We recently got to interview the very inspiring Sam fitty_smalls a future NASM CPT and eating disorder warrior and what a pleasure it was to have her as our first in our new health & fitness interview series. We love to hear when health and fitness transforms peoples lives!
Sam could you tell us a bit about yourself and how you started in health and fitness?
Sam fitty_smalls: I had somewhat of an active background growing up. Kind of on and off. I did dance for many years, stopped then took dance again in high school and was on the kick line team. That all stopped after I had graduated in 2009. When I left high school, my life started to get out of control. I was binge drinking and using drugs every day. I would consume more alcohol than I did food. I’ve had a bad relationship with food since I was younger but I was most active in my eating disorder at this time. I was really underweight and malnourished. I would faint in public and I’ve been hospitalized many times. I’ve crashed cars, put myself in dangerous situations and terrified the people close to me. I was so self-destructive. It’s crazy to look back at my past from where I am today. About two years ago, I started slowly getting into the gym. I didn’t really know what I was doing and used working out as more of a punishment rather than enjoyment. If I felt like I ate bad I would run on the treadmill. Things like that. I wasn’t using drugs anymore but I was still drinking a lot and wasn’t consistent or had a set goal other than being skinny. A year later I started to learn about weight training. I would learn exercises from “fitspos” on you tube. Every two days I would train lower body. That was all i did because I was afraid of looking manly. I didn’t know enough then. I’ve never had a trainer or a coach so I am self-taught. The more I learned through research and trial and error the more I fell in love with this lifestyle. It became my passion and my priority. When I gave up alcohol is when I started really gaining all the benefits of fitness. I feel best when I can perform my best and I couldn’t do both. It’s the best decision I have ever made. I am currently a NASM student to be a CPT.
How do you stay motivated and what drives your passion?
Sam fitty_smalls: My motivation comes from wanting to be my best self, which I know is always a work in progress. There is always room for improvement. Always something to learn. I never want to stay stagnant. There is a phrase “don’t look back at your past, you’re not going that way.” but my past is a huge motivation for me. I can look back at it, accept were I’ve been and look how far I’ve come. If I was capable of overcoming that, why would I stop now? You are capable of anything you set your mind to. If you want it and work for it, you will get it. Fitness is my passion because it saved me.
What goals did you have when you first started out?
Sam fitty_smalls: When i first really started getting into training all I cared about was leg day. I wanted bigger glutes and abs. Half because I’m basic (ha ha) and half because I really didn’t have the knowledge of the importance of training your body as a full unit. I had fears of getting bulky but I now know lifting will not make you look manly.
What is your training routine like, and what does it involve?
Sam fitty_smalls: My training routine right now is kind of like power building. I love incorporating compound movements, setting goals and hitting new PRs in strength. I also love adding accessory movements for hypertrophy. I do both.
Can you give us a sample of your weekly routine?
Sam fitty_smalls: I’m playing around with routines at the moment but it would look something like this
– glute focused leg day
– glute focused leg day
I also involve some core strength training at the end of a work out a couple times a week.
What’s your favorite body part to train?
Sam fitty_smalls: My glutes and my lats. 🙂
What’s your favorite kind of cardio you do and why?
Sam fitty_smalls: I’m in a bulking phase right now so I don’t do too much cardio. I will warm up for 5 minutes on the stair master, walk on incline on the treadmill or add some HIIT in between sets. It is important to add some cardio because it is good for your heart. I’m not the type of person who enjoys running on a machine for a long period of time. It gets boring for me. When I begin cutting I will do it more often.
Are there any key nutrition or training tips that you adhere to?
Sam fitty_smalls: Eating healthy doesn’t have to be bland or boring. Don’t eat broccoli if you hate broccoli just because its healthy. Find whole foods that you enjoy. I’m huge on enjoying this process. Think of it more as a healthy life style change rather than a diet. If you restrict yourself or try un attainable diets you’re bound to fail. Don’t eat less, just eat better. Carbs are not your enemy!!!
List the top 10 foods we would find in your kitchen:
Sam fitty_smalls: PEANUT BUTTER, chicken, eggs, bananas, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, almonds, Greek yogurt, avocados and turkey!
How do you prepare meals? Do you cook daily or prepare meals for the week?
Sam fitty_smalls: I don’t prep and I don’t track macros. Being someone who comes from a distorted relationship with food, tracking feels too obsessive for me personally. I make sure I’m getting enough food, protein, carbs etc to fuel my body the way I need it to and to grow the way I want it to.
What’s your favorite health food?
Sam fitty_smalls: Do bananas count? I could live off bananas.
What’s your favorite cheat food?
Sam fitty_smalls: ICECREAM for sure.
What supplements do you use if any? If not, why not?
