"After days dwelling on my detached feelings and memories of the past charged with discontent, there was a moment of silent melancholy and then a question. This question would change everything: “What would you do if you were still alive? 

I knew the answer well.

I’d listen to my heart..."


*** From the Fit for Joy book.

Much Love,





A simple practice we can engage in to cultivate peace and harmony is to give up hope and replace it with aspiration or motivation from the heart—that is, to stop waiting to be happy when something happens, but instead rejoice in this very moment for doing what you do, because what you are doing now should already be the realization of what you want to happen in the future. 


*** From the Fit for Joy book.


Warm wishes,




We have the choice to change our minds when we can't change the situation we find ourselves in. Instead of perceiving a commitment to finish the work as dreadful anxiety, we could live in these moments with a sense of thrill.

Embrace the challenge of being creative, thus tapping into the unborn parts of the mind that are not conditioned to perceive external events habitually. 

The main difference between anxiety and excitement is the energy behind these feelings; one is driven by negative thoughts (anxiety), and the other by positive ones. All of the unnecessary suffering in our lives is self-created, and so our happiness. 

When we are able to perceive reality with an inner “eye” that can’t see itself, our hearts will have become the source of unconditioned joy. 


*** Passage from the Fit for Joy book.

With warmth,




Below you will find a sample of the diet I used to be on for about two years before I competed with WBFF – World Beauty Fitness and Fashion. This dietary system combined with weight lifting can be of great help for losing weight, staying in shape, building muscle and strength, but as I have mentioned throughout my Fit for Joy book, this type of regiment mainly focuses on the physical body, which is only one aspect of our being. We are so much more than just our bodies! The approach to fitness that works the body in isolation from the mind and our spiritual hearts is not what I do today, professionally or personally. My work at the moment is about integrating conventional physical fitness with spirituality.

These meal suggestions are only to illustrate what my personal journey was like. They are not approved meal-plan recommendations.

- BREAKFAST Option One

8 oz cold water with a probiotic supplement

1 tablespoon matcha green tea + ½ lemon

7 walnuts

1-2 whole eggs


1 salmon filet oven roasted with coconut oil

5-10 walnuts

Steamed Kale

- BREAKFAST Option Three

Steel-cut oats – almond milk – berries

Green tea



Any lean meat of your choice: white fish (sole, cod, flounder, or halibut), grass-fed red meat, tuna fish, wild salmon, chicken breast, turkey breast, sardines in water.

Eat with steamed veggies or a green salad from the list.

Avoid sauces; instead use olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and avocado oil for salad dressing.

Snack - Best Options

1 tablespoon spirulina shake with ½ oz. frozen organic berries and a teaspoon of coconut oil

Green juice – no fruit added

Protein shake – whey protein

Nuts (walnuts, macadamias, pecans, Brazil nuts)

Raw coconut flakes

Celery, cucumber, or carrots with almond butter

Kale chips or dried seaweed

Raw cheese (unpasteurized)

Sweet potato chips (homemade)




The same options as lunch

*Important – Avoid:


All sugar and sweets

Regular fruit except for berries and green apples

Starchy carbs such as pasta, bread, rice, wheat wraps, white potatoes, etc.




Kombucha drinks or tea

All kinds of tea, but especially green tea, no sugar added

Coffee - no sugar added



Sleep 8 hours or more per night

Drink a gallon of water a day as well as green tea

All vegetables and fruit should be organic

Adding lemon to your meals is great – it alkalizes the body

You can have a small piece of dark chocolate 85% cacao or higher, but not every day

Use stevia powder as the only sweetener


*** From the Fit for Joy book.

With warmth,






Karen was my last client for the day. We met at seven sharp, right after Steve.

Karen was an obese woman I trained twice a week. She was thirty years old, weighed 250 pounds, and was 5’ 2”. However, these numbers don’t say anything about her. She was a painter who owned her own gallery in Manhattan. The serenity in her eyes and the way she smiled for no reason introduced her before she even told me her name.

