By Chris & Eric Martinez (DDT)
For this month’s interview we have a spicy set of questions for the Latin-American Figure Competitor Monica Vargas who gives us some great insight on figure competition lifestyle, her journey, her training studio, and more.
DDT: Could you give us a little background info on who Monica Vargas is?
Monica: I grew up in a very athletic family; both of my parents were physical educators and coaches. I come from a Mexican family and grew up in south Texas. I was exposed to a variety of sports from a young age and I’m extremely competitive and very dedicated when I set my mind on something. I have a very unique way of viewing life, I really do not like following the crowd I create my own ways of doing things. I’m always searching for ways to challenge myself and reinvent the wheel. I lead a very out of the norm life according to my culture and my family. I come from a Hispanic background where everything revolves around food, but I have chosen to change my habits. I EAT clean and train hard day in and out, and enjoy sharing that with others.
DDT: That’s awesome that you do not follow the crowd, we truly believe the best way to achieve success is to carve your own path. What got you started or inspired to get into the (Health, Fit, Athletic, Bodybuilding) Lifestyle?
Monica: I was involved in sports from an early age and fell in love with the sport of gymnastics. I dedicated myself to the sport for 15 years, training and competing. I continued a very active lifestyle as a teenager. I began coaching and weight training during my last years of high school and early college. I went into the studies of kinesiology at the University of Texas at Austin. I have always led a very goal oriented life. Missing the competitive edge I found interest in fitness and figure competitions during my college years but found it tough to balance school, work and training for competition so I decided to wait.
Upon graduating from college and beginning my career in the fitness industry I also began training for my first figure competition and was hooked. Leading a healthy active life has been in my blood and I do not see myself doing anything else. I enjoy taking care of people and helping them lead an active and healthy life. I am very much a dreamer and a doer. I’m very hard working and seek very high standards in the people I surround myself with and the goals I’m aiming to reach.
DDT: As you should surround yourself with like minded people. We can see how goal oriented you are, not everyone has that ability, it’s almost like a gift. What would you say is your biggest flaw? If you do have one.
Monica: Oh I have plenty of flaws, I mean who is perfect right? I think having big dreams and expectations gets in the way of enjoying the moment. Sometimes I’m so focused on the end result that I forget to enjoy the ride. Its constant work though, I am aware that I have big dreams and goals but that I also have to be in the PRESENT MOMENT and participate with those around me. Another flaw is the lack of time I set aside to be social, I guess I get caught up in work mode and I tend to forget to go out with family and friends. My family has learned to understand me but I also have to constantly remind myself that time does not go back and it important to work and make things happen but it’s also about enjoying family and friends.
DDT: Definitely need to have balance in life. You have lived in San Diego for quite some time, what made you move to Texas?
Monica: I moved to San Diego upon graduating from college. I wasn’t set on a plan and pretty much moved to seek adventure. I really enjoyed my time there but didn’t create strong ties to California. I missed Texas and coming from a very close family I wanted to be closer to them, so I returned to my hometown in Texas.
DDT: Since you moved back to Texas you started MBR Fitness, can you please tell our audience a little bit about what MBR Fitness is and why you started it?
Monica: I began MBR FITNESS as a hobby. I had moved to my hometown temporarily hoping to make a move back to AUSTIN. I knew a lot of people in my hometown and always being involved in sports I began training a good friend as ways to stay active and make money. Long story short in a span of a couple weeks I found myself having 6 clients and training almost 25 hours a week and that’s how MBR Fitness was born. I trained people at their houses and before I knew it I had a gym in the truck of my car. I have done this for the last 5 years and last Monday I opened the doors to my own Studio what a trip it has been.
DDT: Congrats on your new studio! That is quite an accomplishment and very inspiring! In a perfect world, what would be your ideal goal, here on out for MBR Fitness?
Monica: To grow a community of Health and Fitness in the lower Valley of Texas. In this area we have a lack of a ¨FITNESS CULTURE¨ our goal is to bring knowledge and a sense of health conscience for our community in terms of mind body and spirit. I want to bring people together and have a facility that offers an opportunity for people to move and have fun while being challenged both physically and mentally. My main goal is to share and improve people’s quality of life!
DDT: Great goals! With you being Latin-American, do you feel you have an upper hand in the health and fitness industry?
Monica: Yes. I believe I have a niche. First being a woman and secondly being bilingual. I believe that there are very few trainers that are fluent in both languages and I hope to venture out in doing some projects such as exercise videos in the Spanish language. I also believe there are not a lot of Latin fitness leaders and the fitness industry in the Latin countries is practically non existent.
