Updated: Aug 12, 2018
This month's Digital Dialogue feature is Jesenia Lis Fit! She's a New York native with a fierce passion for self love, health, fitness, and happiness. Get to know more about Jesenia below!
Name: Jesenia Lis Marcial
Hometown: Spanish Harlem, N.Y.
Hobbies: Working out, art sketches, cooking, and listening to podcasts.
Favorite Movie(s): By Genre: Comedy - Anchorman, Horror - Insidious, Action - Dark Knight Trilogy.
Favorite Book(s): Fiction - Insanity by Dean Koontz, Nonfiction - Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins.
Staple Wardrobe Piece: Black leggings, and a new found love for the FashionNova High Waist Jeans.
Deep Dialoge Diving with Jesenia Lis Fit:
Growing up in Spanish Harlem had many perks, but sometimes wasn't the best place for learning about the importance and joys of healthy eating and living. Jesenia spent a great deal of her childhood blissfully unaware of the dangers in consuming junk food and not taking care of your gut health. In her late teens she found herself wanting a change, not just mentally, but physically and emotionally as well. Little did she know, that her small change of eating cleaner and healthier foods, in addition to her exercise regimen would turn out to be one of the most beneficial and crucial changes of her life.
Coming from a home that exercised very little, while consuming a great amount of unhealthy food pushed Jesenia to take matters into her own hands, and end her family's generational cycle of unhealthy eating and exercising habits. So she began exercising more and started off with group fitness classes. Like many of us, she preferred the less intimidating classes in the beginning, like Soul Cycle and Yoga. Those small changes led Jesenia to one of her greatest passions in life, the world of fitness.
When it comes to challenges, Jesenia is no stranger, as she is also very familiar with success. When asked about her challenges and rewards, she eloquently stated that "it's always a give and take". On the challenge side, she says that there are two in particular that really stand out. The first being societal preconceived notions about exercising, specifically lifting, have been an obstacle. Dealing with close loved ones who are still engulfed with myths can sometimes be a little bit harder on the soul, so it's most certainly understanding, how this can be a challenge. If you're in a space where you truly believe in what you're doing, it can be discouraging to have your close loved ones, not understand and potentially even put a damper on your passions, whether it's intentional or not. Don't be mislead and think that these kinds of challenges discouraged Jesenia. In fact, she's approached it with the complete opposite attitude, and attacks the obstacle head on. She unapologetically shines her light as bright as possible and will not dim it for anyone - including family.
The second challenge is one that comes with the longevity of competing in any sport. It's the age old battle of comparing yourself to others around you. Viewing your progress in the scope of their progress. With social media having such a large presence in our lives, it's easy to see how one can fall into this mindset. Jesenia advises that when viewing others, try your best to keep in mind that you have your own journey and it's not going to look like someone else's, it's yours, not theirs. Your own journey and progress are so much more important than someone else's highlight reel.
And just like any other passion in life, the rewards are infinitely greater than the challenges.
Jesenia has found that the friendships she's fostered and connections she's made through this passion have been life changing. She is constantly blown away and humbled by the immense love and support that's in the fitness community. One of her favorite parts of it is the encouraging and empowering nature of the network. Being able to be surrounded by those who love and understand the journey that you're on has a powerful impact on one's soul. It helps you to not only reach your goal but then reach for even more beyond that point. Jesenia attributes her success and place in her fitness journey to having others help and guide her, not only physically, but mentally as well - and it fills her heart with great joy and happiness to be able to do that for others. One of the most beautiful and favorite parts of her role is that she gets to inspire, encourage, and guide others in their journeys.
If you're struggling with discipline and consistency, here's what she says worked best for her.
Preparedness for success is key.
"For me when I first started I gave myself a plan. I took my favorite foods and found healthier alternatives to those foods. A bacon egg and cheese bagel every morning turned into an egg white, skim cheese, turkey bacon on multi grain and it still taste delicious! I planned what day I was meal prepping what meals I prepped for the week, what times I would go to the gym and constantly took progress pictures. What I find especially with clients in the beginning is even with structure if you don’t want it bad enough you won’t succeed. People go for quick fixes like juice cleanse or 30 day whatever's and may see some results, but 99% of the time those results won’t last because it’s been done with the wrong mentality. When you want to see progress you have to tell yourself this is a lifestyle change. This is something you will always do because you want results for longevity. I see a lot where people eat just salad and chicken during the week and want to “treat themselves” so they binge on the weekends and go through a vicious cycle because they are not disciplined. I recommend investing in your health with a professional! Talk to a nutritionist to see what you should be eating, get a plan together, and try your damn hardest to not cheat on that plan for at least 2 weeks. That same advice goes for the gym! If you are on your phone while doing reps, you are straight up just not working hard enough. Make every workout count and on days when you feel discouraged and not motivated, find a role model and go read some of their posts. Go read about their journey, the work they put in how far they’ve feed and train your brain to overcome your own self doubts! We can be our biggest motivator or our worst enemy and when we can call our own bullshit that's when progress is made."
