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Profile of the Month
Profile Picture:
RealBody
Rating:
Basic Information
Name: Sonja  Falvo
Gender: Female
Age: 39
Location: Australia
Personal Information
Web URL: http://www.realbody.com.au
Day job:

Professional Speaker, Author & Entrepreneur

Favorite workout activity:

Strength Training

Favorite exercise:

Leg Press

Favorite time to workout:

mornings

Number of workouts per week:

5

Whenever I don't workout I feel:

grumpy and un-motivated!

When it comes to my body im most proud of my:

back

My greatest accomplishment overall is:

Publishing two books to help people lose weight healthily!

My guilty pleasure:

Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate

The best advice I can give is:

Don't make excuses, just make it happen. Sometimes how to do something isn't always clear, but if you just get started you will eventually find the way.

My favorite sports clothing brand:

Nike

My favorite workout music:

Christine Agulera

My favorite reads:

The Four Hour Work Week The E-Myth The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari...too many to mention

My favorite movies and TV shows:

TV Show - House Movie - Pay It Forward

Favorite saying:

Whatever you mind can conceive and believe you can achieve

I am certified in:

Personal Training Life qualifications...sooo much more :-)

About me:

Over the past decade Sonja has built a reputation as an innovative and passionate business woman with a flair for engaging those around her. Sonja shares that passion and her experience by speaking in the areas of wellness, success, business positioning and business growth. She has written 2 best-selling books The Real Body Plan and The Real Body Real Food Plan and is currently writing her third book to help businesses develop key strategies around successfully positioning themselves in the marketplace. In her presentations, Sonja shares easy-to-implement strategies that are simple, effective and proven; her natural ability to motivate others leaves her audience inspired to take action and to execute ideas that ultimately create a positive impact. Sonja delivers presentations that are relevant to the real world of business and the challenging personal times you and I face today. Sonja is dedicated to taking the time to tailor a presentation that is filled with substance, strategies and solutions that your delegates can apply to their business and to their lives. Her strategies and ideas will make a real difference by providing sustainable outcomes, increasing personal performance and enhancing your bottom line. Sonja is an effective, unique and passionate speaker who uses every means available to make her message practical, powerful, thought provoking and memorable for every conference delegate

Q & A with the star:

Fit Junction:First off, let us just say that we admire your determination. You suffered two major injuries that would lead anyone to giveup an active lifestyle. What kept you going?

Sonja:I guess I just always saw myself as fit and active and I never wanted to reach a point in my life that I was old and unable to do all the things I love doing. So when I was told I would never run again and be in pain for the rest of my life at just 21, I was devastated but equally determined to find a way to get my back muscles strong enough to support spine so that the lumbar scoliosis would not cause me constant pain. It took 3 years of strength training and chiropractic visits, but eventually I was pain free and running again… it’s why I am so passionate about strength training.

 

11 years later, after a cycling accident, I ended up with a crush fracture in my spine and later found it was because I had border line osteoporosis. When I was faced with taking medication and I researched the site effects of bisphosphonates, like stomach bleeding and ulcers, that didn’t really sound like a solution to me. So I gave myself 2 years to prove I could improve my bone density through strength training and improving my diet and I did.

 

I am a true believer of visualization exercises; I think if you have a clear vision of what you want your life to look like and how you want to be as a person, then even if obstacles come up, you will find a way to overcome them.

 

Fit Junction:A best selling book on fitness, manager of a major fitness club and on top of that an owner of a prestigious fitness studio. Many people would think you don’t get time to do anything else. Is that the case?

Sonja:My friends do tell me I need to get out more, but I guess when you love what you do you don’t consider it to be work. So I do have to manage my time otherwise I end up working too much. But I love working out and running, so that keeps my mind and body in the right space. I also have my own schedule of what times I allocate to working in the business, on the business,on myself and ‘chill out time’ – I am a Virgo and I am German, so I think being organised comes naturally to me… others might think I am over organised but it works for me and has allowed me to accomplish quite a bit in a short time.

 

Fit Junction:What’s a typical day like in the life of Sonja

Sonja:I had to have a giggle at this question, other than my exercise routine and my meals, there is not much ‘typical’ about my day.

Mon/Wed/Fri I do a 30 minute interval training session and Tue/Thur/Sun I do strength training. I eat 6 times a day, so that is pretty scheduled for me and I have to be well planned to make sure I have the right meals with me when I am on the road.

But my days to vary; some days Iam presenting to businesses or networking groups, meeting with other businesses to grow my network, attending networking events and so on. But I guess I can give you a typical office day for when I am in the office:

8am-10am – social media andemails

10am-3pm – lead generation andmarketing activities

3pm-6pm – working on proposalsand/or product development

 

Fit Junction:What’s the thing you like the most about being fit

Sonja:I love the actual feeling of working out, it just puts me in a great mood and I always feel like I have a clear mind afterwards. I think just knowing that I am doing something that is going to have a positive impacton the rest of my life makes me feel good too.

