How to Get Fit, Healthy and Happy with Koya Webb
Professional fitness model, nutritionist and raw chef shares her secrets to getting super fit, healthy and happier than ever!
Hello and welcome!
My name is Sara Grove and today I am here with Koya Webb, who is an international fitness model and holistic health and nutrition coach. She’s also a yoga teacher who teaches classes all over the world and has led retreats and cooking workshops, and she is here today to teach us a little bit about fitness and how to keep yourself healthy and active and energetic, eating raw and vegan foods. So welcome, Koya. Thank you so much for being here today.
Koya Webb: Thank you, Sara. Thank you so much for having me.
Sara Grove: You’re so welcome. So first of all, has fitness and has raw and vegan food always been a big part of your life?
Koya Webb: Absolutely not. I guess since I was a little girl I’ve been eating things like salads and fruits and vegetables and things like that, and maybe I played in the yard a bit, but it never was any type of structure. I’m from humble Tennessee, and so growing up I didn’t have any structured fitness like going to the gym for a long time. Mostly I just went out in nature and I climbed trees and I made mud pies and I just enjoyed the outdoors, which is a lot of what I recommend. Even when people do go to the gym and workout, I really recommend just getting out in the sunlight, whether it’s going for a walk or a stroll or something like that.
It’s something that I can say that I’ve always done. It’s just getting outside in nature at least once per day. And as far as food, I’m southern and I’m from Tennessee, and my mom always cooked what we felt like back then was a well-balanced meal. We would have a vegetable, a protein, usually animal source protein, and then we’d have maybe some starch. At that time, we thought that having a starch was healthy, so a potato or some type of whole wheat bread. And a drink, you know, maybe some soda, orange soda, Dr. Pepper. That was my diet growing up, but we always ate vegetables. We always fruit. And then we had meat and we had what we considered back then a starch.
And so I felt like at that time, I thought I was having a healthy diet, but I’d also get things like, you know, dessert and snacks— cakes and Twinkies and honey buns and things like that. So that’s really how I grew up; I wasn’t always a vegetarian or vegan at all and I wasn’t going to the gym until I got in actually high school. That’s when I started really doing fitness on a regular basis rather than just going outside and enjoying nature.
Sara Grove: That’s so interesting. So the last several years I know you’ve really made it the focus of your career and obviously have such a passion for it. At what point did you really start investigating your diet and fitness regimens?
Koya Webb: I think I want to stay that it started with sports. It started with athletics as far as the fitness is concerned. I started I think I want to say in junior high. I had a struggle. I’m a tall girl. I’m 5′ 11″. I was a lanky, little, olive oil-looking girl, who was very uncoordinated and lanky. I was always bumping into things because I had a growth spurt and I was taller than everyone. I was taller than all the boys, couldn’t get a boyfriend, not that you need one at that age, but—
But I was really just disheartened growing up because, you know, in the South, it’s not like California. It’s not really popular to be skinny in the south. The thick girls with the booties get all the looks in the South. So, yeah, I was really slim. And when I started high school, and because I was lanky, I couldn’t make the basketball team at all. When I started high school, I started running track and field, and that’s when I started to just run on a regular basis. And my mom used to make obstacle courses in our yard and we used to run and catch the bus and hate when we missed it, but it wasn’t until high school that I really started.
I used to run on a regular basis, like once a day after school. And I think it was only maybe three times per week then because we didn’t even have an organized high school. We had like a dirt track and it eventually got paved, but I just started off with track and field, and that’s really what got me into working out. I really don’t remember even lifting weights much in high school. I think I just did a lot of running and calisthenics. So that was the beginning. Track and field was the beginning of my fitness regimen, and I really didn’t get regimented in my food at all.
I was eating everything under the sun to gain weight when I was in high school. I remember I’d have like Snickers bars and a Pepsi. I think one basketball player said that was her thing, for the hunger inside you, you know. All the commercials. I look at the commercial. I run and get that thing that’s supposed to give me energy or make me feel great. That’s how it was all throughout high school. It wasn’t into college. Not even early in college; it wasn’t until my second or third year in college where I really started to look at what I was eating, and I noticed a big change in my fitness levels as well, but I did okay because I was always active because I started running track and field in college.
My junior year I started playing basketball. So I was working out a lot andI kept a very, very fit physique because I worked out all the time. And then, right around college, I got a scholarship for track and field. I started taking nutrition classes because my major was exercise science and I started to learn how food affects the body and I wondered…When I was younger, I got things like yeast infections from all the processed foods and snack, cakes, you know, the unbalanced diet.
Sara Grove: Right.
Koya Webb: I would have a breakout every summer all over my face. I never knew what was wrong with me. And my mom and dad had a natural health book, and I always reached for those books because my dad wasn’t too big about me going to the doctor. He always believed you could just drink some water and go to sleep and you’ll be fine. I was suffering, so I wanted to know how to heal myself. So I think that’s when I really started to shift, about my second year in college, and started to reach for natural alternatives to make me feel better.
