|All pictures provided by Women's Health Magazine|
Women's Health "Next Fitness Star" competition is a national search for the next big face of fitness. Thousands of submissions from women across the country are narrowed down to five finalists who appear on the cover of the July/August issue (pictured below!). These five ladies compete for their own fitness DVD contract, as well as being featured in the first ever "Women's Health: Next Fitness Star" webisode series. Make sure to get online and vote for Christine here!
Let's get into the interview!
How did you get started in the fitness field?I started dancing ballet at the age of 3 up through middle school and high school. I was dancing five to seven days a week in lots of groups like the Pittsburgh Youth Ballet and attending camps with Point Park University and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. My plan was always to become a ballerina, so I didn't go to college right away. I started getting injured a lot, and decided to enroll at Chatham College.
In college, I felt lost and thought I had to have a job in an office, working 9-5. I wanted a job in the arts, but didn't think it would pay the bills. I started teaching yoga freshman year at Amazing Yoga to help pay my way through college, and eventually moved to Los Angeles to follow my passion. I decided to do what I loved most and what made me happy. I started picking up all the certifications that mattered to me, like Pilates, Barre, Yoga, and pre-and post-natal care. I also became a certified nutrition and wellness counselor. My advice is to do what you're passionate about and live your dreams!
What made you apply to be the Next Fitness Star?
I actually applied last year and didn't make it through, and wasn't going to apply again this year. At the last minute, a friend mentioned it and I went with my gut and decided to apply again. Since it was at the end of the application process when I applied, I got a letter that I was a finalist right away! Always go with your gut so you don't regret missing an opportunity!
The entire process has been amazing. The finalists got to fly out to New York City twice- the first time to get makeovers at amazing salons and spas, shoot the magazine cover and film interviews. The second trip we got to meet the magazine editors (who are all amazing) at an event at Exhale, as well as a spa day at Exhale. Finally, the magazine crews flew out to each of our hometowns to film a day in the life video. It's been a whirl wind!
What do you typically eat in a day?What don't I eat!? Seriously! For breakfast, I'm typically on-the-go, but I start with hot water with lemon or an herbal tea, which I'll sip all morning. I like to have something that's easy on my digestion throughout the day like a smoothie. I also pre-make food on Sundays and love to have a vegetable soup for breakfast. My philosophy is why start your day with bacon and eggs, when we can start getting our veggies as soon as we wake up? I also love open faced sandwiches with smoked salmon and radish or avocado: complex carbs and protein are a great way to start the day.
For lunch, I love salads with lots of colorful vegetables and not too many leafy greens. I think greens are harder to chew and digest and don't add much nutritional value, so I add lots of vegetables like beets, red onion, cucumber, tomato and avocado. I'll also add in chicken or fish. Scallops are my favorite! I also make sure to guzzle water throughout the day to flush out all the toxins.
What are your best tips to stay motivated to work out and be healthy?1. Find something you enjoy- you have to want to wake up and do it every day. For example, if you have a membership at the gym and hate lifting weights or working out by yourself, you won't go. Find something that you like to do!
2. Find a group of friends, or even one friend to be your workout buddy, and hold each other accountable. In these busy times, it's hard to see friends all the time. Now we can see our friends while we work out and build our relationships while staying fit! Instead of having a business meeting or a girls night out at a fancy restaurant while we're all dressed up, I'll suggest wearing workout gear and either going to a fitness class or taking a walk before getting something to eat. That way, we're in a different, healthier state of mind, and are more likely to make better choices while we're out.
3. Our lives are so busy, and our cortisol levels (stress hormones) are too high. This keeps our weight on and decreases our metabolism. I think it's important to find moments throughout the day to chill out and slow down the breath. If I have a busy day, I'll get up from the computer, walk around, sit and read a book for 10 minutes and just relax. I feel instantly better! It's important to take care of yourself from the inside out.
What is your favorite workout?I love to mix it up! Everyday I'm doing something different: from High intensity drills, throwing tires and handstand walks, to Pilates on a reformer machine, or yoga on the beach: I'm always switching it up. Right now in Los Angeles, Aerial Yoga is really popular. The anti-gravity silks help decompress your spine and it feels amazing! It also takes a ton of core strength. Dance classes are also really popular now, and are great for beginners. You don't need experience to do it and it's a lot of fun! Some of it feels old school- like a mix of Jane Fonda with newer moves.
I don't like to do a ton of cardio, because it's more effective to strength train. Strength training builds muscles and tones your body, rather than just burning calories. It also increases your resting metabolism and helps burn fat and increase muscle mass.
What are some of your must-have fitness products?I live in fitness gear, and my current favorite website is carbon38. They have the coolest new clothing lines to wear to the gym as well as running errands. One of my favorite designers on the website is Lorna Jane, who makes the best sports bras for every body type. My other favorite designers on carbon38 are Koral and Michi. I think you get a better workout when you look and feel good, and their clothes all cover everything so you don't have to worry about anything showing!
Another brand that I'm loving is Hickies, which makes the coolest shoe laces. I get stopped all the time when I wear these because they look great on every shoe! The laces are sort of like rubber bands, so you don't have to worry about tying your shoes, and they form to your feet so that your shoes are more comfortable. (Christine shared a discount code for the website- use christineb20 to take 20% off your order!)
What are some of your favorite songs for working out right now?Iggy Azaelia: Heavy Crown, Beg For It
Rachel Platton: Congratulations, Fight Song
The Weeknd: Can't Feel My Face
Galantis: Peanut Butter Jelly
Be sure to follow Christine on Spotify! Just search for Christine Bullock Simon.
What are some of your favorite places in Pittsburgh?My favorite neighborhoods are Shadyside and Squirrel Hill. I used to work at the Sephora in Shadyside and would always go to Walnut Grill for dinner and Shady Grove for drinks. I also love Girasole, a great Italian restaurant.
Thank you to Women's Health for letting me interview Christine! Best of luck to her, and I hope you'll all be inspired by her and go vote here (it's really easy, free, and there's no registration required).
Thinking Out Loud Thursday
Your turn! Answer some questions above.
Have you ever applied for a fitness competition? .