While one of the biggest racing events of the year is a little less than a month away (remember, 9th Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon will be held on October 7 in Kyiv), we talked with one of its regular participants, the TV host of the show “Zvazhenі ta shchaslyvi” on STB channel, a diet consultant Myroslava Ulianina. She told us how she took part in the race for the first time, what are the advantage of training in the open air and her rules in preparing for long distances.
– Myroslava, today you are a famous TV presenter, a popular blogger and an active promoter of a healthy lifestyle. How do you manage to combine work, healthy lifestyle while also finding time for active sports?
– It is thanks to my lifestyle that I can have different projects, generate different ideas. Balanced nutrition, as well as doing sports, gives me energy. I realized long ago that if you want to be successful, you must be healthy. If a person is tired, has apathy, doesn’t sleep well, this is what prevent them from achieving their goals. Since school I realized that the more you plan and use your time to the maximum, the better. It was back then that I fell in love with time management, and now I can’t even imagine my life without a concrete plan of action.
– How did you come to a healthy diet?
– In fact, there were many arguments in its favor. One of them was created by my grandmother. Considering that she was often in Argentina, we already had the foundation of proper nutrition in the 90s. Ever since childhood, I knew what rukkola, basil, oregano and marjoram are. Through constant communication with immigrants, our home, or rather our dacha, was the place where my grandmother grew different plants, she would get a variety of seeds by mail. Therefore, in the summer, we would eat salads with olive oil dressing.
However, when I was in the university, I took a swing in the opposite direction, choosing unhealthy food. When I completely stopped paying attention to my food due to the frantic schedule, my weight began to grow. By the way, it was at the university that I tried my first Snickers bar. But after several years of such a disregard for my body, I suddenly began to get involved in sports and proper nutrition. Having abandoned the unhealthy things, I noticed how quickly my body, skin, hair changed, and I had more energy. I realized that there is food that gives you energy, and food that just takes it away. I began to monitor my feelings after every product that I ate. And I came to the main conclusions, which I follow to this day. For example, the idea that cooking should be quick and as simple as possible. The simpler, the healthier it is. When talking about healthy eating, many people imagine a long process with hours spent at the stove. I tell everyone that it is not necessary to do this, and that you can eat simply and in a balanced manner, without these superculinary cults.
I myself am not a person who plans her meals for the day the night before. In the evening I think about one thing, and in the morning I may want something completely different. I first tracked it in myself, and then found scientific evidence of how food affects sleep and energy. The more light and vegetable food you consume, the less energy the body spends to digest it. Therefore, much, including sleep, depends on what we eat. After all, if you eat right, your sleep improves, and you need less time to get rested.
– How often do you break your own regime?
– When I started eating right, for a while I still could not give up ice cream. And though I realized that it was fat and sweet, I just could not help it. And then I told myself to stop. How did it happen? I just gave myself an answer to the question of why I want it and whether my momentary desire is worth getting all those components from which this ice cream consists into my body . And then I stopped eating it. Honestly, one day I myself forgot that I no longer eat ice cream. And I just automatically started eating it. There was no pleasure. Even though my brain tried to convince me that it was tasty, I could not get rid of the main idea, that such fat and sweet a priori can not be healthy, and therefore useful for my body. I remember another time when my friends and I flew to Naples, home of pizza. So for a week that we spent there, no matter how much my friends tried to persuade me to try pizza, I did not do it. And this is not because I forbid myself to do anything, I simply do not want to eat it already. Similarly, for example, I would not eat pelmeni even if they were made by a legendary chef and served on a golden plate. Besides, I have not eaten meat for 10 years.
– From food, let’s move on to sport. How did you even begin to go in for sports, including running?
– In my childhood I was absolutely unsportsmanlike and did not go in for sports until the third year of the institute. Moreover, until this age, I never even did morning exercises. Well, I remember my girlfriend and I had a few attempts at going in for sports, namely running, but I would do it only for 2-3 days. Then it would become boring and uninteresting.
The first serious training began in a gym, after which I realized that, probably, sports is mine. Then the training was complemented by running. Since coming to work on television, I decided to lose some weight, which was the first argument in favor of running. I began running in the morning a few laps at the stadium. And ran in sneakers, not even running shoes, and at that time I did not have any sportswear. Basically it was jogging sessions of 30 minutes, I could not run longer. Then I got sick of everything for a while, and I stopped running, switching to crossfit.
But one day I was invited to participate in a race, and I thought – why not? Before that, I had good loads and I thought that 5 km would not be difficult for me. And it so happened that it was on these dates that I went to America. But I still had a goal to run. And all 10 days that I stayed in the States, I went in for sports – training in a gym, jogging in a park. It was there that I became so fond of running and realized how cool it was to run in the morning. In America, this type of workout is very popular. Later, on my return to Kyiv, I was invited to take part in a night race. Then I thought that I would not be able to run 10 kilometers, so I registered for a smaller distance – 5 km. I remember, during the run I had an epiphany. It was so warm, so nice, and these 5 km went by so easily that I was even ready to run more, but then at some point the routes went separate ways (smiles). Even then I liked this feeling of large numbers, the emotions that you get during the race. Besides, I realized how cool it is to run in a company in my beloved city instead of running in circles all by yourself at a stadium. It was after that nightly adventure that I hit on running. I also realized how running clears the brains. As your run, you think about something really important, you get new ideas, everything is being sorted out. That summer I ran my three half marathons. Just for fun. Not for the result, not for music, but just for myself. Running is also a wonderful meditation. Especially when you run in the countryside, when the city is still asleep, and only the noise of the forest and the singing of birds are there.
