Tania Kowalski is Canadian. She grew up just outside of Edmonton, Alberta in a suburb called Sherwood Park. She was an out-doorsy kid, a tom boy. Tania spent a lot of her play time catching frogs and fishing 🙂 After graduating high school, she started out in art college (Alberta College of Art) because drawing was something that she was good at and enjoyed. She honestly didn’t know what else to do with my life at the time.
Tania quickly realized that although she enjoyed painting and drawing that it wasn’t what she wanted to do to make a living. She went back to school to take business, and graduated with a major in marketing. Tania worked with Xerox, Canada and then moved to Bermuda with her husband and worked for the Xerox distributorship there. She learned so much through working for Xerox Canada, it’s really an incredible company.
Working for them honed her marketing and sales skills, training that she is forever grateful. She went on to do marketing for one of the local banks where she did a lot of travel. She left the marketing world when she gave birth to their first daughter and started studying for her fitness and nutrition certifications. They have lived in Bermuda for 15 years now and had their two daughters there.
As a Certified Personal Trainer, Lifestyle & Weight Management Coach. How did you start to follow the fitness path? Have you always been active?
I certainly haven’t always been fit, I was a “chubby’ kid. I had less than stellar eating habits and wasn’t especially active, however I loved gymnastics, I was a backyard gymnast. I did play a few sports, It was mostly my eating habits that held me back. We ate Kraft Dinner, hot dogs, you know, a lot of processed food. Having extra weight on me didn’t help with athleticism and hindered my desire to try..
I was in my early 20’s when I decided that I needed to stop making excuses, to change my life. I started working out and never looked back. Working out started to take the weight off and give me confidence. I became hungry for knowledge and read everything that I could get my hands on in terms of nutrition. Over time a good thing became obsessive and I went too far with fitness, in that everything became centered around it. I did a lot of cardio and became too thin! I’ve lived both ends of the spectrum.
I have such a love for nutrition, it’s so powerful to see the changes solid nutrition can make in health and body composition. My husband jokes that I think that nutrition can cure anything. When my first daughter was born I decided to start on my certifications so that I could get out there and start helping others find their way.
I am now a Personal Trainer and Lifestyle & Weight Management (now called Health Coach) certified through ACE (The American Council on Exercise) and am also Precision Nutrition Certified. Precision Nutrition is such a great fit for me as I already lived what I now teach, it was so easy to get behind and has given me even more confidence in helping my clients.
Tell us more about Health Fanatic? How did you get started and what inspired you to start the business?
I often had friends ask me for advice on training and nutrition and I realized that it was time to try to make helping others find their way into my ‘job’. I started blogging when I was at home when the girls were tiny and then approached a friend who owned a gym here explaining how I wanted to run/launch my 12 Week Total Health Transformation program, he said yes, and I’ve just kept building from there.
What does your business stands for as a whole and what kind of services you provide? What makes your fitness programs different and worthwhile for women in comparison to others?
There is really some irony in the name of my business, ‘Health Fanatic’ as I am a recovered ‘Fanatic’ and I am focused on bringing more moderation into my life and the lives of my clients. We have a society that seems to be either completely sedentary or one completely obsessed with wellness and I don’t see either one as leading to a healthy, happy existence.
My business stands for making health a priority in life, but not letting it take over, to fitting fitness and nutrition into ‘everyday’ life. Spending years as a part of the bodybuilding culture, I’ve seen relationships torn apart, and people who you would expect to have the highest self esteem become very insecure of their bodies even though they have some of the most enviable physiques around. Being solely focused on the external is a lonely place.
I’ve built my programs to show how to work healthy living into life without it having to be the sole focus. I teach how to build every day meals using real food. How to fit exercise and eating well into a busy schedule. How to take small daily actions to build happiness and stay grateful, in which fitness and good nutrition are building blocks. I’m constantly adding more to my programs and include life enhancing activities that bring out what’s missing; what’s keeping us unfulfilled, what’s stopping us from reaching our goals, what is causing the anxiety, and how to speak kindly to and love ourselves no matter where we are at.
