An exclusive SHREDZ interview with Bella Falconi

Bella is a SHREDZ athlete and world-renowned expert in health and fitness. A two-time first place winner of fitness competitions, Bella holds a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Science and is a certified Life Coach and Personal Trainer. She became widely known and respected in the fitness industry after consolidating her career through social media and with her motivational seminars.

Bella is from Brazil, so naturally she’s excited about welcoming the Olympic games in Rio this year. Here, Bella shares her fitness secrets, talks openly about her homeland, and inspires us all to live our healthiest lives.

What’s it like to have Brazil host the Summer Olympics this year?

I'm very excited about the fact that Brazil will host the Olympic Games this year. I believe it's a huge opportunity for the country to change many bad impressions that were created over the past few years because of our political issues. Brazil is a very happy country, with happy people and beautiful places to visit. I am sure people from Brazil are very excited to watch this amazing event. 

Do you think anyone with enough discipline can train to qualify for the Olympics?

I think that anyone who wants to become the best version of himself can do it. It's just a matter of wanting and working proportionally to the size of your dreams and goals. Some things in life are harder to achieve but that doesn't mean impossible. When people ask me how I stay focused and motivated, I always respond that I want to be better than just “good enough.” “Good enough” doesn't take me to where I want to be, which is in higher places in life. People often complain of the results they never have but through the work they never do. Anyone could do whatever they want, it's just a matter of adjusting the mindset in order to become a positive go-getter and hard-working person. Nothing worth having comes easy, and that's my life motto. 

In your own fitness training, you enjoy and recommend Muay Thai, which incorporates some boxing moves. Boxing is an Olympic event that many people are very excited to see. Can you tell me a little bit about the benefits of this workout?

Muay Thai, a Thai martial art, is one of the most amazing activities I've ever done. I've been practicing it for about a year; it's good for the body and ultimately for the mind! I lost all my baby weight by doing Muay Thai -- one hour burns over 800 calories! It also helps with body awareness, boosts metabolism, and burns a lot of fat. It's also good for self-defense. I hope I never need to use it in real life, but you never know. It's always a good idea to play on the safe side by knowing at least how to protect yourself from any attacker if needed. 

When you work with people training for a competitive sporting event like the Olympics, what are the three most important factors to guarantee success?

First of all, a proper mindset is imperative for one's success. You can have access to the best trainers, doctors, supplements, and foods, but if you don't have the right mind game in place, you won't get to where you want. Secondly, developing a proper diet and workout plan,  is critical to achieve success -- it must be based on each individual's profile and goals. There are many basic factors in nutrition but a plan can't be generalized because we are all unique. Biochemical individuality must always be observed. Third and most important, a plan must be doable. We can't expect someone to follow something that's not achievable or nearly impossible to follow. A successful diet is that which is compatible to an individual's reality and life. 

How important is diet when it comes to fitness training, for Olympians and everyone else?

Diet is important to every aspect of life but when it comes to sports it then becomes even more important, because without proper eating habits, one can never achieve proper performance. Performance and diet walk close together. Without the proper fuel a car cannot start and without the proper nutrients the body cannot function as it was designed to. 

What does it take to remain focused and competitive when training for so many years for those few moments?

Mind control, motivation, and feeding the mind are the right thoughts. I always like to recommend books and movies that are motivational to every single person who's preparing for a competitive event. Also, everyone must keep in mind that we are the average of the people we surround ourselves with. Make sure to surround yourself by positive people because the world is full of toxic ones. Keeping your eyes on the goal is also important for staying on track. 

 

 

What is your fitness philosophy?

Fitness has to be a way of pursuing a healthier life and mind not just a tool to sculpt the body. The external results are a bonus, a plus. Fitness isn't just one of the ways to a healthier life, it is THE absolute and only way. You can't expect to live a healthy life without practicing some sort of physical activity combined with healthy eating habits. That's what fitness stands for to me: physical activity plus healthy eating habits. It's like a combo, one thing depends on the other strictly. You can't compensate bad eating habits with an hour of cardio, or expect good eating habits alone to improve your health, without physical activity.

What kind of mental / psychological strategies help an Olympic athlete during training?

I like to read books, listen to songs that bring a positive message, and pray. Praying is actually my biggest weapon. It calms my heart and mind. Each person responds in different ways to different stimulus, that's very individual. But for me personally, that's what works.

by Dina Aronson, MS, RDN

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