That’s when I started to practice regularly in Live.Love with my coach Sasha Kuzin. We had regular training sessions twice a week at the NSC Olimpiiskyi, and one long distance training on the territory of Expocenter of Ukraine. It was then that I understood the power of running community and joined that party (laughs). I started to understand what pace is, why a breast pulse monitor is needed, and why warm-up and stretching are so important.
– And what was your first result?
– I ran two official half-marathons at Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon 2016 and on Nova Poshta Kyiv Half Marathon 2017. The best result then was 1 hour 44 minutes. I continued training, because I wanted to improve my own result. And after a short time I ran 21 kilometers in an hour and thirty-six minutes in my category. I remember, in one of the races I started next to Andrii Onistrat and the first few kilometers we were running on the same level. So, he advised me several times to calm down. I try to run faster at first, and then just keep an even pace. But I don’t practice running at one pace, and then suddenly speeding up at the last kilometers.
– What are your main rules in running?
– The main thing is training on a regular basis. I will not deny it, there was a time period when I gave up regular running for a while. This was due to my health, because it was running dried me up and I lost more weight. When I had to gain muscle mass, I started other types of training. After all, when you work on gaining your muscle mass, you should forget about running altogether. It dries you up heavily. Now I’m back to running, but no such great distances as 21 km. Although running a half marathon, I think, will not be a problem for me, my current level of training allows it. Now my regime is morning jogging for 8-10 kilometers two or three times a week. It suits me perfectly. This is my kind of outlet. Believe me, running at 4-5 in the morning, when the sun just rises, there are no people around, and there is only night freshness in the air, this is something incredible! I’m not currently preparing for any kind of race, but am running for myself. But I still follow the main rules. I mean warm-up and stretching. I know that many people, especially amateur runners, neglect those. It is very dangerous to train with cold and not warmed up joints and muscles. This is the main cause of injuries, which then occur during the race. Also, we must remember that running should not be a stress to your body.
Also, it is very important to have rest before the race and it is absolutely necessary to have a good night’s sleep. I strongly recommend you to check the supination of your feet and the very technique of running. Many get injured due to incorrect running, because someone runs with their toes, while heavily loading the foot, joints, popliteal ligaments. Now there are many companies in Kyiv offering a treadmill test, which allows you to see how you run, how you bend your feet. And depending on your technique, you can choose the right shoes or insole, which will support and correct it. Companies analyze your equipment and select the right shoes. Of course, you don’t need to have such a serious approach and can run along the beach barefoot, the main thing is to approach everything wisely and control your movements.
– There was a time when you tried to reach the perfect form and were diligently losing weight. Then, when your weight dropped significantly, you were advised to gain a few pounds. What was more difficult for you?
– All of this is difficult, but for me personally it turned out to me more difficult to gain weight rather than lose it. But you must understand that I mean gaining muscle mass and proper weight gain. And this is a completely different mode of training, diet. At first, I was not entirely comfortable emotionally. After all, everyone is trying to lose weight, and I was supposed to gain it. But the main thing was understanding that I am not gaining excessive weight, but the weight my body needed. In general, the main advice for those who want to lose weight or gain it, is not to set a taboo. I mean that you are not forbidden to eat certain foods, but you choose to reject them. I mean read the ingredients and understand how this product can affect your body. And when you understand that this product is really harmful, then the desire to eat it completely disappears.
– And what was the main reason why you decided to gain weight again?
– Firstly, I myself began to understand that that was too much and I had to take care of myself. The situation when you look in the mirror, and you do not like the reflection in it. But I kept putting it off for a long time before I began to take action. I was influenced by comments in social networks. Everyone wants to be praised, not criticized. But my parents became the key factor. After talking with them and realizing the whole problem, I finally began to act.
– And how do you stick to the regime in nutrition and sport while traveling?
– Since my diet is not a diet, but a way of life, That is not a problem. When I am in a new city, I like discovering new places. Sometimes I start a real quest for places with a healthy meal, where they prepare the most delicious smoothies and salads. I like to discover new recipes for myself, and I always try to share them with my subscribers. And even on trips, I always do my morning rituals, so there is always room in my suitcase for certain things. This is linseed oil, a teaspoon of which I drink on an empty stomach, spirulina and flower pollen. You do not need to bring lemon water, it is easily found anywhere (smiles).As for sports, I have several rules, which I also invariably adhere to on trips and business trips. For example, I always bring my running shoes and running outfit. I do not like to take a lot of things with me, but I would always take the running shoes and uniform. I can even leave a dress and high heals behind because they wouldn’t help me run through an unfamiliar city down an unknown route (smiling).