Sara Grove: And now at this point you are helping coach other individuals to kind of help them with finding an eating and exercise plan that works for them, so that’s so neat. And I think one of the reasons this really resonates with me and with a lot of our audience is because even now that there’s so many more examples of people that are successfully being fit and active with raw and vegan foods, there’s a lot of misconceptions that you can’t be an athlete and eat fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds. You know, you have to have bread and a lot of processed carbs, and especially your meat and your protein, otherwise, you’ll just waste away.
And so, for you, what is your current kind of lifestyle and regimen?
Koya Webb: Well, my current lifestyle and regimen is I wake up every morning and I have like a quart of lemon water or fruit-infused water, just to cleanse my body, because a lot of times, people wake up and have that coffee, and it’s just shocking your body when your body just wants to break off fast. You’ve been fasting all night; your body has been regenerating itself all night. It just needs a clean slate to start with after all that process. So a big glass, a quart of fresh water is really great when you wake up. And I’ve noticed more energy when I started doing that.
And then for breakfast, I usually have a smoothie. If I’m at home and I have my blender or my NutriBullet, which is just a small personal blender, I usually blend like a banana and some fruit, and I do take a supplement because I’m really working out heavy right now. And I usually throw in some kale or some spinach or some type of green in there. So I have a green smoothie pretty much every morning. If I’m not at home, if I’m out on the road, I usually have something like pineapple, apple, orange, banana, just some fruit. It really wakes me up, the enzymes and nutrients. They just really feed my body; it goes straight into my bloodstream and they don’t cause me to get groggy.
When I was young, going back to then, I ate pancakes for breakfast, bacon, eggs. I remember I could go to, what was it? I think it was I-hop, and I’d have three harvest grain pancakes and a chicken pita omelet. And I ate a lot. There was one time my granddad was like, “Where does all that food go?” because remember I was so tall and lanky.
Koya Webb: And I had a size ten foot, and my dad made we wear a size 11 because he always said I would grow into it. I just ate a lot and I did all those sports, so I had a high metabolism, but what I would notice is that the food didn’t make feel good. I was so tired after breakfast. I’d want to eat and go to sleep. Now, when I have my fruits and vegetables in my smoothie, I eat and I’m ready for the day. I feel like, “Oh man, I feel great.” And so I think that’s the biggest thing that I suggest to my clients and people who follow me around the world. Just start the day with a huge quart of water and have some fruit for breakfast, whether it be in a smoothie or just fruit by itself, which I call mono fruit.
You can just eat one fruit or sometimes mix fruits together, but it’s just about staying fresh and giving yourself what your body needs, which is energy, whereas when you eat a chicken fajita omelet, all that acidity from the meat and your liver and your kidneys—everything has a process, all that heavy food. And it doesn’t give you energy at all; all your energy is spent digesting the food, so you don’t have as much energy to think. You don’t have as much energy to work out. And so I’ve noticed that my workouts, even though I was a great athlete, I’m a better athlete now because I have more clean energy.
There’s a big difference, and for all those athletes or just people who are active, you’ll feel so much different when you have clean energy. You think, like I mean I can’t believe I’m a girl who went from eating three harvest grain pancakes and an omelet with a huge glass of orange juice. I can’t believe that I went from that girl to a girl who only has a quart of water and, let’s say, a 24-ounce smoothie, but I am. And I don’t feel as weighed down as I did when I’m eating all that heavy food.
And I’m a big girl. I mean I’m 5′ 11,” I weigh 150 pounds. I’m super healthy. I’m not like this way skinny person. I could be if I wanted that physique. I could be as lean as I wanted to be or as slim as I wanted to be because I know the science of how to gain weight or lose weight, but what I really like to talk to people about is how healthy you are.
Sara Grove: Right.
Koya Webb: And if you have the optimal nutrients for your body. And so I usually have a salad for lunch, a big salad, so I get all the minerals that I need. And I love kale, spinach. I really talk to people about the importance of rotating the greens, and that’s better than what I used to do, which is, you know, chicken, fish, turkey.
Sara Grove: Right.
Koya Webb: You know, all of that stuff. It just makes my body toxic. It makes me want to sleep. It doesn’t give me that quick energy boost that I need, the carbohydrates and calories that I need to thrive and be vibrant. And then, for dinner, I usually have a veggie dish. Usually it could be like a mixture of vegetables. Maybe I’ll make a broccoli slaw. Maybe I’ll have like a bowl. Sometimes I have steamed food as well. So it just depends. Maybe if I’m going out at a restaurant and it’s not raw vegan or even vegan, maybe I’ll just have steamed vegetables. Asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower—most restaurants have those options.
So I’ll get something like that, that’s been maybe steamed lightly, and I’ll have that for dinner, or I’ll just have a cool, raw dish that I made, like lasagna or, you know, raw tacos usually get exciting once a day because I love food.
I’m a foodie. So that’s pretty much my day in a nutshell. Oh, and for snacks, I have just fruits and veggies, like maybe carrots. Baby carrots or apples or oranges or something like that.
