Q. How do you start your day? Do you have a morning routine?
A. I wake up with a lot of energy. I like to start my day off with cardio. If it’s on season, usually 30 min in the morning at the beginning of my prep. If it’s off-season, I may do 15-20 minutes. It’s my caffeine.
Q. How long have you been training?
A. I’ve been training for Figure shows for 3 years now. I had lifted weights on and off since a young age of 12 years old. It turns out I fell in love with lifting and seeing myself get stronger.
Q. What made you get into Fitness and Competition?
A. Admiration of those before me. I had admired so many women that had competed; their physiques, dedication, and determination. A friend of mine told me that I had the structure or build for it, that I would just have to lean out. I decided to give it a try and haven’t stopped since!
Q. How many people have you encouraged into the sport since you started?
A. I have helped others lose weight and become a healthier, leaner version of themselves. I haven’t recruited others to participate in the sport of competing though. I feel that it is a personal decision that they themselves would need to come to. It takes a strong desire to hang with the prep.
Q. What was your body like before you started training?
A. Prior to training for figure competitions, my shape varied between being skinny-fat to toned and back to skinny-fat. I hadn’t had the whole balance thing figured out and my weight, motivation, and eating habits would fluctuate based on what else was going on in life. My body shape and habits were like a yo-yo. I’ve been so much happier adopting a healthy and fit lifestyle for life. I’ve learned moderation and how to stay lean even in my off-seasons.
Q. How do you keep yourself motivated and on-track through the grueling dieting in the last few weeks?
A. In the last few weeks, I really have my game face on. I put my own reminders up at my house as pressure to stick to my plan. I put up quotes for the week by the exit door so I see it every day. Encouraging words that support my mission. I’ve even hung up pictures of competitors in my pantry to remind myself to be good on the diet. At the last few weeks, you really have to push your body beyond what it wants to do; it’s then you have to remind yourself why you are doing this in the first place.
Q. How do you handle the stress of it all?
A. I’m a time efficient type of person so the prep has gotten easier once I knew what was required. Having my meals planned and prepared ahead of time are key to keeping me unstressed. I normally would be going to the gym to lift weights anyway, just during competing season there is more cardio time involved. I’ve also implemented calming things at the end of my day, even if it’s for 10 min, like yoga or Tai Chi.
Q. Do you get more attention from the people now that you are in such good shape?
A. Yes, especially once I’m leaned out >1 month from show time. I get strangers coming up to me in the gym asking what I am up to, how did I get so lean, etc. It’s more attention than I’m used to as I’m from a small town and still have a small town mindset; humble, you know.
Q. What do you feel is the most important thing athlete can have in order to be successful in this sport?
A. The right mindset. You really have to see yourself winning prior to it happening. Every athlete who has won, triumphed, and prevailed grueling training has proven this so. I like quotes from those athletes, even if they are not in the same sport. Muhammad Ali said “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.” A lot of competitors leave a show disappointed saying “oh this sport is all politics.” I don’t leave without getting feedback from the judges. If you humble yourself enough to hear the truth on what you can do to improve yourself, then I think that’s the athlete that will succeed in this sport.
Q. What is your favorite energy/pre-workout supplement? Protein supplement?
A. I use Evogen pre-workout formula. I also use Cell Kem. I like that they are both readily available for your body to use. It’s in a powder form that you just mix with water. Your body doesn’t have to take the time to break down a pill and figure out what to do with it. The Evogen gives me a good pump during the exercises and the Cell Kem helps with recovery. They both contain multiple supplements that aid with growing and recovery, which I like as it’s an efficient process. You don’t have to take multiple supplements to achieve what these 2 provide in performance.
Q. How many days a week do you work out?
A. I’m getting ready for a show now, so I am working out 7 days a week for the next 10 weeks. In the off-season, I work out 5 days per week with 2 days off.
Q. How many exercises per body part do you typically do in a workout?
A. I typically work out 2 body parts in a workout; with the exception of legs, as they are a large group in and of themselves.
Q. How much weight will you normally gain during the off-season?
A. It took me awhile to figure this one out! Moderation is key with this question. Now I try to hover around 8-10 lbs away from competing weight. I find reasons to stay this lean in the off-season. Photo shoots or projects that require a lean figure. Formerly, I had gained 25 lbs in an off-season before I figured out how to stay lean in the off-season. I realized that this much gain keeps you from making improvements as an athlete. It also makes your goals seem too far out of reach and it also aids in over-training your body to get ready for your next show. It’s too hard to give yourself 12 weeks to get ready for a show and drop 25-30 lbs.
Q. How about tanning/makeup/hair preparation for a contest. Can you tell that I’m still overwhelmed?
A. This part of the prep can be overwhelming! Once I figured out that this was “part of competing”, I made a schedule to remember for each time. I have the days figured out on what I have to do on that last week of getting ready. Nails on a certain day, wax, tan, hair highlights. It’s all part of the presentation. To take the stress off myself on that last week, I set up those appointments very far in advance. It takes some of the pressure off just knowing I have those all lined up and all I have to do is show up for it. The last week, I’m already ready for the show and the hard work in the gym is already done. I just coast into the show and actually enjoy going to get pampered and relax at these appointments.