I think that my programs are different from others out there because I want nothing more than to see my clients find that sweet spot of focusing on their healthy while still LIVING their lives. My programs are for the long haul, building life habits, not for someone looking to have overnight results as those results are never maintainable.
Can you tell us more about your products, ebooks, and training? Any up and coming seminars?
My 12 week Total Health Transformation program includes how to create healthy, real food meals, workouts, and the life building activities that I was talking about above, This program is available in person here in Bermuda where the client’s workout with me twice a week and do bi-weekly check-ins where we discuss a nutrition hot topic.
We do an extensive introduction to the program and a grocery store tour. We have a closed Facebook page, I do my best to reach out to my clients regularly offering information and support. The online program is similar however clients follow my workout videos, and we converse in an online forum.
My 20 Minutes to Trim is a quick, although robust 1 week plan (without a forum or accountability) that is all about quick training and quick, easy meals. Both programs are the types of training that I do and the food/meals that we really eat.
Interesting that you ask about a seminar as that is on my to-do list for this year! I am trying to put together a day long seminar in Bermuda, I’m super excited and hoping to pull it all together!
I really want to do more public speaking so it is on my list to get out there and start doing more presentations.
Besides broadening one’s knowledge about you and what you do, what other functions does your website contain that our readers can expect to see and use when visiting the site? Are there any special features?
I share recipes, and workouts, offer information on and sign ups to my programs/e-books, as well as the online forums.
How did you discover Natalie Minh Interactive and came to the solution to work with us? How was your overall experience?
When I decided that my website needed an overhaul, I asked a couple well known fitness personalities that I follow and one recommended Natalie Minh, and that started the conversation with Natalie. Kathleen (my contact) has been amazing and I’m sure that she’s slapping herself on the forehead dealing with me some days. She’s been extremely patient as I this has been a steep learning curve for me and I want to understand how to work and maintain everything so it’s been an intense process. It’s not like you can just hand it over to someone, there’s a lot of work involved on both ends.
Have any of your clients influenced you in regards to your own health and fitness?
My clients continually motivate me to be better. I’ve always tried my best to ‘walk the talk’ and when I’m in a slump, seeing the energy that my clients bring to the table energizes and inspires me. When someone who started out not knowing a lot about nutrition ‘get’s it’, it makes me light up, it’s awesome!
Living a healthy and fit lifestyle, we’re curious, what does your daily diet look like? Do you give yourself “cheat days”? Do you have any favorite clean recipes you would like to share?
I don’t have ‘cheat’ days, I just have want I want (in small portions!) when I want it. If I cut something out completely then it’s all that I want! I tend to stick to pretty decent indulgences though. I really like the bitter, dark chocolate, and the spinach pizza that’s not dripping in cheese…
Oh, and I love my wine, If I’m really wanting a glass of wine, I’ll have one but I make a pact with myself that I’m stopping after one 😉
A typical day of eating for me looks like this:
Breakfast: oat bran with protein powder, maca, blueberries, and flax mixed in
Mid-morning: a piece of fruit and some nuts
Lunch: a HUGE salad (greens, cabbage, avocado, tomatoes, a little olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and dijon mustard) , some lean protein thrown in, and a piece of Ezekiel bread with peanut or almond butter and banana
Afternoon: a shake with unsweetened almond milk, a scoop of protein powder, a big leaf of kale, maca, flax, and some powdered greens
Dinner: some kind of protein (salmon, chicken or lean beef), raw veggies with hummus
or steamed veggies, and sometimes squash, sweet potato or another piece of Ezekiel bread
Evening: I usually snack on some almonds, sometimes a rice cake with nut butter and sometimes with a glass of wine 🙂
Your workout routine consist of? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)
I generally lift 4 days a week. I do a power day on Monday or Tuesday where I do a heavy, lower rep, full body workout including squats, deadlifts, glute bridges, pull-ups, push-ups, shoulders and triceps. Wed is back/biceps/abs/calves, Thursday – legs/shoulders, Fri/Sat – chest/triceps. If I miss a day I’ll try to incorporate the missed body parts into another session.
