This interview is part of the Real Talk Real Women interview series, where we bring you the life-changing, heart-warming and inspirational stories behind the most successful women in health and fitness. Make sure to follow us on Instagram for the latest interviews! For this installment, we are joined by Shawn Hektor - Lewis.
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?
I got involved in health and fitness through joining a gym while in college. I had played several sports as a kid; but I wasn’t any good at any of them! I grew up on a farm and was always active and ate very well with fresh produce around all the time; but the science behind all of it was always a mystery to me.
After joining that first gym I began to learn a bit more. I started lifting weights. I was an active swimmer as a kid and became a lifeguard in college as well. From there my relationship with health and fitness evolved into what it is today through entering my first physique competition while my husband and I were dating. He and I were going out to eat a lot and I was seeing the weight gain! So I set a goal of getting on stage and competing in my first Figure show. After that; I was hooked!
Where does your motivation come from?
My motivation comes from a lot of places. I think my number one driving factor of getting in shape to begin with was watching all the health problems in my family. I didn’t want to end up like that.
Beyond that I push my body to new heights in the competitive arena because I love the challenge. I love knowing I am fully in control of how I want to shape my physique. It’s fascinating to me and I love setting goals and knowing I can achieve them. I have never been one to be “normal”. This lifestyle allows me to set amazing goals for myself all in the name of health and fitness.
My motivation also comes from wanting to be the best possible version of myself. I don’t like being told that I can’t do something. I like smashing down walls and stereotypes and showing other women that it is possible to achieve anything you set your mind to. I don’t give up. I don’t take no for an answer.
As you decided to make a career out of your passion - what were your biggest stumbling blocks along the way?
Figuring out how to make it unique and mine and something I would love day in and day out. I did not form my business with a clear end goal in mind. My business evolved into what it is today through realizing what my strengths were where others had weaknesses. My career came from me finding a need in the marketplace and filling it. Still to this day there is not one single other person on this planet that does what I do. It has come directly from my heart and soul.
What’s your perspective on the importance of self-care?
You are only given one body; you MUST take care of it! I feel that if you do not first take care of yourself; how can you adequately take care of anyone else? It is not being selfish; it is being proactive and preventative and preserving. The love you give yourself will radiate to all others in your path.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about women lifting weight?
I think the biggest one is that it will make you manly. We hear it all the time. “I don’t want to look like a man” - thankfully that stereotype is being broken daily. What women need to understand is that lifting weight will never make them manly as we just don’t have the testosterone in our bodies to support the muscle mass that men do.
If instead they looked at muscle as being the “working” part of their bodies; they would then better understand why it’s so important to exercise those working parts. Lifting weights breathes life into your body.
Many young women who want to lose weight believe that not eating is the way to do it, without realizing 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?
I use to think this. Our society is so focused on weight as the indicator of health. Especially as a female; if you weigh “over the norm” you are considered fat and unhealthy and not to mention unattractive. I think the unattractive part is the most detrimental to our psyche to be honest.
Less food = less body weight which in turn means more attractive. This entire thread of logic is flawed. I tend to relate this to gas in a car. If you allow your tank to run on E you’re going to sputter and stall. The same is true for food in your body. Sure you can coast for a little bit; but eventually you’re going to shut down and destroy your engine.
When it comes to teaching our American society about healthy food I really think we need to go back to the basics. Get back to eating foods that come from the ground and not from a can. Stay away from slick marketing campaigns and instead eat instinctively; when you’re hungry, not when you’re told to. Allow ourselves to tune in to our bodies and listen to what they need instead of listening to corporations that are only trying to sell their products.
Back to basics.
What are the most unexpected lessons you’ve learned on your health and fitness journey this far?
That just as much as health and fitness can bring people together; it can also pull people apart. Creating a healthy lifestyle out of something that wasn’t before is not easy. Most people will not want to join you and instead will attempt to pull you back to their ways. You have to stay strong and sometimes that means changing your inner circle as well. Find the people who love you and will support you and will come with you toward a better healthier life.
What do you do to maintain balance in your life?
I force myself to take days off. I work from home on my own business so it’s always there and it’s always tempting to work 24/7. I love what I do.
I have to schedule time off and time to focus on me and my family. If I don’t, it won’t get done.
How do you stay productive?
My calendar. I have to keep my schedule tight every day. I get up at 5 or 6am and begin my work day. I allow myself breaks to eat and go to the gym but I stick to a specific schedule through the day to ensure I get done all I need to get done. I am a creature of habit and I am far more productive when I have a lot to do vs when I have nothing to do.
How important have the people around you been when it comes to your success?
Invaluable. There is no way I could have created the lifestyle I have without my family support system. No way.
Name 3 things people don’t know about you.
1. I toured the country with a Christian singing troupe for two summers when I was in high school.
2. I showed pigs and rabbits at my county fair as a kid and I have the trophies to prove it!
3. Before I went to school for Music I actually contemplated going to culinary school to become a pastry chef. I wonder how different my life would be if I had gone down that road!
If you could only choose one thing, what would you tell your younger self?
Stop worrying so much. I do this now. I worry about aspects of my life that are out of my control. I waste a lot of energy on things that will make no difference at the end of the day.
Can you give a breakdown of your current diet, training and supplementation regimen and the thinking behind it?
Currently I am in training for my first competition of 2017 so my diet and training regimen is very strict. I have 6 small, weighed and measured meals. I work out twice a day with cardio and/or weights. I check in weekly with my coach and make adjustments to my plan based on how my body has been responding. This part of my life is very detailed and needs to be 100% on point.
What are your biggest life goals for this year?
I want to take my business and my physique to the next level. 2017 is a critical year for me. It is year three of my business and now is the time for me put up or shut up! I also have enlisted the help of a new coach with a new training regimen and our goal is to take my competitive career to new heights as well. 2017 is going to be year of fire!
Where can people go to learn more about you online?
Stay tuned for the next interview of Real Talk Real Women!