Sara Grove: That’s so neat. And so for you, you find that having your quart of water maybe with some lemon in there and your fruit smoothie or just some fresh fruit, which, by the way, is so simple. You know, a lot of feedback that we hear too is like, “Oh, I would do the raw thing, but it just seems so complicated,” and what’s easier than just grabbing a few pieces of fresh fruit in the morning? They come prepackaged from nature.
Koya Webb: Right.
Sara Grove: So do you find that that is enough fuel for you to feel energized to be able to workout?
Koya Webb: Absolutely. Absolutely, I do. I really feel like you need enough energy to workout, but you know, a lot of people, actually, there are a lot of people now that are going vegan and they still have weight problems, and it’s because they’re eating way too much. They’re eating a lot of nuts and seeds and things like that. It’s storing the fat, and you really don’t need to store anything when you wake up. You just need energy enough to function and energy enough to get through your workout.
And so I find, depending on who you are, how tall you are, how much weigh, some people need more calories than others, but you can definitely blend up us many calories as you need for your workout and drink it in the morning, or if you’re into munching that much and you have time, you can just have a big bowl of fruit, one type of fruit or mixed fruit, or maybe six bananas and four apples. Whatever it is that you need to get the calories that you need to sustain you, and it’s different for everyone, and that’s what I do as a holistic health coach is I help people find out.
They don’t need the same as I need, and your needs will be a little bit different from mine, just because we have different body types, different metabolisms and everything. And so I think that’s the beauty of it, but yes, everyone can definitely have enough energy for their workout just consuming fruits and vegetables.
Sara Grove: And like you were saying that if you wanted to be lean, now that you understand the nutritional science of it and you understand your own body so well, that you could slim down to be super slim or, you know, maintain kind of this fit, muscular physique, and so you also feel totally comfortable. Like are you able to build and retain muscle eating fruits and vegetables?
Koya Webb: Absolutely, I am. And what’s so funny is I just got a major call from a major magazine who wants me to be on the cover, which I can’t reveal the name right now, but basically I’ve been lean and I’ve been enjoying my yoga body, which is a nice, toned yoga body, but I have to kind of bulk up because it’s like a fitness magazine for made women and all the other women, most of them eat meat, so I do need to be a little rounder and stronger, and I want to represent, you know.
Sara Grove: Right.
Koya Webb: I’m actually going to increase my calorie intake, you know, and like I said, I do. I’m not one hundred percent raw, but if I was one hundred percent raw, I would have to eat a lot more. But instead of eating a lot more because I don’t have time to, I take supplements, like I just take a protein powder, a plant-based powder in my smoothies once a day. But while I’m getting bulked up, what I consider bulked up, for this photoshoot, I’ll do one smoothie in the morning and one smoothie before I go to bed so that my body has all the nutrients.
And not only protein parts. It’s also the greens that give me the core fuel, the nutrients. The fruits as well that give me everything I need for my body to regenerate itself, whereas you really don’t have to play that close attention if you’re not doing competitions or if your lifestyle is not being a fitness model.
Sara Grove: Right.
Koya Webb: So you really don’t have to pay that much attention to detail, but when you are or maybe you’re getting ready for a wedding or you have some special event or hey, maybe you just want to look good on the beach, you know.
Sara Grove: Right.
Koya Webb: And you want to get it done. I mean I help people who want to define their body in a short amount of time. You know, I have about 15 days to drop about, you know, and I’m getting lean so that you can actually see the muscle. As you know, on TV or any magazines, you know, you look not as fit as you actually are sometimes. It depends on the angle. Definitely on TV, but also in magazines, the leaner you are, the less body fat that you have, the better you look.
Sara Grove: Right, the more defined the muscle tissue is going to appear.
Koya Webb: Exactly. And so, yeah, I’m leaning out for that and bulking up, and I just want to let people know you can do that as well. And then, after it’s done, I’ll probably go right back to, you know, having less protein and just my regular kind of eat whatever I want. I could eat my pizza and my cheesecake every now and then and be okay. But when you’re wanting to get more tone and be really slim and lower your body fat percentage, it’s really important to pay attention to how much fat you’re consuming, and I do moderate the amount of sugar I’m consuming, even from fruit as well, which a lot of people don’t know about.
But you do have to change your fat and sugar levels when you’re really trying to lean out quickly.
Sara Grove: So, when you say changing those levels, are you trying to reduce the amount of sugars and fats in your diet when you’re trying to lean up for like this photoshoot or for like a fitness competition?
Koya Webb: Absolutely, yeah, absolutely, because you want to create a balance to where your body isn’t storing. You basically want to have enough carbohydrates, which are sugar, to get through the day and have enough energy to sustain yourself, and so you’re not grouchy or do anything. You know, you’re pleasant to be around. That’s how much you want.
Sara Grove: I love that.
Koya Webb: You know.
Sara Grove: Enough so that you’re pleasant.
Koya Webb: Exactly, because some people don’t eat and they’re so grouchy. You’re like, “Gosh, just have a banana or something.”
Sara Grove: Yeah.