Sam fitty_smalls: In the morning I take a multivitamin, a probiotic and fish oil. I use Cellucor pre work out and PEscience high volume (a pump product) right before my work out. During my workout I like to drink PEscience aminos BCAAs. I use PEscience protein powder as well.
Who are your favorite people in fitness and who inspires you the most and why?
Sam fitty_smalls: I love anyone who promotes self-love. It’s become one of the greatest trends in this community I’ve seen on social media. People who are real, raw and genuine and are not just out here promoting bogus fitness teas. I love when I see people using their platform for good. Those are the people I look up to.
What 3 tips would you give someone just getting into health and fitness:
1:) Results don’t happen overnight. Trust the process.
2:) Make sure you have a rest day in your weekly routine. The growing happens outside the gym and you want to avoid over training!
3:) There are no rules or one way to fitness. Find what works best for you and do what YOU love.
We’ve read you’re an eating disorder survivor, when did you first recognise that you had an eating disorder?
Sam fitty_smalls: When I was as young as 12. I remember having poor body image and eating lettuce with mustard because it was 0 calorie. I would restrict then I would binge. I would weigh myself on the scale and cry for hours when I didnt think it was “good” enough. I held a lot of self hatred from a young age.
What do you think was the root cause of your eating disorder?
Sam fitty_smalls: This is a heavy question. Eating disorders are mental disorders. Yes, the actions portray its just about being fat or skinny but its so much more than that. My mom past away when I was 8. I went through a lot of changes and experienced a lot of rejection from some of my family. Ive had family who couldn’t even look at me because I look like my mom. They would cry and run away at the sight of me until they just didn’t want to be apart of my life anymore. As a child its really hard to understand what was going on. I think I just thought that maybe if I was good enough they would accept me. I think I just wanted to be loved. Its not easy for me to talk about.
What treatment has been most helpful for you?
Sam fitty_smalls: It wasn’t until after high school I went to therapy for the first time. I’ve seen many therapists, doctors and have even spent a month in patient treatment for my eating disorder. They wanted me to stay longer but I was young, resistant and I left. Nothing really helped until I really wanted better for myself and worked at it. Its hard to explain. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a LONG time with slip ups in between.
What were some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced on your journey towards recovery?
Sam fitty_smalls: It’s a long journey. For me, I started to make progress over time. I’ve had slip ups and setbacks. The hardest part was letting go of old habits. If I had a bad day or a relapse I had to learn to leave it there that day. Accept it and make tomorrow a new start instead of continuing the behavior.
How do you stop the eating disorder from taking over your life again?
Sam fitty_smalls: Fitness really helped me. I knew I had to eat to reach my goals. To have energy for my workouts. To get stronger. When my goals became my passion my eating disorder slowly got better. I haven’t been active in my ED in a year. Im really thankful for all the mental “gains” this lifestyle has given me.
What have been some positives in your life since your recover?
Sam fitty_smalls: Its a very secretive disorder so one of the most important things you can do is be honest with the people you have who are close to you. Have someone you trust and can talk to when you are feeling in a bad place or having bad thoughts. Its the hardest to talk about it when you’re in that moment and really suffering but those are the times its the most important to. You have to push yourself to. Recovery isn’t easy but its possible. I thought for the longest time that this was just “how I was” and I would have to deal with this for the rest of my life. You are worth fighting for. If you ever need anything or just want to talk, always feel free to contact me. You are not alone!!
What advice do you have for other young women and men who are facing eating disorders?
Sam fitty_smalls: It’s a very secretive disorder so one of the most important things you can do is be honest with the people you have who are close to you. Have someone you trust and can talk to when you are feeling in a bad place or having bad thoughts. Its the hardest to talk about it when you’re in that moment and really suffering but those are the times its the most important to. You have to push yourself to. Recovery isn’t easy but its possible. I thought for the longest time that this was just “how I was” and I would have to deal with this for the rest of my life. You are worth fighting for. If you ever need anything or just want to talk, always feel free to contact me. You are not alone!!
What is your favorite quote?
Sam fitty_smalls: This sounds cliche but it would have to be “this too shall pass.” I actually have it tattooed on my fore arm facing me. I got it to remind myself if I were having a bad day or moment that it would pass. Let it go and move on.
What kind of music do you listen to when you are working out if any?
Sam fitty_smalls: Good work out music is essential!! I listen to rap with a good beat, trap music or some death metal. Anything that makes me feel like a bad ass. haha
What’s your favorite activities and hobbies you enjoy when away from the gym?
Sam fitty_smalls: I love to bake! I just made rainbow cookies twice already for Christmas. I also like to catch up on my favorite garbage reality tv or dance in living room 😛
Where can our readers follow you?:
- March 9, 2017 Interview with Bridget Riepl
- March 2, 2017 Interview with Jonah Town
- October 20, 2016 How High is Too High? No Ceilings for This Protein Diet
- November 30, 2016 Body Detoxification – Cleaning out Your System