👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hi, my name is Veronika. I’m 25. Even though I’m from Slovakia, I have lived in Denmark for more than 5 years.
I came here due to my studies. I dreamt of studying abroad since I was 12. By now, I’m in my last semester of Master’s in Economics and Business Administration with a specialization in HR management. Besides that, I work as a breakfast waitress.
According to my training, it started when I was 15, eagerly desiring six-pack to join the party. Remember doing 100 sit-ups every evening in my dormitory room and carrying a bag of dry oats to school as a “snack” and pretending it wasn’t so bad.
I had no clue. But hey, we all started somewhere. Slowly, I was learning about nutrition and training. I only trained at home, started with my mum’s pilates CD’s.
When I was 17, I went to the gym with mum for the first time and after that, never left. Actually, it’s such a paradox, since I hated PE education since I can remember and still do. Fitness is something totally different for me.
Nowadays, I like to train with weights. I like getting strong as it makes me feel proud and invincible. I usually train 5-6 times a week.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
I follow my training philosophy. Create a routine, that keeps you going. I don’t do CrossFit, as I know, it would make it harder for me to stick to it, as I don’t enjoy such way of training.
The most important is to make it an enjoyable experience, with exercises that challenge you, but also make you enjoy the training. Therefore I always try to follow how I feel that day. I listen to my body.
If I feel, this is not my PR day, I will focus on lower weights and more reps. If I feel strong, I go for a lower number of reps, with as much weight I can lift.
Sometimes, I follow Hanna Oberg’s program, sometimes I create my own. I know, a certain amount of repetitiveness is important when it comes to progress, but I like to find balance, and avoid too much of the same, and try to keep my training fun, and interesting.
I have trained in the PMT gym for almost two years now. It is a smaller gym. People seem to act more like a community there, and I like the spirit of the place. I prefer to train alone though. I usually avoid any sparing opportunities. Training is a “me time”.
When it comes to my supplements, I’m not a heavy user, even though I have my staples like whey and casein (bedtime) protein powder, sometimes creatine, vitamin D, A, magnesium and omega 3. Also sometimes do a few weeks of joint cure, with collagen or alike.
With a clear conscience, and without any kind of sponsorship, my favorite brand is Bulk Powders.
In addition to my training, my regimen consists of a must-do warm-up, weight-lifting, and sometimes cardio (usually 15-20 min) in the end. I change the methods of doing cardio, depending on the time constraint, and mood.
I like to implement intervals into my cardio, as it makes it more efficient, especially if I plan to shred a little. According to exercises, my favorites are deadlifts and hip thrusts.
Also, I enjoy playing with cables or dumbbells. There are so many variations you can do with them. I find lounges also very effective, however, due to my injury I had to restrict them weight-wise.
Using a smartwatch helped me to reach my daily step goals, and control my sessions with the respect to my heart rate frequency, meaning it gave me a better capability to adjust my resting periods between the sets, or during my interval training.
I try not to take a very long rest in between the sets. Not more than 2 minutes. However, my Fitbit Ionic has recently got broken, so I don’t use any smartwatch gadget at the moment.
Lastly, my best training hack of all times is using a resistance band for my leg day sessions. This is the first thing that crossed my mind when talking about gym hacks. You can buy different versions, even with the handles, depending on which part you want to target.
For home workouts, I use the one with handles mainly for training my upper body (rotator cuff exercises, shoulder presses, various kinds of rows, bicep curls, crossovers, lateral raises). The short version without the handles is the one I use for my leg days (abductions, kickbacks, donkey kicks, hip thrusts, glute bridges, kettlebell squats, deadlifts with either using it to fix your tights for better contact or as a weight replacement).
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
First of all, and I will repeat it hundreds of times. Making the training enjoyable, since consistency is key and lazy days will always come. It can be tremendously grueling to get your ass to the gym.
But what I do is that I ask myself, if it is due to laziness, or my body needs a rest. You should know your body to recognize the difference. I usually see the change in my appetite during the particular day.
If I’m extremely hungry, without being PMS affected, it is probably the rest that is needed. Another way to find out is that my training doesn’t give me such joy anymore.
Additionally, I start losing strength. The body also aches differently, the stomach gets bloated more easily and the skin gets much worse.
Lastly, if you are using a smartwatch, there is a chance to detect the length and quality of your sleep. This could also be a good indicator for you. If it is a rest that you need, simply skip the training, and don’t beat yourself up for it.
When the body gets stressed by lacking the rest, it will negatively affect your progress, so what’s the point? I can’t stress enough how important the role of rest and sleep is when it comes to muscle hypertrophy.
On the other hand, if I figure out, it is just laziness, I always recall what I once read somewhere. Whether you become successful or not, does not depend on days when you go to train without an effort.
It is about those lazy days you endure, push through and go even though you don’t want to. This is a true mastery that makes a champion.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
This period had been very busy for me due to school, and personal things going on in my life right now. I struggled to fit my workout into my life, but I believe that doing your best at the very moment is enough. This is a lifestyle.
I do not have the ambition to compete, as my attitude towards dieting is rather skeptical due to my bad experiences with it. Training is to give you joy, help you improve, and develop yourself mentally and physically.