She had been married for more than five years to someone who was in good shape. I knew this because her husband came to pick her up after our sessions. The conversation we had the first day we met left me pondering about life for days.

I asked the same question I asked every client before we began the program: What are your three main fitness goals?

Karen said she only had one goal: to enjoy the workouts.

I recall looking into her eyes as if she had not understood my question. I rephrased it, and this time I was more specific.

“I understand, Karen, and I will ensure the exercises will be fun, but what I meant was, how many pounds do you want to lose?”

Again, she answered with a smile and said she didn’t care about the weight; that she just wanted to feel good during and after the workouts. Furthermore, she said it didn’t matter if she didn’t lose any weight at all. Her peaceful eyes and joyful smile reinforced the truth of her words.

I could not believe this woman and how out of touch with reality she was. She was obese, for God’s sake! She could actually die of a heart attack at any moment, and my mind refused to believe that anyone could be at peace with a body like hers. It couldn’t be possible.

I insisted. I tried to force her to make a deal with me, and asked her to agree on losing one to two pounds per week.

Once more with the same serene, happy look on her face, she replied that I didn’t understand her. Patiently, she repeated that she was fine with her weight and that she enjoyed her work. She was a person who loved and was loved by her family and friends. Her life was a blessing, and she was grateful for what she had. There was nothing else to be added or removed to make her happier. The workouts with me were just to get her body moving while she had some fun.

I wasn’t amazed by her attitude, because I neither understood nor believed in what she was saying at the time. Nevertheless, after our encounter that day, I went home thinking about her, and remembered a thought I’d had when I was a teenager, one that had returned many times throughout my life.

I would die young.

I believed I would not reach the age of thirty, despite being physically healthy.

Perhaps intuitively, I knew that my heart could fail at any time because of my lack of understanding of what life was really about: love and kindness.

I am convinced that Karen became my client for a reason—to teach me that to be healthy is to be loving. She trained with me for almost a year, and never lost any weight.

Karen was the healthiest client I ever had.


*** Passage from the Fit for Joy book.

Much Love!

Valeria Teles



My six-o’clock client was not a regular. A fellow female trainer had had to leave due to an emergency, and asked me to take her client that day. I filled in for her as a substitute trainer.

Steve was a fifty-seven-year-old businessman who seemed to be under a great deal of stress. I could tell this just by being around him for a few seconds. He gave me a serious, almost intimidating impression, and breathed heavily. We were introduced in a hurry by the other trainer as she ran out the door.

Steve looked at me with an expression of quiet impatience. He was in good shape and looked strong. His chest area was well developed, leading me to think he must have been lifting heavy weights for years. I could tell he was very proud of his chest.

Before I could ask him about his training routine, he gave me the workout for that day. His program had only four exercises: barbell bench press (155 lbs — 12 reps), incline chest press (50-lb dumbbells — 12 reps), floor push-ups (20 reps), and incline dumbbell flies (20 lbs — 12 reps). If you understand something about muscle-group training, you will notice that Steve’s workout had only chest exercises.

I looked at his program and said enthusiastically, “Great! Let’s do it!”

I set up the barbell and began the first workout on the list. I was ready to spot him if he needed it, standing close to the bench behind his head. As he ended each rep, I cheered him on by saying things like, “Great job, Steve. You’ve got it! Nice work! Keep the energy! You can do it! Wonderful! You are doing it right! Don’t give up! One more left! Nicely done!”

In truth, I was talking to myself. I needed to hear my own enthusiastic words, given the day I’d had. I noticed something unusual when I took a quick glance at Steve’s face to make sure he was okay. He was looking at me and smiling as he lifted the heavy weight. He’d finished lifting without saying a word, with a smile. I didn’t exactly understand the reason for his happiness, but I was glad his serious and stress-filled expression was gone.


