Robynn Europe is a self-proclaimed art nerd, trainer, and figure competitor whose strong-headedness turned her from a out-of-shape college student to a top figure competitor. To learn more about Robynn, visit her profile in our Expert Network.
How did you become interested in health and fitness, and how did it become part of your career?
Health and fitness have only become personal concerns of mine in the last five or six years. I studied studio art in college and spent little time on my less-than-stellar physique. When I graduated, I had a lot of beautiful paintings of bodies, but I was unhappy with the body I was living in. I thought, "I am 22 years old! I am supposed to be a young hottie, not a dumpy loser!" Also, my first summer job straight out of college was at one of the vainest, shallowest gyms in NYC, so I guess I got sucked in.
What are your weekly workouts like? What do you do and why? How do you make fitness and health a priority in your schedule?
I'm a figure competitor, but I am neither athletic nor coordinated, so my workouts are straight forward: Heavy lifting followed by steady-state cardio. I have never had any muscle, and the muscle I have was hard to gain, so now that it's there, I am fighting to keep it, and show it!
What did you eat today specifically for breakfast/lunch/dinner? Is that typical for you? Why?
All of my meals, every single day, are exactly the same, except on the weekends when I have a tendency to eat make-whatever-I-want substitutions. Anyway, my five meals:
Meal 1: 6 egg whites, half a cup of oatmeal, 1 cup spinach, 1 cup coffee (and by "cup," I mean "vat.")
Meal 2: 6 egg whites, half a cup of oatmeal, 1 cup spinach
Meal 3: 6 oz chicken breast, half a cup of brown rice, 1 ocean of coffee
Meal 4: 6 oz chicken breast, romaine salad with balsamic vinegar
Meal 5: 5 oz steak, 10 stalks asparagus
I eat exactly this, every day, with little variation. Normally I wouldn't have steak for dinner, but that's about as crazy as I get during the week. Occasionally, I'll vary it up— last week I had turkey bacon at breakfast. I know— wild and crazy Robynn! But like I said, I have to fight to keep muscle on, and fight to show it.
With that said, weekends can be a little hectic, and I've only recently figured out how not to completely lose it in the face of everything delicious. I don't know the meaning of moderation, so it's an all-or-nothing deal with me. It's chicken and spinach, or every fried pierogi for miles. It's dumpy college student, or figure competitor. I want the whole enchilada, except I can't remember the last time I ate a freaking enchilada.
What do you have the most trouble with in terms of health, fitness, and happiness?
I need more hours in the day. I'm an art nerd, I just have this other thing I do that is very visible, so sometimes people think I spend all my time working out. NO, guys— I spend 2 of my 24 hours training. Then I have a life, a job, and other interests that I'd like to squeeze in, including painting, drawing, going to museums... not to mention the time I waste watching House or pursuing makeouts. Hey does anyone remember the last time I slept? Yeah, me either. There is not enough time for me to be as fit or as social as I'd like to be.
Where do you find happiness on a daily basis?
I was always kind of awkward and weird growing up, so every time I connect with someone else— be it at the gym or just in casual conversation, it really makes my day better. Also, I'm a great cook, and when you eat as much as I do, it's nice to find joy in the preparation.