shinyshiny speaks to Runtastic’s Lunden Souza about starting out and health & fitness as a lifestyle #RunningWeek

To end Running Week on shinyshiny, we spoke to Runtastic’s fitness coach and writer, Lunden Souza.

Having watched her videos on the Runtastic Fitness Youtube channel, where she provides weekly fitness, nutrition and wellness tips, I was very excited to speak to Lunden, as I knew she would be able to get me motivated to do some exercise.

Telling me how she sees fitness as a way of life, rather than just a way to work up to a special day, like a wedding, and how being judged by her peers as a teenage for being so into health and fitness, Lunden was so interesting to speak to. I was so motivated afterwards, that I actually went to the gym!

Hi Lunden! So, how did you get into running initially?

When I was younger, I played soccer and ran on the track team mostly because I liked being active and doing sports with my friends. When I was 17 and went away to college, I really started running to reduce stress and to take breaks from hours of studying. It was then that I really began to love running and started taking part in races.

Did you have any fears when you first began exercising?

I don’t really remember having many fears. Running is a personal, individual sport so I didn’t have to worry about doing better than anyone else other than myself. That’s what I LOVE about running. I can still be competitive and push myself. I don’t have to think about anyone else.

Did you have any setbacks and criticism when initially starting out? Do you ever still experience those setbacks now? How do you deal with them?

Well, I became really into fitness and healthy living at the age of 19. I started waking up really early to workout, eating healthy and not going out and drinking alcohol with everyone else my age. I did have to deal with criticism and comments about being “obsessed” from my peers. I didn’t really care, I knew I wanted to live this type of lifestyle.

The only real major running setback I have had is dealing with a bad knee. As I mentioned before, I played soccer as a kid and hurt my knee during that time. I was 11 or 12 years old and I didn’t do the exercises the doctor instructed me to do at the time, so that injury came back to haunt me recently. This really challenged my discipline because I have to really make sure I do a proper warm up (foam rolling & dynamic stretches) and cool down (foam rolling, static stretching) and ice my knee from time to time. When I don’t do this, I can feel the pain start to creep up again. This has taught me a lot of self-discipline.

So with injuries and criticism like that, what motivates you to keep at it?

RESULTS! When I can run longer without any discomfort I get really excited and motivated. I also like to sign up for races so I can always have a specific goal I am working towards.

What’s been your greatest achievement to date then?

Finishing my 2nd half-marathon was a huge achievement. It was the first race I did after a back injury that left me barely able to walk. So, just completing the race made me very happy and thankful!

Do you use any fitness trackers to help you? 

Of course! I use Runtastic PRO app to track all of my fitness activities and then I also use the Runtastic Orbit along with the compatible Runtastic ME app to track my daily fitness patterns.

How did you get into doing the YouTube channels?

I started blogging for Runtastic in September of 2012. They were really happy with the blogs and expertise I provided and so they asked me if I wanted to do the Runtastic Fitness Channel (it had been an idea they wanted to execute for a while). So, of course, I said yes and we launched in late November 2012 and have been doing it ever since. We started with just two small GoPros and me filming on my own. It’s really amazing to see how it has grown over the passed 2 years.

What kind of feedback do you get from people? Do you have any success stories?

I get a lot of really great feedback. Some people have simply become more active, reduced back pain, lost some kg/lbs and have become more motivated, happy and excited about living a healthier lifestyle. I get comments and e-mails like this all the time. It makes all of the hard work worth it.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my ability to trust my intuition. There have been times in my past where I have quit a job and made changes without really knowing what I was going to do next, yet it always worked out. I am proud of the fact that I will never let myself be in a situation I don’t want to be in when I know it is not conducive to my goals.

What would your advice be to someone trying to get into running, or exercise generally?

Fitness is for life! You don’t just starve yourself and do hours of cardio because you are going to a wedding or on vacation. Set small goals and figure out what is going to work for you. If you are not used to doing any physical activity or healthy living then deciding you are going to cook all your meals seven days a week and workout five days a week isn’t going to work for you. Figure out where you are and take baby steps. A lot of baby steps can add up to something huge!

What else would you like to achieve? 

I have a list of goals that I keep on my computer desktop. Sometimes they change because I achieve one or think of something else I would like to achieve. Right now the list is: 1 million subscribers on the Runtastic Fitness Channel, design my own active wear line, be on the cover of a fitness magazine, write a book & speak at IDEA World (a fitness convention I attend every year).

For more health and fitness tips from Lunden, follow her on Twitter @LundenMichelle or Instagram @LifeLikeLunden.

Hayley Minn