👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hey everyone, my name is Tina Bubalo. I am a NASM Certified Personal Trainer based in Toronto, Canada.
My personal fitness journey began almost 10 years ago. Growing up I was always the “skinny girl” and had a very hard time gaining weight. This made me feel extremely insecure about myself. I didn’t feel confident in my own skin and constantly compared myself to other women I thought were more “desirable”.
Through my fitness journey, I learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of, both physically and mentally. Fitness empowered me. It first became a hobby, then a lifestyle, and finally a passion.
At the peak of my fitness journey, I started to consider a career in fitness. I wanted to help other women transform their lives through fitness, just as I have, and become the happiest, healthiest and most confidant version of themself.
During this time, I was also growing more and more unhappy with my corporate career. I knew that staying in that job meant I was never going to provide value and impact people’s lives in a real meaningful way.
So, almost three years ago today, I finally built up the courage to take the risk and pursue my passion and career in fitness. It was the scariest, but also the most rewarding, decision I ever made.
What I love the most about my work is being able to connect with so many different women and be a part of their journeys. As a trainer, I play a vital role in helping my clients learn the importance of taking care of their health and bodies, and also learning the importance of self-love, acceptance and positive body-image.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
For me, fitness is about more than just aesthetics. It’s about how you feel inside your body and what your body does for you on a daily basis.
My training philosophy has evolved a lot since I started my fitness journey. In the beginning, my goals were wholly physical. I wanted to gain weight and build a more feminine, curvy physique. But, over time it became much more than just looking good.
Fitness became a catalyst for self-improvement, a positive outlet, and a means for self-expression and empowerment.
Today, my primary focus with training is to maintain a balance between aesthetics and function. I train most days of the week.
A workout session is usually one to two hours long. I typically split my training into 3 days of strength and conditioning, for muscle hypotrophy and athletic performance, and 3 days of bodyweight/calisthenics, for functional strength and body awareness.
This is combined with at least 3-4 days of flexibility for recovery, injury prevention and overall performance.
I got introduced to calisthenics around the time I started working as a Trainer at Project R.I.S.E., which is a community, calisthenics-based gym. Up until that point, I considered myself to be very strong, but had the most humbling experience when I attempted to do my first pull-up and utterly failed!
Since then I have really shifted my focus to mastering control over my body and developing a greater mind-muscle connection. The two skills I am currently chasing are the muscle-up and human flag.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
It really comes down to building good habits. Habits over time develop into lifestyle changes and once something becomes a part of your daily routine it doesn’t matter whether you’re motivated or not. You’re simply going to show up for yourself and get it done.
My biggest piece of advice if you are just starting your fitness journey, or having a hard time staying consistent, is to first set goals that are important and meaningful to you.
In order to make lasting changes, you have to know why making that particular change or pursuing that particular goal is important to you.
Having a strong “why” will help you stay committed and disciplined even when external motivation fails.
It will also make it a lot easier to prioritize your fitness goals and schedule them into your week. We make time for the things that are important to us and are far less likely to make excuses to not do something when it’s a priority in our life.
I always encourage my clients to start with these three questions:
- What’s being healthy and fit mean to me?
- What’s being healthy and fit look like for me?
- Why is my health and fitness important to me?
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
In terms of my career goals, it always comes down to impacting as many lives as possible through fitness and education. I want to be a vehicle through which others can find their own passion for fitness and acquire the tools necessary to make fitness a long-term, sustainable lifestyle change.
This means being committed to my own growth, self-development, and continuing education. I want to be the best at what I do and feel confident in my ability to provide value to others.
Currently my biggest training goal is to continue to master my own bodyweight through calisthenics. It’s a sport that requires a lot of time, effort and patience. There are times when I feel super frustrated with my progress but I strive to focus on the little wins and reflect on how far I’ve come since I started.
In my personal life, continuing to work on my mindset and practicing daily gratitude is of utmost importance. Your mindset has a profound impact on how you live your life – it affects your actions, decision-making, and understanding of things and situations.
I really started practicing daily gratitude a bit over a year ago and since have noticed a huge shift in my happiness, success and overall quality of life.
Lastly, travelling is always very high on my list. I typically travel 2-3 times a year. The places I want to visit most in the next 3 years are Spain, Peru and Columbia.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
Injuries can be very frustrating and discouraging, but they are also part of the process. I personally learned a lot about my body, training, and mental fortitude through injuries.
If you are new to fitness, make sure to first build a strong foundation to start from. Focus on your form, master the mechanics of basic exercises, build a strong core, and correct any muscle imbalances and movement dysfunctions.
I see too often people skipping or rushing through their warm-ups and cool-downs. I can’t stress enough how important recovery is to achieving optimal results!
