Hello true believers, welcome to another action packed article. A Heroic hieroglyphic if you will. Today you are in for a monumental mountain of musclebound spoken word. A revitalizing rhema. We are going to speak with Sheika Marcel of Sheik Fitness.
I stumbled upon her via Instagram one day doing some Olympic Lifts (aka Olympic Lifting aka Weightlifting, as in the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk). I love seeing people do the Olympic Lifts. Further more, I love seeing black women with the barbell. It’s a beauty and work of art. I don’t mean the ready made barbells in your commercial gyms. I mean the BIG barbells, or specialty made barbells for weightlifting. The wonderfully made handcrafted works of art that are akin to spears and axes made for battle. I’m talking something that was forged by the legendary Brok and Sindri (look them up right now) as they forged Leviathan (the axe in God of War 4).
This wondrous woman is a trainer in the Big Apple, the concrete jungle itself, NYC. I follow her on IG and comment from time to time (I’m probably the biggest “you can do it”, or “KILL THAT JOINT” dude in the history of man). I remember when I saw that she posted accomplishing her CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist cert). Even before I knew her I knew she had the making of a true warrior. It’s one thing to become a CPT. It’s another thing to have a NASM (regarded as a gold standard in CPT certs), but the CSCS…yeah…
Remember in Avengers Infinity War, when Thor had that magnificent entrance with Stormbreaker (his new hammer)? Yeah, that’s the CSCS. You got to have a degree for that alone. It says, “Verlly friends. I’m really out here.”
This woman is out here, slaying dragons, inspiring the people, conquering her corner of the world. Today, you’ll get to hear from her.
1) Can you tell us about your fitness background? Were you always a warrior? Ever play any sports? What brought about your fitness pursuits?
My fitness background .. well I’ve played sports since I was a kid so I’ve always known I need to move. I started out playing basketball , I played volleyball and finally landed in track and field in college. After I graduated I was an officer in the Army Reserves and moved out to NYC to pursue my passions of modeling, acting and fashion. And although some weeks I couldn’t afford to eat I found a way to pay for my gym membership . HAHAHAHA, I think that was a huge signal to me that I should be doing more in line fit my passion for working out .
2) You have some impressive certs. What motivated you to take the CSCS? How intense was it? Why that one vs a standard top notch training cert?
Well I decided to take the CSCS because I realized the people that had the most clout in fitness , per se those contributing their ideas to magazines that I wanted and still want to see myself in all held the CSCS so I decided hey … why not try my hand. It took some studying and some failures but eventually I got it .
3) I like to ask people what their particular philosophy on fitness is. What is your philosophy and worldview on such? What do you like to bring to your clients and people you come across?
Be Bold Enough To Try. That’s my ethos. You will never no what you are capable of unless you try .
4) I notice you do the Olympic lifts. What got you into the weightlifting movements? (Note to readers: The Olympic lifts are lifts such as the Clean and Jerk and the Snatch. This also known own as “Oly lifting” or weightlifting. Weightlifting is a sport.) Do you teach any of your clients such? What is that like in terms of the learning curve to you?
I’ve been doing the Olympic lifts for about 5 years now and I am still learning and finding things to improve daily. I was going through a tough time making the transition to becoming a full time trainer and my General Manager at the time was a world class Oly Lifter. I think he wanted to help me gain some confidence as a trainer and so he started to teach me. When I started Olympic weightlifting, I had already been an athlete for years and was comfortable moving but I was definitely not great at the technique I literally suffered a bulging disc twice. During my first year or of learning because I was lifting way more than I should have been at the time . As time went on I began to care more about how I moved than what weight I moved and I haven’t been injured since …from lifting any way LOL. I have a few clients that have some interest in lifting but I’ve only ever trained one client to Oly lift. There are quite a few prerequisites to teaching olympic lifting to a novice lifter and rightful so.
5) Your slogan, “Be Bold Enough to Try.” It’s powerful and also encouraging. Tell us about that. What was the inspiration behind that?
When I was introduced to Animal Flow, I honestly just though it was beautiful and fluid and since I’d never been a dancer but I was athletic. I saw it as it as a means to add some beautiful movement to my training. But after doing it I was like yo, this is really freaking difficult and so I started finding more and more ways to add it into my workouts. I use it now for mobility work, conditioning days, or in between sets or I just flow for like an hour when I can’t hit the gym .
7) What’s been your proudest moment or moments, as a fitness professional and also athletically for yourself?
I’m always extremely proud when I see a client fully buy in. When it stops becoming something they have to do and it becomes something they want to do. I tell my clients when I start seeing them buy a new workout wardrobe I know that it’s getting real and they are about to breakthrough plateaus.
8) Where does your inspiration come from? What drives your quest for excellence? As both a coach and a personal athlete?
I’m internally driven to be great. Honestly that’s all I’ve ever wanted my whole life is to be exceptionally good at something. So any time I take on a new task in life I want to the best doing it period. That’s just who I am.
9) Anything you wish to bring to the world of fitness or the world itself? Do you have any opinions on its current state right now. Anything you would like to see more of?
I think I want to bring an awareness that fitness is not about perfect squats / perfect swings / perfect abs its about getting people moving however they can whenever they can as much as they can . We’ve gotten into this Don’t do that Do THIS … place in fitness that only further confuses and intimidates new comers . As far as the world as a whole is concerned um I’d have to say GOD IS LOVE.
10) What do you do on your rest days?
Sheik Fitness is a play on the word Chic and is also the root of my first name LaSheika. My message will always be the same Be Bold Enough to try
12) Can you tell us about your diet? I see you post a lot of veggies. Do you have any philosophies on food? You seem well disciplined but you also seem as if you like enjoy food as well.
I enjoy good food. I would say I have only 1 strict rule about food and that’s eat as many raw veggies as possible . I stopped cooking most of my veggies and usually toss them in some dressing or cold press them. I have been all over the place with my diet and its only been as recent as this year that I found my balance.
13) Any favorite books or quotes that resonate with you? Why?
I love to read but I just never want to prescribe or attach so much of myself to someone else thoughts if that makes any since. I do have quite a few quotes though that really resonate with me
You are capable ; You are beautiful and it may seem scary but courage doesn’t exist in the absence of fear but in spite of it . Be bold enough to try.
Sheika Marcel is a Top notch Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist in NYC. You can reach her via:
Instagram : @sheikfitness