Fitness Interview with Belle Imparfait whom i bumped into on instagram and have been wanting to feature. She is on instagram as @belleimparfait
How did you get into working out?
I’ve always been a pretty active person. I played sports growing up and was always one of those kids doing something or the other outside. I never really watched TV or played video/computer games. I guess as I got older my activity level dropped, especially after graduate school. After gaining a few “real life pounds” working out/focusing on my health was a way to satisfy my drive for activity when I didn’t have soccer and rugby practice anymore.
What motivates you?
I’m a very competitive person, so aside from my general well-being my biggest motivation for those early mornings or late nights is getting better. I’m a runner, and while I’m no where near elite status or even that good, I’m motivated by being better, faster, quicker and running farther. That’s what’s amazing about my sport. There are so many people out there of all types of ability and skill level. You find your nitch and this healthy, friendly competition springs up naturally. I’m not out there winning races, lol but I’m going for PRs and trying to place in my age groups come race season. To do that, you gotta put in the work.
What nutrition advice do you have for people starting their fitness journey?
The two biggies for me are awareness and portion control.
1) Awareness: In my experience, it doesn’t get more basic and fundamental than this. It’s the difference between needing to lose a few pounds and wanting to turn your life around, to be healthier and happier. The latter requires a lifestyle change. You have to change the way you think about and see food, which can be a slow and tedious process.
2) Portions: I think just as important as knowing what you’re eating is knowing how much you’re actually eating. Me personally, I have a huge sweet tooth. I much rather skip the salad and entre and just get two desserts. Trying to deny that and cut out chocolate and cake just wouldn’t work. Rather I have to find that balance, know what a serving looks like and stick with that. It’s the same with everything else. I’m not one for saying don’t eat this or don’t eat that. Rather be aware of what you’re eating and how much.
Naturally it can become more involved that this, but I think awareness and portion control are two relatively painless ways to start transitioning to a healthier version of yourself.
How often do you workout?
Depends what you mean by working out. I try to have some type of physical activity everyday, even if it’s just a brisk walk around the office or squats before bed. I run about 4 times a week and practice yoga 3/4 times a week as well. I also try to squeeze in some form of weight training at least once a week but I’m trying to get more consistent with it.
I noticed you are into running and yoga, what sparked the interest?
Running, like I said just sort of happened as a natural transition after finishing school. I became more consistent with it when I ran my first 5k last year and met a whole new circle of people I never knew about. The Women’s Distance Festival is a series of women only 5k races held throughout the DMV every spring. The more events I attended, the faster and stronger I became as a runner and the sense of competition I mentioned earlier took over. By the end of the series I was hooked. I can’t wait for this year.
What would you say are some benefits to Yoga?
Yoga means so many different things to so many different people. For me, it’s my release. Some people drink, some people watch tv or movies, some people eat. I spend time on my mat. Aside from the physical benefits, like improved posture, circulation and breathing, the spiritual and mental practice is so much more. Yoga allows you time to just be, which is rare in the life most of us live now and days. Yoga gives you “me time”. No phone, no kids, no worries, no stress, no thoughts. It’s just you and your body and your mind and your breath. It’s amazing the things you discover about yourself when you allow yourself that time.
What is your workout routine like?
I’m not a morning person so 90% of my workouts happen after work. It makes running hard now that the weather isn’t ideal and it’s dark by 5:30pm but that’s what gyms and treadmills are for J Like I mentioned, I practice 3 to 4 times a week both in a studio and at home. In fact, for anyone looking to get into yoga there’s tons of resources free and readily available online. A lot of great yoga instructors post tutorials and classes on you tube that you can access anywhere.
How do you set fitness goals and how do you measure your success?
I always try to set goals that are numerically measurable and multifaceted because the feeling of crossing something off your list is just amazing and having to pull from different places to accomplish it is even better.
Right now in 2015, rather than just trying to get faster and stronger, I’m striving to be able to do 5 pull ups in a row and break a 25min 5k. I chose these because they involve lots of little things coming together. To get faster, I’m going to need to start running differently than I do now. I have to improve my foot speed, add some more weight training. Same thing with the pull ups, right now I struggle to do one lol so I know I have to hit the gym more. Integrate more weight exercises into my workouts.
The best thing about these type of goals is you know exactly when you reach them. They’re measurable. Getting “faster” and “stronger” is so abstract it can be deflating. Half the fun in setting goals is watching yourself crush them.
Advice to people trying to get into fitness
Nike was right, just do it. The first step is always the hardest one, even till today. There are times when I’m tired, had a rough day at work and just don’t feel like doing anything. That’s when your mind has to take over, put your shoes on and go. You can’t just keep saying “tomorrow”. Do it today. Go for a walk, a swim (if you’re lucky), as you’re reading this stop and do 10 jumping jacks.
Also, find someone to do it with you. I think most of us have at least one friend that’s a health and fitness junkie lol. Call them up! If they’re anything like me, they love finding accountability partners. Ask them for some tips, tag along to the gym or a class. Having something on the journey with you makes a big difference.