In today’s episode, my guest, Gaya Musraca, shares her journey of discovering macros, lifting, and the reason behind her lack of energy. She shares how fixing this changed her life, and set her on a new path that she had never expected. This episode is an amazing one, so let’s just jump right in.
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/205
Follow me on Instagram!
- Feeling empowered (11:53, 22:19)
- Macros are not magic (14:31, 14:49)
- Have that permission to be able to make macros work for you (16:59)
- Find a style that works for you when you working out at home (21:05, 21:11)
- Give macros a chance and be open about it (23:11)
Gaya’s IG handle: @being.lady.gaga
You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio episode number 205.
Hello and welcome to Biceps After Babies Radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PRs. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife, and mom of four. Each week, my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise mindset, personal development, and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel, and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you, my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in, now let’s jump into today’s episode.
Amber B 0:47
Hey, hey, hey, welcome back to another Friday episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm your host Amber Brueseke and today on the podcast, my guest is Gaya Musraca, and we are going to talk about her experience in her journey and what that has looked like for her, and specifically a realization that she had around her energy levels, and why she was so tired all the time. So if that's something that you feel is like, oh, tired all the time, I just don't have any energy, you know, all the reasons why you may not have any energy, Gaya discovered that the reason she didn't have any energy was something that was unrelated to her job, or her children or some of the other external factors in life. And I think it's gonna be really interesting for you to listen to it and maybe have that question with yourself. Does that apply to me? Is that something that I need to think about as well? The other thing I love that you're going to hear in this episode with Gaya is how often our journeys and the goals that we set, lead us somewhere we didn't think that's not we're like a different destination. So I see this a lot where people start something, and they think, Oh, I'm just gonna, like, you know, I'm just gonna go for this little goal, just gonna reach this little goal, and they start working towards it. And that little goal, like changes the trajectory of their life, it changes what they're doing, and it creates something bigger than they even thought when they set that one little goal. And I think that really speaks to the power of goal setting, it speaks to the power of, you know, when you're reaching for things in your life, you become somebody different, and that can change, you can change the trajectory of your life. And it's such a beautiful, amazing thing. One of the things I love most about getting to watch and coach people is to be able to see them feel ignited, and be able to find their passion and find what they want to do with their life. So this episode with Gaya is amazing. Let's jump right into it.
Amber B 2:53
I am so excited to welcome Gaya into the podcast. Gaya, how are you doing?
Good, doing good. Awesome.
Amber B 2:59
I'm really excited to be able to have a chat with you and hear a little bit just about you and your journey. And one of the things you said before we hit record that I think is awesome is you're like what am I going to talk about? I don't have any like amazing thing. But then what did you say after that you counteracted your own thoughts. I didn't have to say anything. What did you say?
I feel awesome.
Amber B 3:19
You're like, I feel good. I feel great. And that's important. It was so fun for me to watch you because it was like a little moment of self-coaching. Where I didn't say anything like you have this thought you like said it out loud and then you like immediately like self-coach yourself through that. So that was really fun. That was fun for me to be able to see. So let's start out and just let people get to know you a little bit. Tell us a little bit about you.
So my name is Gaya Musraca and I moved to the US when I was about 26 years old. I met my husband when I was working, we got married and now we live on Long Island with two beautiful girls.
Amber B 3:54
And your husband is from Italy. She was telling me.
He's an American Italian so he's more American than like he doesn't know a word of Italian.
Amber B 4:01
Oh, he doesn't identify with that. But your first name is Indian and your last name is Italian. I thought that was great.
Yes, it is. And I moved in with him and I work as a manager in the healthcare IT environment. So when everything shut down, obviously we had a lot of work to do. And I've been stuck at home and basically I work from my home gym, which is also my home office, which is also my laundry room.
Amber B 4:26
It is also my home and I'm here all the time and yeah,
It's also my basement and every once in a while I'm on video camera and I put on some makeup.
Amber B 4:37
Like just the way that we all have kind of gone through the pandemic. It's like these places that used to be our storage or whatever now have become like a home office, you know, doubling as a home gym.
We had a couple of builds and now I've built it up to like we have an Olympic bar–
Amber B 4:54
I know when I saw that you got that. That's so exciting.
It was so awesome. I was like, wow he actually bought this for me. Christmas colors and everything.
