We recently seized the wonderful opportunity to sit down with none other than fitness blogger and model Madison Alexandra, who shared with us her tips, tricks and favourite products that have guided her throughout her physical and mental journey; and to the huge success she enjoys today.
Here’s what she had to share with us:
Q: If you only had 30 minutes to work out, what would your workout routine look like?
A: If I'm in a time crunch, I'll do a 30min plyometric workout, which is essentially a high intensity workout involving jumping/rebounding for the purpose of building power. I'll often add bands and SUPER light weights (3-5lbs) to many of the moves for added intensity. I love this kind of workout when I don't have much time because it's very full body (i.e. think burpees) and is very efficient in burning calories.
Q: How have waist training accessories improved your fitness? And are there any products that you’d recommend?
A: In my experience, I love SMUG Active’s Waist Trainer Belt for the lower back support it can provide. I incorporate extremely heavy compound lifts during my workouts (i.e. deadlifts), and it's wonderful to have that extra stabilisation around the core to both remind me to engage my core and to add protection to my spine.
Q: How have improvements in your fitness translated into improvements in your mental health?
A: I struggled for several years with anorexia in high school, and my fitness journey in bodybuilding and heavy lifting since then has provided me a way to take care of my body and, in doing so, appreciate the strength that it can develop. I'm done focusing on what my body "should" look like; now I celebrate all the crazy awesome and powerful things it can do as it carries me through my life.
Q: What changes to the fitness industry would you like to see within your lifetime?
A: I would actually love to see more women receive more education about bodybuilding and heavy lifting. Oftentimes when I encourage women to lift, they will tell me that they are scared of getting too bulky. That is a huge misconception about fitness. Naturally, women do not physically respond the same way to putting on muscle as men do. In my experience, building muscle is a slow process as a woman, and it's easy, through nutrition, to control how much "bulk" you put on. I have so enjoyed heavy lifting because it has drastically increased my strength and has therefore allowed me to feel more stable and less prone to injury in my everyday life.
Q: How can you improve your body image beside working out?
A: I see many people on social media actively worrying about features they don't have because those features seem to be the standard of beauty today. I think it's important to a) remember that beauty is not found in comparison and b) stop looking for ways to put yourself down. Why should it matter how sharp your side profile is? Why should it matter if you have hip dips or not? Next time you look in the mirror, find one thing that you really love about yourself; even if it's a small thing. If you start each day out like that, you'll eventually find beauty in your own self and not in how you measure up to whatever current body type/lip shape/waist size/hair texture is popular at the moment.
Q: How do you keep motivated during your down-days?
A: Being physically active is actually the thing that gets me through many of my down days, so I always feel motivated to get a workout in because I know it will be beneficial for my mental state. If I am upset about something, throwing punches in a kickboxing classes helps me to work out that aggression in a healthy way rather than internalising it. If I'm sad or anxious, going to the gym to lift allows me to get out of my head for a while and get some distance from whatever problem I am facing, which often gives me new perspective.
Q: Is there any aspect of your body image that you’re not happy with?
A: No. I am thankful for the body that I was given. I am thankful that I survived my battle with a serious eating disorder. Each day I look for ways to improve my body's health so that I can live a long life filled with happy memories. Being unhappy with what it looks like seems counterproductive to that goal, at least to me.