Our guest interviewer today is Deborah Meijer. She recently interviewed Sylwia Wiesenberg, Founder of Tonique Fitness.
Sylwia Wiesenberg, founder of Tonique Fitness, is obsessed…with fresh unprocessed food, local markets, and changing people’s lives, especially regarding their fitness level. And her message to Kaptur brides is a plea to maintain their bodies and stay fit once the wedding is over. “Everyone gets ready for the perfect wedding day, or a red carpet event,” says Sylwia. “But once the wedding is over, some women slack off. Why let that go when you’ve worked so hard to look and feel beautiful? If you have been eating healthy and exercising to lose weight and look great in your wedding gown, stay that way FOREVER!”
Although Slywia’s ultimate dream is to open up a fitness camp in upstate New York for children whose parents cannot afford fitness education, she wants them and others to learn about the importance of fitness and healthy eating.
However, her focus is on the bride, as well as on women in general, for today’s interview.
“Ever since I was little girl, I wanted to make people feel better about themselves,” says Sylwia. “I would like Tonique Fitness to help create a woman who looks in the mirror and is happy at what she sees because she is firm and fit, and she feels confident. And I don’t just want to change their bodies, but their lifestyles. It is not about being skinny, but about being healthy, fit, and feeling comfortable in your own body.”
Eight years after founding Tonique Fitness, the media has taken notice. Sylwia has been featured in numerous U.S. and international publications, and her Tonique Mat DVD was named by Fitness Magazine “The Best Lower Body Transformer” for Top Ten Workout DVDs 2012.
Tonique has sold thousands of videos as well as downloads based truly on word of mouth, rather than celebrity endorsement. “I know many celebrities but I don’t want to use them,” says Sylwia. “One magazine said that they would do a story on Tonique, but only if I had a celebrity endorsement. But my answer was simple: that Tonique and I celebrate every woman, not just famous ones. Every woman matters to me. My focus is to devote my love and passion for women and (men too) and change the way women think about fitness.”
Sylwia created Tonique Fitness when she was pregnant with her first child. “I went to the gym and I felt like something was missing. I felt that fitness there was just about getting thin, which I do not think is right. I believe that you should give your best at the gym to get good at something, not just to lose weight. I also felt like many trainers didn’t care much about feelings and what we go through to get fit and stay fit. So, I decided that I wanted to empower and inspire others; I wanted to share with people how important fitness is, and to also be an inspiration. I wanted to take fitness to the next level.”
During her pregnancy, “many people told me to forget about having a great body after giving birth,” says Sylwia. “They told me that ‘once you have a child, your body will never be the same.’ I decided that I would make a positive change to my body and stay fit forever. I knew that once you let yourself go, it would be harder to get back to a healthy body. After giving birth, many new moms came up to me and asked what my secret diet was, and my answer was workout! I also had postpartum depression, but thanks to that I decided to follow my lifetime dream. I offered free classes in my apartment building, and Tonique grew from there.”
Sylwia believes that just as brides should keep up their fitness level, so should new moms—for the sake of their children. “For a lot of women, the moment they become moms, the stereotype is that they have to look like moms. NO! I want moms and non-moms to look not only fit, and have a firm body but to feel sexy and desired. Also, if you give yourself ME TIME you will be a better mom and feel better about yourself and set a better example for your children.” This means a healthy lifestyle, as well as exercise, which Sylwia defines foremost as movement.
“The current lifestyle I am choosing includes more movement and ‘clean’ eating,” says Sylwia, “This means eating less unhealthy food, with of course occasional indulgence…and everything in moderation. If you want to eat ice cream, have ice cream—you can splurge occasionally, but indulge your taste buds with high quality food, and small portions. It is not right to say, ‘food is my enemy,’ or saying no to bread and other carbs. You can have carbs and pasta; you can eat everything, but just smaller amounts. Remember – portion control, and everything in moderation. The important thing is not about being skinny, but about being fit and healthy. We must not give up food but we must not give up movement, either.” The right food choices will help you to get in shape, rather than starving yourself and killing your tissues.
The movement Sylwia favors includes primarily leg and butt movement. “I want everyone to develop a strong butt and legs” and once you get them both in shape, everything else comes easier, she says. “When lunging, I want wide lunges. You build more of a butt if you go lower and longer. Recent studies show that lunges and squats are THE most beneficial for building a strong core, and are fantastic for your abs.”
Healthy eating also plays a part, according to Sylwia. Some people equate healthy eating with expense. “You can eat inexpensively and healthily,” she says. “I personally do not eat meat, but I eat fish. I look at my plate as a spectrum of vitamins and minerals, proteins and fiber…trying to find the best source in protein, fiber and iron in grains such as faro, quinoa, and kasha, as well as green leafy vegetables which are packed with iron, fiber, vitamins and protein.”
Sylwias’ goals for the next year are to release a new DVD or two, publish her book, and produce her television show (subject matter currently under wraps), for which Sylwia recently created a pilot. And then there’s her “ultimate dream,” the health center for women and low-income children where “trainers can contribute and donate their time to make a change.”
Says Sylwia, “I want women to know that they can be the best that they can be at any age. And I want women to know that they can be beautiful at any age. If you are happy with yourself, you will be better to other people. I don’t want competitive energy with women; I want them to support each other in order to achieve their goals. And I don’t want ‘skinny fat’— meaning being skinny but with no tone, no endurance and strength. I want Tonique to create an ultimate fit and unique woman who follows her dreams.”
And Sylwia’s final message to women?
“Never give up!”
And: “Never stop dreaming”