Cristina Puscas, Fitness Trainer, Body by Cris

Cristina Puscas is a nutritional health coach and personal trainer, empowering women who are looking to break down dieting habits to become stronger and more powerful in fitness and in life. 

Troy: Good morning, everyone hope everyone is having a wonderful day and had a safe evening with the storms and kind of craziness that we had here in Austin last night. think in the 17, 18 years that I've been in Austin, this is definitely the first time that a trend has actually kinda hit down right in the area here. We've had some little bit north of Georgetown in the past, but hope everyone is doing well and staying safe and, can get things back to normal as soon as possible. today I am fortunate to be joined by Christina who is a finished trainer, here in Austin and does a lot of stuff, like a lot of trainers these days, a lot of stuff remotely. So helping people, here locally in Austin, but also in other parts of the country, with, their fitness and their health, which is important, anytime. So I really appreciate you taking the time to jump on the podcast with me today.

Cristina: Thank you so much for having me here. I'm really excited to talk about everything and hopefully I get to meet some of your awesome listeners too.

Troy: So yeah, no, I appreciate it. I, you know, set it a little tentatively because I wanted to make sure to say right who Scott, we talked just briefly about it. why don't you give us a little bit of your background and history kind of your origin story as you will.

Cristina: Yeah. So in terms of, I mean, I know I get a lot of people who ask about my last name and it's hard for people to get it correctly. Sometimes I am a first-generation Romanian American, so my family is from Romania. So I have that last name. It's a little unique, Christina poo SKUs. And, you know, I think that that sometimes makes me stand out, but I was born in here in America and in Texas, Waco to be specifically, and I, you know, didn't really grow up necessarily doing or knowing anything about my health or fitness. Cause as a lot of people that are from a different cultural background and have a different, you know, different food that they eat and different, just like the cultural norms are just different, you know, growing up and I didn't have a backbone of, you know, nutritional knowledge or any of that.

So I got into that way later in life. and I just became really kind of obsessed with it, like in a good, healthy way. Like I just really loved the way I was feeling it was giving me more energy. I actually went through my own personal journey of weight loss my entire life. I yo-yo dieted a lot. And that means, you know, I was like hopping on the latest trend. I was restricting myself, hardcore getting really unhappy, had a bad relationship with food. And when I got into this and started actually learning the nutrition and like the fitness, cause I'm a personal trainer. but I'm also a nutrition coach because of my background and the experiences that I had in the past. So for me, it's all about trying to learn how to break out of all of those restrictions and have a really good, healthy relationship with food.

so that's kind of what led me later on in my life to, cause, and when I say later on in life, I mean I was already in my twenties, I was like 25, 26 when I first really started to understand nutrition and personal training and trying to get a sense of like strength training. I wasn't in sports. I wasn't a very athletic person growing up. You hear a lot of these stories of, you know, personal trainers who were in sports their whole life and they just loved fitness. They were around it their whole life. And after high school, you know, maybe they got an exercise science degree or they just hop straight into training. And that was not my story at all. I was very much a beginner, just like all of my clients. And, I, when I started learning about all this stuff, it was while I was having, I had a, I was in corporate.

I was working in tech at the time and I eventually, I just said like, I need to do more. I need to do more because this was making me like I was spending so much of my time and energy invested in my own personal health journey that I wanted to share that with other people, because I would see my friends struggle and I would hear comments of like how they're going to join weight Watchers and do all these diets. And I was just like, we need to stop that entire trend of dieting. And that's kind of why I label myself an anti diet, weight loss coach, because I want to help people lose weight, but in a really sustainable and healthy way. And it all revolves around your habits and your love for yourself and as well as like just background knowledge on nutrition. So I believe it's all mindsets. I think that your mindset can get you so far if you work on that. And that's kind of what I teach my clients and that's my whole motto in life is basically changing your mind or changing your body starts with changing your mind. And that's what I live by everyday. So

Troy: Very cool. I know you mentioned early on that like different cultures don't prioritize it. I think there's plenty of people that have in American culture one way or the other that don't necessarily prioritize their health either. And in some cases, almost worse because we're so fortunate to have so many different food options, fast food options, and a lot of different things that are not as, as, as much the norm as cooking as making home cooked meals are in some, in some other cultures, as well too. And so like a lot of things, once you start to get in it as someone who also really enjoys fitness, but did kind of probably come to it more through I've enjoyed playing sports ever since I was little as I can remember, you know, getting a basket, get a little ball set as a two year old.

