Victoria Felkar. Where do I start? I once saw her photo on the friends list of someone else on Facebook. I said to myself "wow, she is gorgeous". Then I saw she was into fitness, and decided to send her a friend request. We had no contact after that until she sent me a message to say she loved the idea of my blog. Since then she has become such a huge influence on me. Not just with training, but with my life. Victoria is one of the most amazing people I know. I consider it an honor to talk to her and to know her. She always asks about my training, when I have other things she always asks about them. She constantly offers me encouragement for no other reason than because that is just how she is. I have said that WHEN I compete my goal is not winning, it is making people proud. Victoria is one of those people I want to make proud. Victoria is going to compete in her fist fitness competition this year, and I am so excited about it. I know she will do great and will rock that stage. I know this, because I know Victoria. Victoria is also a great trainer, and has a great webiste, loaded with all the info you need to learn about raining and nutrition. If you are a company that sponsors competitors, Victoria is a woman you need to look into. Victoria is everything that is good about fitness, and Victoria is a role model, inspiration, and amazing woman. Please check her out at www.victoriafelkar.com
Q: Victoria, thank you so much for doing this. You know how amazing I think you are. This is an honor for me.
Q: Can you tell a little about yourself. Just the basic stuff like where you are from, family, things like that.
A: I grew up in Vancouver, Canada which is where I currently reside. I attend the University of British Columbia, where I am majoring in Human Kinetics with a minor in Psychology. All about the mind body connection! I am a personal trainer, and competition coach. I come from an amazing family, who are incredibly supportive, allowing me to flourish!
Q: Now you started ballet at the ripe old age of 3. What lead to that?
A: My mom was a figure skater growing up, so dance was natural for my sisters and I to take part in.
Q: At age 5 you started competing in ballet. What does one do for ballet competitions?
A: A dancers life isn't far off from fitness competitions. You have a 3 minute routine in the style of entry. Competition season started in February and continued through till May. There are solo, duo, trio and group dances ranging in styles from ballet to jazz, tap, hiphop and more! When your 5 years old there really isn't much prep... the fun begins as you get older. By the time you hit your teens your in your prime. Picking music, designing costumes and performing several routines of different styles in one day!
Q: Now you are a trained R.A.D. in ballet. Can you explain what that is.
A: R.A.D. stands for the Royal Academy of Dance. It is a International dance examination board for classical ballet (think of it as a dance federation). The style of ballet is known as the English Style (a convergence of Italian, French, Danish and Russian styles). Sounds pretty foreign to someone who doesn't know a lot about ballet. Yes there are different styles of ballet! R.A.D. ballet is incredibly technical and you perform exams of syllabus every year (or more depending on how slow you learn).
Q: In high school you began to do long distance running. What inspired you to start that?
A: Being a ballet dancer required me to obtain a slender physique (we all know the stereotypes!). I am 5'1 and stocky so needless to say I had to work hard. Long distance running was a way for me to let loose and enjoy. It started out as trying to get lean, but soon became a way for me to throw away the stresses of life while pushing my body to its limits.
A: At that point you started going to the YMCA and wanted to do weight training. What made you want to do that and was it hard since most of the people there were probably men?
A: Sad but true. At the Y there is a distinct line on the floor between the weight area and cardio. I swear that line causes great segregation- girls on the cardio machines and boys on the weight room floor. I like to push limits both physically and mentally but also social norms so one day while stepping away on the stair master I decided that I had to cross that damn line! After getting a friend to show me some exercises I was set. Armed with 5 exercises (that I did everyday) I soon was finding myself wanting more. I loved the way that strength training had improved my dancing too.
Q: At some point there you decided you wanted to do fitness. Why fitness over say bodybybuilding for example?
A: Fitness seems natural for me being that I have danced my whole life. With that being said I can stack muscle on quickly, so I have to be careful. For me its just polishing up the gymnastics!
Q: You were also diagnosed with celiac. What is that, what causes it, what are the side effects.
A: Celiacs disease is an autoimmune disorder that effects my small intestines. There are a bunch of symptoms but for me the hardest part is the severe reactions to foods. Celiacs disease caused by a reaction to gluten protein found in wheat and other similar products. When someone with celaics disease eats gliadin (gluten protein), enzymes modify the protein and the immune system cross reacts in the small bowels causing inflammatory reaction's, causing the interference of absorption of nutrients. I stick to a very strict gluten free diet to avoid the reactions. I also have other food allergies and enzyme problems- there isn't a lot I can eat in the end!
Q: Now you are also a certified personal trainer and spin instructor. I know what training is, but what is spin?
A: Indoor cycling or Spinning is a form of high (HIGH!) intensity exercise that uses a stationary bike modelled similar to a road bike. Combine the elements of group fitness, a running group mentality of push, and a lot of sweating- you get spinning. Since its invention in the 1980’s by the one and only Johnny G (Jonathan Goldberg), spinning has rocked the world creating cycling training not only for cyclists but for your average Joe. Different simulations are created using alterations in resistance, cadence and riding style. A basic class will take you through a warm-up, flat, climb, run, standing, jumps and sprints- but really this is up to the instructor and level of the class.
Q: Do spin instructing and personal training go hand in hand. Are the similar? A: Spinning instruction is just like group fitness so it absolutely goes hand in hand with training. I love group fitness classes because I can offer guided fitness for more people. My spin classes can get 15 people in them- in an hour class I try to teach them about general fitness and relate it back to the class, for example heart rate training.
Q: I know that promoting health and wellness in young women is very important to you. Why is it of such importance, and what do you do to help promote it?
