Vanny Vay turned her life around. She was lost, both mentally and physically, and hit rock bottom. Vanny turned her life around with exercise and a proper diet, and is now a FAME pro bikini competitor and a successful model. Find out more about Vanny at her website, www.vannyvayfitness.com/.
Muscle & Strength: Tell me about your life before "fitness", and the wake up call that turned your life around...
Vanny Vay: My life before "fitness" was, to put it simply, "lost". I was hanging out with people that were fun to party with, but when it came down to it they were never there for me when I needed them. I was often changing jobs trying to find the right fit, but with every job I felt like something was missing, as if I could be better and do something more meaningful than I was. I was drinking too much and I never watched what I ate. I didn't even realize until now the negative affects that this was having on my body and mind.
I had hit rock bottom (long story here, that I shouldn't go into detail about) and had come to the realization that if I didn't change something in my life I probably never would. I took a small step and decided to change myself physically. I needed a way to relieve the pressure and stress, a way to feel good about myself again, so I went to my local gym and began training.
This simple decision has changed my life 180 degrees. The feeling of empowerment is amazing and with physical endurance comes mental ability. I have found that one of the best things about fitness, other than the improvement in self-esteem and physical appearance, is the wonderful and driven people that I have met while training and competing. I now surround myself with positive, inspiring people and will never give up my fitness dreams.
Muscle & Strength: When most people start training, they have very little focus and tend to only do the "things they know." When you first started training, did you focus more on weight training, cardio, or both?
Vanny Vay: I definitely focused more on cardio. I was like most girls who begin training at a gym. I was very intimidated and I was afraid to lift weights as I thought it might make me become to bulky and manly looking. I now understand that with the proper mix of weights, cardio, and diet, the female form can be enhanced to get just the right curves in all the right places. Weight training is now one of the most important aspect of my training routine.
Muscle & Strength: Regarding weight training, did you have a moment where you said, "I'm just going to do this!", or was it a slow transition that took place as you gained confidence with lifting weights?
Vanny Vay: Weight training was definitely a slow transition for me. I started lifting without really having a goal in mind or even knowing the proper form for the exercises I was performing. I simply liked how powerful it made me feel and how it would push away the stress of everyday life.
Luckily I met Yvan Cournoyer, a local personal trainer and fitness model. Yvan saw my potential and began training me. Once I had the support of a trainer to spot me and show me the correct form I was unstoppable. Now able to lift heavier and really see the result of my hard work, I realized just how hooked I was to weight training and overall fitness.
Muscle & Strength: When you first started training with weights, were there exercises you knew you had to do, but that seemed heavy or awkward, and you just didn't want to do them?
Vanny Vay: To tell you the truth, when I began lifting weights everything felt heavy and awkward. Sometimes it felt so difficult and painful that I thought it couldn't possibly be healthy for me and that I might be hurting myself. I put a lot of faith in what my personal trainer told me to do and relied on him for proper form to make sure I wouldn't injure myself. When they say no pain no gain, it is the truth. You need to become familiar with new movements and realize the true potential of what you body can handle to reach you fitness goals.
Muscle & Strength: What was the hardest aspect of the fitness lifestyle for you to get used to?
Vanny Vay: Definitely the diet. To this day I still struggle with it. You may not be able to tell but I am a junk food junkie and it is a constant struggle to maintain the strict and healthy diet that allows me to be a successful fitness model and personal trainer. Thank god for cheat days. (big smile)
Muscle & Strength: At what point in your journey did you decide to try and break into modeling? Were you nudged in that direction, or did you decide, I have what it takes, I'm going to do this?
Vanny Vay: I have always aspired to be a model, but when I was younger it was more of a dream as I unfortunately do not have the height requirement to be a successful fashion model. So instead, I went to school to be a fashion designer, and later realized that I have a deficiency to color which would make my life very difficult when choosing color cards and pitch sheets. When I began training I began reading popular fitness magazines. And as I saw my body transforming to look more and more like the girls in those publications I asked myself, why are they any different from me? I am fit now, I have the right proportions, why not put myself out there and try?
Muscle & Strength: Has there been anything about the modeling industry that has really surprised you?
Vanny Vay: Many people think being a model must be easy, just sit there and look pretty. I was actually very surprised at how difficult it is, especially fitness modelling. You must stay in constant shape and be able to lean down on short notice. You must spend long hours in the gym and maintain a very strict diet that can affect your relationships with friends and family. Social occasions such as BBQs, dining out, or going for drinks often aren't possible due to temptations; and all of this is just prep before a shoot.
During shoots a serious model needs to know herself and her body. You need to be able to tap into an emotional event or find something within yourself that will give your eyes the proper look. You also have to be able to hold uncomfortable positions for long periods of time and be adaptable. The day after a shoot I have often found myself as sore as a hard day in the gym from holding awkward poses that utilizes muscle that sometimes get overlooked.
Muscle & Strength: What does Vanny Vay's dream life look like? And are you close to living that life now, or do you have some major to achieve first?
Vanny Vay: My dream life allows me to be a successful, well known, and respected face of the fitness industry. My personal training business will grown into a large corporation allowing the masses to become fit, healthy, and happy. I will grace the covers of popular fitness magazines due to my success in business, modelling, and competing, and I will be able to share my passion by inspiring others to find their passion in life.
I have a long and hard road ahead of me, but I have made great strides towards this goal in what has been my first serious year in the fitness industry. I believe if you aspire to live your dreams and don't hold back, no matter what the risk, you are already successful.