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 Carly Rowena.
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?
Hi, my name is Carly Rowena, I’m a 29 year old Personal Trainer and fitness blogger from Norwich in the UK. I had always been interested in health and fitness but never thought it would become my career! I had always wanted a career that I loved but had no specific talents so I turned to YouTube to see if it could make me realise my skills.
I started with videos on embarrassing subjects and then included a couple of my gym routines, 3 months in and my followers kept asking me to train them, it wasn’t anything I had ever thought of doing but I realised it was more than just something I did after work, it was something I loved, so I became a PT!
Where does your motivation come from?
My mindset and my followers. Like everyone else I have days where I don’t want to train, days when I just want to demolish a bar of galaxy and lay in bed but I know this always leaves me feeling sluggish and unmotivated. My followers send me emails everyday, emails of their struggles, triumphs and barriers, if they can do it then so can I, it’s incredibly motivating.
As you decided to make a career out of your passion - what were your biggest stumbling blocks along the way?
My confidence, I started YouTube late and worried that I wasn’t young enough, it was also a huge leap quitting a very safe income for something I had no idea would work, my change was during the recession and I already had a mortgage so I was worried that I might have been making the wrong decision.
Next, it was my own confidence, with every email and opportunity comes something out of my comfort zone and while it’s exhilarating it can be terribly overwhelming, I had to convince myself that I could do it.
What’s your perspective on the importance of self-care?
Self-care is so important and it’s something I have to remind myself of daily. Nowadays we’re all on overdrive all the time, barely switching off and thinking that time spent getting our nails done is down time, it isn’t.
Life isn’t an emergency but your mindset is.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about women lifting weight?
At least 3x a day I receive a message from a follower asking if lifting weights will make them bulky. I’m unsure how this myth began, it’s so difficult to get bigger as a woman and as someone who is in the gym all the time I know how difficult it is even for men to get bigger so it always makes me smile when women think going a little heavier is suddenly going to turn them into she-hulk. That and protein, joining the gym doesn’t mean you have to start drinking protein drinks.
Many young women who want to lose weight believe that not eating is the way to do it, without realising 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’m not going to lie, I tried every way of losing weight possible when I was younger but nothing changed my body and my perception of myself more than exercising and enjoying my meals. I think it’s natural to always want a quick fix, in a world where we want everything the very next day it’s only natural but with exercise it’s a journey, not a destination.
During my time as a PT I have worked with several clients suffering from EDNOS and don’t be fooled by size, eating disorders come from all shapes and weights. I try to teach my clients and followers that there is more to life than being a size or shape, the benefits of putting time into your body are incredible and naturally the side effect will be a healthier body and mind.
What are the most unexpected lessons you’ve learned on your health and fitness journey this far?
That you can’t please everyone! I became a PT thinking that once I got my clients to reach their goals they would be happy, it’s not necessarily true, 9/10 times they want more, or they want to go back to how they are, I truly believe it’s more about mindset than anything else, if you haven’t enjoyed the process or noticed yourself changing then you never notice where you are.
What do you do to maintain balance in your life?
I listen to music and play with my dog Steven, I find myself getting overwhelmed on a daily basis so when the world get’s too much I grab my French Bulldog Steven and we either go for a run or curl up on the sofa, I leave my phone and laptop in another room and let my mind relax, it’s so important to break free whenever you can.
How do you stay productive?
Lists, lists and more lists. I think self employment forces you to be productive, my list is ever-growing and never-ending. I write a list of what I have to do the next day every evening and try my hardest to tick it all off before the end of the day, that includes workouts, food, walks and work, its all important!
If you could only choose one thing, what would you tell your younger self?
It’s ok to not fit in. I feel like i’ve spent a lot of my life wanting everyone to like me but in truth you can’t change how people feel about you and in all honesty if you worry about other people’s opinions you end up being someone else entirely. Nowadays I’m ok with saying the wrong thing or wearing something different, it’s something I have to work on all the time but I’m starting to really like just being me.
Can you give a breakdown of your current diet, training and supplementation regimen and the thinking behind it?
I want to be functional. I want to be able to run after my dog, carry my own shopping and breathe when I walk up the stairs talking to a friend. Food wise I want to feel able to relax, go out for dinners and drinks with friends, not worry about weight gain while on holiday or out of my routine. To do this I treat my workouts like a meeting with a brand, they’re scheduled in my diary.
Workout wise I try to never go more than 2 days without a workout and even on rest days I’ll always go for a 40 to 1hr walk with my dog, I move whenever I can but because I want to, not as a punishment for what I’ve eaten. I treat the gym like my playground, pick a part of my body and create circuits to work it until it burns, I always find it harder in winter so I add in more classes like crossfit or boxing, it’s so nice to have someone else kick my butt, I can switch off and just enjoy it.
Food wise, I think of my meals as a whole day, not just one meal, if my carbs are high in the morning then I will reduce throughout the day and visa versa, I am allowed to have around 40% carbs, 30% fats and 30% protein.
Going into 2017, what are your biggest life goals?
I want to reach a wider audience, make people realise that it’s not about what you eat but how much, that there isn’t one diet or one exercise perfect for all and that if you enjoy your life, you’ll enjoy your body! I have an Ebook coming out which I hope will give my followers the tools they need to grow in confidence, not to mention some other exciting projects, it’s time I got my butt to Australia!
Where can people go to learn more about you online?