I typically just do one cardio session per week which is usually spinning on Sunday. I do try to incorporate kettlebell swings, jump squats and lunges into some of my other workouts between sets.
If I feel like going for a walk or run I will but it’s not really scheduled in. I have also stopped beating myself up for missing a workout. I’ve learned that one or two missed workouts doesn’t undo all of my progress.
In addition to your diet and workouts, do you believe in supplements? If so, which do you use and what results have these given you?
I use a good quality protein powder for convenience and take fish oil. Other than that, just a multi-vit, a Tumeric recovery complex, and iron. That’s about it. I definitely feel more energy after taking iron and my multi but that’s because I know that I don’t eat enough red meat and train hard so am low in iron, and I always notice a boost from B-vitamins (in my multi).
I honestly believe that supplements should be just that, supplements to whole food and should be tailored to the person. If you have identified holes in your nutrition, that’s where supplements come in. It’s tough to get enough of everything so having the ability to supplement is great however if you can get it from food, that is the way. Some may eat a lot of dairy but not a lot of meat, everyone is different and may require different supplements.
As a mom, how do you influence your children to eat healthy? Do you teach them to exercise regularly?
This is SO SO SO important to me. I want to give our daughters all the tools that I can to have healthy bodies and minds and to set them up with confidence. Our kiddos do eat really well, because we do too! They really do mimic what we do and we are their role models, their guides, we have this incredible opportunity to help shape their thoughts around food and eating. I try to educate, not just saying ‘no’ to something but rather explaining why and what certain foods do for our bodies and why we need them.
The kids eat more pasta than my hubby and I do however it’s usually brown rice pasta. I have to say that I don’t do a lot of baking at home so the only baked treats that my kiddos usually get come from school and birthday parties which is more than enough. Our daughters eat veggies, fruit, and protein at every meal. Having a couple of ‘active’ activities in their schedules is a must too however we’ve never had to push it and both our daughters are really active, again, I believe that it’s because we are too.
I started with veggies from the very beginning and although they get to choose the ones that they like, they know that having them is non-negotiable, We don’t have battles over food, cheer lead our kids to finish eating, or say ‘well done’ or ‘you’re such a good eater’ as those things set kids up for an unhealthy relationship with food. We have indulgences (movie night with pizza & ice cream) but they are occasional, not daily. My husband brought home a fluorescent colored sports drink and the girls were scolding him about high fructose corn syrup and food coloring, lol.
As an individual who lives and breathes health and wellness, what advice would you give someone who wants to transition their life towards a more healthy and fit lifestyle, but don’t know where to start?
To take it one step at a time. I see so many people that start out by taking on too much; giving up entire macronutrient groups (carbs!), planning to exercise 7 days a week, etc. If we take on too much we either A) burn out or B) can’t keep up that unmaintainable momentum and end up back where we started or worse off. Take on one healthy action a week, make your goals achievable & maintainable, be consistent, and have patience.
What is next for you this year? What are your future plans and goals?
Oh my gosh I have so many. First, I want to get comfortable with all of the pieces of my website, and with the newsletter and getting that out regularly. I need to work on using Instagram and the other social media platforms to reach more people. Once all of this is running smoothly, I plan to get the Member’s Only Web Forum up and running.
I’m also planning to run a Women’s Day here in Bermuda. I plan to add a philanthropic arm to my business whether that is taking a portion of proceeds towards an existing charity or creating one. Of course I want to keep focussed on the family, our health and learning all that I can through it all. Eventually, a book!
Any shout outs?
Oh my gosh, yes! My husband, Nathan for being such a supporter of my crazy dreams, and for making me laugh on the days I want to cry. To our daughters for being my biggest teachers, and for putting up with my ‘hold that thought, I’ve got to get this thought down’, or ‘I’ve just got to post this’.
To my clients and readers who allow me to do what I do and love, and for inspiring me when I don’t think that I have an ounce of energy left. Finally to the women that have inspired me to keep working, to keep growing, to keep learning , to keep being grateful, to keep sharing, to keep loving, to keep being me; Lori Harder, Jill Coleman, Jamie Eason, Brooke Erickson, and Oprah Winfrey!Smiles and Squats 🙂