Koya Webb: Eat an apple, an orange, something to make you feel better. I don’t recommend starving ever, and fasting is okay for spiritual reasons and cleansing, but really when I do my detoxes and cleanses for people, I recommend cleansing with the fruits and vegetables and just being very, very clean. Straight from nature. Organic. Simple. And I think that’s just the best way to eat. Even when people feel like, “Hey, I’ve got to gain,” just know that they can do it the natural way. You just have to know. It’s all science. And if you understand the science, then you can do whatever you want with your body.
And that’s how I’ve empowered myself. I’ve educated myself over the last 12 years to find out how to do that, and I love empowering and educating others on how to do that as well.
Sara Grove: That’s so wonderful. I just love that, and I think it’s a really encouraging message to hear too for people, because I know people who have turned to raw food or vegan diet to lose weight, there’s people that turn to it to try and gain weight healthily. You know, all of the above, and so it’s nice to know that you can reach your goals for your body choosing healthy, fresh-from-the-earth foods. And so that is a really wonderful thing.
So we’ve heard a lot about your diet and what you’re eating throughout the day. Two questions: What does your normal kind of workout routine look like? How active are you on a daily basis, and how is that changing now for the next 15 days to kind of bulk up for the shoot?
Koya Webb: Well I’m glad you asked because one of the biggest things that I recommend for people to do, no matter what shape or size or whatever—maybe you’re going through a health issue or disease of some sort—I really recommend breath work, like really inhaling, exhaling, getting the proper oxygen to your brain and your cells is so important. I recommend it in the morning, just conscious breathing, and I even do a meditation and that kind of segues into what I feel like everyone should do as well, is some form of stretching or yoga.
And yoga is really important to me. That came to me through college as well. When I had a stress fracture in my lower back, I was a tight athlete. I did everything. And because of repetitive stress in the wrong way, I ended up falling to my knees in pain and I had this sharp pain in my back. And I went to the doctor and he said, “You have a stress fracture. You’re out of the season.” And I was like, “No.”
Sara Grove: Wow.
Koya Webb: I was on scholarship, so I thought I was going to get sent home
Sara Grove: Right.
Koya Webb: And I was devastated. A counselor told me, “You know what. Why don’t you go to yoga?” I didn’t know what yoga was. I was like, “Is this some type of religion?” I had no idea.
It was hilarious. And so, when I actually did the class, I learned, you know, not only about stretching my body, but also how to breathe and connect the breath with the postures, and it gave me so much stress relief. And I think more than anything, people need that. Yoga gives you strength. It strengthens your body. It gives you flexibility and it gives you stress relief through breath, through breathing and through just calming down. So I do yoga every single day.
Sara Grove: Every day.
Koya Webb: Every day. And I didn’t always. Like just in the last three years, I’ve been doing it every day and I’ve experienced so many results because it just resembles life so much. I mean we have stress and in poses you stress your body and then you relax. And it teaches you how to breathe through it all, breathe through the difference channels in life, so you become a stronger person not only physically, but mentally as well. And so, I really recommend everyone try a little bit of yoga. And if you’re not into yoga, like some type of dynamic stretching to really get the circulation going in the body, which also helps the body heal itself as well.
So, breath work, and then anything that promotes circulation. I do yoga every day. Some people might be into Tai Chi or Pilates or whatever, but something that moves the body. And so I do yoga.
Sara Grove: And do you normally do this in the morning?
Koya Webb: Yeah. It’s proven steady now. The first day, we’re like, “Well, the best time is any time you can get it in.” So if you can only get it in at night, well, heck, as long as you got it in.
Sara Grove: Right.
Koya Webb: But scientific studies show that if you get it done in the morning, just think about it: your heart rate is going to be increased in the morning, so throughout the day you’ll have a raised heart rate, so you’re going to burn more calories, whereas if you kind of chill all day, the heart rate never gets up. If you work out at night, it’s still good, but it’s not as beneficial as if you get it up in the day and then your heart is still pumping hard while you go throughout your day. Your blood is circulating. You’re probably going to be in a happier mood because you release happy endorphins when you’re working out. So it’s always better to try to get your workout or yoga in in the morning.
Sara Grove: And for about how long do you normally do yoga in the mornings?
Koya Webb: I recommend at least ten minutes. I get at least ten minutes in. Normally I get anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, but most days it’s ten minutes. Actually most days it’s 30 minutes for me. And then, when I have more time, I get an hour. Occasionally I’ll get like a two-hour session in there, like maybe once a week.
Sara Grove: And then you’re just really feeling like you’re floating the rest of the day.
Koya Webb: Exactly. I’m high as a kite. It’s a lot of fun. I lift weights. I love lifting weights. I started when I was a track athlete in college, lifting weights, and now I do this little routine. It’s called kiss the muscles, and I just go through the machines and I just tone my body gently. And mostly because you can’t do it with calisthenics or yoga, but I think more so because I’m a fitness model. I want to maintain a certain level of musculature. And it’s really easy for me to engage because I travel a lot and, you know, do yoga a lot, but I want to maintain a certain balanced muscle ratio in my body, so I feel like lifting weights two to three times per week really helps me keep my strength and improve my strength, and I can actually see how many plates I’m putting on there.