Right. Kind of thing. And so when you're in it, it does feel like, like, oh, this is something that everyone should be in, but for a lot of people, if you never get that base knowledge that, you know, the minimal food pyramid stuff you get in school, isn't really enough to help, to really have a lasting impact on someone's fitness and health and nutrition, over the course of their life. And so, getting into it, whether it's, again, later in life, there's probably a lot of people that may watch this, that would be like in your twenties is not later in life, but it's not, not necessarily as a kid, but getting to it and again, and like you mentioned making it lifetime habits because unfortunately, especially in the diet world, but in a lot of different things, right Like it's, it's, it's easier to think, oh, I want to do something and do it hard for a short amount of time a week, 30 days, sometimes even a year, and then not to really make it something that you can stick with, which is why unfortunately diets tend to lead to that Yo-yo effect of gaining back all, if not more of the weight, that you lost, when you were

Cristina: Yeah. And a couple of things to mention on that. So in terms of the, you know, the short-term effects, the problem that we tend to have is that we believe that being healthy means something very specific and a lot of people, when they think about being healthy, I mean the first, what are the foods you think of probably grilled chicken, broccoli, oatmeal. I mean, every, every type of group will have a different outlook on what health means. Some people will say being vegan is really good for your health, and that's really important. Other people are going to say paleo, other people are going to say whatever. There's so many kinds that at the end of the day, if we only listen to what is healthy, one, that's overwhelming for a lot of people, especially if you come from a background that can not afford necessarily the most organic, healthy things, your background, and, you know, your location, your socioeconomic status does matter and does play into it too.

So I think, we always think like you can't go out to eat at a restaurant or you can't have fast food because that's not going to help me lose weight or whatever. Now I know that there's a difference between being healthy and just managing, you know, nutrient dense foods. I think there needs to be a little bit of a balance. And, I just did a, one of my, because I also have a podcast myself, the anti diet lifestyle. And the last episode I did was all about the 80 20 rule and how there's this belief in our society that we have to be really healthy for five days out of the week. And then it's okay on the weekends to go out, get drunk, do whatever, have a lot of fun. And unfortunately our society, our societal norms are all around food and alcohol.

I mean, if you want to go out with friends, you have to be eating something that's probably really, you know, heavy or drinking at a bar or something like that. Those are usually the norms these days. And if you want to get healthy or lose weight, because you're not happy with your body, you feel like you can't do that. And you almost feel restricted in that sense. I, oh, I I'm going to lose all my friends. And I went through that phase because, and I think with my clients, I feel very connected to them because I can relate a hundred percent. My friends at that time, they all wanted to go out and I was like, well, what do I do Because if I go out, I'm going to feel peer pressured or I'm going to have these talks like, oh, you're trying to be healthy.

Come on just one, you know, and that's not a good environment to be around mentally either, but how can we navigate those circumstances Because I think there's a big difference between, and that's what makes it longterm is not necessarily going through this phase of like, I'm going to be really healthy and I'm going to do all these things, but how do we, how do we integrate all of that together How do we allow ourselves to have a glass of wine at dinner and not feel like we're doing something horrible for ourselves And a lot of women that I work with feel really guilty. They'll do that 80, 20. And then on the weekend, they're able to go out and drink a little bit. And then they're like, everything starts over on Monday, you know And then they feel like they just failed. And when people feel like they fail, that's when they usually give up or that's when they just think it's not for them.

And unfortunately that's just the cycle that we always go through. And that's what I'm really trying hard to break because you are able to eat out if you really need to, like, I understand being realistic, right There are people with busy lives. I mean, there are people who have multiple children running around, they're out at work for like 10 hours a day, commuting, all the stresses of normal life are still going to be there. And when you try to add the idea of maybe losing 30 pounds, because you're not in a healthy weight, that can be super stressful for someone. So I really want to change the mindset that people have around that and make sure that they feel comfortable. Like, Hey, I know what my macros look like. And I understand what that actually means because sometimes healthy food, if you're still eating a lot of it does not necessarily equate to a, you know, weight loss, a calorie deficit that you are looking for.

And then that's when people get really frustrated. So, you know, there's so many factors that play into it. And so many things that our society believes. I mean, you know, you go on social media, you see a million things about like what you should be doing, what you should be eating fat burning foods and diets that you should be on. And it gets to the point where if you listen to all of that, you, you don't know what to do anymore. And I think that's when some people go to a professional because they don't, they don't have it in them to even do any more research. They're like, I don't know, one person says one thing, the other person says something else. I don't know what to believe. So I'm very realistic in the sense that like, I don't, I don't agree or believe that you need to be meal prepping every Sunday for the whole week and doing like, you know, nobody wants like five day old chicken breasts. I don't know. I just, I can't do it. And so I understand that not everyone's going to meal prep one day a week for the whole week and be perfect or have salads at every meal, or, you know, never have a drink of alcohol or never go out to a restaurant. You know, you've got to blend all of that stuff in. So that's kind of what

Troy: I think for a lot of people too, though. The other thing is understanding again, if, to really make this sustainable, that it's over a long period of time. And so I think too many people, are you talking about someone that wants to lose 30 pounds feel like, oh, I want to lose it in the next month. Right. And it's like, okay, well, if that's what you really want to do, let's, let's lose it over the next year. So that way you can maintain those habits for longer than the next year. Right. Whereas to really accomplish that goal in a really short period of time probably means you're taking shortcuts that you're not going to want to take or be able to take long-term and is going to have you going right back to where you were at, previously as well. The other, the other thing with the mindset for they say, there's so many debates about this being best in this mean best in reality, the diet or the lifestyle that you can adhere to is really what's best and going out and having fun with friends is every bit as important to your mental health as your physical health.