DDT: We couldn’t agree with you more on this. We absolutely need more Latin fitness leaders and to also give back to the Latin community. What do you feel the biggest problem is today with people not living healthy lifestyles?
Monica: I think it’s all about commodity and time. The biggest excuse is ¨I DON’T HAVE TIME¨. Well my answer to that is MAKE TIME. I think now a day’s people want everything easy and fast. I mean just look around we are bombarded with FAST FOOD DRIVE THRU’S, super-sized, we all live in a ¨rushed¨ setting. I believe that people have forgotten what it is to work for something and have patience for results. If we only went back to the BASICS which are less processed simple foods and we would move more things would be different.
DDT: At times life throws curve balls at you to test your mental toughness and heart as a person. How do you deal with overcoming these obstacles?
Monica: I have an extremely supportive family; I find comfort in knowing that I can always rely on them for advice, and help. I usually seek to surround myself with people that truly care about my well being and wish the best for me. I have never felt alone and have always found a helping hand.
DDT: Surrounding yourself with a great support system is key in life. There will always be negativity and others trying to bring you down. What would you say your biggest obstacle has been in life?
Monica: The biggest obstacle is the one I placed on myself, which is FEAR, but this has been set aside through recent time. I THINK we all have some type of fear when it comes to living out our plans. It’s scary to put yourself out there in the professional way; I think my biggest obstacle has been worrying too much about what others think. I have set FEAR aside for some time now, and I’m not saying I don’t have it I just choose to ignore it and move past it. ¨The only obstacles you have are those you set in front of you¨, is a quote I have adopted whenever I do feel the slightest discomfort. Lately I have learned to act past the thought of fear and of the unknown. It’s almost thrilling to find some type of adventure waiting for me. I think growing up and experiencing that and playing small serves no good and is BORING. Its fun to go out there and figure it all out, life really is about ADVENTURE!
DDT: Life truly is about adventure and taking risks. What really motivated you to do your first figure competition?
Monica: I truly missed being competitive in a sport, I remember looking at bodybuilding magazines at home and remember MONICA BRANTS pictures and thought to myself one day when I’m older I would like to compete and come out in a fitness magazine. Upon completing my competitive gymnastics career I found fitness as an opportunity to stay in shape, be competitive and be a role model for others.
DDT: When do you plan on doing another figure competition?
Monica: I competed for 5 years straight and it definitely took a toll on my physical and mental well being. It is a very strict and selfish lifestyle. I have focused on my business for the last year and half but plan to get back on stage within the next year.
DDT: What kind of advice can you give to an aspiring female figure competitor who’s barely beginning their journey?
Monica: The figure and fitness lifestyle is a hard one. You find yourself alienating yourself from friends and actual life itself because of all the hours you spend cooking, prepping, and training. My advice would be to make sure you have a strong support system and to define the true reasons you ENJOY this sport, always keeping in mind that the actual PLACING in a competition shouldn’t define the JOURNEY. Another piece of advice would be to seek a coach that not only guides you through the contest prep but also guides you AFTER the fact, I have seen a lot of women lose themselves taking pills and damaging their bodies in aims of maintaining low body fat percentages.
DDT: Absolutely you have to seek out a great coach. We have seen coaches literally starve their clients just to get them to their peak and then let them binge eat after their competition. That is a recipe for disaster and a damaged metabolism. When you decide to compete again, will you do your own prep or will you seek out a previous coach?
Monica: I have decided to hit stage either late this year or early next year, and the reason I’m still debating is because I did just open my studio and it requires a lot of energy. Prepping for competition takes a lot of work and focus and so does running a business so I’m trying to find the balance. I think with the next month I should be able to stabilize myself with my personal schedule and set a date. I have two coaches that work with one helps me with my nutrition and another FITNESS PRO helps me with my routines. I find these two professionals amazing to work with because they have helped me in the past and they do not sugar coat anything. Mainly it’s the fact of being held accountable and on track, like I do for any of my clients.
DDT: We all like to have our fun, which is what life’s about. What does Monica Vargas do for fun?
Monica: I really enjoy outdoor activities; my favorite thing is outdoor running it really clears my mind. Like any other girl I love shopping for clothes although it’s usually workout clothes. I love to cook and create new healthy recipes; I’m actually a master of the GRILL. Like any other young person I love going out and hanging out with friends. I enjoy watching UFC and going to the movies as well as searching for coffee shops and sushi restaurants when I travel to new cities.
DDT: You sound like a very down to earth woman Monica. We wish you nothing but the best of luck with your business and success. Thank you for letting us interview you 🙂
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