So I started that in college and it’s something that I still love doing even though I don’t think it’s necessary for you to go in the gym and have to lift weights to, you know, have big muscles or be strong. It’s just something that I started doing and I really love.
Sara Grove: Do you have any advice? I know a lot of, especially women, can be kind of intimidated about weight lifting or even going to the gym in general and might wander around with wide eyes, looking bewildered. Like, “Okay, I’m here, but now what am I doing?” Do you have any recommendations for someone who would love to kind of add weight lifting into their week but doesn’t really need to go do anything extreme or complicated?
Koya Webb: Right. I mean one of the biggest things I would say is that, you know, one, you can do it at home. You can do push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and I have a total body pump workout on my website, KoyaWebb.com, that people can go check out and get a workout. By the time this is released, I’ll also have a little in-the-gym workout, showing me walking around in the gym, how I kiss my muscles on the different weight machines, so they could check that out. And also, if they’re a person that kind of is a little intimidated, I would recommend getting a personal trainer, just for a couple sessions, just to have a friend and then also just get used to how to use a weight properly, where to place their hands and their knees so that they make sure—the number one thing in working out, even in yoga, is safety—so making sure they have the proper alignment. I have online yoga classes at Yoga30.com, and people can sign up with me as a teacher and I take people through a gentle class. And I take people through ab work. Everyone wants those nice, toned abs.
Sara Grove: Right.
Koya Webb: And I’ve got awesome ab work on there. I also have YouTube videos. YouTube is a really good source. So, if people want it, it’s out there. YouTube. Online classes are there. And if a person wants to go to the gym, I would recommend just getting a personal trainer, just for, you know, two to three sessions so they can really get an idea of what their gym is about, what machines they can use to help them just stay fit and toned.
Sara Grove: That’s great advice, and I know sometimes those can be so helpful. And a lot of gyms, you know, when you first sign up, will have kind of like a free consultation or a discount on coaching and on personal training for a few sessions.
Koya Webb: Absolutely.
Sara Grove: Which can be a great resource. And so the other thing I was going to ask you about, a really big question and popular idea is this like pre-workout, post-workout. You know, what are you supposed to eat or drink? And you know, there’s a lot of fitness gurus out there that stress that you have to have your post-workout shake, you know, to solidify your gains or whatever. What is your take on all that?
Koya Webb: Well, it is true. I mean after you workout, there is a window for around 30 minutes, or for some people a little longer, where your body is asking for and craving the nutrients because it just had this hard workout. And so ideally if you consume a shake after your workout, at this time, you’re going to have high absorption rates and you’re going to experience better gains if you have your meal or your shake or whatever you decide to eat in that window. You’re still going to benefit from your meal whenever you eat it, but your body does switch over and it doesn’t process things the same if it’s beyond that window.
Same thing before your workout. If you go to the gym and just start working out, you’re not going to have as much energy as if you had a little smoothie, a light smoothie. Now if you eat a whole three pancakes and an omelet, you’re going to be dragging. You’re going to want to wait at least an hour for that to digest, whereas if it’s simple fruits, a simple smoothie, you’re going to have energy to get through your workout and really give it your all. And I really do. All my shoots. I just did a shoot today and it lasted from 7AM to 1PM, and all I had was a smoothie and then midway, we took a break and I had a green juice, and I was pumped, stoked, and I still am.
I’ll have a meal once I get off the phone with you, but it pumped me up. And plus, when you’re doing what you love, you know, it definitely gives you extra energy, but I recommend people keep it light but do something. A lot of people starve themselves you know, and they feel like, “Well, I’m going to burn if I don’t have anything.” I mean yeah, you’ll burn from your stores, but chances are you could be burning muscle and you might not have enough energy for your workout. So, I recommend a pre and post. Just a nice, simple, light shake, smoothie, or of course fruits and vegetables, just to give your body nutrients before and to replenish your body after.
Sara Grove: Yeah, thank you for addressing that. Do you have a favorite or kind of go-to post-workout smoothie, or do you make one big one and drink half of it before and the other half after. What does that look like?
Koya Webb: I really like them fresh. I love my Blend Tech, but I also love my NutriBullet, because sometimes I just toss in a banana, I toss in a cup of fruit, I toss in a couple of my favorite greens and a scoop of protein, and boom. That’s my favorite shake. Now, I do get jazzy, especially when I have company, and maybe I’ll add like, you know, cherries and maybe a couple walnuts or almonds, or maybe I’ll add some vanilla or cayenne. When I have company I’ll jazz it up, but for me, banana, fruit, water.
Sara Grove: Some greens. Yeah.
Koya Webb: I’m having some greens and I’m a happy girl. I used to do vita-mineral green a lot. Sometimes I add a little extra green supplement in there if I want to do that, but honestly the thing I do the most is just that banana, fruit, greens, protein, and that’s my go-to shake.