And so like, yeah, you know, again, it's great to be in as good, a physical shape as you can be in, but if you're in a poor mental, state, because you're not ever able to go socialize with friends because they're not, you know, only eating chicken breasts and rice and broccoli, or, you know, they want to have, you know, have a drink or go to a barbecue. Like that's not a life really worth living for most people either. So it's really about understanding that balance and what, how, how you want to live holistically versus how you want to live on a single day basis.

Cristina: And thinking about the people that are married. I mean, you can't, you can probably pick and choose your friends, but you can't say, Hey husband, get out of the house for six months while I try to lose weight. If your husband's not on board, or you have children who want to have a pizza night, is that, does that mean that you're going to just stare at them having pizza And you're not going to enjoy that because I'm over here with my broccoli and rice and chicken and doing all of that. Like it's, it's not reasonable. It's not. And there's a lot of people on social media that likes to scare the public, you know, claiming that if you read an ingredient list and you see, you know, certain ingredients on there that they're going to harm your health for life, and you're going to be ruined as a person, if you eat certain things and by evoking that fear in you, I don't think that that's the best way to coach someone and say, you need to eliminate I'm more about how can we add things How can we add if you're going to have, let's say you really want chocolates. Like, that's like your sweet, like you have a sweet tooth. I'm a big sweet tooth person. And I'm also a person that doesn't like to cook, elaborate meals. I would much rather have like pre cooked veggies and pop it in the microwave and steam it, you know, real fast than me having to make an elaborate meal because time, right time is precious. And sometimes we don't have the ability to have all of that time to make elaborate meals. But if you're craving something sweet, instead of preventing yourself from having that, you know, piece of candy or whatever, why don't we add that candy in with a couple other things that are going to be more filling for you, adding a little bit of protein, maybe making a quick dessert with like protein powder and a blender and making like a yogurt, something like that, or mixing in like melted chocolate into your Greek yogurt.

That's going to give you that sweet tooth with protein and like good fat things like that, that you need to have in your, in your life. So that's kind of the idea of how you can incorporate like that sweet tooth that you have, but also adding in other things that are going to keep you full, because if you have that quick chocolate and then 10 minutes later, like, okay, well that wasn't satisfying. You forgot all about it. You're going to want another one and another one and another one. And so how can you just keep yourself from getting that, hit, like it's like a dopamine hit every single time that you want to have it, by incorporating some other things that are gonna make you more, more full, more satisfied until the next meal that you have. So I think that that's really important for people to understand.

So in my coaching, what I do a lot of it is like I do personal training. I have, my garage here in Austin. I turned that during COVID into a personal training studio. So I had all of my clients come here. and then, but I also work with clients online and online. I think that the best, the reason why I love working with online clients is that there is such a focus on your habits and your nutrition. the clients that I get in here are very much more focused on fitness, right I'm trying to teach them they're complete beginners and stranger, anything I'm trying to teach them how to use their basic form, modify if there's any pain or anything like that. But the client's online. That's where it's at because those clients have all of their focus on learning the nutrition and I'm with them every single day, like with videos and like, they get to see how to do this in their home, in their own life. They basically build their own plan at the end of the day. Like, you know, I, I, I think that it's kind of funny when there, a lot of people will ask me if I do meal plans and personal trainers are not like that's not in our scope. The only person who can really give a meal plan or should is a registered dietician. And I don't think a lot of people know that. And I would say a registered dietician is all about helping you if you have certain diseases and like specific, but their goal. I mean, maybe it is weight loss, depending on who we're talking about, but they have a very specific goal. My goal is related to habits and how to incorporate healthy habits in your life. So I think that that's like the very big difference there. so my clients, I give them assistance with the foods that they're eating. I analyze what they're eating on a daily basis, but they get to tell me what they like to eat. And I show them how to use that and blend it in and make better choices. So I hope that makes sense.

