My Fitness Journey: Adina Zilberman

Just in case any of you out there were wondering about who I - your humble BSL blog writer - am, where I came from, and how I got started in fitness, let this post serve to give you all a little introduction.

For starters, my name is Adina, and I am a New Yorker (born and raised, thank you very much) in my early 30’s. I’ve got a full-time finance gig, but on the side I write, blog (my personal beauty/fitness blog just turned 9 this year), and compete in the bikini division of the NPC. Oh, and I’m also a NASM certified personal trainer. My day-to-days typically consist of commuting, long work days in the office, training, and blogging. In my (rare) free time, I’m hanging out with my husband and two darling pups.  

A Bit About my Background

Not being of a particularly coordinated or sporty nature, a very young me fell in love with dance. From childhood to young adulthood (around 20 years of age), I performed in shows and competed nationally in tap, jazz, ballet, and lyrical. In regards to my physical appearance and diet philosophy, I fell into the category of ate like crap, but was active enough to compensate for that. I was neither fat nor thin, and didn’t really “develop” until early adulthood.  

The winter of my sophomore year of highschool, a series of stressful events led me to develop an eating disorder (anorexia) as a coping mechanism. Starving myself on top of my normal activity levels created a very unhealthy (and unhappy), emaciated me. I did eventually “recover”, only to relapse again my sophomore year of college. The difference between highschool and college however was gym access and privacy, and so I added hours of treadmill running to the docket, having my weight slip into even more dangerously low territory. With the help of my then-boyfriend (now-husband) and family, I did “recover” again, and graduated college at a healthy weight.

By the way, I always put the word recover in quotes, because as those who have suffered from eating disorders know, there is always a part of it with you, no matter your weight.

Fast forward to professional me, post-college. The stress of “real life” had me alternating between emotional eating and starving myself, leading me to my heaviest adult weight, and a generally miserable disposition. The weight gain crept up on me, but once my clothes stopped fitting, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Taking a step back and really seeing myself for the first time set in me a true desire to change my lifestyle. The first step in all of this was to join a gym, and dedicate myself to working out regularly, without obsessing.I also needed to find a more balanced approach to eating.

Initially, not knowing any better, I became a cardio bunny who spent at least an hour doing steady-state cardio – five days a week – with little to no weight training. I cut my food portions back to a healthy size, and cut out the junk. In time, I began to feel better about myself, the gym giving me an outlet to release pent-up frustrations. In the process, I also lost ten pounds, though I was far from a hard-body. After doing my research, I decided that it was time to step up my fitness game, and start lifting some iron. It wasn’t until I cleaned up my diet and started incorporating daily weight training into my routine that my body really started to change for the better. With my new strength came a new kind of confidence, one that had me slowly turning my attitude around.

In November of 2012, I made the decision to take things to the next level and compete in the NPC, in the category of bikini bodybuilding. I joined a team where my coaches provided me with both meal and workout plans, and with their guidance I shed 25 more pounds. In that time, I learned what proper nutrition, coupled with smart training can do. I trained six days a week, doing a mixture of weights and cardio. I trained in the traditional bodybuilder style – doing fasted cardio every morning, and focusing on weight training a different muscle group each day. In terms of food, I would eat six precisely-measured, clean meals a day. The basic foods included brown rice, salmon, grilled chicken, tilapia, asparagus, and other nutritious, clean eats.

In spring of 2013, I stepped onto the stage for the first time, and placed top 5 at my very first show (which was a National Qualifier). I did 4 shows in total that spring and summer, and went on to place in every show I did, becoming Nationally-Qualified. I have competed on and off for the past five years, alternating between working with a coach and self-training, and have learned through trial and error what works for me. These past five years, I have continued cultivating a healthy relationship with food, fitness, and my own body, all while immersing myself in the world of fitness. After a fairly successful competition season in 2017, I turned my sights towards becoming NASM-certified, so that I could teach others to transform, just as I have. I became certified last year, and am actively pursuing training others, all while sharing my knowledge with all of you out there.  

These days, I embrace the fitness and competitive lifestyle, while still understanding and applying the concept of balance. I am always down to try a new workout, and LOVE talking about fitness and nutrition with anyone who wants more information. I am changing my body, strengthening my mind, and spreading all of my newfound positivity and knowledge, whenever I can.

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