Name: Gianna Miceli
Year of Birth: 3/16/1967
Current Residence: New York
Sports: Kangoo Boots, Roller Blade, Biking, a good DJ’s dance floor.
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have.
I wrote a book called “Sexy and Fabulous Over 40”. It’s the story of how I went from being a fat, broke, miserable person to a sexy, successful, and happy entrepreneur after the age of 40. I was very angry from 34-36 years old. My life took a sudden turn into darkness and I hated it. My boyfriend gambled one million dollars then took his own life and left me to find him.
Luckily I was able to come back to life and create a business that fixed me financially but that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted more fun and personal expression. I’m the only female on The Jay Thomas Show on Sirius 101 on Fridays, and it’s a platform for me to grow my brand. What really got the last twenty pounds off me was that we had a contest for Springsteen tickets where the callers had to guess the measurements of all of us in the studio. When the producer was measuring my hips, I asked him to lower the number two inches and he laughed but he did. The whole contest I was feeling like a fraud, and it made me very uncomfortable that I wasn’t truthful, plus we all tweeted pictures of ourselves so the listeners could gage our measurements. The contest was one of the funniest shows we ever did though.
When I was twenty pounds heavier, to me I was fat still, but I could carry it ok because I had big breasts and butt, and a small waist so I still had an hour-glass figure. The host Jay Thomas called me “zaftig” and most of the audience didn’t know what that word meant. Jay meant it as a compliment like I had a body like the women of the 50’s, but if you Googled the word as the listeners were doing, the pictures were of “rubenesque” women of the renaissance, who would be a size 16 by today’s standards. I didn’t like any of this. That was not how I wanted to be seen in the world. It was wonderfully motivating and now my tagline is “no longer zaftig”. I feel confident that I can get to the WBFF this year so I’m just training hard and consistently. Even though I made this goal four years ago, each year I’ve lost more fat and I get closer. I also feel that the women of my category, the over 35, look very hard because of the traditional body building diet and all the supplements and my skin looks young and fresh. Additionally, I am training for the Tough Mudder in October in New Jersey.
Professionally I’m interested in more broadcasting opportunities on radio and television. I don’t come from a family where college was discussed and encouraged so I had no idea how to pursue the career desires I wanted so I am what More Magazine would call a “Reinvention”; a drastic career shift after 40.
Why did you become vegan?
I met a holistic doctor who educated me about how an alkaline body prevents cancer, and then I came to see the morality and unhealthiness of meat today.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I had always worked out some, but after I gained 30 pounds when I turned 41, I not only made a goal to lose the weight but to challenge myself to become an “athlete” and enter the WBFF Bikini Diva Over 35 category.
How would you describe your nutrition program?
After a tremendous amount of experimentation, I keep it simple by using Vega One protein shakes, fruits and vegetables. In my home I eat raw vegan because I’m pretty lazy when it comes to cooking.
How would you describe your training program?
The one thing I hated about working out was all the thinking and planning. I hate the gym culture. I hate waiting for weights or machines. I hate the way everyone walks around the gym strutting. I got turned on to Jeff Sekerak’s videos and I do simple body conditioning exercises: two types of jump squats and two types of pushups, and I run up a huge set of stairs by the Hudson River, and I do as many rounds of this as I can four days a week. In only five workouts people started asking me how I got so “ripped”. I couldn’t believe someone used that word to describe me. It’s an incredible fat blaster. In the winter I do Crossfit.
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
I am totally in love with Juice Plus! It's 25 servings of fruits and vegetables in capsules and at first I was totally against it becauese I was making fresh juices daily but someone told me how great it was for when you travel so I bought it for that purpose. By the 10th day I started to FEEL it, like feel incredible natural energy. Then I noticed how deeply I was sleeping, and how refreshed I would wake up. My workouts doubled because of this incredible energy so now my body is looking super amazing that I get compliments daily about how fit I look. I also use their protein shakes because they are plant based.
How do people react when they find out you are vegan?
They are surprised. I think they expect a vegan to be emaciated and soft. And then when we start to talk about what I eat, they say they can’t believe I have such “discipline”. They don’t see that it took only minimal discipline to make the decision and put it into action. Then my body just started telling me what it wanted and it wanted fruits and vegetables.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
That you’re never going to enjoy eating again and you can’t live without the foods they are unknowingly addicted to. I try to educate them that in only a few weeks with some effort they will retrain their cravings and actually crave the healthy foods.
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you go about it?
Yes I’ve had people tell me on twitter and Facebook that they are starting to transition and then write me about it. I think the only way is to live the example you wish to be. My body and skin and health speak for themselves.
What do you think the most important aspect of training is?
Consistency. I got very toned in only four months.
What do you like best about being vegan?
How healthy I feel by eating this way and the energy I have. I wake up with energy instead of feeling groggy. My mind is more focused.
What do you like best about being fit?
I was at a dog park and someone’s dog grabbed another dog’s leash and I was the only person there out of about twenty people who could actually run after the dog to get the leash. When I’m coming out of the subway and I’m behind a person who is struggling to get up the stairs I’m so happy it’s not me and that I actually choose to take the stairs and not the escalator. To me it’s free exercise. The F train in Manhattan is deep underground and I challenge myself to go all the way up without losing my breath. It’s hard! It’s four very long staircases. My dog absolutely loves running, and while I don’t run as exercise, I run with her to make her happy. The joy on her face is amazing. I’m glad I can keep up with her.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training?
You have to decide that you’re just going to do it, just like the Nike slogan. There are no tricks or secrets to motivation. It has to come from within. If you’re not doing something to change something you simply don’t want it enough. Your mind is the most powerful tool you own.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Start replacing one to two meals a day with vegan foods, and slowly you will change the microorganisms in your body to crave fruits and vegetables. Once your body starts reacting like your skin clearing, looking more vibrant, your general health, you will start to look at those foods with such love and adoration that it will become effortless. For me, the texture of meat disgusts me now. I ordered a vegetarian burrito and got a chicken one by mistake and when I bit into it and chewed the chicken I was so grossed out.
What motivates you in life?
I have no other human being to rely on for anything. I am completely responsible for myself financially and I must be able to take care of myself. I don’t have the option of living in ill health and having someone take care of me.
I get tremendous satisfaction from inspiring someone and helping them to feel good about themselves and make their life better. That is the joy of my work. When I moved to New York City, I became a hair extension stylist on accident. This is where I met so many women from all walks of life only to discover we are very much the same. They would ask my advice on so many different topics and we had very close relationships and if they came back three months later complaining about the same problems, I would give them advice and pep talks, and this is how I was asked to write a book. Many couldn’t believe I ever recovered from my boyfriend’s suicide and being financially wiped out and didn’t become an alcoholic instead. I assumed everyone had the survival instinct but it seems they don’t. The one thing I am most complimented on is my strength. I don’t know if I’m strong, mostly I fear being hungry and homeless.
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you?
Absolutely!! I met Robert online and then in person and he is incredibly inspiring and I love all the information shared here. I’m honored to be on the website.
Do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share?
I think being vegan and having your brain chemistry balanced is incredible; not having sugar rushes, or grogginess from meat can only make all other areas of your life run more smoothly. My creativity is on fire, and is most active when I’m exercising and when I walk my dog afterwards. I love the IPhone notes so that when I’m on these walks, I have a place to jot down all the ideas that come to me.
Then, because I am balanced, I am a pleasure to be around. I am lit up and excited about life and that energy is contagious and it makes people want to do business with me, work with me, and hang out with me. My career opportunities and social life have greatly improved since becoming vegan. It’s an incredible domino effect.