 

Fit Junction:Now coming to your pearls of wisdom. What would be thetop 5 diet tips you would give to anyone wanting to lose weight?

Sonja:

-Avoid fad diets and fitness gimmicks at any cost!

-If the program you are looking at doing doesn't look like something you can maintain for the rest of your life, it’s not the right program for you

-Eat 5-6 meals a day; it can be challenging at first, especially if you are used to restricting your food in take to try to lose weight. But research has proven that eating smaller regular meals throughout the day is a far more successful way to lose weight and maintain the weight loss than low calorie dieting.

-Keep a food diary; it is so easy to eat morethan you think you are. We have become a society of ‘unconscious’ eaters which means that we often don’t realize how much we eat. Keeping a food diary helps to make you more conscious of your food choices as well as how much you are eating.

-Strength training is an absolute must! We start to lose muscle from the age of 20 (unless we strength train) and low calorie/restrictive dieting fast tracks this process because our body hangs on to fat stores and uses muscle as energy when it feels ‘threatened by famine’(which is what skipping meals and low calorie diets trigger). So less muscle means a slower basal metabolism (how much energy your body uses at complete rest) and fewer calories/energy needed by your body to function. The only way to increase your basal metabolism is to strength train, so you can increase your lean muscle mass… and for the women reading this, don’t worry, it takes an extremely dedicated and specific training program to look like the female body builders and higher levels of test osterone than the average women has.

 

Fit Junction:How about your top 5 weight loss exercises

Sonja:

-OK, has to be said, strength training is number1!

-Interval training is the most time efficient and effective type of cardio to do; what you use (running, cycling, rowing,circuit) doesn’t matter as much as long as you follow the interval program and when you are supposed to work at 100% intensity you are really going for it!The reason interval training is more effective than steady state cardio (whereyour intensity level stays the same throughout, like walking or jogging) is because your body continues to burn fat for up to 24 hours after you have finished your workout.

-If you are going to use an exercise machine ,then my recommendations for 4 and 5 would have to be the rowing machine (greatfull-body workout) and the step machine (great butt workout… make sure you uselong strides!)

-My last suggestion is not so much an exercise,but it’s about keeping your workouts interesting. Find something you love doing and do it more often or do it longer each time… the secret to making exercise a lifestyle choice is to enjoy what you are doing. So even with my suggestions above, they only work if you do them, so make sure you find a way to make your workout interesting and fun for you!

 

Fit Junction:Crash diets. Good, bad or ok if one does them once in a while.

Sonja:Crash diets are bad news in my opinion. They are bad for you health and bad for your waist line in the long-term. Bad for your health because you are not providing all the nutrients that are required by your body to function properly, and if you are not getting the nutrients from your food, your body will leech it from other parts of your body, particularly your bones(this is how I ended up with border line osteoporoses at the age of 32). Bad for your waist because, as I mentioned above, as soon as you start restricting calories too low (which is what crash diets do) your body will hang on to your fat stores and use your muscle as energy instead. So you will be slimmer but with less tone and you will end up with a slower metabolism so when you go off the crash diet and back to ‘normal’ eating you are far more likely to regainthe weight you have just lost and in most cases, a few extra.

 

Fit Junction: “I wanna lose 15 pounds in 3 weeks.” Is that evenpossible if

 

Sonja:Losing 15 pounds (6.8kg) is possible in 3 weeks, depending on a number of factors:

-How much weight you have to lose in the first place. For someone how only has 15 pounds to lose, this would be extremely difficult and most likely unhealthy, but for someone who has 50+ pounds to lose, this would be achievable.

-How committed you are to achieving your goals. If you follow the right eating plan and set a side time to exercise (strength training and cardio) then again, this would be achievable.

-I would advise someone wanting to lose 15 poundsin 3 weeks to enlist the help of a personal trainer that specializes in weightloss as having guidance around the safest way of doing this is very important.

 

It is equally important to know that losing weight at this rate is not safe over a long period and also, as you lose weight, the rate at which you lose it will begin to slow down.

 

The best strategy for long-term weight loss that is manageable and sustainable is to follow a program that you will be able to follow as part of  a healthy lifestyle.

 

Fit Junction:The best tip to lose holiday weight would be….

Sonja:To follow a sensible weight loss and exercise program – as I am not an advocate of crash diets, if you don’t have a sensible weight loss program that you have previously followed, simply read my tips above on exercise and weight loss or check out www.realbody.com.au.