Amber B 5:03
I love it. That's so awesome. Okay, so give us a little snapshot of maybe where you were a year or two ago and when you felt like you, I don't know, were struggling in some way and were looking for something, something new. Tell us a little bit about those struggles.
So I’ll start maybe more than a couple of years ago. So I've always been like– I wouldn't say “skinny fat”, but I was always on the lighter side. So I never had to worry about like gaining weight. If I gain weight, I eat less, work out a little bit more and I would be fine. I lose whatever it's like 10 pounds. Okay, fine. I can do it. So I had my first kid. I went back to my regular clothes like soon after maternity I went back to work. A year later, I was able to start working out again, I like to do boxing, I used to do a lot of kickboxing, boxing at that time. It was fine. So obviously, I assumed the second would be the same. But the second pregnancy was “Whoa, different.” I couldn't move a lot. I was so tired all the time. I had my child, and I was stressed at work. Long story short, two years down the line… I breastfed her for 18 months, so I was like I said, “You know what, Gaya give yourself some grace, you’re still breastfeeding her, you might not lose all the weight.” And I did not fit into any of my clothes. And it was just like, just not how I expected it to go. Why is it not working?-
Amber B 6:18
Why is it different?
It was so different. It was like completely. And then I kept saying “This is crazy Gaya. It will happen. It will happen. It happened before it's going to happen again.” But then I'm also now getting closer to 40. So I said, “Oh, it's maybe that, maybe because you breastfeed so long.” So I'm trying to explain it in my head. My problem always was that I have to find something I like doing like with workouts. I never thought the food was a problem. I've never had issues. I even tried the Whole 30, which I enjoyed. It's not something you can stick to for a long time. I'm like, “Give me that glass of wine, please.” I don't even drink that much. Anyway, long story short, I found a workout program I like. And I enjoyed it. I found a lot of friends as soon as I loved the fact that I was getting stronger and walking forward from my home. Six days a week, it's like 30 minutes at most. And I'm seeing the differences, right. But even then it was slow and fine. And I still noticed that at the end of the day, I would have really low energy. So somehow I got through the workout in the evening, and I started moving my work to the morning. And then in the middle of the day like around two o'clock I feel exhausted like I needed to take a nap or something. So I would still take like a 10-minute catnap in between meetings. And it continued to happen. And then one night, maybe it was December 2020. I think I was so exhausted. I was like green. And I had, I follow a nutritionist and like sometimes when you want to lose weight, maybe you try to eat more. I'm like, maybe I should try eating. So I picked a banana. I put some peanut butter on it. And I ate it and I'm like, what just happened? It was within 60 seconds. This is 8;30 at night, I had already put the kids to bed. And I'm like, I almost broke down myself. I'm like what an idiot? All you had to do was eat!
Amber B 8:03
I love that.
So I started eating more. But then I didn't know anything about reverses. I had no idea what that meant. And last January, I started tracking but I wasn't— like I didn't know how to track and it was just… “How am I going to get so much protein, how am I supposed to..?” I had no idea. I learned by following a lot of accounts on Instagram and I self-learned and I reached out to the nutritionist I used to follow, her name is Dee. And there's a fun story with that too. I'll tell you later. So I said, “Can you just audit what I'm doing? Like…. I don't want one-on-one coaching. I just need you to tell me to point me in the right direction.” So she did. She put me in a slight deficit. That's when I started understanding the word called “deficit”. And I did that and it worked for a while, then I stopped tracking for a bit. I was just like I said,” You know what, it's fine.” I changed my workout program. It was more Olympic-style lifting, still from home. And I realized I was hungrier. So I said, “Okay, you know what? I need to eat a little bit more.” I was instinctively doing that. It was like mine. And I was like, is it gonna work? Forget about the scale? Is this not going to move? Let me just do something to keep my energy levels up. And funny enough, one of my friends was like, she said, “Gaya you like to do macros for yourself, why don't you check out Amber? She has a free macro calculator and everything.” I did that, I joined your Five-Day Challenge. And I had no intention of joining MACROS 101, like you know what I'll do the challenge and say, “Hey, what are we going to lose?” I loved it. I loved the fact that it wasn't all about losing weight and things like that. This whole Five-Day Challenge was you talking about mindset. This is awesome. Like, you asked me one thing I took away from it. No, I can't. But I think the Miracle Scale was like, “Oh my God, that's an awesome way to look at it.” And I do coaching at work for mentorship for people for my own teams. So it was just a very different perspective of turning corporate coaching kind of style into like real life. I said, “This is awesome.” And then I said, “Okay, Gaya you can afford this” and I didn't want one-on-one again, and I was like I said, I think I'm self-paced. I like to do it by myself. So I signed up and initially, I thought– I had kind of started a reverse. I was going to go into it. And I said, “You know what, let me do a cut.” Let me see what happens. But it didn't go as planned. I started to reverse once MACROS 101 ended, and I probably gained a few more pounds than I intended to. But the reverse journey has been the best. Like I always think of you saying, watching people through reverses is the best thing ever. And me going through the reverse was like, mind-blowing for me. I said, “Wow, this is what happens when you eat more.” Yes, you gain a little bit of weight. Yes, the pants fit a little tighter. But you can lift heavier, you can walk. You don't need naps in the middle of the day. You don't start blaming: “Oh, my children are exhausting me.” No, no, no.
