Meet the Funsized Queen

Kierstin Cifelli

on a mission to provide women under 5’3″ with resources & tools that encourage, inspire, and empower us.

I've always been the Short One...

I’ve always been the shortest of my friends, of my Italian/German family, and on my sports teams. 

And I’d be lying if I said it never bothered me. I have countless diary entries consisting of things like “Why am I so short!?” and “I just wish I were taller!

For a long time, I felt like I couldn’t be taken seriously because of my height — especially in the work field.

As an aspiring high school art teacher (didn’t see that one coming did ya? I promise this is important though),  I was constantly mistaken as a student and never given the respect from the faculty during internships and substitute teaching. It wasn’t long til I gave up on that career.  

So there I was, fresh out of college with no intention of using my degree to teach (at least not in public schools)…

That’s about when I got into bodybuilding — for all the wrong reasons, might I add. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was definitely running from my problems of never feeling fully seen or worthy enough. 

I won overall bikini champ at my very first competition. If you’re not familiar with bodybuilding, to win overall, you have to compete against the winners of the other (and in my case, taller)  height classes.

^That was the *first* time, my height ever gave me the advantage.

And just like that, I was hooked. Finally feeling like I belonged somewhere, I started fitness and nutrition coaching at my local gym. 

Somewhere amidst all that, I fell into fitness modeling. Despite this new-found body confidence, when I mentioned having self-doubt about modeling because of my height in front of a handful of experience photographers they said “are you kidding?! we much rather shoot shorter women… you’re much easier to fit in the frame!” — which makes that the *second* time I felt proud to be petite.

Slowly but surely, my perspective about height was shifting and I let go of those nasty limiting beliefs I once had about being short. 

I wish I could say this happy little story ends there but the truth is, there’s a sequel…

I continued to compete in 10 more competitions over 4 years earning a natural pro bikini card but it seemed no matter how heavy I lifted, I couldn’t build any more muscle.

Sure, I was lean and I had muscle but I just looked so FLAT and “stringy.” Little did I know at the time, my muscles needed carbs to look full and I certainly wasn’t getting enough of those…

Reality is, I was so brainwashed into thinking I had to eat even less (because I’m petite) to see more muscle definition and unfortunately, what had happened wuz… I dug myself into a DEEP hole of hormonal problems.

Luckily, I was able to reverse those issues by simply eating more and training less but that also meant doing the one thing I feared the most: gaining weight. To me, it wasn’t just body fat that scared me. It was letting go of my fit-chick identity that was the epicenter of my career and hobbies. 

Risking it all, I gained 30 pounds, successfully restored my hormones, experienced food freedom and re-learned how to listen to my body. Yet, I was uncomfortable and found myself nearing the other end of the pendulum swing.

I truly believed I could reach a healthy middle ground without jeopardizing my health so I took everything I learned from my past experiences and my certifications and took new approach — one that fit aligned with my body size.

Being at a much higher calorie level now, it is truly amazing to see how much easier my muscles respond to the strength training I love to do – as well as having energy and the many other benefits of being nourished. 

After truly working with my body — rather than against it — and helping countless petite women do the same, I’ve concluded that most programs and approaches out there are NOT designed for women of shorter stature. They’re just too harsh on our smaller frames. 

And thus, what started as a personal journey turned into unrelenting determination to provide a realistic solution and a balanced approach for petite women to maintain a healthy body in a way that actually aligns with their petite physiology. 

But it’s more than just physical.

It’s about changing the narrative around being short and learning to view our short stature as a superpower, not a limitation.

So there ya have it! My story is a non-linear rollercoaster for sure and it’s shaped me into the proud, powerfully petite coach and unconventional-teacher I am today. 

Forever Funsized & Fierce,

Kierstin, 5’0″, 31 years old, was born and raise on Long Island, graduated from Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL and currently resides in Las Vegas. She’s a NASM certified personal trainer and Precision Nutrition certified Sports Nutrition Coach. She’s also a published bikini model, the host of The Funsized Podcast, dog mom to Goose,  Scorpio and Jeep lover. 

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