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Be Humble, Be Happy – Christina Pappas’ #StrongWomen Story

Christina Pappas, one of our USN Face of Fitness 2015 Top 6 Finalists, believes in balance. From fitness competitor to everyday gym girl – she shares her inspiring #StrongWomen story.

Tell us more about yourself and your journey.

I am a happy-go-lucky person.  I like to look for humour in everyday life. The easiest way to my heart is to make me laugh. I find it important to surround myself with real, honest, and humble people. People who wish well on others, and who want you to succeed. They say that you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep, and let’s just say, my friends are hilarious!

I lived a pretty unhealthy lifestyle growing up and was quite overweight when I started university. I decided to join a gym when I started working, which led me to become more health-conscious. I started eating healthily but I never restricted myself. I have always tried to live a balanced lifestyle.

Ok so here is my #transformationtuesday post😉👇🏼 Picture on the left: Here, I was on a low calorie diet and I believed that carbs are bad for you!😱I was training hard but I wouldn't really see the results because I wasn't fueling my body sufficiently. I was also doing a lot of cardio and not lifting heavy weights because I didn't want to get "bulky" and look like a man! 🙈Yes, I was skinny and I looked fine in clothes but I was "skinny-fat". . . Picture on the right: I am on a high calorie diet and it includes more carbs! My diet is healthy and balanced. I weigh +/- 4Kg more than the pic on the left and I have less body fat. I lift heavier weights and I do more resistance training. Most importantly, I have booty!😆 . . Thank you to my coach and dear friend, @m_tromp , for changing my life! 🙏🏻 I could never have done this without you❣💪🏼😊 . . . . #fitfam #fitspo #fitchicks #gymgirl #motivation #fitness #bodybuilding #aesthetics #iifym #fitnessaddict #health #nutrition #motivation #inspiration #bikini #hardbody #muscle

A post shared by GymGirl – Christina Pappas ✌🏼️ (@xtina_pappas) on

My fiancé, Keenan McAdam, has been my biggest supporter on my fitness journey. He encouraged me to get a coach, which then led me to enter my first fitness competition in 2015 (WBFF). I wouldn’t be where I am today, without his encouragement and support.

What has been some of your challenges and triumphs throughout your journey?

It’s difficult to stay motivated all the time. You go through stages where you are demotivated, and that is fine. You must take it for what it is, but that does not mean you should give up.

Sometimes, you have to take a break from training and dieting. It may just be the best thing to do at that time. You will soon find the motivation again and you’ll remember why you love the fitness lifestyle. We are only human after all!

I train with an awesome group of friends, and this helps me get through my workout sessions when I feel demotivated. We sing, we dance and film a couple of videos. It’s great! We work hard when we train, but we also have fun while we do it. It makes the world of difference.

My fitness career has opened many doors for me. I have been fortunate to meet many inspiring people and athletes. To be honest, I think this has been the best part of my fitness journey. It’s cool when we all support one another, even when we are standing up on stage together! How awesome is that?!

I have entered two WBFF competitions – in 2015 and 2016. I entered the Bikini division both times. I didn’t place in my first competition and in 2016 I returned to place top 10.

I also entered the USN Face of Fitness competition in 2015. I made the top 6 selection which meant I got the opportunity to be featured in Fitness Mag. This was such an awesome experience!

USN then continued the opportunity to be part of #TeamUSN (as they do with all the top 6 finalists). They have been a great support throughout my fitness journey ever since I have been part of the team. When I competed in WBFF’16, I could hear my teammates cheering for me, while I was up on stage!  They are the best!

Needless to say, I have never looked back. I love the lifestyle and how it has changed my life for the best. I hope to inspire people to live it, too.

Who inspires you to be strong?

There are a few women who inspire me to be strong. No, they do not all have six packs and are necessarily fitness athletes. These are women who inspire me to be strong in all aspects of my life.

In my personal life, my mom and my sister inspire me to be a self-respecting, classy, honest, humble and a confident woman. I am unable to be a #strongwoman, without these characteristics.

Career-wise, I have recently started a new business. I look up to the successful #strongwomen in my life, who are determined and self-driven. These women make so many sacrifices, but not to the detriment of their families. My mom, Marilyn Pappas, is my #strongwoman once again. She was a teacher for 45 years and has recently retired. She has been a great role model and influence to not only her own children, but to her “other children” (as she would say), as well. All I can say is that I am so proud of her!

Who do you nominate as your #StrongWomen and why?

I nominate Michelle Tromp as my #strongwomen. She is one super-strong woman! You should see this chick squat! When she makes a commitment, she gives it her best shot. She is dedicated and focused. Michelle introduced me to the fitness lifestyle. She is the reason why I was prepared and ready to step up on stage as a fitness competitor. Michelle also coached and supported me when I entered the USN Face Of Fitness competition. She has always stood by my side, not only as my coach, but as my friend too.

Michelle has worked extremely hard in her fitness career and takes pride in her work. Fitness is her passion – she lives it and breathes it. I love hanging out with her, mainly because we laugh so much! She even carried me over her shoulder, when I sprained my ankle whilst training! Yes, I told you she is strong! Michelle has won SA Championships three times, in her division. She has also represented SA numerous times overseas. She is not one to boast about her accomplishments, but strives to motivate and encourage others. So yes, this is why I nominate her as my #strongwomen! #YouGoGirl!

What is your favourite #StrongWomen quote?

Dream big. Start small. Act now.” Robin Sharma

Follow Christina’s inspirational journey on Instagram.

Share your #StrongWomen moment!

Nominate your candidate to feature in our new #StrongWomen series. Tell us how she inspires and/or motivates you through her actions and passion, and we’ll share her story with the world.

  1. Daily #Strongwomen. Your #StrongWomen nomination can be featured in our daily post.
  2. 5 of the #StrongWomen candidates will go on to have their full features published in Fitness magazine
  3. You too can win, with a Caribbean Tan & Boost Gymwear hamper worth R2,660 up for grabs to those who nominate their #StrongWomen

Nominate them now!

Share your #strongwomen moment with us. Nominate your #StrongWomen by posting a photo, magazine cover moment or strong moment on social media and tagging us. You can also email your nomination to strongwomen@fitnessmag.co.za

1. Who inspires you to be strong?

2. Who do you nominate as a #strongwomen and why?

3. What’s your favourite #strongwomen quote?

We’re giving away a pamper hamper to the nomination of the best #strongwomen story. Hamper contains Caribbean Tan products and Boost Gymwear goodies worth R2,660.

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