Prejudices of women in fitness. Interview with our ambassadors about their beginnings and motivation.
There are different views on whether men are better at fitness than women, and whether they should have a different approach to working out. Want to learn more about whether there are still prejudices in fitness and how to overcome them and achieve your goals regardless of your sex? We took a peek into the lives of our ambassadors to give us a glimpse into their experiences and perspective on women in the fitness world.
We interviewed Lucia Mikušová, Valerie Slapnik and Martina Takáčová.
What motivated you to fitness and what were your beginnings in the gym? Did you feel sad?
Lucia Mikušová: Before fitness, I was a competitive gymnast. But at the same time, I was attracted by working out in the gym. I wanted to try something new. Even in the beginning I wasn’t shy in the gym. I had a coach who always stayed by me. He was very supportive.
Valerija Slapnik: I first went to the gym in 2012 because it was free of charge for a week due to its opening. My friends and I figured we’d make the most of it for the week. I liked it so much that I subsequently paid for a full month’s ticket. At first I was shy because I didn’t know all the equipment. So I started with body-pumping and soon with weight training.
Martina Takáčová: I’ve been exercising since I was a kid. So movement was part of my life and fitness was something I took for granted. I started with a friend in high school in a basement gym and we worked out by Zora Czoborová.
Do you remember a situation where you had to be brave and overcome some prejudices? What were the results of your decision?
Lucka: I used to be afraid of food. I ate very little because I thought it would help me get my dream figure. But it wasn’t like that at all. I started to look my best when I started eating regular and normal portions.
Valerija: When I started becoming more “famous” in my gym and in the country in general, some people started talking about me. They looked at me angrily, made mean remarks, etc. But when we’re doing something we enjoy, we just have to ignore the negatives and focus on the things that make us happy.
Do you notice the looks of the people around you in the gym, both men and women? Or is it just a rumour that many beginners are afraid of?
Lucka: Yes, I’m getting the looks. However, I can’t say that it happened too often or that it was annoying. After all, even I like to look at someone with well-defined muscles. Valerija: Yes, I was afraid of that at first, too. For a long time, I thought I was doing everything wrong. But in fact, no one is looking at you in the gym. It’s all about your mindset.
Martina: During workout, I only pay attention to how I’m working out. And most people do the same.
Do men respect you in the gym? What is the balance between the number of men and women in your gym?
Martina: I used to coach men, too. I don’t think I had any problem with respect, whether it was a man or a woman. Today, my clients consist exclusively of women.
Do you see a difference in coaching women and men?
Martina: Of course I do. It is mainly about the goals.
Was your coach a man or a woman? Do you see any difference?
Lucka: I have always been coached by women.
Valerija: I began alone. Soon I met Luke, who became my coach and eventually my boyfriend. It was definitely a big difference. I had someone that kept pushing me, motivating me and providing me with his knowledge. Later, when I knew what to do, I worked out alone. Going to the gym together today would be difficult because we have a little daughter.
Martina: When I lived in Košice, I only had a male coach. But I don’t see any difference. Couch should be your mentor. It’s not about sex, it’s about personality and knowledge.
Do you feel competition from men when working out at the gym? People say that women work out all the time and men are often overwhelmed by their egos when lifting heavy weights. What’s your view on that?
Lucka: I’ve never noticed it. I think lifting egos is completely useless and in the gym everyone does their own work anyway and has no time to look at how much they are burdened.
Valerija: No. I am too focused on my own workout.
Martina: It isn’t about sex. Women also compete.
What do you owe your success in the fitness world to?
Lucka: Definitely to my coaches who prepared me very well for the competitions. And, of course, my commitment and passion for this sport.
Valerija: I stick to a few principles – stay determined and not go to extremes. And keep in mind that it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon, so it’s a long run. It just takes time...
Who has inspired you on your fitness path?
Lucka: I consider Oksana Grishina a fitness pioneer who has been an inspiration to me for many years. He competes in the same category as me – acrobatic fitness. Oksana was always well prepared and exuded positive energy.
Valerija: Me and my family.
Martina: My father, who encouraged me to go in for sports. And there were some inspirations, too. Mostly foreign fitness idols from Muscle&Fitness.
Which woman comes to mind as a pioneer of fitness? Do you know what prejudices women have to deal with? Would you have had the courage to do fitness back then?
Lucka: I am very happy that today we have endless information about fitness and healthy lifestyle. In the past, it wasn’t so at all. That must have been very difficult. And women who worked out in the gym were a great rarity. It’s amazing how much fitness has evolved.
Valerija: Hmm, I’ve never had a particular person. But I am glad that there were some who inspired me in my competition way. One of them is Michelle Lewin. Because of them, I started to prepare specifically for competitions and I entered the stage that same year.
Martina: Olívia Pohánková
How do you manage to combine family, work/school and sport?
Lucka: For every ill, there’s is a remedy. Frankly saying, it’s really gruelling. But I think there’s nothing a man cannot do. In other words, when you have good time management, everything is possible.
Martina: When my son was younger it used to be more difficult. But he is now attending preschool and I am doing well. And often we are at the gym as a family. We take it as a family activity.
What or who can help you when you lose motivation?
Lucka: Most of the time I work out alone. When my motivation is low, I work out with my boyfriend and my mood improves immediately. Usually, I don’t lose my motivation. I have set goals that motivate me sufficiently.❤️
Valerija: My daughter. I want to stay healthy and fit for her as long as possible.
Martina:I think it’s normal that motivation is not always at the same level. But I know that consistency is important. When there are days when I’m less motivated, I do at least a light workout and sometimes it works out after a few minutes.