As a part of my blog I think that it is very important to share and spread the message of what I find to be very important. To me, since I am so passionate about personal care both physically and mentally, I am very happy to have interviewed two talented individuals. I've interviewed the lovely couple Alessia Vernazza and boyfriend Kenny Barnes who have both faced physical and mental hardships of being an athlete. Along with this, they have also described their perks of their athleticism and how they've kept motivated during hard times. Let's learn more about these two individuals to get their take on being athletes!
Interview Part 1-
Tell me a little bit about yourself?
My name is Alessia Vernazza, I’m from London. I’ve been living in LA for about 2 years now. I’ve always been the sporty type.I first started getting into sports when I was 10 years old. I was captain of most of the sports in my school, and I’ve won many awards in all of the sports that I’ve participated in.
How did your athleticism impact you both mentally and physically?
It mentally made me stronger, I grew tough skin and that enabled me to work harder. It Physically made me more muscular which made me more healthy. My athleticism made me happy as my body was where it needed to be as well as my internal state.
Did your food consumption and eating habits better you with your physical endurance or did you find that your meal plans were too strict or restricted?
I tried not to make my food consumption strict and I tried not to let it restrict me. There were times where I needed to be harsh on myself as I got closer to championships and big races. It’s funny you ask that question because whenever I had a chocolate bar or something that I shouldn’t be taking my body immediately reacted to it and it would make me sick, so that’s what made me more strict on what I allowed in my body.
How often would you train?
I would train 12 hours a week, and that would go up to 14 if I had important competitions coming up.
Was your weight ever an issue for you when it came to your athleticism?
My weight has never been an issue. I have very high metabolism so I’m naturally very skinny, however after a year of training my body started to get more toned, and I started developing more muscle, which helped me a lot.
Did being so athletic slow you down from having a social life outside of your sports?
Athletics was always a priority for me when I was in school, and I was always focused on that, but my athletics never stopped me from having a social life, there were times where I couldn’t go to parties or events because I had to train or I had competitions but that’s a sacrifice you agree to when getting into high level sports.
Were there times you would beat yourself up because of the mental stress and pressure put on you to keep up and if not surpass your fitness goals?
We are our own biggest critics right? So yes I would beat myself up a lot because of the mental stress and because of expectations from not only my family but my teachers, my coaches and my teammates. I think one thing that stops talented athletes to becoming pro athletes is the pressure and stress, because they can’t handle it, as it’s tough and can get damaging.
Have you ever been fed up or taken time off of training?
Yes I have been through stages in my life where I’ve had to take time off training. Most of the times have been because of injuries but I remember taking time off training because I was seriously doubting my talent and my mental strength. I would cry myself to sleep most times because I felt like my body and mind were giving up and shutting down. Being an athlete is hard and people need to know that before getting into it as a career.
Is there anything you would like to let other athletes or viewers know about the mental or physical wellbeing when it comes to being an athlete?
I would tell athletes who are starting off that it’s mentally and physically stressful and tiring. There will be times where you start to doubt your mental strength but if this is what you want to do then surpass all of it. Surround yourself with good coaches and a good team. You need to develop that connection with your coach where you are able to talk about everything with them. Sports is mentally and physically challenging so balance it all out with doing things you love, as well as giving your body time to rest and recover for the next training.
One last thing that I would say is learn to love pressure and competition, you should feed off them both because that’s what will make you strive and what will take you to another level. If anyone has any personal questions about my sporting story or just any general questions that they would like to know then reach out to me on my Instagram: @alessia.vernazza. I will answer any/every question you want to know.
Some very factual, raw, and vulnerable words that Alessia has spoken! Next we have her partner Kenny Barnes with his take on being a hard working athlete.
Interview Part 2-
Tell me a little bit about yourself?
Hi, my names Kenny Barnes, I’m a young basketball player from Upland,California. I Have 8 brothers, so I come from a big family. I’m 23 years old, and I been playing the game of basketball since I was 3 years old in the kids league.
How did your athleticism impact you both mentally and physically?
My athleticism, is took at a high level. I’m a very good athlete and very athletic. Mentally my athleticism, knows that I can get off the grown faster than others, I can rebound and score in different ways. So mentally I just focus the whole time on the court, trying to figure out a different way to get a stop then score at the same time on the other end of the floor. Basically just focus and having a good IQ for the game. When it comes to physically, I stay in the gym lifting every other day I can. Working out running, being pro active all the time, when I’m not in a basketball gym. But learning when to give someone a bump in the chest from my shoulders when driving the lanes, boxing out your man or another man just to get a rebound. Fighting and diving for loose ball. Continue to do that over and over again, you will find progress.