Amber B 10:57
I wasn't eating enough food. That's what was exhausting me. Yeah. Oh, so good.
Yeah. So it's been amazing. And frankly, as I finished it, I was like, “I want to do this. I want to coach people.” And then someone reached out to me for something and I said, “Do you mind if I take a look at your stuff?” Just for two weeks. You don't owe me anything, I'll just look at your stuff and tell you things. And one person turned into two into about five. And I signed up for a course, like a nutrition course certification, and I finished that. And I actually just, two days ago, I signed the contract, not a contract, but I signed up as an employee for a coaching company, the same nutritionist I liked. I'm like, “Wow, I never thought this would happen.” So I put myself on a path, which I never imagined for myself. I still do my day job. But,
Amber B 11:53
That is my favorite! Because I always talk about how, you know, I love MACROS 101 and I love what I do, and I love that I get to teach women to use this tool and how to uniquely customize it to them and their bodies. But what I really love, is what it ignites in women. And I don't mean that everybody has to go on and become a coach. But I think what I love seeing is when it ignites this feeling of “I can do it” in you. It's like, “Oh, I can do this. What else in my life can I do that maybe I thought I couldn’t do before?” And it’s like, here you are, you're like coaching people. Now you're like signing up to like coaching others. I mean, it's just to me, it's just it lights– I'm just smiling so big right now because it just lights me up. But like this is what happens when women start to believe in themselves and start to feel empowered and feel like they can do things. I like Gaya, that's just I mean, I'm just like over here just smiling. I'm so proud of you. I'm so darn proud of you.
Thank you, thank you. It's been an experience for sure. And I learned a lot from different styles. And I never thought of this myself. But over the last year, and just I think maybe because sitting at home, you tend to be more on Instagram and you read more. And I feel like I know, Instagram can be social media can be like, dehumanized, but I have learned a lot. Like I've made connections with people all over the world, I wouldn't have found you or anybody else if it wasn't for that. And it is interesting to see different perspectives. And it's interesting to see how much of the fitness community, how many people need to know that “Hey, you can eat more, not less.” Like that's my biggest thing. Like it's like, I don't want to use the word “disordered”. But there's a lot of that “Oh, I should be this, I should be that” I'm like, why do you say that? Why is it “should be?” What do you mean, “Should be”?
Amber B 13:53
Where does that come from? Who told you it should be that way? Oh, so good. So one of the things that you had mentioned to me was this and one of the things I teach a lot in MACROS 101 is this difference between using macros as a tool and really kind of turning that into a diet, where you're using like rules and restriction and it's just like another way to like go through this like diet mentality. So kind of talk through a little bit of maybe your experience of like what does that shift feel like when you really felt like you started using it as as a tool that you could wield and you could be in control of and could make your life enjoyable and what difference that caused in your journey?
A few things. So as I was doing the coaching and as I was listening to all of the coaches, sometimes in your calls and other coaches' calls, was that it might not have been the same exact words, but “macros are not magic”. Right? Yeah, like that's why I joined!
Amber B 14:46
That's what people think, it's like magic.
