Introducing Angela Argentina
Angela is a free-spirited serial entrepreneur, fitness model, vegan foodie, and traveller who pours her heart into everything she does. She emphasizes fitness as a lifestyle and stays incredibly lean all year round by practicing intuitive eating and choosing quality foods to nourish her body and mind.
Angela recently broke all conventional rules of contest prep by never stepping foot in the gym and not counting calories! The result? She walked away with five awards, winning all the categories she competed in, and earning the official Fitness Model title with Fitness STAR International. We were a little more than curious about how she pulled this off! Hopefully, you enjoy getting to know Angela as much as we did
Can you share your fitness journey with us?
“Well, I’ve always been very active. Growing up, I did a lot of outdoor seasonal sports, gymnastics, dance, soccer and natural forms of fitness that kept me fit and healthy. This foundation allows me to be very well rounded in my athletic capabilities… I have high cardio endurance, strength, flexibility, balance, speed and coordination.
Recently, I have engaged in hula hooping as my form of fitness! I use it to enhance my workout in many different ways, I don’t simply just dance with it. I’m also really into stretching and just applied for a yoga teacher training course in Thailand. I guess you could say, I never get bored and I like to explore my exercise options. After all, you can never be too fit or too healthy if it involves having fun.”
You recently competed in the My Best Self show in Toronto and won numerous awards, including an official Fitness Star Model title – congrats! What’s interesting is that your show prep was so unconventional. Can you share with us what you did with your routine and eating to get ready for this show?
“I wanted to prove that it was possible to get into tip top shape without really feeling restricted or forcing myself to go to a gym. I believe that natural exercise is better than going to the gym. I’m not motivated by numbers and get bored easily by routine. I also don’t feel comfortable working out in a gym, I feel like a machine working a machine. It’s boring. As a dancer and gymnast, I’m more motivated to push myself while rollerblading uphill, or against the wind to catch that changing green light on the street, than I am to sit on a treadmill and count calories as I watch TV.
I lead a very busy entrepreneurial lifestyle and like to get exercise on my breaks throughout the day, or multi-task my workouts while I was doing other things. For example, I would stretch while working on the computer or do donkey kicks with ankle weights while washing my dishes or working on my computer. I actually didn’t do too much aside from cardio. I skipped, then later I’d stretch or dance and believe it or not, I actually didn’t work out my abs more than twice but due to the hula hooping I had a really good base to start so I didn’t need to build muscle.
I don’t really count calories. I consider portion sizes a more important means to measure, in addition to food quality. Following the meal plan became stressful, time consuming, and boring for me. It was just unnatural— I couldn’t do it. I decided to use it as a guide in terms of ingredients and nutrients and portion sizes, but started crowding in extra nutrients as an act of self love rather than make my body feel like it’s deprived when it’s working over-time.
The trick to my diet was eating organic, home cooked foods. I reduced my sugar intake, gluten, and carbs while increasing fibre and protein. But I ate chocolate every damn day! Oh, and I took natural supplements and drank A LOT of water. I’d use the 8L jugs to exercise with! It’s all about making fitness a lifestyle, incorporating it into my daily activities.
Another thing I did that is not quite normal… I didn’t weigh myself before or after my weight loss journey because the numbers don’t really mean anything. Weight is affected by so many things. Water, clothes, muscle gain, fat loss… I believe the body fat percentage is what makes the difference and I like to do the good old pinch test to see where I’m at. I chose to use all organic products, foods and supplements whenever I can because I see it as an investment in myself.”
How did you get into hoop dancing?
“I picked up my very first hoop in 2011 after I got back from Argentina, and my main objective for using it was weight loss. It was originally inspired by my friend Kelly Rangel who I saw fire hooping on the island of Koh Phi Phi in Thailand back in 2008.
I started with an 8 lb hoop and it works the core, let me tell you! Once I got the hang of hooping and found my flow, I didn’t need the momentum or the weight, and so my hoop changed and has been continuously improving ever since.
I have a tendency to take inspiration from different backgrounds, dances and creative movement, so my personal hoopdance is very unique. I’d say it’s more dance-like than most but that’s just me being me. Hula hooping is actually an amazing full-body workout and there are hoops for different purposes and styles of dances. It’s great cardio, good for the core, your balance, flexibility and range of motion, like doing tricks, hoopdance and off-body hooping, creating optical illusions, giving light shows and more.”
When did you become vegan and why?
“March 1st, 2015 marks the day I embarked on my vegan journey, but before this I ate a mainly vegetarian diet anyway. While studying at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, I discovered I ate according to my blood type (A). I thrive off a vegetarian diet and eating my food in the most natural state possible… pure, organic and fresh is what helps me function at my best.
