Tell me a little about yourself and your background?
Hey, my name is Simona Naujokaityte. I was born in Lithuania but had a dream to live overseas and today, I finally live in the United States. One of the reasons why I love America so much is how many opportunities this country could give. A small country like Lithuania doesn’t really have anything good to offer. Being active is the way I live. My family laughs that before I started walking, I was running. I did a lot of things like kayaking, skiing, ice skating, playing hockey, snowboarding, and riding horses just for fun on my free time. For a time, I played tennis. But dancing and running track was the thing for years. But with time, track pushed dancing away and running became the thing that kept me alive. Half a year ago, I tried boxing and now, a day without it feels like punishment!
What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?
Like you probably already understood, running and boxing is what I love the most. To be specific about it, running hurdles are my babies!!! Also recently, I started lifting weights and this is becoming my new addiction!
How long have you been into fitness?
I’ve been into fitness my entire life. My mom put me on skies ever since I was 2 years old (haha), but personally I started taking it more serious when I started school. I started dancing when I just turned 7 and always did competitions for school. Whenever I turned 10 years old, I started training on track more seriously. I found a personal trainer, got into sports school and started running in competitions for both school or individually. Today, as I’m answering these questions, I’m celebrating my half year into boxing!
How did you get into fitness?
My way into fitness probably was my genetics, haha (My grandma was a runner and represented the country back in her glory days). To be serious, when school started we were told about dance classes after school and I decided to go. It was a very small first step. Having a flexible body lead me to be the first and help show my classmates how to do certain things in PE class. Teachers noticed that and started asking me to run for school in competitions. I realized the potential in myself, felt good doing it and decided to dedicate more of my time for this. That was the way to sports school and my weekends became booked by dancing shows and competitions. Later on, just competitions and it stayed like that till I graduated.
When I moved to Athens, it was supposed to be a temporary spot, so I had a lot of free time and the gym was down the street. Also, my roommate was trying to get in shape and this is how I crossed the gym doors. She had been boxing for a while already and invited me to join her, at least to try. I’m not gonna lie, I was scared to do it. Pretty sure I’m not gonna like it. When class started, I hated that I wanted to leave after 3mins but stayed till the end. As soon as we came back home I looked at my roommate and asked when we going to do it again. The feeling after class is not possible to describe in any words! I was tired but so alive from inside… and we started doing it daily 🙂
What was a turning point for you to take it seriously?
The turning point for taking it seriously was how it made me feel. I always felt emotionally better after workout. In a little bit I started seeing result and it was another turning point. When these two combined, it’s a life changing moment.
How has fitness impacted your life?
Fitness impacted my life in all possible ways. It was my strength when I got sick; it was my motivation to do anything I have. It was my best medicine whenever I was emotionally down. I would just leave all my concerns, worries and pain in that workout. Also, it made me super close with Grandma. She always understood and supported me no matter what. When I hit a flat period with my results and was getting mad at myself, giving up, she would always build me up and inspire me. From fitness topic, it led us to all the other ones and she became my best friend, my mom, my queen, my ride or die, my most important person. And it was super hard on me when I left the country and moved to States all alone. Fitness connected me with my roommate and now we are like one! I honestly consider my roommate like a part of me. I never had a sister but this friendship let me understand how it feels to have one 🙂 We might not have the same blood but other than that, it’s not a joke we have same feelings, same thoughts (even bruises at the same spot) at the same time! Also, fitness allowed me to have a family again. Strength and Strike fitness crowd became not just people who work out together, but the family! I got blessed with all of it just because of fitness.
What words of advice or encouragement would you like to give to someone who is just starting out or would like to start but doesn’t know where to begin?
At first it, will be hard. Seems to be not worth all that pain and struggle but keep pushing. Don’t give up, believe in yourself and don’t quit. Quitting lasts forever and you don’t want that. Push thru that hard period and then you will see how any hard period will be pushed for you. You will see how life is changing to a better one and that word fitness is not just a physical activity, its way more than that. It’s the best of what could happen to you!