Learn how to warm-up your joints and muscles prior to a workout, take the time to work on your mobility and flexibility after a workout, prioritize eating healthy and understanding your body’s nutritional needs, and optimize your sleeping patterns.
I also think it’s important to not strive for perfection. Ditch the all-or-nothing mentality. Life will never be perfect – things will come up and you will be presented with challenges.
Just look at the situation we are going through right now with covid-19. We are learning to adapt and finding new ways to stay active and prioritize our health and wellbeing.
I encourage you to think of your fitness as a dial with numbers 1 to 10. When life is going smooth you can turn up the dial to an 9 or a 10, sometimes you may need to turn down the dial to a 6 or a 7, and other times you may need to turn the dial all the way down to a 2 or a 3.
But, the point is to never turn the dial down all the way to zero. Adapt, find what works for you, and do your best with what you have!
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
When I first started training, I tracked my calories and macros using MyFitnessPal. Since my goal was to gain weight I had to make sure I was eating in a surplus and hitting my daily macro goals, especially protein.
Currently, I am eating intuitively as I know exactly how much and how often I need to eat for my body and goals.
I definitely recommend macro counting to anyone just starting their fitness journey. It’s a powerful way to get a better insight into your own eating habits, the impact of your food choices, and what the right balance of food looks like for you and your goals.
I also encourage a balanced approach to eating and recommend the 80/20 rule. Health is about what you do most of the time, not all the time, and it’s actually a lot healthier to allow yourself to indulge every now and then than to be a very rigid eater.
I don’t use many supplements as I strive to get most of my nutrients through healthy, wholesome foods. However, I do take probiotics, fish oil, and Complete Protein from Unicity.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
My biggest inspiration for going after my passion and pursuing a career in fitness has been my boyfriend Jeff Tabrizi.
Around the time we met, he has just moved to LA to pursue his own career as a professional boxer. Watching him on his journey inspired me to take the risk and leave the safety of my corporate, steady paycheque job, and chase my own dreams.
He definitely taught me the importance of having courage, believing in myself, and not letting fear stop me from doing things.
My team at Project Rise has also played a huge role in my personal development. I have learned a lot from them about what it takes to be a successful trainer and business owner.
They also motivate me to push the boundaries with my training, to always ask more of myself, and to never put a cap on my potential. Most importantly, they inspire me to be more selfless and to always give back to others.
My biggest fitness inspirations are Massy Arias and Heba Ali. Unlike many of the fitness influencers on Instagram nowadays, these two women are not just a pretty face and a nice body.
I look up to them for their incredible work ethic, amazing physiques, and most importantly what they can do with their bodies.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
For starters, I think its important to have the right mindset and to set goals from a place of self-love.
While it’s great to recognize where you need to improve, you shouldn’t focus only on the things you don’t like about yourself. You are more than just the sum of specific body parts, so it’s important to shift your focus more towards the changes you feel instead of the changes you see as a result of your journey.
Equally important is to stay patient and trust the process! We are a society obsessed with instant gratification. It’s important to remember that results don’t happen over night.
You must be committed to doing the work required to achieve your goals even when you aren’t seeing the results you want. This is why it’s important to identify goals that are important and meaningful to you. Knowing your “why” will help you to stay committed and disciplined when the going gets thought.
Lastly, you have to ditch the all-or-nothing mentality. How many times have you given yourself the excuse to not do something because the “timing wasn’t right.” There is no such thing as the perfect time to do something, the right time is always the present!
Stop striving for perfection and just do your best every single day.
If you can’t workout 6 days a week, workout 2 times a week. If you can’t meal prep a week’s worth of food, start by prepping healthy, easy-to-grab snacks. There is always something you can do to improve to get closer to your goals.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I am currently accepting Online Training clients that are interested in customized training plans. All my programs are 100% tailored to my client’s fitness goals and needs.
As a trainer, my mission is to create the ultimate environment for my clients to achieve their goals, transform their lives, and make health and fitness a lifestyle that is both enjoyable and sustainable.
I work closely with all my online training clients and provide them with the feeling of one-on-one training. Building a relationship with my clients that extends beyond just fitness is extremely important to me. I believe this is the best way to impact change in others in a real meaningful way.
I work with a wide-range of clients (all women of course) with different fitness goals and training needs, but the one thing I strive to teach all my clients is that fitness is more than just achieving your dream body.
I think there is so much pressure nowadays for women to look a certain way, and I want to do my part in helping women to breakdown that standard in their own lives.
This means having a positive self-image, embracing your flaws, believing in yourself and your abilities, treating yourself with kindness and compassion, and respecting your body and what it does for you on a daily basis.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
Thanks for taking the time to read my interview! I hope that it will help you on your own journey towards self-improvement. ☺