Fitness and training come hand in hand with being healthy. It takes a lot to be an athlete: Time, commitment, serious dedication and willpower. Putting all this together and on the test is Gaia Kodithuwakku. She is a qualified fitness and health coach, trainer, thinker and constantly pushing herself to learn.
Training and meditation are her greatest tools. Fighting depression and body positivity, she eventually rose to fame. Helping Sri Lankans and people around the world to eat healthy, exercise and love themselves. Her journey started out as a light-hearted way to inspire her followers on Instagram. It has now grown to become her platform with over 40,000 followers.
Despite her busy schedule, Gaia makes it a point to remain accessible to her followers and share inspirational posts, success stories, and anecdotes of her personal fitness journey, work-out tips and meal preps. She’s a striving personality who successfully made her passion her profession.
Gaia now offers customised training programmes and tailored workouts. Being always on the run, she promotes the deeper understanding of the symbiotic and spiritual connection between the mind and body. She believes that for a person to transform physically, mental transformation should be achieved first.
Gaia shares her story to Ceylon Today; about her personal journey towards deeper transformation, and how fitness helped her heal many aspects in her life.
How did you get involved with fitness and weight lifting?
Fitness came to me as an outlet to express myself. I had a lot of pent up unprocessed emotions and baggage; that was keeping me stuck in a chronic state of depression. I was miserable, I didn’t know who I was, and training helped me find myself. It was helping me become more mindful, to go into a state of meditation every single day.
What is the concept and story behind your motto ‘Train the body, feed the mind’?
It’s the mind that we try to escape. It’s where pain and suffering is born, and most of us forget to address the elephant in the room. We don’t go into introspection, contemplation, to figure out this thing that drives us insane.
Which is why, it goes hand-in-hand with training your body. Training your body helps you express your internalised gunk and feeding the mind helps you understand the workings of the mind. We can’t attain inner peace without either one of them.
What does a typical day of your life look like; how do you manage to balance fitness and work?
I work all seven days. But, once every few months I travel and take a few days break off of work. A typical day to me is in front of the laptop and phone for a few hours, handling client inquiries and messages, creating programmes, prepping food and training. It’s basically the same routine every single day and since I happen to love what I do, I’ll never call it work. I am lucky enough to have made my passion my profession.
Do you feel pressured to be in perfect shape?
No I don’t. As an athlete I have to put my body through intense changes. When it comes to being a competitor you go through phase where you lean out for the stage but off season forces you to put on a lot of bulk.
As much as I would love to walk around with abs all year round, my sport does not allow me to do so. I have put on 12kg on purpose, so that I build more muscle and look more muscular, when I go for the World Championship in May.
This has given me such a fresh perspective on how mouldable the body is. I love my body but no longer am I fully attached to looking a certain way or fitting a certain box. Experience and introspection has given me such amazing insight that I do not feel such pressures.
What’s your trick for motivating yourself to work out when you don’t feel like it?
Force. Forcing myself and showing up even when I don’t feel like it.
You promote self-love, what tips do you have on building a positive body- image?
Fall in love with the process of taking care of yourself. Fall in love with prepping your meals, training and taking care of you; in the journey of becoming your best self. If you truly fall in love with the process, the end result becomes irrelevant.
What is a common misconception about staying fit and exercising?
So many, but I think if we keep our eyes on the prize and focus on facts and science we are on the right path.
Tell us about your latest competition that you participated in and what you learnt from it?
International Federation of Body Building & Fitness (IFBB) muscle beach Bali. My first ever International competition; where I competed in both bikini and fitness model categories.
I learnt that with faith and awareness you can put your body through the most extreme conditions and still pull through. I made it with prayer and meditation and a lot of hard work.
It was not a pleasant experience because I put my body through a lot. Six hours of training every day, had to cut water and carbs and deplete myself to become stage ready. But, I was grateful to have a world class coach, Gayan Perera to help me through the process.
How has your online coaching experience been?
It has been phenomenal. I have trained women from over 16 countries in the world. I’ve seen incredible transformations of the mind and body. It truly makes my heart full.
Do you have any tips for living healthy, lean, and fit?
Tell us three things no one knows about you?
I nearly died during birth with the umbilical cord wrapped around my throat thrice. I hate cutlery that is wet, which has not been dried before use, literally makes me want to throw up. I had a pet eagle growing up.
Where do you see yourself in the long run and what’s your next move?
Where ever the wind takes me. I listen to my intuition that is how my business was built. Not through business insight or skills, but by purely going with the flow and following my highest excitement. But, there is a lot of work to be done, kingdoms to conquer and lives to change.