Ines Subashka: Thank you for agreeing to give an interview for my blog. Introduce yourself.
Vanya Visarionova: You are welcome.
My name is Vanya Visarionova. Most fitness people know me as Vissi. I’ve been an athlete since my early childhood. I used to be a swimmer, tennis player and I played basketball for 10 years.
I graduated the National Sport’s Academy in Bulgaria and the German Sport Academy in Cologne. Right now I am studying online in the Restorative Movement, which is a part of the Institute for Restorative Movement in California.
Sport has always been a part of my life. I used to work for an year in Spider Sport ( a studio for personal conditioning workouts in Bulgaria). Besides the fact that I learned how to work with clients and prepare programs, I got really enthusiastic to always search for one more opinion, to help people and treat myself and my clients with responsibility.
For the past three years, together with Yuri, my partner, husband and motivator, we created Girevoy Sport Club, where I work mainly with pregnant women and I help women recover faster after they give birth.
IS: What are the most common problems, women encounter after the pregnancy?
VV: One of the most common problems is diastasis recti.
Another problem that we work on is the so called weak pee balloon. In other words even if you sneeze, you might pee. Which is not a good feeling.
All problems could be prevented, or treated after the birth, as long as they are in normal limitations. It turns out that everything is a consequence of your body posture and movement.
People are born to move and a pregnant woman should move a lot, so her body can get used to the increasing weight.
Something that I could give as an advice and I consider it to be important is that if you want to avoid such problems, do not wear high heels!
IS: Did you work out, while you were pregnant? Could you share with us how your workouts varied through each trimester of your pregnancy?
VV: On the day I found out I was pregnant, I and my husband were doing a kettlebell workout.
The first trimester, I used to be really enthusiastic to apply everything I’ve learned and prove, that you could work out during the pregnancy. This lasted until the moment when I started having some kind of sickness and I didn’t have strength to work out. I used to do some light form of stretching and yoga.
Doctors found that I had an anterior placenta and there were some arguable opinions, i.e. opinions online were that I can keep on working out, but doctors told me to stay in bed. Well, I decided to listen to my body and I didn’t stop my physical activities.
The second trimester, I worked out actively with kettlebells. I started a yoga class for pregnant women, so I could prepare emotionally for the birth of my child. I bought an 8kg. kettlebell and I worked out, including the same movements I did before the pregnancy, but this time with a lighter weight. I had the desire to run, but because of the anterior placenta, I stayed away from running.
The third trimester, besides all the activities I mentioned, I became “the teacher” of the yoga classes for pregnant women. I kept doing it until the last two weeks before I gave birth and not because I couldn’t do it to the end, but because I just decided to take some time and rest.
IS: How did you eat during the pregnancy? Did your nutrition change in some way, after you got pregnant? How did your diet change and did you feel the influence of “the raging hormones”, that are thought to increase your appetite?
VV: Since I worked out in Spider Sport, already 8 years, I’ve been on a high fat- low carb diet. I already knew that this is the best way to eat, even for a pregnant woman, in order for her to be nourished and have a healthy baby.
My appetite didn’t increase. Every now and then I had some strange food combinations- like kiwi and chicken livers. J And every now and then, I used to eat more carbs, like oats.
IS: What was the biggest challenge for you? Were you cautious about your appearance and how much weight did you gain? What would be your advice to women, who have such fears?
VV: there was a moment, when I stopped stepping on the scale, because this made me feel bad. I don’t have a precise idea, exactly how much weight I gained. By looking at the pictures, I think it was a good amount of weight, but it is a fact that I felt good and I was pretty active during the whole pregnancy. And after all that is what was the most important thing.
My advice to women is to listen to their own bodies, to move more and to use the scale rarely. After all, if you had an active pregnancy, you will get in shape quickly.
IS: Did you have some complications during the pregnancy? Would you share them?
VV: As I mentioned earlier, I had an anterior placenta, but I decided to listen to my body. While I was pregnant, Clare Loprinzi was in Bulgaria. She is a traditional midwife, who told me that an anterior placenta is not something abnormal and I don’t have a reason to be worried about it.
I rarely visited the doctor, because it was summer and there were always a bunch of people waiting for consultations, which really annoyed me. I decided that if I feel good, then everything is normal.
IS: How much weight did you gain during the pregnancy and how long after the birth did you start working out?
VV: I guess that I gained about 15-17kg. I started working out after the 40th day. First, I started with some light exercises at home and later on I started doing kettlebell exercises. Ogy ( her son) was four months old, when I started teaching Baby yoga and show exercises to other mothers.
IS: How did you give birth to your child- in a natural way or with C-section? What is your opinion on the topic?
VV: I am absolutely for giving birth naturally. I am now studying for dula ( a woman who helps a pregnant woman before, during and after the birth) and I completely believe in the strength of a woman’s nature.
I am a big believer that every woman can give birth naturally, as long as she has the right circumstances for it- a calm and peaceful environment, a secure team, that she can trust and a lot of understanding from her loved once.
IS: What is your opinion about breast feeding? Did you breast feed your kid and how do you think that breast feeding influenced the weight loss process?
VV: I breast fed Ogy, till he was 2 years and 7 months old- I think that this is the answer. If a woman has the ability and the desire, she must breast feed! That’s it! There isn’t another opinion!
I can’t tell, if breast feeding helped me lose weight. I’d say no, because I used to have a huge appetite. But I know women, who lose weight when they breast feed, and besides that stats also prove it. This means that there is a pretty good chance to lose weight, if you breast feed.
IS: How does your kid eat? Do you insist on him eating healthy or do you allow him junk foods?
VV: Ogy eats the same way we eat. During the first year, we were really strict with his nutrition and he didn’t eat any junk. But now that he is older, he loves eating sweets. We try to feed him with real, nutritious food, and then if he wants something sweet, we allow him to have it.
Actually, he doesn’t even ask for it- his grandparents feed him with sweets. In our opinion, our own personal example and the knowledge are the most important thing. Then he has the choice to pick what he wants.
IS: How did you manage to get out of the world of mothers who feel sorry for themselves? Those that always blame their kids and their pregnancy, for the fact that they are out of shape and the fact that they lead an unhealthy lifestyle. What was your motivation?
VV: You are either a whiner or you aren’t! There are women, who always find excuses. But at the end of the day it is all about their own life. I am just not this kind of person.
I love working out, I love feeling my body strong and healthy, breath deep and be active.
Everything is a matter of priorities. If being in shape is important to you, you will always find time to work out.
Motivation comes from results!
IS: Would you share some ideas for busy mothers? How do you manage to find time for your family, for healthy eating and working out?
VV: Get your priorities straight! Be consistent and really patient! The biggest motivator are your children- they do not what we tell them to do, but what we are actually doing. Ogy sees our own example on a daily basis, and he shows a self initiative to go grab the dumbbells, do pull ups and climb.
I manage to do everything, with the help of my husband. He helps me so much, because healthy eating and working out are as important for him, as they are for me. Tell you the truth he is the main chef in our family. I am the one preparing the desserts. Besides that my mother also helps us a lot, because we spend between 10-12 hours in the gym.
IS: How did your life change, now, that you are a mother but you are still doing your best to be fit and eat healthy?
VV: My life is the same. The difference is that now I can’t have a strict regimen, because Ogy is in first place. If today is a day for working out, but Ogy is sick, I will stay with him. If I want to run, but Ogy wants to read a book, I will cut my running time and then read with him. What matters is to be flexible. And when it comes to doing your best, it is once again a matter of the person you are. You either do it or you don’t. Maybe I am a little more patient and hard working than most. But once again, I will say that it is a matter of priorities.
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