Considering he was a new client, I didn’t feel comfortable enough to begin a conversation about my early insights into fitness and kindness. Nonetheless, I asked him trivial questions, which he didn’t answer. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy interacting with others when I’m with them. I like separating things: There is a time to be fully alone, and a time to be fully with others. In a trainer/client relationship, there are moments to focus on the exercise, moving and breathing properly, and also moments when we can talk.


Steve’s behavior was making me feel incredibly awkward. Concerned but trying to stay cool, I followed him around with my cheerful chatter. His behavior didn’t change. The studio was quiet; there were only a few people working out with their trainers. No one seemed to notice how uncomfortable I was around Steve.

Once again in my life, I felt stuck. I didn’t want to stay there, but I couldn’t leave. I tried to stay calm and do my job well.

We went through the workouts. In the end, Steve was sweating, still with a smile on his face. Before we said goodbye, he asked my name again, then mentioned that he liked my training style. He also inquired if I could train him from that day on. I politely explained to him that my schedule couldn’t fit another client.

In truth, if my heart had not begun to guide me toward fitness and spirituality, I would have accepted his offer. 

*** Passage from the Fit for Joy book.

Much love!

Valeria Teles



Diana was next. We met at five in the evening.

She came in ten minutes early and hustled past me on her way to the locker room, saying, “It’s been another busy day. Give me the hardest, most beast-mode circuit you’ve got, Valeria.”

My energy was very low at this point. I really didn’t want to train another client, especially a high-energy person like Diana. She was thirty-four years old and exercised every day in the morning before she went to work. Her jogging sessions lasted an hour. She usually met me in the late afternoons for her weight training.

Today was an upper-body session. While she lay under a sixty-five-pound loaded barbell, doing twelve reps of military presses, I asked her, “What is the most important thing in life to you, Diana?”

She was so focused on her reps that I wasn’t sure she’d heard me. As usual, she was having a serious conversation with the barbell. We didn’t tend to talk much. Her workout mood had always been to get the job done as well as possible and leave the studio.

A few seconds later, she put the bar back on the rack. The next exercise was ab work, and she knew it. We had the circuits programmed in advance. She moved briskly to the yoga mat on the floor to do a set of twenty reverse crunches.

Her breathing was heavy. The circuit was intense. She was never happy with anything light or easy. I was still waiting for an answer to my question as I kept track of the number of reps, but I didn’t ask it again.

On the floor, while doing a quick stretch - bending her knees close to her chest while keeping her legs together - she said, “The most important thing to me is to keep moving forward through the days. When I wake up in the morning, I have a to-do list in my mind. I just go through it naturally. It’s a clear, focused, and precise daily plan I accomplish by the end of the day.” She finished her answer by the assisted pull-up bar, after fifteen reps.

Diana had been moving fast for the last thirty minutes. She performed all her exercises with the same focus and precision as she checked off her to-do list.

“Do you like your job?” I asked.

She was so focused on her spider plank ab work that her favorite movie star would have gone unnoticed had they walked by us. Sitting on the mat, wiping her face, she said that she got her job done, made great money, and was proud of herself. She worked out hard in one of the best fitness clubs in New York, and could afford my high personal training fees. She laughed and added that she ate out all the time, traveled, went out with friends for drinks, and that serious relationships and love were too complicated to give attention to.

You know that feeling when there’s nothing you can say to someone because they’re too busy listening to their own thoughts? That’s how I felt.

After we finished the workout, I reflected on how Diana’s life was not that different from her to-do list. It was programmed. She’d been in a cycle of living according to rehearsed habits, and her life had turned into a running race with no finish line or winners, an existence driven by nonstop actions. There was no space left to even think about love.

Diana followed the exercise program and ate clean while training with me. She achieved the fit and athletic look she wanted in three months. Her body composition transformed, but I wish her life had, too.


*** Passage from the Fit for Joy book.

Much Love!

