#PinoyFitspiration 11: Chef Nikki Misa

After reaching the milestone of introducing 10 Pinoy fitspirations, we now continue with another fit girl who battled her way to getting the body she wanted. Let me introduce to you, our very own #PinoyFitspiration 11: Nikki Misa.

Meet Nikki, a food lover, resident cook, and a pastry chef.

“Well for one, people know me as a pastry chef, food has been a passion since high school, and i think when my friends see me, they almost always associate me with food. I’m the resident cook / meal planner at almost every barkada gathering. I’ve been working for a few 5-star hotels since the beginning of my career, competed both locally and internationally at culinary competitions. so yeah basically…

food is my whole life.”

Tell us about your weight and body image struggles. When did it become a problem?

Body image has always been a problem for me. It was, I think more of a self-esteem issue. being a very curvy woman, I was always heavier on my hips down. Friends and family, growing up, always teased me about my “giant a**”or my “killer whale hips”. yeah of course sometimes it was funny when they joked about it, but growing up, I looked at curves not as a bad thing, per se, but as something I wish I never had.

I played flag football all throughout college and teammates would joke about how hard I can hit people with my bum during games. Haha! I would admit, it was funny when they said it.

I used to train 4-5 days a week at 5-6 hours per day, eat so much food, and not even gain weight. But all that changed when i started working. My work ate up so much of my time that I probably even ate more food, without exercise, and when i was stressed, i would turn to food for comfort. And that’s when it all began.

You just lost 40 pounds in five months and that’s pretty amazing. What is your biggest motivation and how do you manage to stay consistent?

Well this year, I decided to make a change, and to actually stick to it. It was a mix of so many signs already, and I just needed to accept that the only person holding me back was myself.

I would say my biggest motivation would be the fact that I’ve never had the body I’ve always dreamed of having. I was the type to make so many excuses all the time: whether i was too tired, too stressed, I’m naturally built this way, etc., and I never really had that inner push. I want to look my best by the time I’m 30, and hopefully, keep it that way. It’s not even about vanity, it’s more about being healthy.

It’s not about vanity, it’s about being HEALTHY.

Ever since I changed my food choices, I noticed drastic changes in my body which I’ve never noticed until now. I sleep better, my sweat when working out feels cleaner, I feel good even when i’m stressed with work, I don’t get so tired and restless anymore. I think it’s all because I don’t feed my body with bad food anymore. It’s pretty amazing what simple changes in one’s diet can affect your whole disposition, too.

Can you take us to your training routine? What is it like?

I have a set of home workouts that I do, depending on my mood. we have dumbells, heavy balls, resistance bands, mats. Equipment doesn’t have to be expensive. I pretty much use whatever I can find as a makeshift equipment for some of my workouts (stools, bench, stairs, old tires), and do mostly body weight. I don’t have a fixed daily workout that I do repeatedly, but I do have sets which I combine with one another and rotate those.

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I start my home workouts in the morning, first thing. mostly consists of cardio, legs, and my staples of glute workouts. It takes me an hour to an hour and a half per day. I try to do as much reps per set, with very little breaks, to keep my lungs going. I like the feeling of working out on an empty stomach too, I don’t know I just feel lighter. Sometimes just eat a banana to give me energy. and then I eat my full meal right after my workout.

It was the perfect time to get going when I realized the only person holding me back, was myself.

I go boxing 3 times a week for 2 hours per day. my training includes 1 hour of circuit training, and another hour of sparring, heavy bags, speed balls, and battle ropes, and then we close with abs.

In your own opinion, how many hours for a woman would it require for a normal workout and how many times a week?

Honestly I think it also depends on their goals, I guess. Do they want to lose weight? Do they want to tone, bulk up, or just have a regular exercise? I have friends who run, do yoga, but just to stay healthy, no specific amount of weight they need to lose.

My personal goal was to shred down all my fats so I really pushed myself to workout 6 days a week. I work on my feet 10-12 hours a day too and my work is very active that’s why workouts are limited to 2 hours or less. If they can workout everyday, then all the better, right?

One must find the best workout they can sustain.

Something that’s fit for what they want to achieve, fits their schedule and their lifestyle.