A: I struggled with eating disorders for many years, and body image issues. A dream of mine is to help other girls avoid these. Fitness ended up saving me, but it wasn't easy to understand the right from wrong. When your a 15 year old girl you think eating protein makes you bulky, let alone touching weights. I think its time for us fitness women to crush these myths and help change the life's of young women helping to prevent body image and eating disorders before they begin.
Q: If someone hires Victoria Felkar as a personal trainer, what do they get?
A: I am a huge believer in individual needs. There is nothing cookie cutter about the human body. Although I love my contest girls, I train athletes to breast cancer survivors. Because of my background I am well versed in training style, from bodybuilding to body weight, high low aerobics to unconventional training. But beware I like to push, and push hard! I like people to see their true potential. Fitness should always be fun, while still challenging. I am extremely dedicated to my clients but I do expect the same in return. With a lot of hard work and dedication any fitness goals and dreams will come true.
Q: I know that in June you are competing for the first time. Are you nervous, excited, what are your feelings?
A: Not nervous at all! I miss the stage. I have been helping to promote and work shows for the past few years. It drives me nuts being back stage and not being able to go on stage. Unfortunately after the abuse on my body from dance I had to take some time off dance to rehab my hip flexors. That gave me time to really hit the weight room and tap into my muscle!
Q: Do you personally have a favorite body part to train or a favorite exercise?
A: I love training everything but biceps! Chest is up there but legs really do top the list. Love squats!
Q: What is your normal training and diet routine and how do you plan to change it as the show gets closer and closer?
A: I train 6 days of week of weights and cardio. Cardio is 30 minutes a day at the wee hours of 5am. I train shoulders twice a week and everything else once- sometimes adding in an extra plyo day depending on week. Change is inevitable! You will have to wait to see!
Diet is clean all the time. With having all my food allergies and celaics I have no choice but to eat clean. For me carbs make all the difference... I'm going to miss that oatmeal.
Q: Is competing something your family and friends support?
A: Absolutely! I think my mom is the most excited. My mom knows posing, routine criteria and suit design!
Q: Describe a typical day in the life of Victoria Felkar.
A: Typical day starts at 430am. I hit the gym by 5am and do 30 minutes of cardio and stretch. Then its back to home to shower and get my day started. I cook Sundays and Wednesday so all it takes is me to grab Tupperware out of my fridge. Off to work for a 7am bootcamp, usually have a client right after and then its off to classes. Depending on the day I will have anywhere from 2hours to 5 hours of classes. Then its back to the gym for weights. Sometimes its back to class or to teach either a group fitness class or clients. Home time comes around 6pm- then its studying, replying to emails and answering phone calls. Bed is by 9pm!
Q: Now I understand you also make suits for women to wear on stage. What started that?
A: My love for dance costumes started it all. A few of my friends needed suits but couldn't afford to pay the high costs being asked, so my mom and I got to it. Between her eye for proper cuts and my color schemes we have pulled off some pretty rad suits and very affordable prices.
Q: Is that something you still do?
A: It is but more on a suit to suit basis. Because of the time commitment per suit I can't make them during school- I pay more attention to embellishing then studying!
Q: If someone wanted to hire you as a trainer, whats the best way to get ahold of you?
A: There are several ways to contact me. Facebook is great for connecting - Victoria Felkar. Or my website has all of my contact info on it www.victoriafelkar.com
Q: Now one thing that always helps in this sport is sponsors. Are you looking for any and how can they find out more about you and get ahold of you?
That would be a dream come true! Same as before, facebook, website or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Q: Care to tell any right now why they should sponsor you.
A: Hard question Jason! I guess it comes down to it, I'm young, driven and hard working!
Q: You also have a very informative website. Care to tell people the address and what they can find there.
My current website (stay tuned its being redone) has a collection of articles on it. Sometimes I write on common questions, other times it is simply random fun fitness facts. I love to inform the public! All of the articles I have wrote come from an academic background, so things are commonly cited and referenced. It is the only way to go! I also has a short bio and training information. The new site will be up shortly which includes recipes, photo galleries and more!
Q: Please take this time if there is anything I left out that you want to mention or promote, and talk about that.
A: I have to give a huge shout out to my Versus family. Versus Fitness and MMA in Vancouver have helped me so much as a trainer and competitor. They have one of the top MMA schools in BC as well as have a fantastic programs for competition. Check out www.versus21.com for some pretty sweet blogs, movies and training tips.
Q: Are there any misconceptions about women in fitness?
A:SO many! I could be here for hours talking about the myths. From believing lifting weights makes you bulky to the stigmas attached to female bodybuilding, sometimes the misconceptions are down right nasty. I think its all our jobs to dispel these myths and well Jason, your starting it right here with this blog! Yay!
Q: Any hobbies outside of training?
A: I have to say not really! Dance will always be my passion. After a long week of training I love to just sit down and watch a movie, if I make it through it! My family is also a huge 'hobby' of mine! My days off usually have my at my parents house, playing with my miniature schnauzer!
Q: What is one thing about you that people would be surprised to know?
I love dogs! Absolutely go crazy around them, especially puppies! I surprise clients of mine who see me as hardcore, when I pull out the baby voices!
Q: Describe Victoria Felkar in five words.
A: Driven. Ambitious. Strong. Caring. Passionate.
Q: Victoria thank you so much for agreeing to do this. It has been a real honor for me. Is there anything you want to add before you go.
A: Thank you Jason for including me in this amazing website! It really is an honour, thank you again. Keep your eyes open for me, I'm coming :)