Troy: Well, and again, right Like it's not, it really is about what works out for them, right Some, some person might have sweet tooth. other person, you know, again wants to be able to go out with their friends. At least once we can have drinks, there's a lot of different options and a lot of them can work. There's a guy that I follow in line who did a big Mac challenge read at a big neck every day for a month and lost weight, right Like, cause it really does come down to calories and activity. And so you can, you really can kind of do whatever you want now again, not that a big Mac is as healthy nutrient wise as say chicken breasts, but, but you can make a lot of different options work if you understand the, the main, the main, points of it, which again, really kind of breaks down to calories in your, in calorie intake versus calories expended. And so, it was kind of talking about the going and snacking. I know that for me, one of the things that, always helps is not, not so much always meal prep, like, you know, again, planning out for a week, but like, Hey, do I have an idea of what I want to eat And then going ahead and making that to eat before you feel really hungry, because by the time you feel really hungry, now you want to go for whatever's quickest. And usually what's quickest and easiest is not what's healthiest. And so that's where I think a lot of people and you tend to overeat it those those times too, if you're waiting until you're super hungry, then you send it into any way more than if you're like, Hey, I'm not starting yet. But if we, if I start making dinner, now I'll eat a more reasonable portion. It'll probably, I can, I can spend the time to make it healthier and end up being better off than waiting until I'm starving and deciding that, okay, now I just need to go have fast food or this bag of chips sounds amazing right now versus something that's a little bit healthier and better for you.

Cristina: Yeah. And so my biggest recommendation to all my clients is instead of meal prepping once a week or twice a week, I'd rather you plan like literally get like a piece of paper out Monday to Friday or whatever it is, and write out all the meals that you think that you can make. or if there's something that you're craving that week and then maybe have a couple days throughout the week where you, you make your food, but you keep it all separate that way you can mix and match throughout the week. So maybe it means like grabbing a P you know, a bunch of chicken and maybe doing half of them with like a lemon pepper seasoning, half of them with like a Greek seasoning. So that way you can have two different types of chickens. And then you can have, you know, pick your carbs that you want to use.

Maybe it's rice, sweet potatoes, baked potato, whatever it is and have those options, but you don't have to lump them all together and make like one pretty bowl. And then you just microwave that, unless that works for you. And that's easy for you, but I've always seen the most success with people that have either the bowl method or the sandwich method. These are like the two methods I like to use because a bowl could be like a salad or like a AAA style. So you've got the Chipola bowl. You can pick and choose which carbs in which fats you want to incorporate into that meal. Maybe tomorrow you want to change it up. Maybe instead of like a Southwest flare, you want to do a Greek flare and you've got tomatoes and all of them pheta, and you can make a different type of bowl still using the same stuff.

And it, the prep time is like less than 15 minutes, usually because you've already made all this stuff ahead of time, but now you're putting it together and you get a different flavor profile every single time. So it keeps variety and it keeps it really easy. Plus if you've got kids, I always say like having a taco night, having a burger nights, these are really great options because you can make those health, like those can be healthy. I mean, you can add a bunch of veggies to it. You can make it nutrient dense and you don't necessarily have to eat the same stuff as them. Like if they all want, beef burgers. And you're like, well, I'll probably go with the Turkey burger. Cause it's a little lighter fat because I want to incorporate avocados and other things into my burger and they want to do, I don't know she's in bacon, you know, whatever it is, everyone can have a preference and make their decision without you feeling like, Ugh, I'm eating, you know, pre-made chicken and broccoli while they're eating pizza.

And so those are really small tactics that you can incorporate in your life at home. And that also works out. Like if you guys go out, the beauty now is that most, chain restaurants have their nutrition facts on their websites. So you can do a quick search. One of my favorite restaurants is the cheesecake factory actually. they have a huge Skinnylicious menu. That's what it's called. And everything is under 600 calories. And you never feel like you're stuck eating diet food, which is the whole point of getting away from that mindset. You don't want to feel like you're always eating chicken and broccoli. You want to feel like you're having something really tasty and that you're enjoying yourself and you're not on a diet because that's, again, that's not going to last forever and that's not a easy way to live either.

And I always say that for all of my clients who are trying to lose weight, your goal is to try to eat as much as you can and still see progress. So usually people like to cut out and go down to 1200 calorie diets. I know a lot of women do that. and they start upping their CA cardio a lot and they feel one they're starting to overwork themselves. If they're going from like the couch to literally running every single day or doing like an orange theory class. so that, that can be a lot for the body. And so you're up in your cardio a lot. You're lowering your calories a lot. And then you get frustrated because in a week you're like miserable. You're just miserable. You start getting really hungry, but then you also feel like you can't eat. So trying to eat as much as you physically can. At the beginning, right now, in my Instagram, I'm doing a personal fat loss challenge to show people the types of foods that I'm eating throughout the day. So every day I record and I show how I'm actually planning my meals and what those look like. So they can get some better ideas, but also showing them that you can have, you know, you can eat out, you can have whatever you want, you just have to make it work. So,

Troy: Also too, like when you go through those restrictions, you also tend to, I mean, you don't feel as good physically or mentally, but you also feel just more tired, right Because like your body, something doesn't have the calories to do what it was doing previously. Plus you've added in all this extra cardio and stuff. And so then just your day tends to drag more because you're hungry hangry or whatever as well. And

Cristina: Just

Troy: Trying to get stuff done harder to concentrate on things, how to remember stuff. And it's just not, again, it's not a sustainable way to live. And so that's why it doesn't usually last for very long at all.

