Exclusive Interview with Jasmine Gonzalez: Veteran, Fitness Guru, Author
Jasmine Gonzalez is one of the few people I find to be actually inspirational.
Jasmine has just released a book, The Hungry Girl’s Guide to Getting and Staying FIT, but that is just part of her story. Jasmine Gonzalez is a published fitness model, athlete, exercise and nutritional coach, and a Veteran of the United States Army. Her graduate studies are dedicated to the field of mental health practice and she holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.
Jasmine enjoys competing in obstacle course marathons and holds various military awards for excellency in physical fitness.
What drove you to write The Hungry Girl’s Guide to Getting and Staying FIT?
Answer: Other people. I was motivated by every individual who has shared their experiences and concerns with me throughout their own journeys towards better health. I see superwomen and men who work tirelessly night and day to provide for their loved ones. Often times, you see these amazing and selfless people do so much for others to the detriment of their own health. I was always taking note of the common struggles people have shared with me because I’ve also faced many of the same struggles throughout my journey to balance daily life and health. Ultimately, these shared struggles allowed me to create the subject matter for this book. But also, I was motivated by many of the pressures that are placed upon us as women (and men, of course) living in today’s society. I wanted to provide an outlet for people to understand that they can challenge many of the irrational thoughts they have been led to believe by the society around them in order to begin setting smart and attainable goals. I think too often we’re influenced by the opinions and negative perceptions of those around us. So it’s important that we take back our own sense of decision making and do things because we truly want to do them and not just because we have to. This is the basis for intrinsic motivation and I wanted more people to believe in the power of their own abilities and to choose activities and nutritional plans based upon their very own personal interests.
How will people benefit from reading the book?
Answer: This book will benefit anyone really just interested in the crucial priorities concerning health and longevity, regardless of your gender. Whether you are already an experienced fitness goer, or a novice within these realms, some of the concepts pertaining to the book will help to bring you one step further to becoming a better and healthier you!
Tell us more about your ideas on longevity?
Answer: My main focus in writing this book was to emphasize health and longevity. In order to really work at attaining that, there is a need to change from the inside out. Many people view health and fitness as something that they physically do. Priorities are really warped in our society to place the emphasis on physical appearances. Several major points in my book talk about changing from the inside out. Many people don’t realize that the internal psychological processes involved in creating new habits and behaviors really incorporate factors that are completely internal within ourselves. Before change can even be embedded into our lives, we must first attempt to identify and understand the elements that affect our behaviors. Whether you are at a beginning or advanced level of fitness, it’s important to just focus on your health and longevity. You really don’t have to use proper nutrition and fitness as a way to punish yourself and your bodies. We’ve all heard the phrase “Your body is your temple.” Your body really is the only one that you are given in this lifetime. And your body has always been there for you so my best advice is really to just be good to your body and nurture it.
What is your Number 1 diet tip?
Answer: I wish I really could tell people, every time they ask, that there is some magic pill or quick fix for their problems. Personally, my body always had the tendency to put on weight if I wasn’t maintaining a healthy lifestyle. So my own struggles are the only reflection that I can use to give others first-hand advice. Get out there and educate yourself. Find out what is in your foods. Seek the guidance of your health and fitness professionals. Research so that you may be able to make the best decisions that are unique to your very own circumstance and body make-up.
How much exercise should the average person do a week?
Answer: Through my guidance, this will vary person by person. Although we can set a standard for the capacity of the average person, each of us is in individual in his or her own right. However, in today’s day and age, many of our occupations are mainly performed sitting for long periods of time. Television, social media, and video game advancements have turned many of our extracurricular activities indoors. For these reasons and many more, incorporating a daily exercise routine is essential to maintain your physical as well as psychological well-being. The bottom line is that exercise needs to be done. It ensures your health. It plays an important role in your body composition and there are several vital components involved within the exercise process. Luckily, there are so many varieties of physical fitness regiments that you can try out. You can ultimately discover which ones you prefer and the frequency of the amount. Personally, I try to maintain some sort of level of activity every single day even if I just take a stroll outdoors on a gym rest day.
What is your favorite recipe?
Answer: One of my very favorite recipes that I even included in the book has to be the avocado chocolate pudding. I know it can seem disgusting when you first hear it, but bear with me. So all you need is 1 ripe avocado, 2 tbsp. cocoa powder, ¼ cup agave nectar, ¼ cup coconut milk, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Then you just blend the ingredients until it’s smooth and you can garnish it with your favorite fruit! When people have tried this recipe, they had no idea there is an entire avocado hidden inside because it tastes so much like regular pudding. So the avocado really just works as the textural basis and it is very filling compared to eating regular pudding snacks.
Do you feel people invest enough in their health?
Answer: No. I’ll tell you why. It has a great deal to do with the priorities laid out within our society. We live in an era that makes it acceptable to prioritize a brand new car and lavish home to the detriment of our own health. People will spend hundreds of dollars on a designer purse, but complain about spending a few bucks on a fresh batch of lettuce. People’s mocha-chocolate-frappuccino-double-shot latte with extra caramel costs them close to ten dollars a day. Spending half of that on fresh fruits and veggies that will last them a week is too expensive? Go figure! It’s not about expense. It is about the priorities we have been influenced to set for ourselves. Health is always secondary, but the lifestyle people wish to exude is the first priority. It’s safe to say that some can afford the luxury home, car, organic foods, and that fancy gym membership. Some people cannot. So it is really up to each individual to evaluate their life’s situations in order to develop their investment priorities.
For people on very tight schedules how can they keep healthy?
Answer: Planning. Taking the time to plan is just another important factor involved in the groundwork that is necessary to accomplish your goals. Regardless of how big or small your changes may be, every step you take to accomplish your goals counts towards your overall success in becoming a healthier individual. For the purposes of time management, this means cooking and packing your own lunches and snacks to bring to work. Speaking from experience, I am always hungry. So it is important to continue fueling your body with proper nutrition throughout your day. You can only really have full control of that by bringing your food with you. Again, priorities play a large role when it comes to a tight schedule. If there are aspects of your life that may not be as important as maintaining your health, you may want to evaluate and substitute those areas with time for physical activities as well.
How do you deal with maintaining exercise and diet when traveling?
Answer: This is a common area within my life and once again, planning is essential. Being rational is important. If you are traveling for leisure, maybe you are just looking for some down time. A time to relax, kick back a few drinks, and even indulge in your favorite foods. That is understandable. On the other hand, we don’t always travel for leisure. Personally, exercise and eating healthy is so essential to my life. I greatly enjoy it. So even before I travel, I check out the fitness facilities and other activities that will be available to me throughout the local area. I plan for what I will eat and where. Often times, I even cook when I travel to different places, so I often utilize kitchen commodities most places I go.
What’s next for Jasmine Gonzalez?
Answer: Throughout the next few years, I hope to continue building my fitness brand and writing more books. I am also a full-time graduate student, so I am on the educational track to finish a PhD in psychology. As a former Veteran of the US Army, I ultimately hope to go into private practice where I can work as a provider for nearby military installations serving Soldiers and their family members.
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