Krissy Cela: ‘Strength training is so empowering’   

Fitness trainer and Forbes 30 Under 30 2023’s Krissy Cela co-founded two multimillion-dollar fitness brands before she had even turned 30.  

She launched her fitness app, EvolveYou, when she was just 24. Today, the app has more than 86,000 monthly active subscribers, and she is on a mission to make it the largest woman’s fitness app in the world by 2025. In addition to creating her world-leading training programs, she introduced her activewear brand, Oner Active, in 2020. Her first clothing collection sold out in minutes, and in just three years, her two businesses have generated more than US$90 million. 

Born in Albania and raised in the UK, Cela has also started her own schools initiative aimed at helping young women discover the joys of fitness. This November, she will lead a workout in front of thousands and of fitness fanatics at Dubai Active, marking her biggest live audience yet. 

Creating a supportive community 

Offering strength-focused training programs, meal plans and on-demand classes, Cela says that the values and ethos of her fitness app makes it unique to any other on the market.  

She says: “We are committed to empowering women, and making fitness accessible. After all, personal training can be expensive and financially out of reach for many people. It’s not just a fitness app. It’s a platform that connects women and encourages them to support one another on their fitness journeys. We also believe in the importance of representation in fitness. Our trainers come from all different backgrounds, and this allows our community to see themselves reflected in their trainers.”

Cela believes that lifting weights is physically and mentally empowering for women: “Strength training has given me so much confidence. Being strong allows you to move better in and outside the gym. It’s especially important for women, particularly after the age of 30. It improves bone density, and it’s great for preventing the onset of diseases like osteoporosis. It also prevents muscle loss, which is important for maintaining metabolism. Strengthening your glutes, back and core can also be helpful in tackling nagging lower back pains caused by sitting down for long periods of time.” 

The entrepreneur notes that her training methods have evolved over the years. Where was once her training was geared towards aesthetics, that is no longer her main focus. 

“My attitude has become much more holistic. I train so that I can feel a certain way, not just to look a certain way. Training makes me feel unstoppable and I’ve learned to really respect my body,” she says. 

All movement is good 

On the debate of whether HIIT is more effective than continuous forms of cardio, Cela settles the argument by stating that both are great for your health and fitness. 

“Research suggests that whether you choose HIIT or more steady state cardio like running, cycling or rowing, both can be equally beneficial.  The main thing is just to get moving. There is no hard and fast rule for a perfect ratio of cardio to strength training days either. A bodybuilder will do more strength than cardio, while a runner will do the opposite,” she declares. 

“Most of us should aim to work out a maximum of five days a week. You should always allow a couple of days for rest and recovery. They are just as important as training days.” 

Indeed, Cela warns that it is possible to become too obsessed with exercise: “If you’re constantly anxious, stressed, tired and making social sacrifices for your workouts, then this is a sure sign that your relationship with exercise needs to be looked at. I believe fitness should always elevate your life and add to it. Moreover, the body never lies and your menstrual cycle is a good indicator to whether you’re doing too much. When the body experiences too much stress (and this could be down to exercising too much or not eating enough), our periods can become irregular or even stop.” 

Uplifting the next generation 

Aside from her businesses, Cela is working with UK schools to show young people that movement can be fun and enjoyable. 

“Just 10 percent of girls aged 13 to 16 meet the recommended activity levels of 60 minutes every day. Plus, only 59 percent of secondary school girls say they enjoy PE, versus 84 percent of boys,” she states. 

“This is largely because of self-confidence issues brought on by body image problems and the changes girls face as they enter puberty. These are the areas we are focusing on addressing.” 

However, she doesn’t think that the gym is the male-dominated space that it used to be: “Some girls say that they’re nervous about stepping into the weights section. I get it, we’ve all been there. But honestly, more and more girls and women are getting into strength training. My advice is to just start! Everyone starts from somewhere. Having a program and knowing what you’re going to be doing every time you step into the gym is also a one way of making it easier.” 

Tickets for Dubai Active 2023 can be purchased here is for every body and mind in the UAE. This magazine is all about moderation, making small changes, little additions and the odd subtraction.



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