Cristina: Yeah. And back at the beginning, I told you, I, when I first started getting into this, I had a full-time corporate job. I was in an office. I wasn't able to make my food at home and do all the luxuries that I have now because I'm, my schedule is more flexible. but back then I did do the juice cleanses. When I first started, I was, I basically, I lost about 55, 60 pounds. And throughout that entire journey, I learned so much about nutrition and myself and what I like to eat. And when I first started, I did the juice cleanse. I also back in the day when I was younger, not saying that I should, no child should be doing diets to begin with. I was a child doing weight Watchers and I've done. what else did I do I think I tried zone.

I've done like things like the grapefruit diet. I've done so many random little things. And obviously none of them were good. Like they always made me feel crappy. And when I started understanding my macros and started implementing different, you know, being able to have all these snacks, that was when I was also my busiest. I was working, you know, eight hours at my office at the job. And then I started working at orange theory and that's kinda how I got started in fitness. And I, I was a client or a member of orange theory for a while before that. And I was really, I was definitely chasing the high of cardio, like I think high intensity, we all kind of like to jump on that first. but that's how I got introduced to strength training. Cause they have like that little portion of 30 minutes there and from that, that's when I was like, wow, I need to learn how to do this more. Okay. Treadmill. Like I can do sprints and whatever. I've done a couple of half marathons now, but it's like, I, I think a lot of people think that that's what you have to do is just run a lot. And I D I did all the typical things. You would think that like most normal people that are kind of, not don't have a background in sports that don't have the background of their family being healthy and stuff. That's what they do. They do a juice cleanse. They start running a lot. And when I started learning the straight training portion of orange theory, I started playing around with that outside the gym. I was like, let me take this out and do other things. And that's how I started getting really comfortable with straight training and I started noticing my body was changing a whole lot more, and I was feeling more confident. You eat everything, just changes about your body when you go into strength training. And, I don't necessarily think everybody it's everyone's cup of tea at the beginning, especially if you're a beginner, it can be really frustrating to just learn basics like lunges and squats. And, and that's usually what I teach clients with is how to break down all of those, because they're coming to me with no knowledge. And I think a lot of women are intimidated by the gym. They're intimidated by the guys that are there. Maybe the girls that are, they're also looking a certain way and they feel silly because they don't know what they're doing, or they don't want men who are going to say something or have, you know, any, like they want to help them and I think that that's where I've found this little niche of women and I want to support them and make sure that every woman starts to love the gym. They need to love the gym because it's a really good place for mental health, for physical, for everything. And, I think all exercise is important, but I think that there's something really special about lifting weights and especially for a woman, it does change the confidence that you have because you start to feel strong. You start to like, feel the muscles that you didn't even know existed. And I think that that's a really fun, exciting journey for my clients to go on. And that's why I really still have like the, the gym in here and, the personal training, because I would love to see them transform like that first month they're like super frustrated.

They feel like they are just like, I can't do anything right. Or everything just hurts. And you know, your body's like super sore when you first do exercise after awhile. But after, you know, the second month, third month, they're just like, wow, I'm starting to get it. I'm starting to understand it. And I don't have to like break down every exercise. And then they're like, Ooh, now we can lift more. And like, they just, they get more happy. Like when they start to pick up the 15, 20 pounds on bells versus like the eight, 10, it's a different perspective. And I don't know, I see it in their eyes like that. They get really excited about it. So, I think that there's so much empowerment that, that comes with fitness and exercise that a lot of people are missing out on. So, and I missed out on that for a long time. So yeah.

Troy: It's like most things in life that you have to go through a period of struggle if you want to have success. Right. There's just no way around it. Like even every, you know, every, if you, if someone goes to the gym, everyone you see there that looks like they're in, great shape and you think you can never get there at some point, they struggled now again, right. For someone I've always had trouble, I've been fortunate that I'm tend to be lean, but have trouble building muscle. So, but for me, growing up, playing sports, like, yeah, I've always been fortunate that I've been relatively lean. I can jump and do some of those things. And so for me, I'm fortunate in fitness that some of those struggles were when I was a kid versus being a 20 year old. But even there's plenty of people who look amazing at 20 and 30, who struggled when they were in their twenties or thirties.

And it just, they went, you know, it kept going through those struggles to get to the place where it felt more comfortable and they have the confidence and stuff too. One of the other things I always talk about is the fact that at big gyms, especially that men and women almost need to trade spots because the women need to get off the cardio because that's where they tend to want to congregate and go over to the weight side of things. And the guys need to stop always doing bench and squats, every single workout. And I actually go like stretch a little bit and get a little bit of cardio in. And those kinds of things like you tend to, you tend to get complacent or happy, just staying in your little bubble. And by doing more variety, you're actually going to see way more benefits to

Cristina: Yeah. And the gym specifically. I mean, if we're talking, especially the trend of now all, I think sometimes if you're someone who is always used to being a little more overweight and you're not confident in your own body and you step into a gym, it's no matter who you are. If you're in a new gym, you probably feel overwhelmed because you don't know where any of the equipment is. Once you get familiar with everything, you start to know, okay, I'm going to hang out here. Like, you know, we're certain, certain equipment, certain rooms are, but if you're a beginner walking in there and you see all these fit people, and this happens a lot. I mean, I work out at Gold's gym where everyone's like in short shorts and crop tops and sports for girls. And you're just like, oh, I'm in like a baggy t-shirt.

