We talked with Greta Rachel in June, 2020.
Greta Rachels Stats When We Talked with Her 💪
👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hey! My name is Greta, and I’m 26 years old, living in Toronto, Canada (home of the Raptors NBA Champions ????).
Most of my days consist of working with a variety of small businesses or individuals who are looking for assistance in the creative digital marketing world.
I also run a pretty big Instagram account – @cleaneatz – in my spare time, and that has allowed me to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to start my work as a creative consultant and content creator for many other brands and companies.
Cleaneatz also helped invigorate my passion for fitness in 2013 when I started it.
Since then my training regimen has changed several times – from heavy lifting + lots of strength training, to boxing, to indoor cycling, plus a ton of recreational sports in between.
As of lately, my focus has been indoor cycling (or spinning as we like to call it). I started spinning at Ride Cycle Club in Toronto in 2018, and I haven’t found a workout quite like it ever since.
RIDE combines a highly intense full body workout (yes, even while strapped into a bike), with very loud, beat heavy music, to create an experience unlike any other.
But what I love most about spinning is how easy it is on my muscles and joints. I have suffered several serious injuries in the past – many being from recreational sports.
Ever since a young age, I have been an avid snowboarder and slalom waterskier, and even played baseball + volleyball throughout school.
However, after my most serious injury (a fracture in my L4 – my back), I changed my perspective towards fitness, and now focus more on injury prevention whenever/however I workout.
Outside of sports and fitness, I love spending time with friends & family, preferably outdoors in the sunshine or by a body of water.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
Before I get into the details, I want to preface this answer with this number 1 rule: we are all unique individuals; what works for me, may not work for you, and vice versa.
In fact, I think in almost every circumstance in life, we have to be cognitive of the fact that we are all made differently, we are all going through different things, and we all face different challenges.
I take this sentiment with me in every field of life, but especially when training.
The time we tend to spend on comparing ourselves and trying tools/workouts that work for others, is precious time that we could be using to figure out our own best tools and practices.
That said, with such a busy lifestyle, and with so many past injuries to be weary of, I need to keep my approach to anything fitness/health/wellness very simple and straightforward.
When it comes to exercise specifically, there are two defining drivers for me.
The first is injury prevention.
At some point in my fitness journey, I realized that no matter how much I DESPISE being advised to avoid something, or the pain, mentally and physically, of not being able to do something, when it comes down to it, that thing probably isn’t worth the MANY other things I’d be missing out on later in life if I injured myself now.
So whether it be avoiding certain exercises, or taking rest days, listening to your body is of utmost importance.
This leads me to the second priority: BALANCE.
Not only does that mean taking the proper time to recover, but also incorporating an equal amount of strength training and cardio through a wide variety of workouts.
On a typical day, I’ll start with a simple warm up, 20 minutes of calisthenics, 15 minutes of glute activations, 50 minutes of spinning (+1 song around 7 minutes long dedicated to an arm workout), and if I’m up for it/have time, a small set of abs/core movements.
Other days, I focus more on strength training and lifting weights and cut the cardio, however, cycling truly is my favourite workout.
As I mentioned before, the impact on my muscles and joints is so minimal, so for someone like me who must accommodate for several injuries, but loves the thrill and intensity of a heart pumping workout, spinning is awesome.
Especially the classes at RIDE Cycle Club, which incorporate lots of choreography and small weights, I know I’m getting much more than a cardio workout.
Besides that, RIDE has allowed me to immerse myself into a new community, and make so many friends who all crave that same intense energy you get from the classes. Its something so special, you really just have to experience it for yourself!
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
One of my biggest passions in life is music – other than studying it and playing guitar from a young age, listening and discovering new music is my favourite way to spend my free time.
Accordingly, music has always played a huge part in my fitness journey – from fun, EDM dance beats for cardio, to heavy rap for lifting weights, I find that the perfect playlist is the ultimate motivator for me.
In fact, it was the musical aspect of RIDE that led me to fall involve with cycling, and the playlists that make the experience nothing short of magical — sometimes I actually forget that its a workout and not a concert.
I know that I am different from most people in this, as I have always had a very competitive personality, and having 3 other siblings who constantly challenged me growing up, my will to succeed and push harder is pretty forceful.
Of course, I have my off days like everyone else, but I find that the hardest part is usually getting going, and once you’re over that hump, you end up doing more than you actually expect.
A little hack to get over this initial “hump,” is by merely taking those extra steps to set yourself up for success. This probably looks different for everyone, but what I mean by this, is planning ahead so that you’re in the proper mindset.
For me, it helps to change into my workout gear as soon as wake up — sometimes even going as far as picking out my clothes the night before and leaving them at the end of the bed.
I also like to throw my “feel good” playlist on my speakers in the morning, as I find this time, right when I wake up, is super sacred. The way I start my days truly set the tone for how the rest of it goes.
Other than music, I find that working out with friends or other people in my community helps me hold myself accountable and push harder…
Or it could be my competitive personality, but either way, you’re always winning when you walk out of a workout feeling completely gassed, knowing you gave it your all and challenged yourself the entire time.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Fortunately, I’m doing well today and still training as per usually thanks to RIDE Cycle Club, who started an online platform and rented out their bikes to take classes at home!
Other than that, I’ve been enjoying trying out all the amazing workouts/instructors that are offering classes online.
One worth mentioning is a studio in New York called The Salt Drop – it’s an incredibly fun, beat driven workout that incorporates yoga, pilates, plyometrics, and an intense cardio burn.
Prior to quarantine, I usually didn’t have tons of time to spend on exploring different workouts, and sticked to a more rigid routine.