 

Fit Junction: I want to workout but I just cant find the time. Is there a “on the go” workout strategy that I could use.

Sonja:There is always a way to fit exercise in to your day, and whilst on the go workouts are definitely possible, quite often people think they don’t have time because years ago we were all told we had to work out for an hour a day.

Most people I have met have atleast 20 minutes a day to do a workout; so what I recommend for people who only have 20 minutes is to do something like this:

 

Mon/Wed/Fri - 20 minute interval training session – if you don’t have access to an exercise bike, go outside and walk/walk briskly/walk/jog – 1 minute each and do this cycle 5 times and a 1 minute warm up and cool down. If you are fitter you could do jog/run/jog/sprint. You can also set up a mini circuit, for example walk or jog on the spot/step up and down on a step/walk up or jog on the spot/skipping. Sometimes you just need to think outside the box.

 

Tue/Thur/Sat – 20 minute resistance training.  Your three workouts would be 1) Chest 2) Back 3) Legs & Abs. If you are working out at home, you can purchase some adjustable dumbbells or resistance bands. Resistance bands are great because if you are travelling or on the road a lot, they areeasy to fit into your bag.

 

This routine can easily be done on the go; during your lunch break, in a hotel room, outdoors in a park… I am a big believer of ‘if there is a will, there is a way’!

 

Fit Junction: “What are the 3 worst choices I could make while I’m doing my groceries?”

Sonja:Hmm, just 3….

-Any foods containing ‘trans fats’ – these are hydrogenated vegetable oils that increase the shelf life of foods but have been found to be cancer causing. These are found in loads of fast foods, bakes goods, cookies, cakes, donuts etc.

-Soft drinks…so many empty calories and way too much sugar. The average can of coke has 45 grams of sugar! And don’t think the sugar free ones are any better… again, most of the sugar substitutes have been found to cause cancer.

-There are too many to limit to 3, so thought I would suggest what to look for instead for my last point… try to buy foods that are as close as possible to how nature intended them to be. The more processed they are, the more likely they are to be filled with chemicals and additives and the less beneficial they will be for your health and weight loss efforts. Also aim for things with whole grains when choosing breads and sides (so Quinoaand brown rice instead of white rice etc).

 

Fit Junction:Is there a quick at home workout you can share withour readers?

Sonja:The workout I suggested in Question 10 is perfect for workingout at home. But I will get a bit more specific with the types of exercises forthe strength:

Chest:

3 set 10-15 push ups

3 sets 10-15 dumbbell press

3 sets 10-15 dumbbell flyes

 

Back

3 x 10-15 seated resistance bandrows

3 x 10-15 single arm bent-overdumbbell rows

3 x 10-15 pull-ups or resistanceband pull downs

 

Legs

3 x 10-15 dumbbell squats

3 x 10-15 dumbbell lunges

3 x 10-15 dubbell sumo squats

 

Fit Junction:Whats the best workout or fitness strategy to lose those dreaded love handles?

Sonja:Unfortunately there is no way to spot reduce… there are no magic exercises for that will burn fat from any one part of our body and no magic diet to melt the fat from any one area either.

 

Our genetics determine where we lose our body fat from and ultimately we will lose body fat from all over out body. Our diet has a massive 70-80% impact on our weight loss results, but our exercise program is equally as important.

 

For me, the best strategy forgetting rid of love handles is to include interval training, strength training and a nutritionally balanced eating program that is designed around your goals. Training without the right eating program will get you fitter and/or stronger but it is very difficult to produce effective results and following a great eating program without training will (if you are lucky) just lead to a smaller un-toned version of you!

 

Fit Junction:Mind set is also really important to achieve ones fitness goals. What would you recommend to our readers, to get into that mindset

Sonja:I definitely agree with you on this one… in my book, the first chapter is all about creating a positive mind set, because until this changes, nothing else will.

 

There are a couple of strategies that I would suggest:

 

1. Make a list of 5 positive affirmations about how you would like to look or feel or what you would like to achieve, but they must be written in the present tense to be effective (i.e. Iam a size 10, not, I want to be a size 10). Then read them out aloud 10 times every morning and 10 times every night.

 

2. Become aware of yourself-talk. Sometimes we may find ourselves thinking negatively, like ‘this will never work’, ‘I hate exercise, so why bother’ or other negative and unproductive thought. Whenever you catch yourself out thinking some thing negative, turn it around. For example, if you are thinking ‘this will neverwork’, say to yourself ‘I am going to give this my best shot and really put inthe effort to make sure it works’ or something similar.

 

3. Create a vision board or book. Get photos or pictures of everything that you want or want to achieve, any thing that inspires you or makes you feel good and make sure to look at it every day. Make sure to include some pictures of how you want to look and/or feel and whenyou are working out, imagine yourself already looking and feeling this way.

