There are people, who you’ve never met, but you still know that there is something special and empowering about them. People who have found their purpose and have never looked back. People who walk through the journey of life, holding their head high, giving a helping hand to those in need and always inspiring through self- example. Today the interview is with Sirena Bernal, a woman who fits in the description above. A woman who knows what she wants from life and never stops striving before she gets where she is headed! I will let Sirena do the talking…
Ines Subashka: Introduce yourself
Sirena Bernal: Well, hello 🙂 My name is Sirena, I just turned 30 (!!) and contrary to most responses, I LOVE it! I live in Boston, MA and I train, teach pilates classes and run an online nutrition program. I love my life, my friends, and my family. I eat bacon, watch Family Guy and have been told I act like I’m 15 years old. What can I say, I like to have fun with life.
IS: How long have you been lifting weights? How did everything begin?
SB: Funny question for me because I don’t actually lift a lot of weights. Don’t get me wrong, I do lift weights but it’s not the bulk of my workout routine. I know there’s a huge movement promoting women to lift weights, and not to be afraid to lift heavy, which is an incredible movement and has empowered so many women to gain more confidence in themselves, and to embrace our bodies, but to be honest with ya, I don’t exactly fit into that category.
At one point, yes, weight lifting and Olympic lifts were a staple part of my workout routine when I rowed crew in college, but since I’ve found pilates, my workouts and my training philosophy has evolved quite a bit. However, because of my sports background, my training style infuses a lot of athletic based movements and modalities.
IS: Have you been involved in some other sports before that?
SB: Yep! I was always a “jock” growing up as a kid, and still consider myself somewhat of a tomboy. I played soccer, basketball, and tennis growing up as a kid, then rowed when I was in college. I played rec league basketball for a while, and even picked up raquetball for a hot minute, but I have since stopped playing sports after an injury.
IS: How do people around you accept what you do? Do they think it isn’t a sport for women? How do you manage the negative reactions?
SB: Honestly, I’ve never had an issue with people not accepting what I do. I always felt supported when I was involved in sports, and was typically better than most of the boys, heehee, so I always felt accepted.
IS: Do you have a nutrition plan that you follow? If yes, do you meet disapproval from you friends?Or do they understand why you eat the way you do?
SB: I don’t follow a nutrition plan per se. Are there certain things that I’ve learned worked for me? Yes, but do I restrict things out of my diet? No. For the most part, I try to stick to eating gluten-free, but I do have gluten containing foods every once in a while.
I strive to buy local and organic, and to cook as much of my food as possible. I don’t count my calories, weigh my food, or freak out if I eat something I wasn’t planning on. I think most of our issues with health/weight loss come from placing negative connotations around what we eat. From my experience, I’ve found that mental/emotional/spiritual attitudes have far more of an impact on the kinds of food we eat, when we eat them, or how we eat them.
My friends and family are all very supportive, and I’ve never really felt any resistance to the way I eat. I think that is largely because I do not “preach” or “push” my beliefs on the people around me.
IS: Do you take supplements and what is your opinion about them?
SB: Nah, not really. I’ve taken supplements in the past when I first started training pretty much because I didn’t know anything and wanted to experiment. I’ve also taken supps to help with GI issues, like digestive enzymes, probiotics, and certain teas, but I don’t take anything at the moment.
My opinion? Ha, good question. I think supplements, like anything in life for that matter, do have it’s own place, but as the word suggests, they are to “supplement” your diet, not become the foundation.
From my experience, you can alleviate most symptoms with fine-tuning food, getting more sleep, reducing stress, and adding more love into your life 🙂
IS:What advice would you give to people struggling with their diets? What tips help you stay on track?
SB: I deal with this everyday and what I find works, is asking questions to get to the root of the matter. Sticking to a “diet” is very superficial, anyone can follow a plan for 6-8 weeks, but what happens afterwards? As a nutrition coach, I’m always trying to dig deeper and find out “why” my client wants to lose and why are they self- sabotoging themselves.
I wouldn’t even bother with the food initially as try to help people/clients understand themselves better, and again, yes sounds all hippie dippie, but learn to love themselves first because like I said, anyone can follow a diet, but lasting changes happen from a place of self-love.
IS: Most people think that healthy living is a burden! Did you ever have a time in your life, when you regretted that you work so hard in the gym and in the kitchen ;), instead of spending your time hanging out with friends and indulging in junk food?
SB: Nope, can’t say that I have. Mainly because I’m usually working out with my friends, or I’m cooking dinner for them at my apartment 🙂
I don’t feel like my workouts, time in the kitchen, or time taking care of myself take me away from my life because that IS my life.
IS: How did you came up with the idea to run a website and help people achieve their goals?
SB: I wanted to reach more people, I knew that I had something to say, and something that could help people live a healthier and happier life. I wanted to share my love, and my knowledge because I saw how much people were suffering, and how much people needed support and guidance. I don’t want to see people suffer, especially when they don’t have to. It would be a dis-service to others if I didn’t have a way to reach out and help.
IS: What would you tell all the women out there who are afraid of lifting weights because they do not wanna get bulky?
SB: Since I’m not the expert on lifting weights, I’d tell them to check out Girls Gone Strong 😉
IS: If you had to describe your training philosophy with just a sentence, what would it be?
SB: Instead of a description, how about a song! I’d describe my training philosophy as an “athletic mash-up fused with a pilates-flair”.
IS: How would you finish the sentence “ I workout because…”
SB: …I love myself!
P.S.If you liked the interview, please share it with your friends! I’d greatly appreciate it!
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