The Pamplona Miguel Jimenez Rodriguezknown as @MiguelFitGym, shares the limelight on his Instagram profile with his dog Fit, whom, he quite proudly confesses, his followers “want more”. And it is that, although the majority come to his profile in search of instructional advice on fitness and nutrition, the majority stays because of his “good vibes”. A physical trainer and sponsored athlete by profession, this Navarro has a loyal community of more than 32,000 followers.
From Economics student to physical trainer…
While I was studying the race, I was fond of sports and I was preparing to do triathlons, but only on a physical level. I introduced sports-adapted nutrition and was blown away. We are what we eat. I saw that what I applied to me had an effect, so the bug bit me and I started the higher degree in Dietetics and Nutrition. I finished Economics, I started working at a branch of Laboral Kutxa, where I worked for two years, and I wanted to try competing for the first time in fitness. I think I did a couple more competitions and I started helping people around me prepare for these competitions. I did it for free and since many did not follow my guidelines, one day I said: I am going to have to charge you so that you will listen to me. And until today.
And how did Instagram fit into the puzzle?
I waited until I had a professional photo session to open the @MiguelFitGym profile because I wanted to get him a sponsorship to compete. I saw it from the beginning as something professional, not as a social network. So the content that was uploaded had to have quality and be careful.
Had you seen it in other profiles in the sector?
No. I think I belong to the first batch of fitness athletes who took to the networks. We were all born more or less at the same time, around 2016. That made us grow very quickly. Today there are many more profiles trying to gain a foothold in the sector, but it is more difficult. I don’t know if there isn’t room for everyone or what happens. It’s a curious thing.
When did you manage to dedicate yourself exclusively to this?
Shortly after opening my Instagram account, I started working with a distributor in Barcelona that distributed food supplements for athletes nationwide. It was called ‘Get Stronger’ and it was one of the best known in the country. That gave me a lot of visibility and with it, in addition to followers, I received clients asking for sports and nutritional advice. I knew that if I wanted to offer a quality service it would take time, so I decided to quit my job at the bank. It cost me, of course, because it is risky. But a year after opening my account on Instagram I signed a contract with ‘BiotechUSA’, the Real Madrid of sports nutrition brands, with which I have been renewing every year and I have signed indefinitely. My job today is as a physical trainer and sponsored athlete.
What content do you share? What are your followers looking for?
Beyond the fact that what I post on my account is fitness content, I think I’ve managed to create a community with which I connect because of the joy and good vibes I transmit. And because I show that there can be a balance between fitness and a totally complete life, that is, you can do fitness and go out with friends to party or go out to eat. Having a very worked physique does not imply that you do not have a social life.
He has managed to reach the Spanish fitness team.
I spent seven years competing with the goal of being part of the Spanish fitness team and I achieved it two years ago. I repeated last year. It was very exciting. As an anecdote, my butcher from the Santo Domingo Market hung one of my photos in his store to show that he was that strong because he ate meat from there (laughs). I shared that photo on Instagram, which meets none of the requirements for it to supposedly work, and yet it has a lot of likes. That allows me to get to know my community a little more.
What happens in Pamplona that every so often a gym opens? Is it fashionable to play sports?
Thanks to Instagram, the fitness world began to become known. To give you an idea, in 2014, when I competed, I was the weird one and now it’s super normal. So yeah, I think it’s trendy. In fact, I think that there is a higher level in the gyms in Pamplona than in other parts of the country. And more women who do sports in the bodybuilding area. Years ago this area was the exclusive territory of men and now you go to any Altafit, where I train, and there are more girls than boys. I also believe that recognized figures such as Ibai Llanos or TheGregf have helped convey that anyone can be a better version of themselves. I think part of self-love is wanting to look for your best version.
How is the preparation for a competition?
It depends on your starting point and your target end physique. The most complicated part of the whole process is the creation of muscle mass. You need time. In addition to introducing the necessary nutrients and intensity training, you cannot start and think about competing in a few months. When I did it, I had already been working for six years. During the year I dedicate myself to maintaining that job, that level of strength in which I want to compete and, of course, I polish it off in two months, but the job is already done.
How does your routine change those two months?
It doesn’t change much compared to the rest of the year, what you change is your nutrition. Food is scarce because you are interested in lowering your body fat percentage and defining, so what you lack is energy. If you have the possibility of being able to rest more, what you don’t eat, you sleep. I have had the luck of being able to rest in this phase, but whoever has to get up to work and also does not eat, will suffer. It’s hard. I am clear that I will stop competing the day I stop enjoying it. Also, I think that to compete you need to have the rest of the areas of your life in order. It is very important to be mentally prepared.
Because it is very important to have a good relationship with food. You are going to start a period of food restriction that of course has an expiration date, because you cannot spend your whole life prohibiting something. If not, at some point you’re going to explode. It is clear that you need involvement and sacrifice things, but if you are mentally prepared, what changes is the suffering. If you’re doing well, you eat a little less and sleep a little more, it’s a cool process because you meet a goal that you’ve set for yourself. And another thing that I would highlight is that none of us are objective with ourselves. We lose objectivity in the process. There have been times when I would look in the mirror and not believe that I had reached the right level of strength to compete. That is why it is important to have a trainer who tells you how you are, because if not, you will make bad decisions. Today I see that video and I hit a smack.
Is it healthy to maintain that level for a long time?
Fitness, as a lifestyle, is very healthy, but without taking it to the extreme. It is very positive to train and eat well without being so severe. But competing is taking it to the extreme and it is unhealthy.
There is a debate beyond the networks with doping in the world of fitness, how does it affect professional profiles like yours?
In my profile, I never get questions about doping because I have a faithful community that knows that I am far from it. When it has arrived, I block it and that’s it. I do it this way because I have signed into my contract with BiotechUSA that I can’t be linked to substance use and I can’t talk about it, so when someone says something like that on my account, it disappears. I know there’s the debate with natural bodybuilding athletes having bodies so off the charts, looking so unreal, so incredible, that people refuse to believe it’s natural, but they are. Perhaps it also has to do with how they show it on networks. There has also been a debate on cases of very young boys who have stood out like Joan Pradells, who said that their body was natural and then it was not like that. Pradells is one of a kind and is standing out worldwide and it is clear that he uses things, but he is blamed a lot for saying that he did not use them, and now it has been seen that he does.
The best and worst of networks?
I feel that for the 31 years that I have enjoyed a super full life and, in part, this is thanks to social networks. It has also given me the chance to meet so many people that I wouldn’t have otherwise. For years the Arnold Classic has been organized in Barcelona, a bodybuilding fair where many people went to take a picture with me, ask me about my dog, etc. It was something super cool. And I’ve had the chance to meet famous people, with millions of followers, who from face to face are normal people and with whom I’ve ended up making friends.
And the worst?
Perhaps at some point it bothered me to be known, and that I am hardly known. But in a small city like Pamplona, going somewhere and seeing several people looking at you was something I didn’t like. Now it no longer affects me. I see it as something positive because it allows me to develop projects that I wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. And develop my work. If I say in my profile that I am looking for clients who want to hire a physical trainer, people write to me. That is a privilege.