We talked with Viktoriia Voronina in December, 2019.
👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hey, my name is Viktoriia Voronina and I am 25 y.o. and I am a female trainer. I am Ukrainian, currently live in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Why did I choose to become a fitness professional? Because I can make a positive impact on someone’s life. And to me, that’s the only life worth living. It makes me feel alive and free.
I find freedom in knowing how to get desired results in fitness and life.
I lost both of my parents by the age of 25 due to cardiovascular diseases, which could be prevented by a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle that they didn’t know anything about.
So now, more than ever, I see the importance of my job. I want to educate entire families and show them how to live a long fulfilling life.
I got married this summer to the man, who is the reason why I have become a trainer. He actually has a degree in exercise science, and he used to be a personal trainer in Brazil before we met.
So he taught me so much about fitness and diet, he showed me how to structure a workout plan, and what are the best exercises to get results that I wanted.
He has opened my eyes to something I truly love now.
Last year I actually started working for myself, as an independent personal trainer. So fitness is 100% my day job, I am dedicated to it fully.
I named my business StrongSelves, because me and my clients kick ass, ha-ha, we are all about feeling strong and self-sufficient.
While working for someone else was a necessary step in my career as a trainer, becoming my own boss is the best decisions I have ever made. It gave me so much FREEDOM!
But like I said, once I got my first personal trainer certification (with ISSA) in August 2016, I started working as a trainer for a big corporate gym, then, at some point, I was a bootcamp instructor in NYC (I lived there for just 3 month in 2018), and I have learned so much from this experience.
I am forever grateful to all of my mentors that gave me an opportunity to be a part of their vision, and for sharing their knowledge with me.
Over the years I have worked with literally ALL TYPES programs, from older adults and lots of post knee/hip replacement workout programs, to young girls, who want to lose weight and gain strength to get into cheerleading team.
Along the way I kept studying and getting more certifications. In 2018 I got a nutrition specialist certification with NASM, which helped me understand how to help my clients by creating a personalized nutrition plans for them.
Currently I am studying for Strength and Conditioning Coach (with ISSA), so in 2020 I will become what’s called an Elite Trainer, because I will have a personal trainer certification, a nutrition specialist certification and strength and conditioning coach certification.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
I workout 4-6 times a week, depending on the workload, plus cardio 2-3 times per week.
I train intensely for 45 minutes (resistance training) and right after sometimes cardio for 30 minutes.
For cardio I ride my bike in the forest or use elliptical at the gym.
I like doing legs 2 times per week, 2 days of upper body, and 1 full body day.
A 5 day workout split for me looks like this:
- Day 1 = full body workout + 30 minutes cardio
- Day 2 = leg workout (exercises focused on the back of my legs – hamstrings, calves, glutes)
- Day 3 = upper body workout (exercises focused on my core, back and biceps) + 30 minutes cardio
- Day 4 = rest day
- Day 5 = leg workout (exercises focused on the front of my legs and inner thighs – quads, abductors, adductors)
- Day 6 = upper body workout (exercises focused on my chest, triceps and shoulders)
- Day 7 = rest day
Right now I am focusing on doing high reps (20+) till failure, so I use lighter weights and bump up my reps.
However, once a week I still do a heavy lifting session: 10-12 reps max, because the variety makes training fun.
Pyramid training has always been my favorite style of training, and it has given me the best results over the years.
I train outdoors whenever the weather allows me, because it makes my body perform in the most natural way. I use bands, free weights and benches in my workouts.
My favorite exercises are Curtsy Lunges, Push Ups, Burpees (I know, right?), Squat Jumps, I love it all!
I also do yoga 1-2 times per week. I find a combination of resistance training, cardio and yoga – a winning strategy.
Finally, I love to walk over 5 miles on the beach or in the forest, run sprints (8-10 per workout), and ride my bike outdoors.
I maintain a lean body throughout the entire year, I am never bulking and cutting, I am chasing a good health, not numbers.
Also, I have never competed on stage, because I think that the intense preparation for competition creates unhealthy relationships with food and backfires in the long run.
I love to train with my clients, since that fires up some healthy competition between us, so we crawl out of the gym. My clients are my best gym buds.
I always start my workout with a dynamic stretching warm-up routine and 35 jumping jacks.
For supplements I used to take amino acids and creatine before each workout, but for the past 2 years I train completely naturally: no protein powders, no pills, nothing, just vegan food as fuel, and B12 shots once a month.
I might drink a coffee or matcha latte before the workout. That’s it.
After training I drink lots of water, eat food. Majority of the carbs in a day I eat after my workout.
In my fitness bag I got gloves, lots of different bands, headphones and lipstick lol. I don’t use a pulse watch, instead I focus on doing every set till failure.
I use an Icalendar for my training log, my system is very simple, that’s why I love it.
