago had to stop. After 2 years of trying to conceive following a miscarriage, this has been huge news for us. I'll continue with cardio daily, at least for the first trimester. I don't want to be lifting weights or anything very taxing; I want to do everything I can to stay safe particularly during the first 12 weeks.

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What are your short and long-term gym-related goals?

Short-term will be to stay fit and healthy throughout my pregnancy and long-term would be to get my physique back to where I am now.

Have you come across any obstacles whilst striving towards your fitness goals? If so how did you move past those obstacles?

My main obstacle was motivation and falling out of the routine. I would go to the gym without any plan, simply not wanting to be there. I lost strength on my main lifts and that completely messes my head up. To overcome the psychological stress of losing strength I had to come to terms with simply learning to enjoy my training again without putting too much pressure on me and my previous achievements. It's crazy to think that we will NEVER stay 'as strong' as we once were but yet it takes so much energy and discipline and acceptance to prevent that from destroying your motivation. I had come to terms with the fact that I don't 'have' to have the strongest (female) squat, deadlift or bench press in the gym in order to be happy.

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Who are your top three favourite athletes or fitness models?

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What supplements do you use, if any?

I take all my daily vitamins daily, and protein ISO is a big part of my life - and my work as well selling bodybuilding supplements through the Pumping Iron Store. My priorities are Vitamin D, Iron and Folic Acid. I'm a big fan of antioxidants and greens, as well as natural digestive enzymes (kefir for instance). Not so long ago, I had a major shock to discover I was horrendously low on my vitamin D and had to run a prescribed course to bump up the levels. I was suffering from health problems including hair loss and low energy which took me months to recover from. Vitamin D deficiency is a very common problem especially in the UK and if you work indoors. 

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What 3 tips would you give to anyone wanting to achieve their best physique?

  1. Don't just put the effort in at the gym - you can't out-train a bad diet. If you're working hard in the gym, work just as hard with your dietary discipline. (This has also been my downfall in the past, thinking that I could 'get away with' small things - they all add up!).
  2. Prepare your environment - make things easier for yourself and know your triggers; prepare your food in advance to avoid poor choices and if you find you skip your workouts, join a class or club where you're part of a team that keeps you motivated.
  3. Plan your week and stick to it - don't procrastinate. Every day counts. 

Kristina Vassilieva

Born: 23/03/1988, Age: Age 31



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