And I hate my body and I'm looking at that, but I'm this. And I don't know, I'm never going to get there. And that's like your mindset going in. And then you don't work out to the best of your ability because you feel uncomfortable with the weights or you don't, there's no room for you. You feel like everyone's staring at you. And there's just, so I hear that from my clients all the time that they're like, I was like, well, why don't you go to a gym or take classes or something And they're like, every time I go in there, I feel intimidated and I don't want to stand around and look like confused and, you know, whatever. So everyone feels so insecure when they go to a gym for the first time. And you're right. Like if we could somehow trade play, or maybe not even, well, yes.

Trade places. Cause guys probably do need to do a little bit more, you know, functional fitness rather than just standard bodybuilding. But if we were able to incorporate like a, a set, a section of that, where women can get in there and feel more comfortable and grab weights and stuff like that, I feel like sometimes it's limited to only, you know, all the guys are surrounding the weight room and there's no more benches left. And then you're just going to stand in a corner. Like, it's, it just doesn't make sense these days. And so I'm all about, a private studio or, you know, creating like women only gyms where people can feel really safe and secure and have that place to like experiment and practice and, you know, get really comfortable with things. Cause it's not easy to create your own gym at home.

I mean, you saw that during COVID people were trying to buy equipment and everything was sold out. And then when you buy it, you're like, well, I live in a one bedroom apartment. What am I going to do and so there's so many, so many hurdles, and then we even talk about personal training and how personal trainings kind of on the expensive side. And if you want personalized one-on-one attention, that's really hard to get on a normal, you know, ink like normal income, especially in Austin with the prices here. It's crazy. So it just becomes like this, this block that people have, they don't know how to, like, they know they need to get healthy, but they can't find a way to do it the right way. So then they always go to the easiest option, which is always maybe keto or something where they're restricting themselves. And I, okay. I'll just do that because I can do that for free versus me going out and like learning how to lift weights and learning stuff from a nutritionist or whatever. So unfortunately that's kind of the scope that we're in right now. And so I'm hoping that that changes in the next few years or something. Cause I do want to make it more accessible to people. I think it's important that all women have that opportunity. So

Troy: I mean, I feel like there's a component of it that will kind of always be that way. Like, like a lot of things in life. Like it's, you know, I mean, fitness is more fitness and health are more a part of our everyday life. Then I feel like they've ever been, we're fortunate that that can even be the case. but at the same point in time, it's, you know, in some regards there isn't a lot that's changed with the industry over the last 30 years of like, you know, again Jim Jim's and a lot of just a lot of different things where there is a cycle that people kind of get into it, but it, unless you really commit to it, then you kind of jump out and back in. And some of those things probably won't really change too, but the fact that there's so many more resources to try to understand things better, unfortunately there's more resources of bad information as well too, but there's, options to, again, work workout from home even more, than there used to be, do things like Peloton or a lot of different things where you can get, semi customized information instead of having it, have it be, get no information or hire the full, personal trainer, which can be super expensive that way.

Cristina: Yeah. Yeah. And there are different ways to do it. I think though that a lot of those ways are cardio based and when they're not cardio based, they're very light. Like the heavy lifting is where you see the most benefit because you're building muscle and I don't see that happening a lot with, at home workouts. so that's one thing I'm trying to shift hopefully in the next few years with my clients and expanding and trying different things out to really make sure that we are still incorporating the heavy lifting, and not from like a bodybuilder standpoint, but just, being able to grow muscle as we age is way more important than ever. And the more acknowledged or the more knowledgeable we become in that and how, how we can change our body just based on how we're eating, like the increasing our protein intake rather than cutting out the carbs.

Those, that little shift changes so much. And so I I'm, I I'm loving what I'm seeing right now that we are in a generation where fitness and health, like if you go on Tik TOK, I mean, there's a million fitness influencers and all kinds of things out there. Unfortunately, by seeing that there's going to be a lot of misinformation too, but at least it gives us an opportunity to get it out in people's minds and like people see it more than they ever did before. so yeah, that's, I'm really excited about that and I love this industry. I'm so happy that I went into it because obviously I'm very passionate about it. And I do want to see, I want to see women succeed as much as possible, because I was there once myself and I was in their shoes. So I'm not detached from reality and under and thinking that you are, you're going to be like this perfect little robot of a person who's going to be in the gym five days a week and eating the perfect meals every day. But I do believe in being realistic and incorporating healthy habits and making it comfortable for people and accessible so that they are able to do it, you know, forever and not feel like it's a burden or a chore. So