Valeria Teles



Susan had a session with me at two in the afternoon. I was not feeling well after Destiny’s encounter. During lunch, my thoughts had been much more centered on love and kindness, and this reflection was hovering over me when Susan arrived. She’d been training with me for a couple of months.

I began chatting with her about these tender reflections. In the middle of our session, I said, “Susan, you know what I’ve begun to realize?”

 “What?” she asked.

 “That the foundation of health is love; how can we feel comfortable in our bodies if we are not in love with life? Does that make sense to you?”

She looked at me as if she was thinking about it. Then she said, “Valeria, can you please get the mat for my next buttocks’ workout?”

We continued with the session as if I’d never brought up the insignificance of a fit body without a loving heart and a happy mind.


*** Passage from the Fit for Joy book.

Much Love!

Valeria Teles



My next appointment was with Destiny at noon.

She called to say she would be almost twenty minutes late. I stared out at the street from the studio. There were many things going through my mind that day, even though my feeling of unhappiness was not connected to any of them. It was cold and windy outside, and I expected Destiny to come rushing in any minute.

Destiny was one of the most cheerful clients I had. She always went straight to me with a big smile, and gave me a tight hug and a kiss before we started training. She was a mother of two kids, a schoolteacher, and was overweight. Destiny was a high-energy woman with a very unusual fitness goal: to lose belly fat only. She trained with me three times a week.

When we met two months ago and I asked her about her fitness goals, she told me her husband would love to see her with a smaller belly, wearing the new pink swimsuit he’d bought for her this summer. She shook a colorful water bottle and took a sip, adding that she knew she was a bit overweight, but she liked her voluptuous body—except for her belly fat. Her husband had said all she needed to do to look great was lose belly fat.

It was not the first time I’d heard this kind of fitness request from a client, and I was used to it. I proceeded to explain to her that spot reduction was not possible with exercise and diet, and that while working out with me, she’d lose fat in her body overall, not only around her belly. Despite this, she was excited to get started. I don’t think she understood me.

We started training from that day on. She was doing great. Destiny had lost almost twenty pounds so far.

After a long, melancholic wait by the window, she came rushing in. She looked serious and worried. It was the first time she didn’t greet me with a hug and kiss. I hoped nobody had died.

We sat down on the sofa in reception. I faced her, but she looked down. She said she’d wanted to meet me in person to say something important. She didn’t want to send an email.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

She said she couldn’t do it anymore; I had helped her reduce her belly size and feel better, but she’d noticed that her thighs and buttocks were shrinking, too. It wasn’t what she’d expected. She was looked down the whole time, about to cry.

I listened to her quietly. I didn’t have much to say.

Destiny thanked me, then stood up and walked away.


*** Passage from the Fit for Joy book.

Much Love!

Valeria Teles





When I met James for our first assessment session a few weeks back, in the same private fitness studio in downtown Manhattan where we’d be meeting today, he said to me, “I want to look like you.” I remember hoping he meant look fit and healthy, not ripped and starving while wearing high heels, as I was in my online competition pictures. James had found me through my website, where I’d posted these images.

He needed to lose about twenty pounds. Taking care of his health seemed to be a priority for him. However, he mentioned he had just broken up with his girlfriend, and that his main goal was to get in shape before joining a dating website.

I was meeting him for our fifth session.

“How are you feeling, James?”

“I am very well,” he replied, but there was a sad look in his eyes that told a truth his words wouldn’t. His heart was broken.

“Let’s get started.” I gave him some warm-up exercises. James was an easygoing, friendly person, and I instantly felt comfortable talking with him about matters of the heart. So I asked him, “What is the meaning of life to you?”

“What a big question for a Monday morning,” he said, trying to concentrate on his plank hold. After a moment, he added, “I think the meaning of life is to be happy.”

“What makes you happy?” I asked, curious.

“I’d like to have my girlfriend back,” he said, looking at the floor.

“So your girlfriend gives meaning to your life?” I ventured, trying to express my doubt.