Sara Grove: I love it. Keeping things simple. That’s got to be one of my favorite things too. Yeah. And so besides the yoga, which you do every day and recommend some kind of breathing practice and stretching and that kind of thing, are there particular workouts or exercises that you like to do to keep fit and muscular throughout the week?
Koya Webb: I think high intensity interval training is a really important thing for people to know. So, when I do go to the gym, I usually start off with a mile run, and I recommend people run or walk a mile per day. So that’s another thing that I do in addition to my yoga, is I run or walk a mile per day. And that’s a good thing. I think it’s good when people give themselves a measurement, so they can keep a certain level of fitness. “Oh, I did this one day,” and that’s cool, but I notice if you’re really concerned about your physique, then you want to have specific, measureable goals to your day.
Like you lift three times per week. You do yoga each day. You run a mile per day. You’re going to see significant improvements in your health. Sometimes when we’re kind of more leisurely about it, you know, you’ll still be great, but you might not receive as great benefits as someone who has a more scheduled, regimented type of schedule. So I also do a mile per day, and then after that I will jog for a minute and then I’ll walk for a minute. Then I’ll jog a little faster for a minute and then I’ll walk and jog, and walk and jog and walk. Science has proven that this type of training, it’s called high intensity internal training (HIIT) training, it speeds up your metabolism and it helps your burn fat faster in a slower amount of time. So, let’s say if I do this HIIT training, you know, jog, walk, jog, walk for 30 minutes or I just jog by itself at the same pace for 30 minutes, I’m going to burn more calories and get more gain, strength gains, if I do the internal training and I actually speed up and then walk a little bit, and I push a little harder and walk again. So I really recommend to people that, whether they’re in the gym on the treadmill or the step climber, or if you’re just going outside for a walk or jog…maybe if you’re a walker, walk a little bit a jog. Walk and jog. If you’re a jogger, run and jog. You know.
And so, whatever it is, I recommend this training. It also helps you improve. If you’re looking at your times, it helps you improve your times faster. This is coming from an ex-track girl. So it helps you get faster.
Sara Grove: Yeah. Yeah. So do you apply this high intensity interval training to other kinds of workouts, like when you’re going to do abs, for instance, or more weight-bearing type exercises?
Koya Webb: For weight-bearing type of exercises, you can get into a type of dynamic, oxygen-type of lift, but with that, I usually do about 20 repetitions, especially when I’m trying to be nice and lean. The heaviest weight I can do at about 20 repetitions is usually a good weight. Just like measure: “Hey, I’m not doing too much. Is this doable?” When I’m really trying to round out and gain a little muscle, whether it’s, I want a little more booty or a little more arm, a little more leg, I usually do 10 reps as heavy as I can, and I keep improving.
And then, when I can do about 15 to 20, I bump the weight up again. You know, so that’s a quick and easy way other than hiring a personal trainer. It’ll really give you detailed results, but that’s a good way. Anyone listening can just go in the gym. You know, do 20 reps. Once you can do 20, take the weight up and you’re going to notice yourself get stronger and stronger. And also, if you want to get stronger faster, the heavier you go for about 10 reps, it’s going to help you gain a lot faster. And those people who, you know, some women, not many, but some are scared to bulk up in the gym, it takes so much to bulk up, especially if you’re not having any type of extra supplementation or if you’re not eating tons and tons of like animal protein. You’re not going to bulk up.
Like I lift super heavy. Like I can curl 35s and I can bench press a lot. I can squat, you know, the whole squat rack, and I’m still lean. I have strong legs because I build them that way, but I see people that are just as strong and they’re even leaner. So strength and how you look is all a science. And once you understand that science, you understand how to get the results you want in your body.
Sara Grove: Yeah, I just love that. That’s great advice. And so, I know that you do all this. You stay in amazing shape, but you’re also, I mean, you’re a busy girl. You’re doing fitness modeling and shoots and teaching yoga classes and traveling and doing demonstrations, so it can sound like a lot. So for the average person who, you know, works 40 plus hours per week, do you think it’s reasonable for them still to be able to have these daily routines, like a yoga or a workout every day?
Koya Webb: Yeah, I honestly think if people just give themselves 30 minutes, that’s all you need. Thirty minutes. And for people who are really crunched, I say okay, fine, 10, but 30 minutes is my recommendation. And yes, in 30 minutes, you can do yoga for 10 minutes, you can go for your mile walk or run, and you can have enough time to make a smoothie. So I think if you’re not willing to commit that time to love yourself up, like that’s really…I feel like that’s self-love and, you know, you have to take care of yourself. And then, when you take care of yourself, you’re going to be that much stronger to take care of others, so I really recommend people make 30 minutes in the morning for yourself.
You know, just do something to just move and circulate your blood, circulate your energy, and then feed your body life-giving foods, you know, which is raw fruits and vegetables, and you will feel vibrant for the rest of the day. And hey, continue that the rest of your day, even if you’re working, sitting down at a desk. Get up and go outside midday or for the lunch break. Maybe if you can, get a mile in. Go for a small walk and talk with friends. I really recommend staying active throughout the day because that keeps your blood flowing, keeps your energy up, and it’s just good for your health. So I think everyone can absolutely do this lifestyle and I recommend it to all of my clients.