As a teenager I had an eating disorder so I was vegan for vanity reasons. Over the years and through travelling I ate less and less meat. Seeing butcher shops in latin america combined with the sweltering heat and flies was a huge turn off for me. One of the benefits about consciously becoming vegan is becoming more aware of what is in my food. I couldn’t believe just how many unnecessary things contained, dairy and eggs!
I choose to eat vegan for so many reasons… animal rights and a peaceful protest against cruelty, it’s healthier for my body, better for the environment, and in some cases it’s cheaper. I will always recommend people eat MORE organic vegetables and fruits. It’s better for them and better for the planet.
To most vegans though, I wouldn’t fit the bill. I eat eggs if it was hatched on Mennonite farms from healthy, happy chickens that lead a good life. Also, as a fashionista, I like quality products but I don’t buy leather first hand. I will buy quality leather if it’s second hand, though. The way I see it is one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, and I’m giving the leather a new life after it was no longer new or wanted. It’s a bit like being an organ donor.
Also, I don’t eat fruit because I’ve had a fruit phobia for as long as I can remember. BUT, I will be exploring my fruitty palette while traveling and sharing my adventures with food on my blog and with my online Whole Food Nutrition Meetup group. :)”
“Kindred Spirits is a communion of people who are dedicated to improvement and optimal living. Our goal is to create change in the community and empower them towards a happier, healthier, and more sustainable future. We are the change!
The vision first came to me when I was living in Argentina several years ago, but the name only came within the last year. Kindred Spirits share a special connection, relationship or bond and are joined by some sort of shared experience, goal or intention that has drawn them together on a higher level of consciousness. This understanding, connection or bond can occur from the same shared experience or separate experiences and shared virtues, values and motivations. Also, the word ‘kinder’ means ‘child’ in German, and Kindred Spirits to me personally means living authentically and we are our most authentic when we are in touch with our own inner child’s spirit.
I have BIG goals and dreams to grow Kindred Spirits internationally. Currently, I lead innovative events and retreats in the Bloor West Community in Toronto, Canada. We promote and support local businesses while providing incentives to make healthy choices and lifestyle solutions more convenient, affordable, and accessible. It is growing into a creative platform for integrative healing and learning — a lot of work but completely worth it!”
Can you talk a bit about your spiritual journey?
“My spiritual journey… where do I begin? I’ve always felt very spiritual even though I didn’t always know exactly what that meant. I must say there were definitely times in my life where I didn’t feel as close to God as I do now, but I believe more than anything that the Universe has my back. I’ve experienced so many miracles, gracefully brushed past death, and have been protected by unseen forces that there’s nothing that could possibly stop me now from believing.
It was when I left and travelled alone that my spirituality really heightened for me and after being a nomad for about 5 years escaping consumerism, capitalism, corporations that I really felt free to be me. Today I see signs all around me, and I follow them. It’s how I lead my daily life, it saves me money, heartache, and stress. I also follow numerology and a bit of astrology.
Most people can’t comprehend how I lead my life because it’s very unpredictable, and as my Godmother says, I “fly by the seat of my pants.” This is true because there is an adventure in almost everything I do… from modelling, eating, traveling, and even the way I shop – it’s all led by my visualization and my intuition.
I also find that meditation really connects me to the source, and feeling close to nature is essential for my soul. When I’m in the city for too long it starts to eat away at me and I feel the need to get out and disconnect, so that I can then reconnect with my soul within the beauty of nature. It helps set my spirit free.
I’m about to embark on another adventure… I’m traveling down south to Panama, Argentina and then finally Brazil where I will be experiencing my spiritual to an extreme on an ayahuasca retreat. I will be sharing this on my blog: adventuresofangelaargentina.com“
What advice would you give to women diving into their fitness journey?
For nutrition, it’s important to remember that it’s not how much you eat, it’s the quality. I choose to eat organic, vegan, and low carb, which means lots of veggies and tons of vegan protein. If you don’t have enough nutrients you don’t have the right fuel. The better the quality, the better you function and feel.
As far as fitness goes, I recommend exploring your interests… take different classes, explore your passions and do what you find fun. Sometimes joining a team helps because it creates accountability. I personally don’t like the gym, but I love to dance, and stretch, and do all sorts of crazy stuff—fitness needs balance, just like your diet.
It’s important to have balance in your fitness to help keep you well-rounded in your athletic abilities. For example, do some high impact cardio and balance it out with some meditation and hot yoga… do some weight training and go outside to play sports.
The best advice I can give is that the body responds best when it is in a positive state, so the more you love your body and respect it, the more your body will love you back.”
Angela, it was a huge pleasure! Where can people find you?