From Benchwarmer to Bikini Competitor: Meet Coach Marife Sanvictores

Hi! I’m Marife, a coach at 8fit. Welcome to the family!

Everyone comes to 8fit for different reasons. Maybe you have never been into fitness, or perhaps you were a gym rat but have fallen off the wagon. Maybe you currently work out and are looking to change up your routine. Whatever the reason, I am so glad you are here. We all have a story of our journey to health and fitness and I want to share mine with you.

I wasn’t always healthy or athletic. I was the child who was only picked for teams as a benchwarmer or because of my spirit. I hated running and I failed the provincial fitness test every year, so I dreaded Physical Education classes. I never dreamed I would one day be making fitness into a full-time career.

After graduating from college I got a desk job and gradually started packing on the weight. I was busy building my career in real estate and was eating out for almost every meal. I was also a huge foodie. I would eat only for my tastebuds. I would skip entrees and instead have two desserts. I loved sugar and would order a caramel macchiato with extra, extra, extra caramel. I loved rich foods, bread and cheese. I had a petite frame so I thought I was okay being a certain size in clothing. In reality, I was forcing myself into clothing that made me look like a sausage casing because I didn’t want to move up a size. I was not being honest with myself.

How I found fitness

I fell into fitness by accident and it changed my life. In 2010, I was working at a trade show and by chance the booth beside me happened to have a fitness trainer on staff who analyzed my body fat. I was shocked to hear that I was borderline obese. I wanted to get fit – but I had no idea where to begin.

I joined an 8-week boot camp, but because of work I never completed it. Then I tried another challenge and failed. I just couldn’t commit. I tried everything: internet workout programs, hiring a personal trainer and going to the gym by myself. Nothing seemed to stick. I couldn’t finish any program.

From Benchwarmer to Bikini Competitor: Meet Coach Marife Sanvictores

The fitness competition that changed my life

The trainer I originally met at the trade show was creating a team for a fitness competition in Las Vegas on my birthday. I love Vegas and thought “Why not be my fittest in my life in Vegas?” With less than 90 days before the competition, I signed up. I hadn’t even looked at what the competition involved and when I saw a YouTube video my jaw dropped. I had to be in a bikini, on stage, in front of some of the most beautiful women in the world. What had I gotten myself into? My only goal was to look good enough to stand on stage without being embarrassed.

I followed a strict meal and training plan for the next 86 days. It was hard. It was a challenge socially, mentally and physically, but I had set a goal and wanted to achieve it. This was the time I finally did not quit. When I made it to Vegas I realized it was the journey that was the most important. It didn’t matter what happened on stage because I felt amazing. I developed an “Anything is Possible” attitude which translated to my career and my life.

From Benchwarmer to Bikini Competitor: Meet Coach Marife Sanvictores

After placing third in my division, I inspired many of my peers who knew that I was never active in the past. People started asking me health questions so I wanted to educate myself. I was also beginning to question the food choices I was making. I knew I wanted to make health a lifestyle and help others to find it too. That’s when I decided to study at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where I was trained in over 100 dietary theories and learned practical, lifestyle coaching methods. Soon after, I became an NASM certified personal trainer and Crossfit coach. I founded Vida Fit Life in Canada before moving to Berlin and joining 8fit.

What worked for me

Changing my diet

You can’t out exercise a bad diet. Trust me, I tried. Instead, I changed my eating habits. Clean food was my focus. Lean protein, healthy carbs and fats. I completely eliminated processed food, sugar, alcohol, fried foods and condiments. I prepared all my meals in advance. I ate smaller portions and ate them frequently. I drank a lot of water.

Increasing my exercise

I stuck to my weekly workouts. I scheduled them into my day and didn’t allow myself to miss one. I added resistance and high intensity interval training to my workouts and continually added challenging exercises to keep progressing. I stayed committed to my weekly routine.

What didn’t work

When I first tried to lose weight, I kept failing. I never fully committed to the process. I would skip workouts when I didn’t feel like attending, which happened on a regular basis. When I did workout I rarely pushed myself and would often find myself simply doing cardio or running at a steady pace for 60 minutes on the treadmill.

I didn’t make a plan. I drank water sparingly. Food was my vice and I could easily convince myself that a cheat meal here and there wouldn’t hurt. But in reality, it kept me from reaching my goals and seeing progress.

The struggles and my triumphs

What you need to remember when you start out is that you won’t see immediate results and it can be discouraging. Don’t give up hope! This popular quote says it all:

It takes 4 weeks for you to notice your body changing, 8 weeks for your friends to notice, and 12 weeks for the rest of the world to notice. Give it 12.

Surround yourself with people who support you. Many people who you consider friends will make fun of you or try to sabotage you. There are others who will support you and will help you stick to your goals. Latch onto them. You will need their support. I know I did.

In the gym, when it feels hard and you want to give up, or cut your workout short – don’t. When you eat and you want to go off your diet, not eat clean and cheat – stay strong. No one is watching, but you will know. Learn that you are only cheating yourself.

Push through your comfort zone. Talk positively to yourself and encourage yourself that you can do it. In the amazing journey of self discovery – anything is possible.

From Benchwarmer to Bikini Competitor: Meet Coach Marife Sanvictores

How 8fit fits my journey

After discovering fitness, I moved to Berlin, Germany to pursue my dream to empower millions to see their true potential and live healthier, happier lives. This is my why. Moving to a foreign country, no friends, no network and a foreign language, health and fitness gave me an instant community.

8fit is my how. We are “fitness for the rest of us.” I believe in teaching sustainable healthy lifestyles. It’s about progress not perfection. If you love and enjoy what you’re doing, you’re more likely to make it a habit.

How 8fit fits your journey

8fit is a platform that together we can use to help you achieve your goals. We built the 8fit app to take users, like you, through their first steps to fitness with a truly customizable program without the guesswork. Here on the blog I will be sharing tips for helping you live your fittest and healthiest life, lose weight and keep it off! Whether through fitness, nutrition or extra motivation, I will be with you every step of the way.

Ready to begin? Download the 8fit app. You will get workouts lasting less than 20 minutes that are tailored to your goals. The workouts will change as you progress and keep your body from adapting and hitting a plateau. Combine that with your personalized nutrition plan, tailored to your dietary restrictions, and you will see results up to three times faster!

From Benchwarmer to Bikini Competitor: Meet Coach Marife Sanvictores

I’m looking forward to our journey together. Welcome to the 8fit family!

“Sing like no one is listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like no one is watching. Live like it’s heaven on earth.” – Come from the Heart, by Susanna Clark and Richard Leigh