Do you feel a sense of emasculation if you are at any point not up to par with your athleticism or fitness goals?
Well I come from a big family with 8 brothers, that’s all following after my footsteps so i'm working hard everyday in the gym getting shots up. Trying to do whatever it takes to get better than what I was, the last time I walked in the gym. I’m always looking for progression in my work ethics. So not from my stand point I don’t feel no emasculation only improvement. And if I feel like I aint got a lil better or having a bad day. Then I’m back in there before the sun rises to make up what I lost.
Do you feel as though you are your own worst critic and are too tough on yourself as an athlete?
Yes, when I mess up, or done somthn wrong pretty much yelling at myself in my head and I get hard on myself, but if you don’t then you won't ever get better. But also my father plays a part in it too. He’s very hard on me. He wants me to succeed to my goals, so good or bad he always have somthn negative to say. But that’s what a father does when he loves you and want you to be the best you can.
Do you see yourself pursuing this path in the future as well?
Been, Pursuing this since I was eight years old. And won't stop now. I do see myself having a good future in basketball. By the end of the summer I will be overseas playing basketball and finally taking my game to another level and actually getting paid for it. It’s gone be a blessing come true.
Do you find that you are often competing with yourself or do you compare yourself to other athletes in your field more?
Everyday I’m competing with myself, cause I want to get better. But it’s crazy, cause I have eight brothers, and they want to be in my path so bad and follow my footsteps or even be better if that happens. So I do find myself competing with my brothers a lot cause they do want to be better than me on the court. But at the same time, as they getting better, all they doing is pushing me to get better. Which is good to have around you. Family takes you a long way in life if you use it to your advantage. But I do try to compare myself or my game to other athletes from what I hear coach’s talk about. But my favorite players , Lebron James, when he grab a rebound and go coast to coast with it, for a layup or dunk. I use that a lot in my game. Carmelo Anthony, with his isolation with mid range or threes I use it, and watch him. And Dwyane Wade, with how good he pass the ball, play defense, and always looking to make the big play. I really analyzing that in my game.
What is something you do to ease your mind after having to train as hard as you do? Is this method more physically healing or mentally?
Stretching, relaxing your body. Getting lots of fluids like water and Gatorade, witch are my two favorite drinks. Hanging out with family and friends from time to time. Also playing PS4 2k19, and getting message to relax my muscles when I can. Going get treatment and icing or taking ice baths. More of a healing method for me.
What is the best part about being an athlete?
The best part about being a athlete is, when you know you been training and getting ready to show people your talents every game that comes. Fans watching me play is like the best part. But what I enjoy the most about it, not only do I get lots of stuff and attention from being a good athlete. But to wake up the next day and do it all again tomorrow, is a very good feeling.its a blessing I get to wake up and play basketball and actually love it.
Would you like to add anything or say anything more about your mental health and pressure put on an athlete?
If you love doing somthn everyday, and you want to be the best you can be at it. Take full advantage of your goals in life. Take no days off, everyday you should be finding a way to improve yourself if you love doing what you do. Don’t let no one stand or step in your way. It’s always one person trying to take someone down. So believe in yourself and succeed in life and it will take you a very long way. There’s lots of people doing the same thing you doing or better. But how you going to stand out. Quote “Who want it more”, you or the other person trying to take your spot. Be a leader not a follower.
Amazing!!! We can see that both couples have a very similar mindset when it comes to their athleticism and their training. Both Alessia and Kenny are two driven individuals. Of course from their interviews we learn that there can be hard times, conflict, and both physical and mental exhaustion. But- how inspiring! I think that we can all learn a lesson from them today! Both these individuals seem to feed off of the pressure and hardships they feel while under pressure. We can learn that feeling pressure and mentally down is not necessarily a bad thing. We can definitely prove our strength and capabilities just by shifting our mindset. Most importantly we learn that we have to love it! Whether it be that you're an athlete or just someone who wants to get into working out, make it enjoyable for yourself as opposed to something that becomes dreadful to you! Always set goals up for yourself and find ways to improve and challenge yourself! It's definitely okay to feel down, but most importantly, how you react to your inner feelings will determine the outcome and results of your journey. You decide!!
I hope you guys enjoyed this interview segment! I will definitely have more interviews like this and much more often! You can subscribe to me via email to be notified of the next interview or just follow me directly on my IG @maisha667 !
A special thanks to the athletes Alessia Vernazza and Kenny Barnes to take time out of their day to inform the rest of us about their own mental health, physical health and athleticism!
Until next time.