Outside of the fitness world, Jesenia has tons of more passions. She finds many ways to express herself and help others through her calming and peaceful sketches.
When asked about what makes her heart happy outside of the gym, she shared that her relationship with her boyfriend is one of the many things that makes her heart sing. She says that despite how corny it sounds, he truly changed her life for the better. In her own words she went on to say "He was the first person to introduce me and teach me weight lifting in the gym, introduce me to many books and philosophers that are now some of my favorites, and has truly changed my mindset and perspective on life. He has helped me become a better version of myself physically, but even more mentally. To have a partner to grow with side by side makes me happy on a level that I seriously never knew existed."
We finished our dialogue with some good ole fashioned Q&A:
I. Any myths about fitness you’d like to shut down?
HELL YES! There are two. First is lifting weight will not make you look like a man if you are a women. It takes years yes years to develop muscle and I promise even after years you will be far from looking manly. Second is there is no spot treating. In other words just doing ab crunches will not give you abs just doing booty workouts with resistance bands will build a booty. Workout every muscle group eat healthy and you will see results ten times more and faster then just buying a 30 day booty or ab plan.
II. If you were stuck on an island and could only bring 3 things what would you bring?
If a person counts, I would obvi bring my BF (LOL). But if not, then an RV because your girl is not about the camp life haha
Solar panel to put on the RV for electricity and power because again your girl is not about the outdoor life besides hiking
Third would be an unlimited amount of fruit lol
III. What is your favorite city and why?
Forever will be NYC. Do I ever want to live there again, absolutely not. But to spend a day in that city is filled with all my favorite things. Museums, all different people, from all different walks of life, all my favorite foods and more. Literally you could find any cuisine from any culture authentically and that is some magical shit lol.
IV. What is your favorite food?
Ugh don’t make me choose lol I seriously love food a.k.a why I was overweight most of my life and why I go hard in the gym lmao but if you really make me choose, it has to be authentic Mexican food. Chips and gauc, tostadas, burritos , nachos, quesadillas, I means c'mon son.
V. Least Favorite?
I'm not allergic to anything and there are only 2 things I won’t eat in life.
Anything pickled. Pickles, Olives, anything with that nasty ass vinegar taste I just cannot get with
VI. What us your favorite muscle group to workout?
My Favorite muscle to work has to be back. You want that “curvy” illusion, build a badass back !
VII. Sunrise or Sunset.
Sunset because I am never awake for sunrise lol
VIII. Iced or Hot?
IX. Tea or Coffee?
Coffee all the way ! Cafe Bustello to be exact lol
X. Macarena or Cha Cha Slide
Cha Cha Slide because you have to get your ass up and dance
XI. Any hidden talents?
LOL not so hidden, but definitely not super out there I absolutely love to draw and color.
XII. If you were able to implement one new law, what would it be?
I think this is going to sound a little extreme but its a 2 parter. Mandatory education of health and nutrition from pre school. Kids these days are getting fed trash for school lunches and snacks and it is disgusting what we are feeding our kids compared to other countries. Also the lack of education on taking care of ourselves is scary. Look at our childhood obesity rate. With that being said I wish there was a way to implement once or twice a week children must cook and eat a healthy meal with their family. I have seen so much research on how important family dinner time specifically is to children growing up. We are so involved with other things I think we would honestly see a lot less violence, hate, obesity, if people took more time as a family to better themselves physically and mentally.
XIII. Would you consider yourself to be a flexible human being? In all meanings of the word?
Physically I can do a yoga flow , but don’t ask me to do a split anytime soon because that’s just not happening (lol). In life absolutely. One thing I found is the best way to overcome challenges is to adapt and let go of of preconceived notions of what we think is necessary. For example, my boyfriend and I had a pretty comfortable life in Florida, but found we needed a change. He got a job opportunity across the country in Colorado. In order to make it work we had to sell everything and literally went with a suitcase each and lives in someone’s house while they still lived there for 3 months before being able to get our own place. Sometimes you have to be uncomfortable to get comfortable. 2 years later and it was the most amazing experience I ever had. Don't change the goal just sometimes have to change the game plan!
XIV. What advice do you have for those who are teetering the line of taking a leap of faith in life?
I would say look at what your current life is like. Ask yourself are you happy? Is that what you want to be doing the rest of your life? Some people would say yes and that’s okay some people are okay with just living comfortably. But for those who dream of something else. Who want to pursue that passion just do it. Go out find an expert or experts in that field and get to chatting. Ask them how did they start? What did they do to get there? Whats their routine now? We are in 2018 where there are so many free resources there is no excuse as to why you can’t do something it is what is holding you back? You need motivation I encourage you to listen to a man named Gary Vee. All he gives is free information on how to be successful. You will be surprised at the sense of urgency you have when you put everything on the line to be successful.