This interview is part of the Real Talk Real Women interview series, where we bring you the life-changing, heart-warming and inspirational stories behind the most successful women in health and fitness. Make sure to follow us on Instagram for the latest interviews! For this installment, we are joined by Oksana Grishina.
Let’s start off with a general introduction. How would you describe yourself, what are you all about and how did you get involved in health and fitness?
I’m originally from a small city in Russia: Kaliningrad. I moved to the USA in 2007, and have been competing as a professional Fitness athlete since then. I am the reigning and three-time Ms. Fitness Olympia and Ms. Fitness International.
I have always been involved in athletics and fitness-related activities. I competed as a rhythmic gymnast through most of my childhood, up to university, and earned a degree in Physical Training and Sports. Before competing as a Pro, I was a personal coach, aerobics instructor, choreographer and working with kids.
Where does your motivation come from?
The creative process is my motivation. I love to create, I love to learn, and be as perfect as I can be with everything I do. This creative process excites and motivates me to bring my best to the stage. I love the stage, and I love to share my best with the Fitness world.
As you decided to make a career out of your passion - what were your biggest stumbling blocks along the way?
So many things were difficult - moving to the USA, having no resources or support, not knowing the language. As time has gone on, other things became obstacles as well like injury, anxiety, pressure to do something new, pressure to succeed. It never gets easier, but I always set goals and try my best to overcome my obstacles and be proud of myself and make my family proud, as only they know the real me.
What’s your perspective on the importance of self-care?
I do care about how I look, and my work at the gym is proof of it. My mom always told me "lazy women won't be beautiful". But I am someone who does not care much about my health. And, as an example, if I cut my foot while training, I won’t notice it even if it's bleeding. I'm so obsessed with my training and goals. So it goes with other injuries. Thankfully, I have Boris, my coach and partner, to help me stay on track and pressure me to be more self-aware. I don't know what or where I'd be without him.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about women lifting weight?
Of course, most women fear getting too big or too muscular. As Ms. Fitness Olympia, I won’t change anyone’s opinion, but if someone is serious about changing how they look and feel, they’ll learn that making real changes takes hard work and perseverance.
Lifting weights, alone, won’t change your body so much, though, if done right, it should make you stronger. Of course, It’s just one component of the process.
Many young women who want to lose weight believe that not eating is the way to do it, without realizing the consequences of that kind of behavior.
Why do you think this is and what’s your perspective on educating society on healthy nutrition habits?
Not eating at all is clearly not healthy. Honestly, eating less is one way to lose weight, but just the first step. More important is eating right. Learn about nutrition and what food does for you. Also learn about exercise and how being active in life and in the gym can make a proper diet more effective.
How important have the people around you been when it comes to your success?
It’s always important to have people around you who support you, whether you have success, or not.
What do you do to maintain balance in your life?
As a competitor, it’s hard to have balance. I spend most of my time at the gym and thinking about my performances. Thankfully, I use a broad range of skills to perform in Fitness, which makes the process more interesting and challenging for me.
Before my success, it was easier to have other things in my life like acting, auditions, time with friends - but the life of a champion is quite focused all the time. I do think about the future, how to share my knowledge, how to inspire others in Fitness, and how to make Fitness more popular.
How do you stay productive?
I work hard, with no excuses. I set goals, stay focused, keep a schedule, finish everything I start, and try to be as strong as possible. I try to improve every year and get the results I want.
If you could only choose one thing, what would you tell your younger self?
Be who you are, and do what you love to do.
Can you give a breakdown of your current diet, training and supplementation regimen and the thinking behind it?
It’s very difficult to share a Pro diet with others who are just beginning or don’t compete. My diet is both very simple, and very specific to my body and goals.
I eat a limited selection of carbs, proteins, healthy fats, and vegetables that are combined in different ways, at different times, to further my training goals. Supplementation from SAN Nutrition helps me with energy during workouts, additional protein intake when necessary, and getting the most out of my workouts and body.
My training combines morning and evening cardio with alternating weight, acrobatics, and performance training, this year with the Cyr Wheel.
What are your biggest life goals for the year?
I’m working hard on my new performance, something that is always very challenging and my biggest goal is to bring this new routine to the Arnold and Olympia stages.
Where can people go to learn more about you online?