He was quiet for a moment. We moved on to the squat rack. Eventually, he said, “Well, for that, she needs to understand me better and love me for who I am.” He looked at himself in the mirror and squeezed his belly.

“What do you mean by that?”

“I mean, that way she would complete me and I would be happy. I like having someone to share my life with. The special moments, you know? Someone to travel with, talk to, sleep with, go out for dinner with, and maybe have a child with. A partner. This is who I am. I’m used to being with someone. It’s tough being alone.”

James’s last sentence didn’t make sense to me. “In my opinion,” I told him, “knowing who you really are requires being alone. Being with other people because we are used to it is only another way to escape from knowing ourselves.”

How ironic it was that I needed to hear that, too!

By the time I’d finished sharing my thoughts, James had squatted for ten minutes. He’d burned quite a lot of calories, and had his hand on his chin in the Thinker’s pose. I left our session hopeful, wondering if he’d understood what I’d said, and pondering it in my own thoughts as well.

Before our meeting the week after, he sent me his picture. He was standing in front of the mirror and showing his belly. The message read: Look, Valeria! I have lost three pounds already and my belly is looking smaller. You are amazing! I am going to sign up for a dating website today—I am tired of being alone! I will see you later.

*** Passage from the Fit for Joy Book.

Much Love!

Valeria Teles



I met my first client of the day at seven in the morning.

Angela was a thirty-five-year-old married woman living in Manhattan. I reached her building thirty minutes early, and waited for her for another ten. When she arrived in the lobby to greet me, I remember wondering why she’d hired me. She was petite, young, and in great shape.

We walked to the gym, which was empty. She turned on the air conditioning and the lights. Our session began and we went through the initial protocol, a dynamic warm-up.

She looked down the entire time. I asked her unimportant questions to break the silence, but her answers were brief, accompanied by a shy smile. I felt my presence was enough for her. Throughout the workout, Angela only spoke a few words, moved in a slow, controlled way, and never looked straight at me. I felt like I was at a funeral and I didn’t know who the dead person was. I acted awkward, trying to cheer her up or at least alleviate the silence. I pretended I was participating in a comfortable and normal situation between two people.

When the workout ended, we planned our weekly schedule and said goodbye to each other under the same gloomy cloud. This was a client whom the best exercise and diet in the world would never help to feel joyful. It was never about fitness for Angela. She was looking for a friend.

I left her building feeling very down. I couldn’t pretend to be her warm friend while also being a trainer. Her sadness was my sadness.

There was no time to be unhappy, though. My next client was James, and he needed me downtown at ten. I crossed the street and entered the subway station.  


*** Passage from the Fit for Joy book. 

Much Love!

Valeria Teles






If we can walk, we can dance,

If we can dance, we can laugh,

And when we laugh, life becomes a RE-creation of our dreams! 

Here is one of my favorite timeless poems. It inspires willpower, kindness, faith, self-love and beyond.


If you can keep your head when all about you   

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;   

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;   

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,   

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


Warm wishes,




Children sleeping
Snow is softly falling
Dreams are calling
Likes bells in the distance

We were dreamers
Not so long ago
But one by one
We all had to grow up

When it seems the magic slipped away
We find it all again on Christmas Day

Believe in what your heart is saying
Hear the melody that's playing
There's no time to waste
There's so much to celebrate

Believe in what you feel inside
And give your dreams the wings to fly
You have everything you need
If you just believe

Trains move quickly
To their journey's end
Are where we begin again

Ships go sailing
Far across the sea
Trusting starlight
To get where they need to be

If you just believe
If you just believe
If you just believe

Just believe
Just believe...

May the heart guide our next steps!




Source:  Song "Believe by Josh Groban"




We know that the best way to lose weight is to eat less, especially of foods that are high in calories. Sugar is a well-known adversary of weight loss. But before depriving ourselves of healthy fats and sweets, it’s wise to try to understand the real reasons we eat more than necessary. I believe that the mechanisms of wishful thinking and fear are subconsciously operating in our minds when it comes to our eating patterns. Food can become an addiction, often stemming from emotional triggers when we wish our lives to be different. Steven Pressfield, the famous writer once wrote: “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us.”