Troy: You mentioned, so you, when you were working in corporate job, you started training at orange theory and that's where you first started off you're as a personal trainer as well to kind of take us through the process of kind of changing careers, in that regard how, you know, again, cause it's like, it sounds easy, quit my job and become a personal trainer, but that there's a lot more to it than that to really be able to make it a career. So what was, how was that for you

Cristina: I think number one is the fear that we all go through. Right Like I, I debated it for maybe two years before I really just took a dive into it and did it. But, I, so I was working my full-time job. I was doing, I was in tech, I was in sales and I, after work, I went, so I guess how it started was while I was at work, I was working out at orange theory and I was like, okay, cool. I really like this. This is like, I love the community aspect. I loved everything about it. And then I asked them if they had room for, I mean, I didn't necessarily need the money. It was more just like, I love being around it and I wanted to know more about it. Right. So I got a job, like a part-time job there.

So I was working, I was basically working out in the mornings, possibly it sometimes. And then I was working a nine to five and then I was going and doing the evening classes and hanging around there, working out while I was there, which was really a nice little added bonus. And then whenever I, I, I kind of quit orange theory throughout that. And I started to do my own thing and trying to learn my, my own stuff. And eventually I switched jobs, but I was still trying to figure out like, how can I do this Like I loved it. I just decided to open up an Instagram. I did my Instagram, I did a couple of YouTube videos just to like, kind of put myself out there and I really kept my Instagram going. And then that's really the only aspect like I did.

I was learning more about it and I was putting the information on Instagram, but that was kind of it. I was like, okay, this is just a hobby, whatever. And eventually I moved to Austin because I was living in Arizona for the time. Like I graduated from UT and I went to Arizona for four years. And then when I came back, I was still working a corporate job, but it was working from home at this point because the company was out in Arizona. And while I was here, I got approached by a couple of people to go work at a personal, a private, personal training studio. And I was like, oh, I don't know if I can do that. I did get, you know, I started learning all this stuff. I did everything I needed to do. And I was like, okay, well I guess I can do this.

Part-time. I mean, I did orange theory. Part-time why not. And it got to a point where I was being, I was getting clients and it was just, I w I think location mattered a lot because I was in north Austin, but I got, I was getting clients and it was really getting more excited about this. And I was like, wow, I can really do this. Like, I actually, I I'm actually helping them. I'm seeing them transform before my eyes, like this is going to be, this is like, I guess it got to the point where my bandwidth was just too. I was just too busy

Troy: Part-time anymore.

Cristina: Yeah.

Troy: Bringing in clients. And I was like, well, shoot, I can't, I mean, I can either stop with it bringing on any new clients, because this is as much time as I can spend with having a nine to five, or I can probably leave the nine to five or find a part-time job that way and actually do something that I'm way more passionate about and way more excited about to do every day.

Cristina: Yeah. And I'll be honest, like going into, I mean, I wasn't making the same amount of money when I first quit. but it was something that was more exciting to me and I was just pulled towards it and I was really just, it gave me more energy throughout my day, then working at other jobs. Now it was nice to have like health insurance and all the benefits, but, I, I got through it and I figured it out. And throughout that whole journey, I started creating my website and, you know, registering my business and now I'm a real business. And I think COVID kind of helped push all of us into online. So, that's where I started kind of figuring out the online space a little bit more. I do have a background in advertising. And so I guess the marketing aspect is something that really interests me and I'm really passionate about it.

So I was like, all right, let me try and dabble in that. And I'm, I've created an online course that some of my clients are going to go through and I do, you know, I still incorporate as much as I can, the physical, the one-on-one, because I don't necessarily want it to become something where just like you're watching videos, you can go to YouTube for that. So I would much rather have that personal, coaching experience with everyone. So that's kind of how I got started. It really started from just, and trust me, I debated it for like two years before I actually got into it. cause I was scared. I mean like most people, I don't have the back. I don't have the support of having like a husband that has a full-time job and I'm able to take this on like it's me, myself and I, and I need to pay my mortgage.

I need to do things, you know And so it was very, very stressful for me because I am a person that likes to think everything out before jumping into something I'm very much type a, I want to have all my ducks in a row, but I got to a point where I'm like, life is too short. If you want to do something, do it because there has to be more to life than just working 10 hours a day for a job that you don't even care about. And that's where I kind of got into it from, because I think if, if you know that there's something that basically I've heard this before, if you have something that you can talk about for hours, like someone gives you a topic and you can just talk on stage for like hours. That's the passion that you have.