I also often listen to deep house music when I train.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
I have lost both of my parents by the age of 25. And now more than ever I see the importance of my job as a fitness coach.
Because both of my parents died due to cardiovascular diseases, that could be prevented with good habits, like training, following a clean diet and managing stress levels.
Becoming a trainer for me was no coincidence. My mission is to help other families to avoid a premature death, which can be prevented by a healthy lifestyle.
Growing up I noticed some bad habits that both of my parents had: smoking, poor food choices (lots of meat, especially processed meats), lack of exercise, high levels of stress, lack of sufficient sleep.
I was a kid back then and I didn’t have much influence on their decisions and life choices.
I ended up doing everything the opposite of what my parents did. I am a vegan, I exercise daily, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink alcohol.
I hope that now I CAN INSPIRE you all to be the best version of yourselves. I want you guys to be there for your loved ones, to be happy and full of energy.
My parents’ story serves as a reminder for me of what consequences one can get if not taking care of yourself. That’s what drives me to exercise daily.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I feel very motivated (as always), and ready for 2020.
In January 2020 I am going to collaborate with a Certified Master Level Hypnotherapist and Psychologist and a Certified Clinical Nutritionist to help my clients heal inside out.
We will work together to create a unique full rounded experience for the people in Myrtle Beach SC first.
Then together we’d like to create an online course, which will ultimately take women (our target audience) from POINT A – being frustrated with the way they look, and having psychological trauma, which is sabotaging their goals, to the POINT B – being healthier, loving their bodies and feeling happy EVERY DAY.
I just got an offer to become a co-founder of an organic beauty company, creating natural shower gels, lotions, etc, so I am looking forward to that.
We also want to use a sustainable packaging to avoid plastic usage. It will be an interesting journey for me.
Also, I am currently creating an online course on my own, teaching women how to become their own trainer.
I want them to understand how to create a periodized workout program, how to avoid plateau, and how to create a personalized meal plan for themselves.
This course will be very helpful not only for an average woman, but also for a new female trainers since, in the course, I’ll be sharing all my personal experience, and experience working with clients for over 4 years.
Also, I am considering going into the vegan food industry in 2020 – I’d like to offer to my community a delicious vegan treat. We are planning to launch this project in April-May 2020.
If I could start my fitness journey over, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Thankfully now I understand the connection between the cause and the effect, so I am very happy about my fitness journey and things it has taught me.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I always do dynamic stretching warm-up and static stretching after training,
I also focus on having a good form and paying attention to how my muscles and joints feel during each exercise.
To recover, I focus on resting and sleeping 7-8 hours daily. I also use a foam roller, deep tissue massage, and dry brush.
I don’t worry too much about changes to my schedule. It’s all about your perspective, and you can choose to look at every situation in a positive way.
I don’t take any supplements. I only use a dry brush to improve my lymphatic system and for cellulite reduction.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
I follow a vegan diet, which is completely a plant-based diet.
I stopped eating meat 3 years ago, because I was genuinely sick and tired of eating chicken, lol.
But seriously, I stopped eating meat, because it was the right thing to do (for me personally). I love animals, I practice compassion and non-violence toward all beings.
I do not eat anything with a central nervous system. To simplify, I do not eat anything that feels pain.
I am working on raising my vibrations (and therefore my energy levels), so eating meat is a no-no on a way to enlightenment. That’s why I am a vegan.
Watch the movie on Netflix “The Game Changers” to understand an amazing effects of a vegan diet on sports performance.
I love how I feel today. I remember eating chicken with some brown rice and broccoli daily, like a maniac, ha-ha. And I remember feeling heavy and lazy after eating meat.
Then I started learning more and more about diet and nutrition, so vegan diet came to me naturally, since it’s so vibrant and full of nutrients.
I eat whole foods plant-based diet all year round. In my professional opinion “bulking” and “cutting” shouldn’t exist in one’s diet, if they are not competing on stage. It throws your hormonal balance off.
If I want to tone up more I reduce my carbs intake, and add another cardio day in a week, also, I make sure my workouts are really intense, with a short rest intervals.
I don’t count calories anymore, but I used to do it religiously for the first 2 years, when I just started training and I was trying to gain muscle mass.
I also was counting my macros and calories, when I just converted to a vegan diet (so in the 5,5 years since I started training seriously, I only tracked macros precisely for the first 2 years of training).
After a while you know exactly how much you need to eat. I eat intuitively, that’s how I managed to tackle my cravings.
When I go out, I eat at home before hand or take some vegan healthy snacks with me. Most people end up eating them with me, cuz they are so delicious.
I don’t really use any supplements at all. I chose Hum nutrition because they seem to have very clean ingredients list.
I tried this supplement, because it has a great natural ingredients like spirulina, chlorella (both are algae), which helps to get rid of toxins.
Maybe once a week, sometimes once a month, I will eat a slice of a vegan carrot cake for dessert, or order a vegan pizza.
