Ahead of this weekend’s highly-anticipated Egypt Fitness Fest, we chatted with ELFIT competitor Julia Alexan.
The Bake Rolz & Stix-sponsored athlete will be going up against challengers from five different countries in Egypt’s biggest fitness competition. She shared with us the challenges of being a female athlete, her preparations for ELFIT, her anti-fitness guilty pleasure and more.
1. Tell us briefly about your fitness journey. Have you always been fit? What made you start? How has it changed your life?
I started as a kid in gymnastics and since then have always been into fitness. Being fit made me attain new heights in fitness and helps keep a balanced body, mind and spirit. It definitely plays a big role in personal happiness and self-confidence.
2. What has your training been like for ELFIT?
Training has been tough for me because I don’t usually lift free weights with the bar. I’m used to weight machines at the gym, but training with the free bar is a new challenge for me.
3. What advice do you have for people who want to compete in challenges like ELFIT?
Start training early! Give yourself time to slowly progress and build up to the heavier weight requirements. Don’t wait for the last minute and go for heavier weights than you’re used to training with. Train with others — it will encourage you to keep going when you need fresh motivation.
4. As a female athlete, are guys intimidated by you?
I’m sure there are some guys that are intimidated by me. Having a high level of fitness puts guys up to the challenge because they hate being beat by a girl. So in my fitness classes, I definitely push them to their limits regardless of their fitness level being higher or lower than mine. So if they are intimidated, it’s to my advantage as a trainer to get more out of them for a better workout.
5. What misconceptions do people have about female athletes that you’d like to break?
I’m not sure what people think about female athletes. In general, what people think is not something I bother myself with. We need more female athletes in this country. A government-funded program to encourage more female athletes would be great!
6. How do you deal with disappointments and losses?
I never feel like I lose anything. Every experience teaches me something and I never lose the lesson. Disappointments can be something unexpected that’s out of my hands. And anything out of my hands is probably just meant to be, and sometimes that means there’s a different silver lining for me to look for instead.
7. Who of your competitors do you secretly admire?
I don’t know any of my competitors, but I do look up to my teammates who are awesome weight lifters, Habiba and Nada. Amazing!
8. What will your personal motto be going into the finals of ELFIT?
Just do my best and the rest will fall in place.
9. One thing you should never wear at a sports event?
Anything too revealing because a lot of Egyptian ‘general public’ type of guys are pigs, dirt bags, perverts and have deep social issues. I threw a loser’s phone in the ocean once for taking pictures of me in a swimsuit at a beach sports event and acting like he wasn’t. He started crying and it was the funniest thing ever!
Nobody ever thinks about consequences — too bad they have a brain and don’t use it. It’s really sad you can’t wear a swimsuit at a beach sports event because of the ‘general public’ loser guys in Egypt. How about some social reform? This is ridiculous.
10. Who is your sports idol?
11. If it’s obvious your losing, how do you encourage yourself to keep going?
I always compete against myself to achieve a better personal best. I have to keep going or else I feel like my time spent in training wasn’t put to good use.
12. Anti-fitness guilty pleasure?
Chocolate and cheesecake, which I have yet to find. So far, I haven’t had one decent New York Cheesecake in any restaurant/bakery in Egypt. They are all bad. One less guilty pleasure!
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