Blush is proud to present The Body Politics, a series of interviews with women of all ages, body types, religious and political beliefs who change the world by opening doors and pushing down walls for women by being their true selves.

This month, meet Maya Chammas, certified fitness instructor, founder of Move for a Cure and co-writer of the blog Bubbly Lifestyles. The inspiring young woman discusses body image, social media, self-confidence, and empowerment.

 

You are a certified fitness instructor, you co-write the blog Bubbly Lifestyles, and you are the founder of Move For A Cure, a Montreal-based nonprofit that plans fitness events to raise awareness for diseases and funds for organizations looking to cure them. What inspired you to help others through sports and fitness?

4 years ago I had a really low self-esteem and resorted to Zumba classes at my gym.  Those Zumba workouts positively impacted my life and allowed me to appreciate my body and fitness. I learned that small changes in my routine can have a broad impact, which led me to become a Zumba Instructor. My aim was to share with others the benefits of being active and help them appreciate their bodies. Once I discovered my love for helping others, I combined it with my passion for fitness and empowerment and I founded Move For A Cure!

How would you describe your relationship with your body? Does teaching others to be active sometimes come with a pressure to look a certain way?

After years in the making, I finally have a great relationship with my body, which is why I truly believe in not fitting in a mold. I like the fact that I am a fitness instructor who teaches 12 hours per week but doesn’t look ripped.  I don’t want to inspire my participants by the way I look, I want to inspire them by showing them that I am also a human being and that no matter how busy I am, I will always find time for myself and my body. Besides, being a fitness instructor is not about how you look, it’s about how your participants feel when they walk in and out of your class and the impact you have on their lives! Yes, I have a personal fitness goal and yes I have not reached it yet, but that is my personal goal and not the way everyone expects me to look.

 

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You are very present on social media, particularly with Bubbly Lifestyles: you share pictures of your meals, your workouts, your trips… Once again, does that come with a pressure to keep up with certain standards? As we all know, there’s a huge fitness scene on social media, everyone looks so healthy all the time… Does it sometimes get exhausting?

We created Bubbly Lifestyles as a platform to inspire women to reach their goals and lead a healthy, happy lifestyle. Being part of a community and surrounding yourself with positivity can strongly motivate you to go outside of your comfort zone and surpass yourself, which is a feeling we strive to spread.

Having said that, it doesn’t get exhausting because we’re not pretending to fit into that scene; we started the blog to be able to touch people’s lives and make a difference for them. We believe that every person will find balance their own way just like we did. Hanadi and I promised each other to never do something just for social media purposes because it goes against everything we preach.

What is your everyday fitness and health routine?

I like to drink a bottle of water as soon as I wake up and to eat breakfast within the hour. I make sure to work out 2 to 3 times a week besides my 12 hours of Zumba, as it makes me feel energetic and relieves any stress I may have. Leisure is such an important part of one’s wellness, therefore no matter how busy I am or how many things I have on my to-do list, I always plan for some leisure time.

Besides being healthy, what benefits do you get from being active?

I believe that being active is the reason behind the energy I have to take on so many different projects at the same time. Being active has also allowed me to meet so many wonderful people on a daily basis which really adds to my wellness. I am very thankful for all the amazing connections I made through my active lifestyle. Also, it has allowed me to love and appreciate my body so much more. I don’t choose to be active to look a certain way, I choose to be active because I love my body.

 

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Obviously, we see you dressed in sportswear on social media. How would you describe your personal style, when you’re not teaching or doing sports?

A few years ago, when I wasn’t comfortable with my body I didn’t express myself much through clothes, I would always cover my body with jackets and I barely wore sleeveless tops. Once I gained the confidence and was ready to venture into my style I struggled for the last few years to find jeans that fit my body type comfortably. I finally found two pairs this summer which really allowed me to explore my personal style. I can’t describe it yet but I must say I’ve been enjoying my jeans.

Do you have mentors, or simply people who you admire and inspire you?

My mother has been such an important part of everything that I take on. She inspires me to be myself, to push harder and to always do what I love. My mom is the reason I am comfortable with my body and feel confident about myself at this stage in my life, and that is such an important lesson that she was able to give me.

Lately I have also been inspired by Alessia Cara and her new song Scars To Your Beautiful. I just love how she decided to go makeup free and totally unprepared to all her concerts to support the important message behind her song.

What tips would you give to people who want to get in shape and be healthier?

Do it for you, not for anyone else.

Always remember that YOU matter and that it is okay to put yourself first at times.

Create small and realistic goals, because otherwise you will be discouraged.

Commit to your goals.

As typical as it sounds, get in the habit of drinking water and make sure you sleep enough.

Make simple daily changes.

And most importantly, appreciate your body no matter what.

 

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What’s your definition of sexiness?

Sexiness comes from a place of self-love and self-acceptance. Everyone has the power to look sexy!  It’s not about the clothes, the makeup, or the body. Rather, it’s about your own perception.