We live in a world where people would rather stay in one place and whine, instead of being brave and follow their dreams! Fortunately, there are people among us, who not only dare to go beyond limitations, and achieve even their “wildest” dreams, but with their personal example manage to inspire hundreds of people, to take the risk themselves and rise beyond mediocrity! And today I have the pleasure to meet you with a person like that- Maya Puliyska! Maya is the living proof that with hard work, will, desire and a clear vision for what you want out of life, everything becomes possible! Maya is the living proof, that women who lift weights, are beautiful!
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Ines Subashka: Tell us a little more about yourself!
Maya Puliyska: My name is Maya Puliyska. I am 29 years old, from Sofia. I graduated for a boxing coach in NSA ( National Sports Academy). Nowadays I work in a fitness center. I live in Sofia and I have a wonderful family and a boyfriend, who is a bodybuilder and he is really supportive. I compete in the category “Body fitness”, I have two third places in the category “Fitness bikini”. I wandered between the two categories, but I decided that “Body fitness” is what suits my personality the most.
IS: How did you get involved in fitness? Have you competed in some other sport before that?
MP: I was 15-16 years old, when a friend “dragged” me to the gym and said: “ That’s it! From now on you will start training seriously!” I liked it, I got motivated and for the next three years, I could say that I improved a lot- I started following a nutrition plan, Sunday was the only “rest day”, I got to meet a lot of people, and my community changed in a way, that I couldn’t quit what I started. It just became a necessity!
When I was younger I did Taekwondo, I used my father as a sack(lol), and that probably has to do something with the fact I fell in love with fitness so fast! After some time doing Taekwondo, it somehow became a little bit annoying, so I headed to the boxing ring. I stayed there for 6-7 years. I am a republical champion here in Bulgaria, I’ve been to a couple championships abroad, but unfortunately it wasn’t an Olympic sport, so there wasn’t a lot of money in the sport. I graduated, I started working and I did not have a lot of time to work out. I had a surgery on my nose and this also contributed to me quitting my competitive, boxing career. But I immediately went back to the gym, still really dedicated to the sport!
IS: Do you follow a nutrition plan? What is it?
MP: Sure, this is part of my preparation. Right now I am trying to build more muscle mass. Meat is a big part of my daily menu, together with veggies, oats and nuts. I am doing the so called carb rotation-different amounts of carbs, on the different days. I have days without carbs!
IS: Have you ever had problems with disordered eating?
MP: I’ve never had disordered eating habits, beside the fact that sweet things really tempt me!
IS: In your opinion, why so many women have problems with eating disorders? What would be your advice to them? How could they get out of the lonely world of an eating disorder?
MP: They desperately want to look good, to feel good in their skin, but they haven’t found the right approach and healthy method, to reach their goals! They get into an enchanted circle, where they start starving, and then they develop some kind of disease. My advice to them would be to become more informed. To have a real evaluation of how things are done! To find a trainer, who will have the right approach and who will know how to handle the situation! You can’t achieve anything good, if you starve yourself! And the most important thing is work out!
IS: How do people around you accept your lifestyle, the way you eat? Do they approve it or are they judgmental?
MP: There are people who don’t understand me, especially when I am preparing for a competition. They say: “ Well,why would you do that? Instead of go out, have fun with friends, you go to the gym and then straight home or to work, and that’s it! What are these insane diets, what is that boring life? And besides that you don’t get anything from it?!?!?” I am used to this type of questions. I am not trying to explain them, or convince them, because they just don’t get it! They just have to accept it!
IS: Have you ever been afraid of lifting weights, because you might get bulky or too muscular? What would you tell women who are afraid of big weights?
MP: I’ve never been afraid! Right now I lift heavy weights, and I don’t look bulky. Everything comes up to nutrition- I had some insecurities when I began, but Galin Kolarov ( he is preparing me for the competitions), explained me everything and now I am completely fine.
Work out with weights- this way you will get a nice, well shaped body and your metabolism will be faster. When you don’t understand something, just ask somebody that is knowledgeable and have more will!
IS: How would you describe your training philosophy?
MP: In first place, you should have defined, clear goals! Work out and eat according to them. When you go to the gym, work out with a weight that allows you to perform the movements with proper technique. Don’t go straight to the heaviest dumbbells or bumpers, that you can’t even move. I used to make the same mistake! As my coach Galin says: “Between lifting weights and building muscles there is a big difference”. Everything that you do with a lot of will and love, gives results!
IS: How did your life change, after you started lifting weights and eating healthy?
MP: Preparing my food takes more time, and when it comes up to workouts I don’t have any problem. I’ve been training for 13 years. It sums up to 8 competitive years, so I’ve build habits- going to bed earlier, so I can recover; eating according to a schedule… Sometimes it is a bit challenging to carry my Tupperware everywhere I go. But it is just part of my life. There isn’t another sport like this. I am in love with it and I am completely dedicated!
IS: Have you ever had a moment in your life, when you wanted to be like everybody else- staying up late, partying all night and eating whatever is in sight, instead of working so hard in the kitchen and in the gym?
MP: I haven’t had such a necessity. Sometimes I do it after a competition, but for a really short time. At times, I even don’t go out with my friends too often, which bothers me, but this is it. I don’t like this lifestyle ( the party kind of lifestyle) and I feel bad living like this. As I said my boyfriend is a bodybuilder as well- Nikolay Kostadinov, and we have common goals. We look in the same direction and I have never felt neglected or sad. We eat the same things, we work out and our day is pretty much alike. We have the same necessities! And this helps me a lot!
IS: How would you finish the sentence “ I work out, because…”?
MP:… because I have a necessity, it is part of my life… or my whole life!
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