Life can sometimes take you places you never thought you’d see, dreams you never knew existed come true, and you get to where you thought impossible. This is what happened in the case of Aniella Ponta, a young woman of only 21 years old, from Pecica. A few years ago, about three years ago, she felt like she needed a change, and that’s when she started working out, going to the gym and trying to be a better version of herself.
It didn’t work at first, she was depressed and anxious when the world was most dear to her. It follows many moods, difficult times, and medications. However, nothing seemed to be going well, so he chose to follow a dream that he was afraid of. He wanted to be in the spotlight, on a huge stage, in front of a jury. His worst nightmare was to become the reason behind her desire to get rid of the invisible “pain”, that is, mental anguish.
After five months of working out, she rose to the stage of the National Bodybuilding & Fitness Championships where she finished fifth in Bikini Fitness, Junior +166cm, 21-23 and second place in Fit Pairs, thus becoming Vice National Champion with husband L.
Who are you and what is your story?
My name is Aniella Ponta and I was 21 years old a few days ago. I am a 4th year student at Polytechnic University of Timisoara, Faculty of Medical Engineering. I started working when I passed my bac. I was taking stress and gaining a lot of weight, so I wanted to go to the gym just to lose weight, be as skinny as possible and look like a model. I gradually developed other issues of anxiety and depression because I struggled in life.
The hall was my refuge, and it was my second home that helped me get back on my feet. Through training I was able to bring out everything I had in my heart. I ended up taking antidepressants, at some point I thought I had nothing left, didn’t know how to recover, no longer recognized myself in the mirror, hated myself both physically and mentally, all until the moment I decided to put STOP. I realized that my life was on the line and that I had to take charge and move on. I was able to control all those negative emotions just through the gym, I exercised, I physically forced myself to forget the mental pain, that was the only way I could forget, at least for a few hours, that I had mental issues. At the same time, I ended up getting off antidepressants because I was always sleepy, wasn’t in the mood, couldn’t focus, and shut myself down so much because of them.
How did it all start? Where did the dream of competition come from?
I’ll take it from scratch. When I started working I had a coach at Arad, I really want to thank him for everything he did for me. Eduard Chevereșan, my first coach who inspired me to compete. He’s been in competitions and I can always see how much he pays, what discipline means, and I thought it was a very interesting topic. Then I wanted to do what he did, but I was afraid to eat as much as he told me. I only dreamed of being skinny, not a muscular woman, and I didn’t know what the sport was. Then, five months ago, I moved to Timisoara. Here I met my new coach, Kotlin Matte. I talked to him about the competition, told him I’m a vegetarian and asked him to tell me if I had any chance of competing and getting a good result considering I don’t eat animal protein at all. He told me it was going to be really hard for me and that he had never coached anyone in my lifestyle before and that it would be a challenge for me and him and it was worth a try. Since then it started. This way I really want to thank him again for everything he has done for me.
How difficult is the contest system after all?
The diet was very difficult. For five months, I’ve been eating the same thing day in and day out, gradually reducing my carbs to go from bloating to cutting until I could lose enough weight to get into competition shape. If I wasn’t a vegetarian, it would have been much easier for me because I would have included eggs, fish and chicken breast on the menu and I could have had more flexibility in my diet. Therefore, I only ate plant protein and soy for five months. Plus, due to physical demand, my cycle also stopped about 10 weeks before the competition.
How much weight did you lose in this competition?
It’s not exactly how many pounds you should lose. It requires us to be more toned and feminine at the same time. The class I participated in was very strange. You didn’t need very defined legs, but you also weren’t allowed to have belly fat. I started at 67kg 5 months ago and on the day of the competition I was 56kg, so I lost about 11kg in 5 months.
What was a day in your life like and how many hours did you spend in the gym?
I did cardio on an empty stomach every day, Monday through Sunday, and had six weight training sessions a week. For cardio, I started with half an hour a day, and most recently have been up to 50 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes after strength training. At one point in May, I had college training, exams, and cardio and strength training. In the morning at 6-7 I would do cardio, then go to college, come home to eat, go to the gym for strength training, go home and clean up and cook the next day, take a shower and start over the day. I also found out the session interfered with competition preparation, a few more hours of training and I ended up sleeping 5 hours a night. In total, I was in the gym for about 3 hours. I’ll start with “position,” then cardio and in the afternoon with strength training for about two hours.
How did the opponents look to you as you thought that you were going to take the stage for the first time?
Before we even got on stage, we all looked at each other in fear. I can’t say I felt any hatred or rivalry. We were all scared and didn’t know what to expect because we all looked the same, we didn’t know which would be the weakest of us all. The minute we got off the stage and up to the awards we started talking to each other and found out there were other vegan girls out there, they were all open minded, there was no competition, we all congratulated each other, it was great. There were two other girls in their first competition but most of them knew what the sport was about, I was so lost, I didn’t know how it would go, what was going to happen, I definitely felt like I was in my first competition, but the experienced girls helped me out Relax. Additionally, my theater colleague, Raul Subotaro, with whom I collaborated for Fit Pairs, was a real help to me. Remind me that the most important thing in a pageant like this is feeling good about your skin while you’re on stage and enjoying the moment, not the stress, because that’s the only way everything will turn out perfectly.
How was the preparation for the situation you would have to be on stage?
Although it doesn’t seem like much of a problem because you’re back in two or three positions with some heels on your feet, the preparation is actually very difficult and challenging. After each “pose” exercise I felt excruciating pain in my back and legs. You have to sit in positions where your whole body is constantly tense. We should look normal, but in fact it’s a hellish muscle and joint pain. I want to mention here that Paola Mate was the woman who taught me how to do standing, but most importantly, she raised my confidence.
Do you want to continue or stop here?
The scientist told me that once I went to a competition, I would not want to repeat the experience because it required a lot of body and because in the last period before the competition in which I was tortured, it is actually about hunger and not good health. . At first I believed them, but the moment I got off the stage I already knew what I wanted. I wanted to eat dessert that day, then satisfy my cravings and then start over because that’s actually what I want and I want to continue in the same category. Now I plan to spend a year in “off season” because if I go to another competition in 3 months I will look exactly like I do now. My body will not allow me to build enough muscle mass. Now there are a few weeks where I will be back on my pre-contest diet to get used to a little food again after the days I gave him everything he needed and I will gradually start increasing calories to rebuild his metabolism. .
And so, after all the things Anila chooses to tell us, we realize how hard it was for her and that despite the struggles we each faced, we must never give up. I managed to get rid of depression and anxiety and get on an important platform. Moreover, we realize once again that people are like books, we see their cover, but to understand exactly what it is about, we must also read the pages inside. We can never know what someone is going through, which is why it would be best for each of us not to judge.
We wish him continued success and we wish him to pursue his dreams no matter how difficult the situation is!