It is not supposed to be a mean for punishing yourself for eating that extra candy. You train because you love your body, not because you hate it.
When it comes to goals, mine are to get better and stronger in hip thrusts, and deadlifts as I love them. Aside from fitness goals, I plan to finish my degree and find a job in HR or marketing as I found myself very interested in it.
I also want to finally learn that damn language! (Danish). And if I was to choose to do some things differently on my fitness journey, I would probably change nothing.
I’m thankful for all the ups and all the downs, as they have built me up exactly the way I’m today.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I avoid injuries by warming up before every session. Sleep, and rest in general is a huge factor, too. It is always better to skip one day in the gym, then a couple of months while recovering from an injury that emerged from the lack of rest. It is not worth it.
Also, if I’m not sure about performing some exercise, I make sure to do my research on how to do it right, before I do it. The same applies to loading bars too much. Don’t load unless you are 100% sure you have handled the technique.
Another is to I use the right footwear depending on what I want to do. If I know I will be running, I make sure I wear running shoes. If I know have a leg day ahead, I would wear a flat-sole shoe/or go barefoot.
Lastly, I’m careful about using a lifting belt. I try to not overuse it, to avoid a core weakening. A strong core can save you from many injuries.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
As I mentioned earlier, I have a rather skeptical attitude towards restricted dieting. I believe we all are different. The fact it didn’t work for me, does not necessarily mean it won’t for anybody else.
When I try to lose fat, I eat a lot of volume food to trick my mind and fill up my plate. I’m trying to gain muscles at the moment, so I focus on a sufficient intake of complex carbs and proteins, and of course never forgetting to add a food rich in healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado, dark chocolate, etc. which is super essential, especially for us women due to hormone production processes. That is probably everything I do.
I have learned about the contents of food (protein, carbs, fiber, fat, calories) and I have an imagination of what I eat. This gives me freedom and flexibility in planning my meals without having to necessarily count the exact macro values.
However, I believe, this can be a good start for beginners, to learn and create their sense of intake assessment. When I used to count calories, I was using the Life Sum app, and it was a good help. I liked it more than My Fitness Pal.
In the times of my strict dieting, and battling binge eating disorder, I believe, most of it emerged from me, being too strict on myself, not allowing myself to eat any extra sweet I was craving so desperately. I went on for three months without a single cheat meal. It was extreme.
I believe in balance. If you crave that sweet, just eat it, but know when to stop. Have one today, instead of 20 after three months of starving. You will make yourself a huge favor, trust me.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
I source my main motivation from the way I feel when I don’t train. There is so much more to training than just a good body shape.
Aside from health, training gives me a sense of determination, and mental cleanses, like nothing else. Sticking to something that makes me feel like me is such a powerful self-defining tool.
I know who I’m thanks to my gym sessions. I feel empowered and strong which further transfers into my personal life. Besides, when I’m unmotivated, I try to recall how I felt when I was hitting my PR‘s.
I also have a couple of very close gym rat friends. They have the power to motivate me by passionately telling me about their fitness achievements and goals.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
My advice is, if you are a beginner, start small. Many people, I call them “New Year starters”, quit soon, as they tend to put too much pressure on themselves, and expect fast results.
Understand the concept of consistency. If you are not comfortable with the gym environment, buy some resistance bands (alternatively use mum’s pilates CD’s) and do your training at home.
Another advice is, learn to not listen to everything you read/hear from your colleagues or see in magazines.
I have heard and read so many stupid things and articles on how to lose weight quickly, what foods are “bad” for you, which food you should avoid if you want to lose weight.
By the way, I bet authors of such articles have no idea how badly this can turn out for some readers, who can develop serious issues regarding their relationship with a certain food, claimed to be the “bad ones”.
Last but not least articles about magical rice/soup/cabbage/potato/whatever diets. Personal favorites.
Also, I want to rend my hair when I see someone buying fitness oats, rather than conventional oats, believing they make themselves a favor, or when someone eats a full jar of peanut butter and say: I can eat how much I want without adding on weight, as nuts are healthy.
According to exercises, I don’t see many people performing exercises wrong. I think a lot of people in PMT where I train, are not new to fitness. But in general, with all the fitness boom that happened approximately 5 years ago, people started to be more interested and read more on the topic.
At least this is my impression. A reason can also be, that it is easier to access credible information today, then it was 8 years ago.
My last advice when going to the gym is to keep in mind, it is a place for everybody. People who don’t unrack and act selfishly can drive me nuts. Please, think of others, too.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I only help some friends with their training plans. I also give them some nutritional advice if needed, but I don’t do certified coaching.
However, I plan to do my PT certification in the future, so who knows, maybe one day I will take clients, as well.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
I used to do Youtube videos, for a short period of time, however, I did not find it convenient due to the time I was spending on creating the content. Youtube is a tough platform. My old videos can be found under Veronika Mikulasikova; however, I do not post anymore.
While video editing is something I do not enjoy, so there is only a small chance I will ever get back to it, but you know. Never say never.
At the moment, I post mainly on Instagram @veromiku, not only about fitness but about my life in general.