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 Olivia Biermann.
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?
Hello! I am Olivia. I am 22 years old and love teaching people about plant-based/vegan lifestyles. I got involved in health and fitness when I had some health issues a few years ago. Since then I started an Instagram and YouTube channel all about cooking and nutrition.
Where does your motivation come from?
My motivation comes from helping people change their habits and develop a healthy plant-based lifestyle. Hearing their stories and seeing their progress is extremely motivating.
As you decided to make a career out of your passion - what were your biggest stumbling blocks along the way?
My biggest blocker is always self-doubt. Wondering if I am on the right path, if I should keep going, etc. I think we all deal with this at some point in our lives.
What’s your perspective on the importance of self-care?
Self care is number 1. You can’t help others or take care of others if you aren’t helping and taking care of yourself first.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about women lifting weight?
A big misconception is that women will get “bulky”. The thing is, for a woman to bulk up it is extremely hard. Unless you are trying to do it, with a proper program, etc. it won’t just happen from regularly lifting weights.
Many young women who want to lose weight believe that not eating is the way to do it, without realising 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?
I think we are taught from a young age that “healthy” in part means “portion control”. I believe that eating an abundance of plant foods will never be bad for us. Your body knows exactly what to do with these foods and if you are eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full, your body will achieve it’s ideal weight. Starving yourself is NEVER the answer. It never results in anything remotely good.
Also, there is so much more to life than having a “perfect” body. Remember that.
What are the most unexpected lessons you’ve learned on your health and fitness journey this far?
The most unexpected lesson I learned is that if you stop trying to force things and just focus on being happy and healthy, everything kind of just falls into place. Your body loses or gains the weight it needs, your hormones balance out. You become the best version of yourself. But trying to force these things or speed up the process with dangerous measures will never give you what you want in the long run.
What do you do to maintain balance in your life?
Balance is something that is coming easier to me every day. I love to go to the gym and push myself and move my body. But some days I like to do simple stretches or no exercise at all. On those days I focus on my spiritual practices- meditation and journaling. In terms of eating, if I am craving something, I never deprive myself of it.
If I want (vegan) ice-cream, I eat it. If I want chips, I eat them. I don’t go crazy, but I do indulge it if I want to. Then, the next day I am usually craving a smoothie or spinach and fresh vegetables. See how this works? Your body knows what it is doing. All you have to do is listen!
How do you stay productive?
I make lists. A lot of lists. I love the feeling of crossing something off my list- it keeps me motivated and keeps my productivity up. It also helps if you like what you are doing. It’s hard to be productive if you hate the tasks you are trying to do!
If you could only choose one thing, what would you tell your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to trust the process and enjoy the ride. Everything turns out okay.
Can you give a breakdown of your current diet, training and supplementation regimen and the thinking behind it?
I eat a predominantly whole foods, plant based diet. I eat a lot of grains, veggies and fruit smoothies. For supplements I take a B12 when I remember. For cardio I love indoor cycling (I live in Canada, it’s cold here a lot) and I love lifting weights at the gym.
I eat a vegan diet because I believe ethically, morally and for health it is the best thing to do. I choose forms of exercise that I enjoy and skip the ones I hate (running). This way, I'm always excited to go work out, and never dread it.
Going into 2017, what are your biggest life goals?
In 2017 I am going to be graduating my university program and nutrition diploma program. I hope to grow my YouTube channel to reach even more people. Maybe I will even write another ebook!
Where can people go to learn more about you online?