April 17 2018
For our April YYC Sweatspiration, we caught up with Magdalena Grabowska. Magda is a mother, a personal trainer, a nutrition consultant, an entrepreneur, AND competes in bodybuilding as a bikini competitor (She's headed off to Nationals in Laval Quebec on May 19!!). Everyone has so much going on in their lives all the time, so we really wanted to know how Magda kept up with her contest prep, healthy lifestyle, all of her clients from Mindful Muscle, and her 2 year old son Carter!
Read below how this amazing mother, wife and soul balances a healthy lifestyle, maintains a close bond with her family, helps everyone around her, and still finds time for herself.
Can you tell us how you first got into the fitness industry?
I had always had this idea in my head about the kind of woman that I wanted to be “when I grew up”. Someone who was healthy, happy , fit and determined. As I approached my middle 20’s I came to the realization that none of my habits were in line with that ideal woman. I realized that the sooner I got to work on becoming this woman, the longer I would get to live as her. That the best time for me to have started was years ago but the second best time was now. So I hired a trainer and proceeded to learn about how to train hard for my goals and how to fuel my body properly to do that.
What made you fall in love with fitness and nutrition?
A huge part of what I love about fitness is that its shown me the value of hard work. Through my goals in the gym and helping others reach theirs, I’ve realized that nothing is impossible if you are willing to put the time and work in. It’s something that's really transferred over into every area of my life. Being able to do something this week that was too hard the week before is such an empowering feeling.
I love that there are so many different ways to be fit and follow a healthy diet. It's incredible how finding a way to move and eat in a way that works with your lifestyle, schedule, and a way that you genuinely enjoy, can have such a positive affect in every area of your life.
Tell us a little about your business, Mindful Muscle, and how that started.
Well, Calum and I had been working as personal trainers at a commercial gym for a while and as much as we loved our jobs, we always felt like there were things that we would change if we were in charge. One of the downfalls of working in a heavily sales focused environment is that people start to get treated a little bit like numbers. The same old formula passed around from client to client regardless of their previous experience, current abilities or goals - move more and eat less. We live in a world where even after training for years with professionals, people are still left clueless about why or how much of what to eat. Even basic of primal movements are out of reach. We wanted to focus on actually educating people and setting them up with knowledge that they could use for life. We wanted to build a business on changing lives, not just bodies. So we did just that, we took a think that we love and we shared it with as many people as we could. We quit our jobs and started Mindful Muscle. Instead of following in the all or nothing mindset that most diet and training programs encompass, we want to show people that by simply being more mindful of their choices when it comes to their meals, movement, and mindset they can adopt a healthy and fit lifestyle that isn’t only successful in terms of results but also sustainable and enjoyable. Although we do have a few in person clients, our goal is to help as many people as we can so the bulk of our job as coaches is done online. We develop a customized training & nutrition program for each individual client based on their preferences/lifestyle and a science based approach. We pair all programs with ongoing support and guidance. It's because of this that we are able to place a focus on the health and happiness of each of our clients and help them to build up one of the most crucial aspects of behavioral change - their mindset.
What has been the most rewarding part of being a lifestyle coach? Most challenging?
There are no words to explain the overwhelming feeling of helping change so many peoples lives. To get feedback that our clients feel HAPPIER, healthier, and more fit than they have ever been - all while eating more and without giving up their quality of life in other areas. It is truly incredible. Helping people to discover their strength, discipline, and a lifestyle that is maintainable never gets old.
The most challenging part is accepting that you can’t help everyone. I think that some people are a lot harder on themselves than they need to be, they have it ingrained in their heads that the only road out of their slump is one paved with restriction and punishment for calories consumed. Unlearning years of destructive dieting and learning to be patient with your body as you heal and focus on health can be very hard for some people. The road to sustainable change requires faith and trust in the process, and someone who is ready for a long term commitment - in a world of quick fixes it can be hard to convince some people that taking the longer, healthier route to their goals is worth the wait in the end. No matter how much knowledge and experience I have to offer, they have to be ready.
We also know that you're a bad ass mother. Tell us about how you achieve balancing family with your lifestyle.
It's pretty simple actually! I want my son to grow up prioritizing his health. I want him to love his body, to be strong and happy. To know how to nourish his body. If I want him to be these things and know these things when he grows up there is no better way than to lead by example. We love staying active as a family. Whether that means going for long walks, playing in indoor playgrounds, hiking, camping or spending an hour at the gym. I truly believe that we make time for what we prioritize and although it gets hectic sometimes with our full schedule we make sure that healthy eating and movement stay a nonnegotiable. He’s the best part of my life and becoming a mother only solidified just how important it is to stay healthy and active.
HIM| Top: Sweat Society Bamboo Copper Badge Tee // Bottom: Anjali Agility Pant
HER| Top: Good HYOUman Family|Everything Coco tee // Bottom: Tonic Active Symia Crop
LITTLE| Sweater: Good HYOUman Best Day Ever
As a competitor in Bodybuilding, you recently competed in the bikini category of the Alberta Natural Championships. Congrats! What is your main focus in prepping for competitions?
Thank you! :) My main priority is always that I am doing things in a healthy way. For contest prep this means a longer prep so I can diet slower and less extreme, focusing on fueling my training properly and on recovery. The biggest components during this time are consistency and intensity within my training.
What is your best advice for maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle?
Find a way to eat and move that you love that is actually sustainable- and repeat. People always think there's a big secret and there isn’t. Consistently challenging and improving yourself while nourishing your body and mind without giving up your quality of life otherwise. Look at a healthy lifestyle as just something that you do forever instead of a means to an end.
Who inspires you?
Honestly, all of my clients inspire the heck out of me - but the moms are who tug on my heart strings for sure. Seeing these brave women put aside societal standards when it comes to having children AND improving themselves is just incredible. Motherhood can be so hard and all consuming. There is so much guilt whether its for letting your kid watch TV so you can eat a hot breakfast or for taking an hour out of the day to focus on your own movement. Watching them learn to fill their own cups first and then serve others- and end up happier and more fulfilled as a result brings me to tears and makes me want to work even harder for them.
What are you goals this year? Personal, Work, Growth, Etc.
To continue growing Mindful Muscle and helping as many people as we can.
To continue to be the best mother and partner that I can.
Train hard and qualify for the World Championships in Poland this November.
Have as many adventures this summer as possible with my little family.
Take a couple of courses on behavioral change and women’s fitness.
How can people find you?
PHOTOS BY NIC SHARKEY