 

Fit Junction:Your top 5 toning tips are?

Sonja:To be ‘toned’ is really about reducing your body fat enough so that you can see your muscles… so it really comes back to what we have already been discussing:

-Strength train to make sure you are building muscle mass  – this will make sure you have a nice ‘toned’ body J and also help to increase your fat burning ability.

-Interval train 3 times a week to help increase your fat burning.

-Eat 6 times a day; when you are training hard your body needs constant fuel, but also, eating regularly throughout the day stabilizes your blood sugar levels which means you will be less likely to avoidstoring fat.

-Eat protein at every meal, as well as carbohydrates and good fats. Your body goes through a process called ‘ thermo-genesis’ when you eat food, which is the process of converting the food you have eaten into usable energy. This process in itself uses/burns energy and protein uses up more energy than fats and carbohydrates. Proteins and good fats also keep us full for longer.

-Avoid alcohol; if you want to burn fat do that you can see your muscles, you need to avoid alcohol. Your body cannot store alcohol as it is a toxin so when alcohol is present in the body it has to beused as the major source of energy/fuel until it is used up (alcohol has 7calories per gram as compared to carbs/proteins which have 4 calories per gramand fats which have 9 calories per gram). This means when you drink alcohol,your body is unable to tap into your fat stores to use fat as energy.

 

 

Fit Junction: I just have too many cravings for junk food. What’s an effective strategy to deal with those?

Sonja:Cravings can be caused by many things, the general culpritsare:

-Skipping meals, so the solution here would be to ensure you eat every 2.5 to 3 hours (i.e. 6 meals a day)

-Unbalanced diet which means your body is craving something, so we generally reach for unhealthy food. The solution here is to look at your diet and make sure you are eating regular balanced meals, not cutting out protein, carbs or good fats.

-Not drinking enough water, sometimes we confuse thirst for hunger. If you are eating a balanced diet and eating regularly throughout the day, try drinking a glass of water first.

-Habits. Sometimes we have just created a habitfor ourselves that we now confuse as a craving. If 3 pm every day or every night after dinner you sit down to a bag of chips or a bar of chocolate, you have just gotten used to doing this. So you need to create a new habit to break this cycle.. this can take 21-30 days but it’s worth it! It might be eating a different, health food or doing an activity to get your mind off it.

-Emotional eating; sometimes we crave foods because of emotions such as stress, boredom, depression. So if you recognize that you are eating because of an emotion, you need to find a way to deal withthe emotion rather than with food.

 

Fit Junction: “I have a pretty healthy diet. But once every week Ihave a tendency to go on an eating binge. How bad is that?”

Sonja:It really depends on what you classify as ‘binge eating’.Having one day ‘off’ a week to eat what you like is actually a good strategy and one that I recommend on my program.

From a psychological perspectiveit makes us feel like we are not ‘missing out’ because we still get to eat ourfavourite foods and from a physiological perspective there are differenttheories out there to say that having one day a week where we eat more thannormal helps to give our metabolism a bit of a boost because it has to work harder to process the extra food or that it keeps our body ‘guessing’ and less like to hit a plateau.

However, the more serious side of‘binge eating’ has a deeper psychological trigger and this is best dealt with by psychologists or professionals in eating disorders.

 

Fit Junction: Any healthy snacks suggestions you can give to our readers

Sonja:I have loads of these! Here are two really quick and easy ones that I love:

-mix 125g of low fat cottage cheese with 250g of strawberry yogurt

- 3 x Ryvita crackers topped with 20g low fat cream cheese, sliced avocado and 60g smoked salmon

 

Fit Junction:And finally whats the most important fitness advice you can give to anyone looking to get healthy

Sonja:Make a choice that this is going to be a lifestyle change for you and not something that you are going to ‘go on’ for some period of time. 12 week challenges are great to get started, but make sure you know at the end of it you will continue with what you have learned.

 

Being healthy will have such a huge impact on every area of your life, but it does take a commitment, so have a clear goal/reason why you want to change your lifestyle so if some days you are feeling flat or unmotivated you can remind yourself why you are doing this. Maybe it’s to see your grand children grow up, to trek around Nepal, to go upthe stairs without getting out of breath, to avoid heart disease and age related diseases or whatever reason in important to you.

 

For me, this has always been what got me through. My goal is to live to be 106, but a healthy, active, mentally alert and physically fit 106 year old! So for me to achieve this, I know I have to take actions that align with that vision.

 

What vision do you have foryourself and what can you do on a daily basis to achieve it? Remember, every great journey starts with the first step.


 
 
   
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