What was the biggest struggle for you: food, exercise or temptation? What has been the greatest obstacle?

The struggle was all of the above. As humans, our minds were wired in such a way to avoid pain. Unless you’re a masochist, you don’t want to inflict pain into your body, and working out is painful, it’s not easy. Our body cries in the form of sweat. I still hate it at times but I want to keep pushing. Working around food is also a challenge, every day. I like to play around with ingredients and I love food in general. I used butter as my staple when cooking at home. I loved all the fatty stuff so much. The fact that I was just getting heavier and heavier, made me even lazier to workout. I used to eat with people who don’t have a problem gaining weight, people who eat so much fatty and oily stuff, it’s also the company, I guess.

What’s your take on nutrition? Do you count calories? Any sample diet you’d like to share?

I personally think we’re very lucky to be living at this day when we have technology to help us stay healthy. It’s as simple as downloading an app from your phone! I think people should use these to their advantage too, so that people who have goals on maintaining or achieving a certain figure can do so easier.

So YES, I count my calories and started doing it in the beginning of this year. My boyfriend Michael have a spreadsheet that we follow which calculates our macros per meal, per snack. We just input the food item and it’s corresponding macros in, and the amount of food we use every meal, so yeah we also measure our food.

Example, one of my favorite post workout meals is my Salmon Quinoa Salad bowl. One huge bowl is only 575 calories. It has everything I need, good carbs from quinoa, lettuce, proteins from the fish and poached egg, a very healthy dressing, salsa, guacamole. It’s so low calorie but healthy I even sometimes force myself to finish it so I can meet my carbs. That’s how much I eat these days.

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Deprivation? Nope. It’s all about BALANCE.

#RelatableFitness Question: Do you allow yourself to have cheat days? If you do, what are your favorite foods you allow yourself to indulge in?

No, I don’t allow myself cheat days, but I allow myself cheat meals. Cheat meals meaning, still healthy but I get to indulge more of the healthier alternatives. Last week, I craved steak and mashed potatoes, so instead of having the regular steak and mash, I decided to cook myself ostrich steak, and sweet potato mash. It’s half the calories of regular steak and mash, and it’s so much healthier. It’s all about balance, I guess. Now that I’m eating healthy, as much as possible I choose not to eat the greasy stuff. No more fast food, no canned, processed, super less or no sweets as much as possible.

What are your current fitness goals right now?

I want to achieve my dream body before I turn 30, and maintain that. I want to stay healthy, age gracefully, because honestly, I can say that when you are healthy inside, you just feel good. Both physically, mentally and emotionally. After I shred down my body fat, I wanna eat more so I can tone up and get leaner. I don’t want to look like a body builder, but I just wanna be a fit woman. I now appreciate my curves, it’s just a matter of keeping the extra weight off too.

People should take advantage of the technology nowadays to assist them on their goals.

Before we end this interview, what’s your biggest advise to those who wants to start a healthier, fitter lifestyle?

Well I was once in your shoes: Too lazy, too many excuses, to get up and go to the gym. It’s all about discipline. Get up, it’s going to be hard to start from scratch but you need to condition yourself to think long term. Do you want to be healthy? Do your research. Don’t starve yourself. It’s 80% what you eat and only 20% exercise. The biggest mistake I made when I tired to lose weight in the past was to stop eating. It doesn’t work that way. Believe it or not, I eat so much more now than ever, but filling yourself with good food makes all the difference. I realized I don’t need to starve myself to lose weight.

Start with clean eating, read the labels of the things you buy in the grocery. Nutrition facts at the back of the package are there for a purpose. Most may advertise their items as healthy, but in turn may add more sugar, or fats. You also need to find the best workout you can do depending on your goal and certain body parts you want to enhance.

Any shout outs / parting words / fitness quotes you live on by?

Stop wishing and start doing.

A better, fitter, healthier Nikki after 6 months of hardwork and discipline.

Results don’t happen in a blink of an eye. Respect the process, stay consistent, You will thank yourself a few months from when you start.

We hope you all learned a lot from Nikki because I surely did. If you want to follow Nikki’s footsteps, follow her on Michael and Nikki’s food diary at https://instagram.com/foodanatummy! ‘Til next #PinoyFitspiration!

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