But I’m like, Don't give me this magic formula. It's gonna make me lose 10 pounds but then it's like, no, it does not, Macros are not magic. It is what you do with it and how you want to use it so you can stick it on. It’s what you do with it that’s the magic, right? So it's like an even with the protein grams like it doesn’t have to be like, doesn’t have to be a certain amount, doesn't have to be exact. But the thing that I took away from it was, to make it sustainable for you. Just because somebody says 160 grams of protein, it might not do good for you, or your stomach, if you eat that amount. If you’re just 5'4″ or 5 feet tall, right? 160 for somebody who is 5'6″, or 5'8″, or who's as tall as you, Amber, is different from 160 for a much smaller person, and even the capacity, like it's the science aspect of it as well as the logical aspect of it. And I told somebody I said, “You know what, you shouldn't be scared of macros,” (Which I was). But it's more of the same as portion control but in a more specific, scientific way.
Amber B 15:52
What felt scary about macros?
It is overwhelming at first, it's like, “Oh, my God, I like, I swear, I have no idea what to do”. I tried macros, two years ago, maybe the first year of the pandemic. And I'm like, “This is not for me.”
Amber B 16:12
It was way too much.
It was just something I was obsessing over and I didn't understand that it wasn't about the percentages. It's actually the numbers, conversion into calories, and things like that. A lot of us don't understand that when you start off. It was intimidating in the fact that it's all these numbers, all of these foods, how do I track recipes? How do I track oil? Like, why do I really have to sit and measure everything? And even though maybe if I had, I would have had different results? But I did not finish-
Amber B 16:42
I don't think so.
Like the physical, let's say physical or aesthetic results. I didn't measure everything. Like I would measure meat, I would measure fat and things. But like you said, I'm like, Do I need certain like… measurements of spinach?” And I don't want to do that.
Amber B 16:59
And here's why. Because I'm going to push back, I'm gonna say Gaya, I don't think that you would have gotten different results. And the reason why is because had you gone to that extreme where you were weighing your spinach and doing like, every little thing, you wouldn't have liked it. You wouldn't have liked it. And so you wouldn't have done it. And so like this idea but sometimes we get in our head of like, if I just was like a little bit more strict, if I was just a little bit more like, weighed every single little thing that maybe I would get better physical results. And I find that it's often the exact opposite: if you get to that place, you're not going to keep doing it, because it's gonna be too overwhelming, it's gonna be too much, and then you quit. And that absolutely doesn't get you better results. So, I think what I want people to hear as they're listening to your story is the permission to be able to make macros work for you. And that doesn't mean that you have to weigh everything. And it doesn't mean that you have to log everything to the gram. It means that like, when you understand this tool, and you understand that it's not magic, and we can pull back the screen and pull back the black box and let you understand the science behind it, then you can be like, Oh, okay, well, I get it. So I'm gonna prioritize weighing the things that actually are calorically dense, and I'm gonna skip weighing the things that aren't calorically dense, and that can be fine and that can work. So I think you're doing amazing.
Yeah, that was like you said the calorie part, the dense part. It was like, it's like, just use logic. Like, if you had to pull yourself back if it wasn't for you, what would you do for your child? Right? And it’s the same thing, this concept of like, eating more and everything. Because it’s one of those things like, “Just because I ate more today doesn’t mean I’m going to eat less tomorrow.” I can’t afford that mentality. Because I would never let my child go to bed hungry. Would I?
Amber B 18:40
Why would I do that to myself? She's eight years old. Why would I do that to myself? I need more than her. Yeah, there were tons of takeaways, but the fact that my path has just gone where it has gone. I think that's the biggest win for me.
Amber B 18:54
Yeah. And I'm curious what has been you know, now that you've moved from this client aspect, right? You are the client first. And now you've moved into this place where now you're helping to coach other women. I'm curious what that experience has been like for you. And yeah, just what has it been like, what have you learned from that process?
It's gratifying. And it's more than anything else, it's gratifying. And it's like, every time I see comments back from the girls when any of the girls say, “Hey, I'm not afraid of carbs anymore.” Like, somebody came to me. They worked out a lot. And she's like, “I'm always hungry. I feel like I'm not eating the right thing.” And then I went back and said, No, no, you're just not eating. You're not eating enough. And I put her on like, and she was eating maybe 1900. I made her eat like 2300. And she hasn't gained a single pound and she's like lifting heavy doing sumos of like 150 pounds. She was texting me this morning. And I'm like I said, “You made me so happy.”
