By: Joe Cardoso
The month of March is already here! Summer is a hop, skip and jump away and that means outdoor activities and beach time. The spotlight shines across the ocean and takes us to Maderia, Portugal and get to know a young lady who is not just a school teacher but a fitness trainer as well. You can find her on an airplane or in the water introducing Maria Calaca.
Joe Cardoso: Why Fitness and how did the journey start?
Maria Calaca: The first and foremost reason for my fitness journey I blame on my Dad (Fit Fam). He used to play football for a local team I used to see his dedication and passion about playing and staying fit to play. I used to go and watch all of his games and see how exciting it was when he scored goals. I was the first child, so he wanted me to be a boy and to play, lucky for him I turned out to be a fan of sports. I can remember I always had a ball between my feet, jumping around dancing going to swim meets. I was a very active kid I think the fact that I was born on an island made it easier to have the freedom of going outside, without any potential danger. Also, the fact that there was no social media or phones or other technology.
As per growing up, I used to play loads of sports as extracurricular activities at school from playing football, volleyball, badminton, gymnastics to dance. In high school, I used to do gymnastics and got interested in teaching little kids how to help them to perform. I started teaching a course on gymnastics for the Portuguese gymnastic Federation. I taught gymnastics and dance before I went to University, but by then I knew that fitness was part of who I am it was more like a lifestyle than just another regular desk job. So I got my Degree and Masters in physical education. In between that, I was teaching my classes on gymnastics and dance. I realized that I needed to take a Personal Trainer course to feel more comfortable and knowledgeable about our body’s and to help my gymnasts in their conditioning and flexibility as well as their performance.
JC: Those first months are where most people quit, how did you get past it? And what advice do you have for rookies?
MC: It depends on the person and their personal goals, but my general advice for everyone is be completely honest. The first couple of months are just a test to see what they are capable of, and your body responds to the demands you put on it. If you do not exercise, your muscles and bones weaken with time. I would make them aware of how important it is to exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
JC: Have you been able to take any of the skills and habits of being a teacher to fitness and vice versa?
MC: Yes, of course. I’m very curious, and I always want to know more. I feel like we as humans need to upgrade all the time. As a Personal Trainer, I’ve used many of my tricks from school and vice versa.
JC: What is a typical work week including working out look like for you?
MC: I wake up at 5 am some days at 6 am. I typically do my meal prep on Sundays so the only meal I prep every morning is breakfast. After my first clients of the day, I do my fasted cardio and head to school. I finish school and head to my clients in the evening, after my evening clients it’s time to lift. In between teaching and coaching I have probably had about 3-4 meals. I then finish and have my last meal after training. I probably get home by 10 pm. By the time I get home straight to the shower after that check emails while snacking on something before bed. Weekends are for planning the week ahead and more chilled.
JC: How did the partnership with Train Mad Fitness come about?
They contacted me tough IG and sent an email explaining their concept, and I accepted being one of their ambassadors. Our views on fitness and healthy living lined up.
JC: Anyone who follows you on social media knows you love to dance, has that always been a love of yours?
MC: Yes. For me, dancing is a way to express my emotions. I love to dance. Even between my sets in the gym, I dance.
JC: Super jealous of the amount of traveling you do, why is it so important and where are you heading this year?
MC: Every time I travel I remember how much more I want to do, see, learn and feel. Each place that I’ve been I bring something with me and I leave a piece of me there. For me, it is essential to disconnect from the outside world and reconnect with myself. I can describe myself as a wanderer I like to get lost and fall in love with places, nature, and people. I travel a lot back home to see my Family and Friends. I don’t want to look back on my life and think “I wish I’ve done that..”
This year I will head home more often Madeira Island, Portugal some European countries Barcelona, Madrid, Italy, and Asia.
JC: What is your motto and approach as a personal trainer?
MC: As a Personal Trainer and Teacher my motto and approach is to educate people to make exercise part of their lives. People need to make it part of their daily routine.
JC: What are some of your goals for 2019?
MC: This is a very interesting one, I used to make a list every year of goals that I wanted to achieve. This year 2019 I don’t have any specific goals I’m living each day with these words “carpe diem.”
JC: As a female how important do you feel it is for women to support and promote each other?
MC: As a Woman I think is very important empowering women equally as for men gender shouldn’t be a factor. Although the contributions of women, particularly in leadership positions, can bring diversity and alternative approaches and expand the talent base in areas such as management, coaching, and sports journalism.
The participation of women in sports challenges gender stereotypes and discrimination, and can, therefore, be a vehicle to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. In particular, women in sports leadership positions can shape attitudes towards women’s capabilities as leaders.
Everything starts with our families, workplaces, and neighborhoods. Sometimes it’s just a simple note of thank you to that teacher or personal trainer who encouraged you years ago. Pick up coffee for that new mom in your office who’s struggling to balance it all or tell your sister, auntie, daughter, or mother how much you appreciate them.
JC: How many languages do you speak?
MC: I speak four different languages Portuguese, English, Spanish and Italian.
JC: Tattoos? If so how many and which is your favorite?
MC: I do have nine tattoos all of them with a definite meaning. My favorite one is the only word I have that is “fé” meaning faith.
JC: You could go anywhere for a week and explore. Where and why?
MC: have so many places I want to go and explore, but I can choose one of them easily Bali it is.
Maria is a great follow on social media and just plain cool. Catch up with her on the following platforms:
Such a fun Q&A where will the spotlight be next and who will be under it? Check in often with our blog and follow us @NutAndBoltsSP or myself @JoeCardoso301.