The way I see it, having the courage to realize the unlived life within is essential to our physical and psychological health. A simple practice of courage is to trust this moment for what is. Feeling grateful for what we have can empower us to follow our hearts, thus making each moment fulfilled and joyful. The happier we are within, the less preoccupied with food we become.

The perfection of this moment embraces us with unconditional love for our spiritual wealth, for who we truly are  – there is nothing lacking. 


Much, much love! 




The moment we choose to recognize our experiences in the world as lessons of love, life turns into a lucid dream. This recognition can come from the depths of our hearts or from spiritual awareness through the senseless suffering caused by our minds. Either way, the main difference between a nightmare and a lucid dream is a shift of perception grounded in love. In the dream of life, there are many mountains to climb every day, and they might crumble, the dust might blur our vision, the fear might replace our hope, but if we have faith and recognize our own essence, WE will never fall again. 

Much Love!




It's important to be aware that fitness can set in as a dangerous addiction, even when we practice our deepest spiritual understanding on daily basis. I caught myself overtraining after spending days in meditation. We can never underestimate our habitual tendencies. Although spiritual knowledge, coupled with the guidance of our own hearts, can prevent exercise from becoming an unhealthy practice, it is my belief that we still need to surround ourselves with those who are on the path of “true health” to create the environment that will allow us to practice our virtues consistently.

Since everyone is unique, finding the most enjoyable way you can unite body and mind can turn any exercise session into a spiritual activity —simple solution: bring the heart into it everything you do! 


Much Love!




Thanksgiving celebrates the spirit of gratitude.

It's an acknowledgment of love.

Appreciation of truth.

The gracefulness of life.

Recognition of "God."

Responsiveness to peace within.

Thankfulness for the divine GIFTS we share in our HEARTS.


May this time of the year reminds us all of what really matters in life!


Much Love,















...Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on..."  - “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin

Did you know that the songs we listen to are interconnected with our personalities?

For example, the genres that Explorers favor more than other Roles – namely, electronica (68%), hip-hop (49%), pop (74%), and reggae (35%) – may most frequently match the Explorer mood: energetic and in the moment. Whether it is a fast-driving techno beat or a reggae groove, Explorers may look for music that is more textural than intellectual, evoking an immediate, visceral response.

Here is a summary break it down from recent studies:

Blues fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing, gentle and at ease

Jazz fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing and at ease

Classical music fans have high self-esteem, are creative, introvert and at ease

Rap fans have high self-esteem and are outgoing

Opera fans have high self-esteem, are creative and gentle

Country and western fans are hardworking and outgoing

Reggae fans have high self-esteem, are creative, not hardworking, outgoing, gentle and at ease

Dance fans are creative and outgoing but not gentle

Indie fans have low self-esteem, are creative, not hard working, and not gentle

Bollywood fans are creative and outgoing

Rock/heavy metal fans have low self-esteem, are creative, not hard-working, not outgoing, gentle, and at ease

Chart pop fans have high self-esteem, are hardworking, outgoing and gentle, but are not creative and not at ease

Soul fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing, gentle, and at ease.  ... READ MORE...

Much Love! 


Source: blog bufferapp and 16personalities.



It has been said, which I believe, there is a strong evidence that the higher the level of our self-esteem, the more likely we will treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity.

And so, let's be aware of some basic mistakes that can make us age faster: 

  1. Not getting enough sleep

  2. Avoiding (healthy) fats

  3. Eating too many processed foods

  4. Not consuming enough bone broth

  5. Failing to minimize stress

  6. Not exercising

  7. Using the wrong beauty products

  8. You have too much sugar in your diet

  9. Not consuming enough biotin

  10. Not taking a probiotic ....

Much Love!



Source: Healthy Holistic Living