Mina Kitsos, 35, an Australian living in London, is a member of Gymbox Holborn. An avid sneaker collector for the last 20 years, she currently works as a sales account manager for Converse UK, and is a lover of burgers and tattoos. "I once flew from Australia to Berlin to pick up a pair of limited edition Nike Berlin Vandals. I had to have them" she says. We meet her.
How long have you been in London, and how does it compare to Australia fitness-wise?
I’ve been in London for five years now. I’m born and raised in Sydney. Fitness-wise I think Sydney is very similar to London. The only downfall for me is the weather in the UK. I mostly miss the runs along the beach in the warm Aussie weather.
We hear that. You work for Converse, when did your passion for sneakers start?
My passion for sneakers started when I was 15. Nike released an Air Max in 1995 and I had to have it. My parents bought them for my after a serious amount of begging and grovelling. I once flew to Berlin to pick up a pair of Limited Edition Nike Berlin Vandals - only 25 pairs made in the world exclusively for a store called ’Apartment’. They are black and pink with Berlin’s famous TV tower stitched on the side.
Impressive! Do people get too old to wear sneakers or is it ageless?
I’m 35 and I cannot see myself stopping the sneaker habit. It’s embedded in me. My boyfriend is 40 and he hasn’t been able to stop either. We love our Air Jordan’s but we also have a passion for new Nike Innovation. We’ve worn all the styles that the kids are wearing nowadays, and we are moving on from that now.
As a fitness-lover, how important are the look of shoes to their functionality? Or does that not matter so much?
For me it matters. I have a thorough understanding of sneakers. I worked for Footlocker for 12 years so for me I need to be wearing functional sneakers at all times. They also need to look dope and perhaps be of a limited edition colour or latest release.
How does going to the gym help you cope with London life? And your job?
My life at the moment is work first followed by the gym. Five working days a week in the gym. Weekends may include a run or just chilling. I’m coping really well.
Tell us about what you’re doing in the photos?
In the photos I’m wrapping up my workout with a 30mins steady pace cardio spin session.
What do you think about when you’re working out? Do you listen to music?
When I’m lifting weights I think about the weight I’m lifting. Is it heavy enough? Could I lift more? I concentrate on the muscle group that I’m working on. I think about my technique, whether I’m doing it right or wrong. I’m a beginner who started weight training seven months ago. So I’m still learning. No music for me as the music at the gym is good enough.
Good to hear. You say you work out every day? What keeps you focussed, and what is your training schedule?
Yes, it’s true, I workout every day. Monday to Friday and perhaps a workout on the weekend. I have a plan that I follow. The plan changes every four weeks. So for four weeks I’ll repeat the schedule until the next schedule is ready. I work out all muscle groups and include cardio on most occasions. It’s become a habit now so that keeps me focused. If I don’t hit the gym I feel like I’m taking a step back. It’s a daily must.
Any goals? If so, how do you set them?
My goals are to get lean and ripped to a certain extent. I want definition in my arms, legs, ass, back and shoulders and I won’t stop until I get the results I desire. Seeing the growth I’ve been able to attain motivates me to keep going.
What does fitness mean to you? You say you want to be lean, but is there more to being fit than just the body?
At the moment my focus is to achieve the body I’ve never had. I’ve run a few half marathons and I’ve participated in countless classes to keep fit. I want to be fit, of course, but this challenge is more about a body transformation. There’s more to being fit than just the body, but for me it’s about the body, right now.
How does Gymbox as a brand work for you?
I love Gymbox. The atmosphere is cool, the layout is great, the music is loud and I like feeling like I’m in a night club. The Olympic lifting set up is dope and I love the idea of the boxing ring. Not brave enough for that yet.
Give it time! How does it stand out from other gyms you’ve been to?
I was a member of another gym here in the UK in the past. I found the classes boring, not fun, the same program every week, and just not youthful or contemporary. Gymbox is bright, loud, has a great vibe, the classes are awesome and I love the quirky names given to the classes.
What are the key components of your diet that you would never do without?
At the moment, I’m on a strict protein only diet. So no sugar, no fruit, no veg, no nothing. It’s ridiculous but I’m competitive and I’ll reach my goals. In a few weeks I’ll have a cheat meal, so I’ll enjoy my burger and try not to feel too guilty about it. I love junk food, who doesn’t? But right now it’s about the focus. To be honest I don’t know how I’m getting by but I am. I think the results I’m seeing motivates me to keep going.
If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?
I would’ve liked to have weight trained a long time ago and not now at 35. Nothing wrong with now but an earlier start may have lead to body building competitions, and perhaps a career in fitness.