I’m here today with Niki Klasnic, Instagram celebrity and fitness instructor best known for her Get Fit Guide. Her HIIT cardio workouts for women sell on iTunes and Niki’s website, Sugary Six Pack. Her message is all about keeping things fun and positive. Niki reminds us we deserve to feel good, physically and mentally, today—not when our abs are finally stellar and our goals are accomplished, but right now.
I hear a lot of people talking about “cheat days” and “getting off track” when it comes to getting healthy with food and fitness. Everyone seems to be drawing completely different lines in the sand. What’s your take on that?
NK: Whatever you call it—“messing up” is what I hear most but I don’t love putting it that way—it’s a completely O.K. part of life. Let’s say you love Oreos and sweet tea, but you’ve been avoiding them because they’re not in sync with your healthy eating plan. And you had them last time you were out with friends. Instead of stewing in guilt about messing up, move on. You just have to make sure loading up on cookies and sweet tea is not what you’re doing consistently. We’ve got to remember things that are fun don’t have to be incompatible with reaching our goals.
So kind of like seeing Oreos (or whatever) as an indulgence to enjoy on occasion, instead of my personal Kryptonite, to avoid at all costs. Got it! Since we’re on the subject, what tops your indulgence category?
NK: Ohmygosh. I love a good dessert. My favorite would have to be the s’mores crispies I make. I used to eat them like crazy and they’re full of sugar, so now they’re just a special occasion treat. It’s Golden Graham cereal, mixed into a pot of melted marshmallows, almost like you were making rice crispy treats, then you throw in a few dark chocolate chips. I put it on wax paper and pick off huge chunks. The chips melt, and it’s pretty much amazing.
When considering our own fitness, there’s how our body feels, and how we feel about our body, and it can get pretty complex. You always keep it positive—what’s your secret?
NK: I have always been involved in athletics. That helped me to see my body for what it can do, rather than what it looks like. I was also lucky to be exposed to books about personal growth and positivity in my teens. They helped me find ways to beat insecurities, and focus on what I like about myself. When I have a negative thought about myself, I pause to consider whether it’s about something I can change. If it is, I make it a goal and work towards it. But if it’s not something I can change, I move on and shift to a more positive thought.
Reminds me of the serenity prayer: grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Any words of wisdom you’d share with your younger self, if you could?
NK: To worry less about what people think. In grade school I spent years being scared to voice my opinions and start a conversations because I didn’t know if the other person would like me, or think what I said was dumb. I’ve been so much happier, and had so much more fun since getting over that!
You sound like a truly happy and confident woman. Any tearjerker moments recently?
NK: This is a little embarrassing. It was my “time of the month” and I was feeling irritable and just “blah” all day. My fiancé came to visit me and the whole time I was really cold to him for no apparent reason. He was nice to me through it all and kept wondering what he had done. When I got home I felt so bad I had a meltdown. Basically, I upset myself to the point of tears (I did apologize to him later).
Hormones are powerful and mood swings happen—we’ve all been there! On the subject of getting a little bit of dirt—are there any blush-worthy tales you can share?
NK: When I first started training clients and was demonstrating a press jack. I looked at the client while demonstrating, and busted myself in the jaw with a weight. It was pretty painful and very embarrassing.
Ouch. You’ve come a long way since then, and now hundreds of thousands of people are paying attention! Beyond your kickass workouts and an understanding of how to get fit, what do you most want to share with these people?
NK: That I am so grateful for their support and the chance to interact with them! I love helping people to see that their workout doesn’t have to be something they dread. It’s so important to make a healthy lifestyle fun.
For the record, I’m not perfect in my own personal fitness goals. Sometimes I feel lazy. Sometimes I cave to a yummy dessert when I didn’t plan on it. Sometimes my workouts aren’t amazing. Nobody’s got to perform at 100% all the time—so long as you get back to it and keep moving forward in the direction of your goals! Witnessing your own improvements is amazing, and worth the work and commitment it takes. We can all work towards our ambitions and still be happy and confident now.
Any last words of advice for us?
NK: When you’re pursuing a passion, give everything you have. Really put in the work. You can’t go halfway in and expect to be successful. Also, don’t worry about what other people will think. So many dreams are crushed because we get self-conscious and back down. Believe in who you are and what you’re doing.