And that's what you should follow. You should chase that, whatever that looks like. So everyone has that. Everyone has one little thing that if I were to tell you to talk about it forever, you could. And if you had that, like, and you turn that into something that would make you money and you could do that all day long, what don't you want to do that Like, I don't know. That was my perspective. Someone taught, told me that once and it stuck with me. And I think that that drove my decision and I was like, you're right. Like if I love it so much, I should just go into it and I'll figure it out along the way, have a little bit of a savings cushion, but you will figure it out because we all figure it out eventually. Like if you fail, what's your backup plan. Okay. And get a job. Cool. I'm excited.

Troy: You can go back. There's plenty of, I mean, the jobs that you have, there's plenty of those jobs still out there. And then obviously with COVID went down even more tech and remote jobs. So there was more opportunity, but similar to, you know, starting that, that, you know, the journey that you help women on for weight loss and strength, training and stuff, and having bumps in the road, during that journey, if you're going to start your own business, you're going to have bumps in the road for that journey as well. But the only way we like to think that we can, well, the people who like to overanalyze, which I can definitely do with the best of them, like to think that we can think every single problem and solution out ahead of time to then have this plan in place, that's going to make everything perfect so that we can then get to the point of jumping in and that's just not possible. and in reality, if you had jumped in much sooner, you would have gotten through those stumbling blocks much earlier and be further along in most cases, because everyone's going to have them to some degree, regardless of, the plan they put together or even their experience and stuff as well.

Cristina: Yeah. And I'm all about being a researcher. I have a lot of anxiety myself. So when I was going through this, trust me, I researched every possible little thing. And I was like, you know, this will be more expensive because now I have to pay for my own insurance and I have to register my business and I have to do all of these things that you don't think of when you're like, oh, okay, well, how am I going to get clients I think that's the first thing that we think of when it's like, there's all these, all this background stuff that you have to do before that, because you have to be a legitimate business. And when I was doing that, I was like, all right, well, I could either do this now. And like, once I have all that in place, I'm almost forced to figure it out.

Like I'm almost forced into it because I don't have the, like when I think I was like, I was too comfortable because when you're too comfortable with a full-time job, it's cushy and you feel like, okay, like I can dabble in this every now and then. And then it's just like a hobby that you don't necessarily pursue. so when you're really kind of forced into it, you're like, okay, well I have to do it now. Like, I mean, other than if I don't, my alternative is like, what get a part-time job somewhere. Do I really want to do that And then I'm to where I started from two years ago or something, nah, like let's just, let's just focus on this and make this really work and grow. And I will be out, I'll say that I was blessed that I had a little bit of a savings cushion.

I do save my money. I don't believe, I mean, it's hard to do these days, but it is something that's really important because having money gives you freedom and power to make your decisions. And if you don't have a savings cushion, you're not going to be able to make you're going to be stressed all the time. And so that's where I would say your first step, if you're passionate about it, figure out what that passion is, have a cushion and then go, obviously you want to test it out with fitness. It was tested. I was, it was being proven to me that people wanted my help and that I could help them. Right. That's the only thing that you need a couple of friends that you can get their support and be like, okay, can I do this with you Can you be a success story for me Okay, cool. And that gives you the confidence to pursue other things.

Troy: Very nice. Cool. Well, I mean, it's been a really cool story to hear about and a lot of, stuff that I'm passionate about. Again, definitely not something I've turned into a career, but it's something that being healthy and being healthy, someone who probably will live a long time, again, we're living longer and longer, and want to be functioning at as good of a level as possible. you know, it's kinda like putting, putting that work in now is going to be, is going to reap a lot of benefits down the road and stuff to, on top of it, just being a phenomenal endorphin mental release to, you know, it's really rare to go have a workout and then be in a worse mood than before you went to the gym.

I don't realize if you haven't, if you haven't ever worked out before and that you're dreading the thought of starting to work out, maybe that doesn't feel like that's the case, but it doesn't take long to get there. for sure. And so it's, it's awesome to talk about these things and hope more and more people, seek out the seek out good people, the right people to connect with, right Because different people are gonna work better with different trainers and different, people. And again, I, I do think it's fortunate as much as there is a lot of fad stuff out there that there are more and more people talking about making that a lifestyle and a habit changing, process. So that way it's something that people can maintain.

Cristina: Yeah. I agree.

Troy: Yeah. If people want to get ahold of you, what are kind of the best ways to find out more about you and kind of get in touch

Cristina: Well, I am mainly over on Instagram. If you want to follow me there at body, by Christina Christina's without an H I always let people know since it's spelled a little bit different, but body by Christina and that's where you'll see all of my, what I eat in a days, you'll see all the food that I'm incorporating and we talk a lot about and self-love, and all of that good stuff. So go ahead and follow me on Instagram, if you have an Instagram.

Troy: Awesome. And I appreciate you taking the time to jump on the podcast today.

Troy: Fortunately the bad weather seems like it's behind us, so hopefully we can all have a good rest of the spring.

Cristina: Get out there and go on a walk, get some

Troy: Great, good, good weather for that for sure. Have a great day.

Cristina: Thank you so much.


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