Sara Grove: Are there any mornings that you wake up and just don’t feel motivated at all? Even with your quart of water, your green juice, you just wake up and you’re like, “No, just not today. You know, tomorrow. Yesterday was great, but today just no.”
Koya Webb: Absolutely. I remember one time, like I didn’t sleep for like two days straight, and on the third day, my body was like, “All right, good. You’re drinking water. You’re doing all this, but I need sleep, woman.” I was just going. I was just going and going, and I don’t do this often, but I definitely feel like there are some days, like even today, I had the shoot really early and it wasn’t all the way confirmed, and I was kind of in the bed, like I need to know because I need to know how to turn my mind off. Do I turn it on or off?
But I definitely had that feeling of, “Oh, this bed feels so good. I just want to stay in here,” but you just have to motivate yourself. And one thing that I like to do, and maybe it can help some people is, in the morning, I also turn on a little music. That gives me a little pep in my step, and honestly I notice a big difference. Like, say if I’m out of water or really clean water; if I’m out of water and I don’t get my water in the morning, I notice a big difference, believe it or not. I don’t get up as fast. Usually, especially if I drink that quart of water, even if I do get up and go back to bed just to lie down and feel comfy, I will wake up and use the bathroom.
So that gets me up. And I never use an alarm. Like, I have set my body clock, and when I wake up, I drink that water. So even if I don’t wake up then, eventually having to go to the bathroom will get me up again, and then I turn on my music and I have my fit morning.
Sara Grove: That’s so great. Do you have any favorite songs right now?
Koya Webb: Oh, “Happy” by Pharell.
Sara Grove: Yeah.
Koya Webb: I love that. That is my favorite song to wake up. It’s so positive and it’s so fun. And you know, I love happy. I love, like when I’m in a mellower mood, listening to India Arie. She’s really a soulful singer. When I’m in an upbeat mood, I listen to this girl, she’s like a little country from Nashville, Tennessee, which is where I was born and raised, Knoxville, I was born there, Britt Nicole. She’s a really conscious, positive singer. Many people don’t know about her, but I jam to her music when I wake up and when I go to the gym. It’s really positive and it’s all talking about, you know, shine and be amazing, and I think listening to positive music is really a part of fitness as well.
I mean, you want to put good media into your ears, into your soul, and that’s going to fuel your workouts just as good as food will.
Sara Grove: I love that, and so it sounds like it’s kind of a self-sustaining kind of habit. Once you get yourself to wake up and do it, you feel so good that you just remember that the next day and it’s easier to kind of get going.
Koya Webb: Absolutely, yeah.
Sara Grove: You know how kind you’re being to yourself.
Koya Webb: Absolutely. And most people, once they get into it, they feel the results and they’re motivated to keep doing it. And usually if people take two or three days off, they’re like, “Oh, I fell off the wagon,” and they’re unmotivated now, but I recommend, if you feel like, “Oh, I’m in a funk, I don’t want to get up,” just do it. Have the will. Think about this conversation. Think about me jogging till I’m happy and just be inspired. Sometimes I just get on my phone and I look online at all these people working out while I’m still in bed, and maybe that’s your motivation.
Whatever it takes. I tell people to find out what gets to you and just do that thing that gets you motivated, because I think it’ll be different for each person, but music, looking at inspiring things online, and just the fact that I know that I’m going to feel better once I get started, that’s what I tell myself. You know you’re going to feel good once you get up. Once you get outside, you’re going to feel better, and so that also motivates me to get out of the bed.
Sara Grove: That’s so funny. I do the same thing. And then oftentimes, even if that’s not enough, like if I’m just really struggling some morning, I’ll tell myself, like, “Okay, I just have to do it for five minutes, 10 minutes. If I still don’t feel better, I’ll quit,” and then I always do, you know, because the first few minutes can always be rough if you just wake up and immediately, you know, your first sun salutation is so stiff. Your first mile, the first little bits before that blood gets moving. And so I always tell myself that if I still feel bad about it five minutes from now, then I’ll stop.
Koya Webb: Absolutely. That’s such a good one. Absolutely. You never feel bad.
Sara Grove: Right. I’ve forgotten about it by then. It’s like, “Oh, well, now it’s happening.” I do. I love that. Such good, positive reminders. And I’ll have to look up that singer. I’m always looking for a new positive artist and music and to pass those along.
Koya Webb: Yeah, I love Pandora because you can put in one song, like India Arie or Britt Nicole or Pharell, and then it’ll give you other artists in that genre, and so you can kind of build out your repertoire of music that way. And I really use that a lot to kind of give me my jams, my happy jams in the morning.
Sara Grove: Right. I love that. Being summertime, a lot of us are traveling. We have trips, and I know you travel a ton. So is there anything you do differently or do you have any advice for people to maintain their routine, because I know you’ve stressed how important it is to have a regimen? If, you know, you wake up and you do this every morning, it’s a lot easier to get your body kind of in that habit. So is that a struggle for you when you’re traveling, or what kind of advice could you have for someone that’s like, “Okay, I’ve got this routine at home, but I’ve got this summer vacation planned. I’m going to be out on the road. I’m not quite confident I can stick with it”?
