Michele Santiago is a boss babe, fashion girl gone fitness, and a total inspiration. She made it her goal to get active and find her passion, which was helping other. She is one of the girls behind The Underground Trainers, a boutique fitness studio, and was recently featured in Shape. Michele looks amazing and glows from the inside out.
We’ve asked Michele 21-questions to find out what fuels her #fitnessMO.
FMO: Why do you workout?
Michele: I workout for myself and myself only. It allows me to completely clear my head of stress, [it] keeps me focused, and most of all, my mental health. Even on the days when finding the motivation to workout is lacking, once I walk through those doors, I’m at peace.
FMO: What first got you interested in the health and fitness world?
Michele: Previously, I was in the fashion industry, an entirely different world, with a different set of rules, so to speak. I love calling my entrance into the health and fitness industry my happy accident in life. I began in this world for the wrong reasons but ended up finding something invaluable; myself. Discovering that this world made me feel like me again, made me want to do the same for others—I wanted to give back. My happiness lies in helping someone achieve their success.
FMO: What does your go-to workout look like?
Michele: My go-to workout usually happens when I want to get a quick full body workout in or [when] I’m pressed for time. These workouts are HIIT based and tend to be calisthenics focused with minimal or no equipment needed. I make sure to hit upper body, lower body and core.
FMO: What is your favorite fitness class to take?
Michele: I go through phases because I enjoy trying new things. Right now, I’m fixated on kickboxing. Nothing beats hitting the heavy bag—it’s a great stress reliever.
FMO: How many times a week do you work out?
Michele: 5 – 7 days a week.
FMO: What are 5 songs on your workout playlist?
Michele: I’m all over the place, let the judgement begin. Eminem – Lose Yourself, Eminem – Till I Collapse, Marc Anthony – No Hay Nadie Como Ella, Marc Anthony – Vivir Mi Vida, Diplo – Set it Off.
FMO: What is your ideal workout outfit?
Michele: Leggings and a tank top is a must for me. Sleeves are a no.
FMO: What is one health and fitness product/tool that you can’t live without?
Michele: No fancy gadgets for me. I keep it simple. My headphones are my staple, whether I’m listening to music or a podcast. I think I’ve shed a tear the times my battery has died mid-workout. Maybe I should add a backup headset to my gym bag.
FMO: Do you follow a specific diet? If so, what do you follow?
Michele: I have never followed a specific diet, however, I did have to learn how to eat healthy. [I] cook from scratch so I know exactly what is going into my meals. Eating fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean meats limiting processed foods.
FMO: What is one move that everyone should incorporate into their workouts?
Michele: The bear crawl! This move incorporates so much; coordination, balance, stability, mobility and strength. This small move packs a big punch hitting the shoulders, arms, core and legs. Beginners start with the basics and continue to make the move more versatile as you progress.
FMO: Do you prefer to workout indoors or outdoors?
Michele: Mostly indoors, but when the weather is nice, I try to do a little of both. This summer, I wanted to find something new I could do outdoors. My brother introduced me to mountain biking, and I’m loving it. I try to bike 1-2 times per week, weather permitting.
FMO: What is your perfect pre-workout meal? What is your perfect post-workout meal?
Michele: I make the conscious choice to fuel my body with foods that will benefit my body rather than destroy it. Pre-workout [is usually] fruit or homemade energy balls. I make a batch every 1-2 weeks. [For] post-workout, I’m usually starving after my workouts so I’ve learned what works best for me is meal prep. Without it, I would be snacking on junk.
FMO: How do you stay fit while traveling/on vacation?
Michele: Working out has become a habit for me, so much so that I feel off when I don’t. My routine might change when traveling, but I always get it done. The workout energizes me for the day and clears my head. Also, I find the change of scenery fun and often find new inspiration during my workout.
FMO: What is the craziest health/fitness thing you have ever tried?
Michele: I’ve come to the conclusion I like climbing things. Going from teaching pole fitness to trying aerial yoga, lyra, trapeze, silks, and having a blast trying them all.
FMO: Is there any current trend in health/fitness that you are dying to try?
Michele: I’d love to try floating pilates, slacklining, parkour, or an animal flow class.
FMO: If you could pick anybody to workout with, who would it be?
Michele: Massy Arias. She is a strong, amazingly inspiring woman. Like me, her drive to exercise was a way to help battle her depression.
FMO: What is your favorite to chill out?
Michele: When the weather is nice, I like getting outside for a walk or to just sit back and relax on the hammock. Mountain biking is my other favorite way to chill out. I’ll load the bike up on the car and head to a nearby trail. Once I’m out there my mind is clear, I’m focused and having fun all while challenging myself.
FMO: What is your Starbucks order?
Michele: [I prefer] local coffee shops or D&D to place my order. I keep it simple—a small coffee with milk.
FMO: What do you think will be the biggest health or fitness trend for 2018?
Michele: Water workouts are popping up like crazy. Above water, you are challenging balance, stability, and core. Below water, you are adding resistance and relieving stress on your joints.
FMO: What advice can you give to someone who is trying to lead a healthier lifestyle?
Michele: Start in small increments, don’t overwhelm yourself, and make it fun, whatever that may look like to you. Trust me, with so many options available today, you are bound to find something you find enjoyable, motivating, and hopefully challenging. Going about it this way will make it easier to form an ongoing habit.