Fit Focus: Neila Rey
One of the most influential women in the fitness industry today is our fit focus guest Neila Rey. Neila’s versatility and passion for healthy living is reflected in her untiring work ethic. Whether it’s developing workouts, writing monthly fitness challenges, producing healthy recipes and training tips, Neila’s dedication to quality fitness content is her number one priority. Recently, Fitness & Nutrition had the privilege to speak with Neila via a Google+ HOA (Hangout On Air), to talk about her introduction to fitness; her work and her infamous visual workouts.
Neila, can you share with us your inspiration for creating these very helpful graphics?
Designing workouts was something I have been doing for a while now, except I did it originally for my personal use, creating collage style routines. I found the format very neat and practical. When I shared those on my Google Plus stream, they caught on, and since a lot of people found them useful now they are also available for download from my website and every week I release a new one and add it to the ever-growing collection.
I share them with everyone who needs them. I design them to be very visual, so you can easily move on from one exercise to the next without taking a break. I give you the number of sets and the number of reps to make it easy to follow. It’s not a unique concept, but all of my workouts are unique and are all based on my own training and experience in circuit & bodyweight training (I’ve been doing it for over 10 years), martial arts and running (long distance and sprinting).
What has been your most popular exercise graphic?
To date Total Abs (3600 +1′s / 1525 re-shares) and Batman (3233 +1′s / 1009 re-shares) have been the most popular and have gone viral. Another popular program is my 30 Days of Change (now version 3.0). 30DOC is all about forming a habit. So if you are out of shape and want to change your lifestyle, get fitter and integrate exercise in your daily life then it’s the perfect program for you. All you need to do is stick with it. You don’t have to do everything perfectly when you follow the routines; it’s more important that you stick with it and make it to the end. It doesn’t just change the way you look, it changes your whole mindset if you make it through all 30 days. It’s challenging but worth it. And, although I haven’t designed it specifically for weight loss, I have feedback from people who lose 10lb a week and are very happy with the results they were getting. I think that’s great, everyone finds something they need in it and it works. This program also includes a balanced menu to ensure the change is not just in your exercise but eating habits too.
Why Not, Why Not Me?
What was your introduction to Fitness?
When I was a little girl, unhealthy, unfit and a “well rounded” girl who was very much into superheroes and magic (well, ok who am I kidding, I am still into the stuff…) – I visualized myself being a warrior, a ninja, a fighter. I wanted to be Batman, alright.
It seemed like an empty fantasy. There was nothing that I could do to make it a reality, not the way I was… I didn’t think I could anyway. Then one day when I was in my late teens and heavily depressed, I started looking at my life and whatever happened to all of my dreams, and I thought…
“WHY NOT, why not me, why can’t I be that person…just because people say I can’t? Because I decide I can’t?”
So I just took off that day and I went for my FIRST ever run. I didn’t have any equipment, I didn’t even have proper shoes …just a t-shirt and shorts (not very comfortable, either) and some training shoes I bought at a flea market… and then… Oh, wait, it’s not one of those stories “and she runs 100 miles and never stops, wins the race and gets a movie deal…”, nope. …I was just lying in the next ditch gasping for air, praying for mercy… “I need to go back, I can’t do this” – as I was lying there thinking “I’ve made a huge mistake © “, and then…” NO, this is good, this is how it gets done.. I can do this”. So I got up and went on, and did that again and again, until it no longer felt like something I can’t do. I can and I will and I am not going to stop. I am still going.
I didn’t think I had the potential, and everyone around me didn’t think I could do it either. I’d been pretty much told my entire life that I was useless and worthless, literally. So finding my STRONG was indeed life changing.
I then got involved with martial arts, I did taekwondo, boxing and then a little bit of kick-boxing, too. I trained myself to run what I call “an easy 10K” and I have been pushing my limits ever since with circuit training and bodyweight routines.
Fitness: Keep It Fun and Exciting
Do you have a favorite workout routine that you use?
Honestly there isn’t one, I am trying to keep it fun and exciting and that means not getting attached to a routine or equipment for very long. The moment I’ll start doing the same thing every day, I’ll get bored and won’t push myself as much. And there is always so many other exciting things you can do – like reading (I am a huge Sci-Fi fan), or looking at memes or playing video games. So FUN is a must when it comes to fitness.
Every day I try to do something new. I create new routines to stay challenged. My Socrates routine was inspired by a waitress I saw while having lunch at the local tavern, she had amazing arms, sleek muscles and a strong back, I asked her, ‘what kind of workouts do you do?’ She said, ‘Working out? I carry heavy boxes all day’. Boxes. Hmmm, impressive. I checked my garage and I happened to have a bag of stones…I put them in a crate and tried it out…I looked at it and said:” So, crates.” And that’s how Socrates came about. It doesn’t sound all that challenging but it is, after the first several goes it gets pretty tough and you can really feel it the next day too. You basically recreate the environment of a mover or a builder, for someone like me who spends her days stuck in a book or in front of a computer screen this is an ideal full-body workout for strength.
I Find Fitness Empowering!
What is your favorite exercise equipment?
That would be my own body. It’s incredibly empowering to be able to push yourself and see your own body respond to your every command. I never used to have that before, I never felt comfortable in my own skin. Fitness empowers you so what you really want to experience is this sense of control it gives you, when your body moves and you can feel every muscles moving in it. It’s a priceless feeling.
I do like trying out other things, for experience and to have fun. I recently bought a sandbag, and it’s pretty heavy (35 lbs.). Just lifting it from time to time, doing squats while having it thrown over your shoulders is pretty awesome and challenging, since it’s hard to cheat.
For me, fitness is not so much about looking good, but feeling capable and feeling strong, feeling empowered and in control. Fitness changes you, it changes your identity, makes you more confident and makes you go after what you want. I like workouts that require you to really push yourself. That’s how you discover your true potential, your inner hero… and yes, that’s how you become Batman.
Special THANKS to Neila Rey for taking the time for this amazing interview. There was so much more that we couldn’t fit into this post, but you can watch the full interview on your Fitness & Nutrition Community You Tube Channel right here!
100 No-Equipment Workouts from Neila!
Different workouts, some are more challenging and some are easier than others, will ensure that your muscles don’t get used to the same regime, giving you more in return, and also help you stay active and not get bored with the same routine.
Visual routines are designed to guide you through the workout, as you go from one exercise to the next, in an easier fashion than in a video. Just follow the routine and have fun!
You don’t have to work through the entire book; you can pick the workouts you like most or randomly select one and make it a workout of the day. Ideally you want to do 3-4 workouts per week.
– Neila Rey