Amber B 19:51
Isn't that so fun?
Yeah, it's like it's not that I made her do it, but I let her make adjustments. I said listen, you can do this. So just eat more, I promise you will not regret it. And a lot of us lose sight with the scale and with the size of our clothes and lose sight of the fact that we are lifting heavier, maybe we have more energy, maybe we are sleeping better. I personally have been sleeping like a log since I did the reverse. Yes, I have a couple of extra pounds. But I am going to go to bed and I’m out. Otherwise, my mind always runs. And I made mistakes in between, as in I tried to go into a cut because I made too much like I went too much over for the reverse. And I did that cut for two days, and it was fine. But that third day, I couldn't focus on anything on my screen. That was bad. That was stupid.
Amber B 20:41
Yeah. Didn't like that. Okay, the last thing that I want to talk to you about is working out at home. Because this is something that like people, you know, a lot of people are at that place where they would like to work out at home, or they are out of necessity working out of the home. Can you tell us what it's been like to build your gym, what things you've learned along the way, and any advice that you have for somebody who is wanting to work out at home?
More than working out at home, I feel like it's finding a style that works for you.
Amber B 21:09
And for me that was key, I tried a couple of other programs from the same app that they use, and I didn't like it, it wasn't my jam. Just find something that you enjoy. I started off with shorter workouts, which took like 30 minutes. And once I enjoyed it, and once you enjoy it, you'll keep coming back to it. Not because it's giving you results. Because nothing's happening in one week, right? But because you're enjoying it, you're like, “Ooh, there's going to be a new one today.” It was different programs. It wasn't progressive overload. It's fine. If you're starting out and if you're finding it difficult to even work out and you're learning about hypertrophy and progressive overload, you’re never going to do it. Keep it simple. Find something you enjoy. And then progress. So I did that. Then I went to the Olympic lifting kind of style, which is like progressively loading up at least the strength part of it. I'm like, Oh, this is awesome. So the next program I'm trying to do is more focused on hypertrophy. Now I understand the concepts of why something is doing. If you had told me two years ago, I'd be like, “Nah, I don't want to do it.” No matter how much he's told me that I get results, like no, I don't want to do it.
Amber B 22:19
Well, I see so many parallels in what we were talking about with macros. It's like when you pull back the black box, and you understand that it's not magic, that there is an understanding of the science behind it. And then you figure that out, then you get really good at being able to wield it in the way that you want to wield it. It's the same thing with lifting, it's like when you pull back that black box and you understand the concept of progressive overload, you understand hypertrophy and what creates it, then you can like apply that in the ways that work for you in your journey, and you don't have to just do it one way or you don't have to just buy programs and be like, “I hope that this does what it's supposed to do”. I don't know how they came up with this. These like lifts or whatever. It just puts you in this empowering spot of like, you understand the why behind something and then you're able to tweak it and make it your own and make it work for you. So good. All right, any last words of wisdom that you would like to share with someone who may be listening right now?
Oh, boy. I don't know, I would just say if you're new to macros, give it a chance and be open about it. I would definitely say that find a coaching program, a coach, or somebody at least once talk to them before you decide something is not for you. It can be expensive. I understand that. But there are always so many ways that you'd be surprised where you’ll end up. So give everything a chance and have an open mind. Like I came into this coaching realizing that this program is cool.
Amber B 23:43
Yeah, you’re like, “I'm just gonna join this free challenge and like a couple of these and like a little bit later now I'm coaching people like where did this go?”
Oh my god. Yes.
Amber B 23:50
Yeah, it's so awesome. Okay, well, we are gonna link all of your stuff up in the show notes. So if you want to connect with Gaya, then we'll link it to all the show notes, her Instagram, all of those things. And thank you so much for being on the show today.
Amber B 24:06
I hope you found that episode valuable and that you're able to, you know, take some of the things that you've learned and hopefully apply them to your life because, as we all know, learning is great, but it's the application that makes the difference.
Amber B 24:18
Thanks for being here. Thanks for leaving a rating and review if you have not yet on iTunes, it really does help the podcast to be able to grow and to have more people find it so I always appreciate those of you who take the time to take the, you know, three to five minutes to leave a rating and review for the podcast. That wraps up this episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm Amber now go out and be strong because remember my friend you can do anything.
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