It’s definitely a goal of mine to continue educating myself on new and innovative fitness trends, and I plan on making it more of a priority to get out of my comfort zone once fitness studios open.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
Recovery is EXTREMELY important to me. I find that I perform my strongest when I pay attention to when my body needs to rest, and ensuring it gets the recovery time it needs before training again.
That said, my number one rule is just that: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Whether it’s food or fitness, learn to tap into the internal dialogue between the brain and body, and distinguish between challenging yourself, and something that just feels just plain wrong.
Unfortunately, I have a long list of fitness related injuries solely from pushing myself too hard, and ignoring the signs my body was giving me.
I persistently suffer from severe back pain as a result of fracturing my L4, and mild scoliosis since I was young. Besides that, I tore the ligaments in my ankle during a Tough Mudder race, and never healed properly, making some workouts very difficult.
For those reasons, I avoid exercises that which I know for certain there is potential for a past injury to be exacerbated or for a new one to arise, and I spend a ton of time stretching.
I make a point to do 15-20 minutes of calisthenics everyday, and before any workout. Post training, I stretch immediately.
Sometimes I use Vital Proteins Performance Recovery Powder, but typically, I actually use cannabis edibles or CBD oil.
Living in Canada where cannabis is legal, I’m lucky to be able to explore this fascinating space, and have found cannabis to be super beneficial to my training regimen; from pain management, to inflammation, to sleep issues, the positive effects have been endless.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
My diet follows the same number one rule: listen to your body. Food should be used to fuel and nourish, but most of all, it should be enjoyed.
With that in mind, I like to cook healthy, wholesome recipes throughout the week, and make time over the weekend to indulge.
During the week, its all about fresh fruit and veggies, lean proteins, and healthy grains and fats. And when it comes to the weekend…the world is my oyster, but I prefer it over a big bowl of pasta ????
Whenever I have tried to diet or draw restrictions, I find that it perpetuates a negative relationship towards food.
By deeming certain ingredients “good” or “bad”, we attach some kind of morality to them, and ultimately to ourselves, making us feel guilt and shame when we do eat those “bad” ingredients.
Of course certain foods are better for you than others, but by looking at food in such black and white terms, it makes eating really unenjoyable.
Overall, I go by the motto, “everything in moderation”, and don’t discriminate against any ingredients, but I have found that dairy has negative effects on my body, so I try to avoid it during the week.
However, being a cheese lover, it gets pretty hard, so over the weekend, I’m definitely eating the pizza, and the tummy ache is usually worth it.
Some supplements I take to aid my digestion and for overall health are vitamin a, borage oil, NAC, Magnesium, zinc, a probiotic, and in the morning I drink hot water with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and collagen.
Back to my original point; the number one thing that I preach when it comes to food is that EVERYONE IS INDIVIDUAL.
What works for me may not work for you, and rather than spending time trying strict, quick, fad diets/juice cleanses, I suggest seeing a holistic nutritionist to get more information on supplements you should take, and gain some more scientific insight into your body – what works for it and what doesn’t.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
I get my inspiration and motivation from many places. As I mentioned before, music is huge for me. Check out my Spotify link to see some of my playlists!
Besides music, people, both whom I know personally and not all, spark tons of inspiration in my life.
As cliche as it sounds, I sometimes think about what my mom or dad would say to me if I needed an extra push, and use their many words of encouragement I’ve heard from the past as reminders that the people in my corner have, and will always support me.
Outside of my close circle, I take inspiration from other fitness idols and iconic athletes. As you may have guessed from my mentioning of the Raptors earlier in the interview, I love the NBA, and follow basketball pretty closely.
But the inspiration I get from witnessing athletes succeed at ANY sport has always given me motivation. I recently watched The Last Dance, about Michael Jordan, and could not even begin to fathom the drive and determination he exhibited throughout his career in sports.
I see that same determination in so many athletes, but certain talent seems to really move me.
For instance, Sky Brown, an 11 year old female pro skateboarder – the youngest in the world – who at such a young age, not only demonstrates impeccable skill and athletic ability, but also uses her small but mighty voice to advocate for girls in sports.
What I find most inspiring about so many of these athletes is their stories; where they came from, and how they got to the point they’re currently at.
I watch lots of documentaries, and a few which tap into this (and DEFINITELY worth watching) are:
- The Dawn Wall
- Last Chance U
- Free Solo
- Gamechangers (this is actually about athletes who are on vegan diets)
Lastly, one final person, who gives me the all motivation and will to succeed, is none other than yours truly.
Despite being incredibly hard on myself a lot of the time, I have developed and learned to completely and utterly love myself.
Everyday, whether I do or don’t like what I see in the reflection of the mirror, I remind myself of all the trials and tribulations I’ve overcome, fitness and otherwise, and affirm that I am strong, and capable of whatever I put my mind to.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
As I mentioned before, the most difficult part of making positive changes in life (and especially in fitness), is simply getting over that initial hump to get started.
With that said, I always advise others to begin by setting small, attainable goals, and slowly increasing. That, and finding small ways to set yourself up for success, like getting your workout clothes ready the night before.
Another tip is to maintain consistency, and understand that fitness is one very long journey, and results will not always be visible immediately, but with time, you consistency will begin to pay off, and the results will show.
At that point, if you need more inspiration, look in the mirror! See and feel the results you’re capable of.
Once I started to see my body change, fitness became addicting, and the will to train was powered by my will to see more results!
If you don’t know where to start, its extremely worthwhile to have a few sessions with a personal trainer, and to gather useful information working with them to ultimately get move forward on your own.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I am taking clients for creative consultations – I am not a trainer.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
My main Instagram is @cleaneatz. @gretarachel_ is my other Instagram.
Website is currently under construction.