Koya Webb: You have to plan for it. I recommend downloading the app Happy Cow, so you can find out what vegan and vegetarian restaurants are in the area of wherever you’re going or check on Yelp. Find out where you’re going, where the restaurants are, because you might not have time to prepare. Like realistically, you might not have time. But I also say prepare, prepare, prepare. I have apples and oranges, bananas, pears, things that are non-perishable. Pack them in your bags, and I always have a carry-on backpack with me, and it’s packed full of fresh non-perishable. Fruits that don’t perish as fast. And then I’ll have some lighter fruits, like a couple berries, strawberries and blueberries, and things like that as well that I can eat that day.
And then also I have some dried fruit as well. I love dried mango. Non-sulfites. No added sugar. Just clean, straight dried fruit is really great as well because that lasts you a little bit longer, and it saves you from getting that airport food or eating those peanuts that they pass down the aisle.
Sara Grove: Right.
Koya Webb: You know they have some crappy stuff in those airplanes.
Sara Grove: I can only imagine.
Koya Webb: So, I really recommend people just get prepared. Have a stashed bag with you of fruit and, you know, non-perishables. Things that take like four or five days and that’ll last you for a while. And then a couple of dried fruits is not bad. I don’t recommend getting tons and tons of granola and things like that because it’s really high fat, but I do suggest dehydrated fruit. I love mulberries. They’re expensive. Less expensive would be mangos, but I am in love with things like mulberries. They’re so good. They taste like maple syrup and, you know, they’re just amazing to me, but mulberries and mangos are like my favorite dried fruit.
Also dried papaya if you can find it without sulfate. That’s good. Trader Joe’s usually has a good lineup and also Whole Foods has a good lineup of different dried fruits that you can get, but that’s what you have to do. You have to prepare. You have to find the grocery stores where you’re going, so once you get there, you can get fresh fruit to make your smoothies. Also, the NutriBullet helps me out a lot. It’s portable. You can put it in your bag. That way you can blend up your smoothie any time you’re hungry. You’re like, “Oh my God, I’m starving right now.” You can blend it up in the airport. You can blend it up in a hotel. Take your personal blender with you. Whatever brand you get, take that personal blender or have fresh fruit on hand at all times.
Sara Grove: That is awesome advice. Thank you. And then I’m sure, Koya, you have on your website and on YouTube so many great videos for kinds of exercises that you can do without equipment or little yoga classes that you can do in a hotel or on the beach, or you know, wherever, while you’re on a trip.
Koya Webb: Absolutely. I recommend people check out my website, KoyaWebb.com. Check out my YouTube channel, Fitness, Food, and Fun. And just follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and just stay in contact. The big thing is to sign up for my newsletter because I will be having retreats coming up where I’m teaching these principles while I’m talking to people one-on-one. I’m getting into their lifestyle and I’m giving them recommendations because everyone is different and you have to know how this fits into your lifestyle.
Sometimes it might be easy and sometimes it might take a little more help and to figure out how I’m going to make this healthy lifestyle work for me, and I love doing this. It’s like my passion. It makes me excited to wake up and help a person figure out how to be healthier and happier.
Sara Grove: Wow, thank you. So definitely, if you’re listening right now, go to KoyaWebb.com and sign up for her newsletter because she does have retreats coming up and you can find out more about her coaching and get in touch with her, so sign up for her newsletter and stay in touch. And then before we leave you, I would love if you had any last words, maybe a mantra or a motto that really helps keep you inspired or just words to live by for us to remind ourselves to get up and get going this summer.
Koya Webb: Yeah, I think it’s one of the things that I created when I was in high school. I always said that life is the choices you make. You choose. You choose when you get up. You choose when you grab that piece of fruit. And the quality if your life is measured by how many healthy choices you make and how many life-giving opportunities you take. So take that trip. Go out on a limb. Try something new. It’s all about opportunities and choices. So I just encourage people to take those opportunities, make those healthy choices, and you will live a healthier and happier life.
Sara Grove: Oh, I love it. Thank you so much for joining us, Koya, and you heard it. Nobody is going to force us to do it or get us up and help us live our lives and be kind to ourselves. It’s our choice and yeah, it’s a good day to start.
Koya Webb: Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for having me. It’s been such a great honor to talk to your audience and, you know, I’m just here for everyone. I do free 15-minute consultations, so if anyone wants to contact me, they can contact me by email, [email protected], or on my website. And I’m just here to serve. That’s my mission. Just to serve and help people get healthier and happier.
Sara Grove: Oh, that’s beautiful. I love it. Well, thank you so much for serving and being you and just spreading inspiration and motivation to all of us. We really appreciate it.
Koya Webb: Thank you, Sara. I appreciate you, your phone, and this beautiful platform you have with Raw Food Magazine. Continue. Continue spreading the light.
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