If I have cravings, I go for dark chocolate hummus + almond butter on Ezekiel bread – this snack usually satisfies my sweet cravings, and it’s healthy. I am all about nurturing my body and mind.
I don’t drink alcohol anymore, it’s been almost 4 month now. And it is absolutely one of the best decisions I have ever made. Highly recommend it!
I drink coffee or tea, usually in the morning or before my workout.
I used to fast and enjoy it, that happened during spring, but in summer I noticed that fasting makes me binge eat and that creates unhealthy relationships with food.
So I stopped fasting and went back to eating 2-3 meals a day + maybe one snack (fruits before lunch). Felt great ever since, but I might go back to fasting in spring 2020 again.
Lack of energy is there if you have many things that are draining your energy: you hate your job, you are in a bad relationships with people around you, you hate yourself – all of these things are the cause of our “lack of energy”.
So let’s be honest. First you have to fix the situations you put yourself into, and take full responsibility for your own life, trust me, then you tap into this unlimited source of energy.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
Some of the books that have inspired me:
- The Fountain Of Youth by Peter Kelder
This book is full of mind blowing practices. Here you will find out about a secret monastery in Tibet, where people stay “forever young”, and you will learn how you can do that too. The author also talks about diet of lamas, and explains what celibate is, and how not having sex can be good for you. I LOVED IT.
I actually have a video on my YouTube channel, called “morning routine”, where I show how I perform the rituals from this book.
- The Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide To Joy by Sadhguru
My favorite part is when he explains why eating animals is literally HARSHING YOUR VIBES, and how banana that you eat becomes you, not the other way around. It’s witty and insightful. I bought this one as an audiobook, and listened to it while walking in the forest.
- The Power Of Now by E. Tolle
It makes you realize how little time we spent in the present moment, and how to change that.
- The Alchemist by P. Coelho
Man, it’s hard to explain this book. It contains so many valuable life lessons hidden in symbols. Read it twice.
- No Excuses by Brian Tracy
This book will make you grab a piece of paper and a pan and get grinding on getting your goals done today!
- The Richest Man In Babylon by George Samuel Clason
This book helped me become more conscious about money and my attitude towards it. The author shares some basic laws of money and explains how to multiply your money. You should read this book at least once, if you ever want to achieve the financial freedom.
I also enjoy these Youtube channels:
My biggest inspiration is my mother. She has also given me the best advice, she said to always visualize my goals, close my eyes and see everything I desire as it is already happening. And I swear, it works.
My mom has an amazing backstory: she grew up in a very poor family, her father died when she was very young, they were struggling to live, and she kept dreaming and visualizing the life she wanted.
In the end she became an extremely successful woman, made lots of money, me and my sister had everything (and more) growing up.
Unfortunately my mom died when I was 17. But I never stopped visualizing.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
I recommend doing more functional fitness vs machines. I think that’s what makes us all feel our best. And get outside more often, outdoors workouts are SO MUCH FUN. Get creative!
Also, oh gosh, I’ve seen too much stupid things going on the gym, lol. To name a few:
- Older man farting (very loud) each time he was doing a crunch during a fitness class.
- Older man telling me I make a “sex noises” when I workout at the gym.
- Older man stretching on the floor and facing the gym with his butt, and we all saw his private parts fall out of his shorts and land on the floor.
For some reason they all include an older man, hmmm… I didn’t plan on it, I swear!
Not to sound harsh, but honest, lots of people do everything wrong in the gym: from cardio to resistance training approach, they have no strategy.
Most people just walk around the gym, and hop on any machine that is free. You have to have a plan when you start training.
It’s crazy that in the USA people are actually allowed on the gym floor without a trainer, I think it has to stop ASAP.
More and more people get frustrated and discouraged with fitness, and then they give up and tell everyone that gym doesn’t work for them. And I don’t blame them, it’s hard to know what is the right thing to do.
That’s why I want to teach them how to become their own pro trainer with my online course, which I will launch in 2020.
Also, work on resolving any psychological trauma you might have, and get rid of your limiting beliefs, because I promise these two things rule your life and stop you from achieving your goals.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I take on clients now because I want to help as many people as I can. I take both online and one-on-one clients, also small fitness groups.
This job is my calling, this was meant to happen. So I give it my best. I am on a mission to improve your health, and give you a piece of mind.
I’m here to offer you a long-term results and satisfaction, not 30 days challenge BS.
My clients feel results in the first month, but they actually see the change in 3 month. Also it really depends who am I training and how often do we train.
The most common training question I get is how to get rid of belly fat?
The answer is to drastically lower the amount of added sugar (cane sugar) in your diet, eat whole foods diet (as little processed foods as possible), try the dairy free diet and see how that feels.
Do lots of full body exercises instead of crunches, intensify your workouts (minimize the rest periods between sets).
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
Check out StrongSelves.