Q. What is your philosophy on diet?
A. Diet can make or break any program. Diet is 70% of anyone’s success on a program. If it was easy, everyone would be lean and fit. It takes discipline and knowing what to do, when to do it to make your metabolism work for you.
Q. Any holiday eating tips?
A. Yes, you can eat what you want over the holiday without gaining! Can you believe I just said that? For real you can, my clients all checked in after the holiday and only one person gained 1 lb. I have a plan for them to follow the week leading up to the holiday and the week after. It works every time. Take Christmas for example: I have them drop 200-300 calories the 2 days before; have one cheat meal Christmas Eve and Eat whatever they want Christmas day; then have them drop 200-300 calories the 2 days following the Holiday.
Q. What kind of workout program do you follow?
A. I base my workout program on what I need to see change on my physique at the time. Right now I am lifting really heavy weight on my upper body and a lot of low weight, high repetitions on my lower half to develop more symmetry.
Q. What about working out while you are on the road?
A. While I’m traveling, I still workout. Typically hotels have gyms with limited equipment. I make use of what they do have. I also have a travel DVD player and can bring workout DVDs for my hotel room. If I travel home to see my family, they already know that the first 30 min of my day is occupied.
Q. Do you believe in workout programs like Insanity or P90X?
A. I do believe in workout programs like Insanity and P90X. They are great programs that vary your heart rate, intensity, intervals, and keep your body guessing. I don’t think they are the best programs for someone trying to hold muscle while leaning down, like for my sport. Steady state cardio might be best for the majority of on season.
Q. What competitions have you participated in and what were the results?
2009 NPC San Jose – 5th
2009 Muscle Beach Classic – 1st
2010 NPC Contra Costa
2010 NPC Cal State Championships – 4th
2010 NPC San Francisco – 2nd in Masters and Open
2011 NPC Greater Gulf States – 5th
2011 NPC Team Universe Nationals
Q. What do you wish you had known before you started doing shows?
A. How much a v-taper and rounded delts I would need for this sport! I started with twigs for shoulders and have had to build them. They are finally coming along but they have been a work in progress.
Q. Looking back on what you have accomplished so far, what is one thing you would change if you could, knowing what you do now?
A. I would have learned early on to not veer too far off the path in the off-season. Not only is it hard mentally to regain progress lost, but it is hard physically on your body to over-train to get ready for a show in a short period of time if you are starting far from where you need to get to.
Q. What is one of the biggest sacrifices you’ve made, and was it worth it?
A. I sacrificed a relationship that I was in last year. It turns out that the person wasn’t fully supportive of my hobby or mission. It’s better to find out sooner than later on that though. At the shows I’ve witnessed many wonderful men there to support their significant others, so I know it can be done given the right person.
Q. What do you feel is the most important thing a bodybuilder/fitness/figure/bikini can have in order to be successful in this sport?
A. Dedication, persistence, and a strong will.
Q. Is it not very hard to exercise and lift on such a low calorie diet? I am talking about the pre-contest diet. I know you follow a very low calorie pre-contest diet. Don’t you get hungry?
A. At the beginning of the prep, it’s not too bad. As cuts are made to the diet to reach a different level of lean, it’s then that one experiences hunger, lack of energy, and feels weaker. When you do begin to feel those things, it’s the strong desire from within that has to kick in to push you further.
Q. Does your social life include others that are not into fitness or competition?
A. Definitely. I actually don’t hang out with others in the sport too much. I have wonderful acquaintances through competing, but I have true long-term friends that are not into the sport at all. They support what I do even if they don’t understand it.
Q. Who is your favorite bodybuilder, fitness model, and/or athlete?
A. I would say that Ava Cowan is my favorite athlete to follow. I can relate to her having hardships early in life and becoming a strong, determined woman despite all of it.
Q. What is your favorite healthy meal?
A. My morning pancake. I love it! I take 5 egg whites and put my oatmeal and flax seeds into the skillet and let one side cook and flip it like a pancake for the other side to cook. I have almond butter on it or if it’s off-season I have pumpkin spread on it. Yum!
Q. Favorite guilty indulgence?
A. Chocolate cake and a glass of wine. I have such a sweet tooth.
Q. What is your favorite exercise?
A. Chins for the sense of accomplishment of pulling myself up with no assistance. Lat pull-downs I enjoy as well as I can see a lat spread. Track workouts are the most fun for me to do.
Q. What is that one body part that you just can’t seem to bring up or make it look like you want?
A. My front delts. I feel like wearing a t-shirt that says “Grow Dammit” with an arrow pointing to my delts. I also wish my calves would grow, that area is a little more challenging due to the decreased blood flow.
Q. What made you get into Fitness and Competition?
A. Recommended by a friend of mine who thought I would be great at it and from also having admired the Figure athletes I had seen in the fitness magazines.
Q. What is the best asset of your physique/body?
A. I would say my smile…but you asked about my physique. I guess it would be abs.
Q. What are your methods for breaking through a plateau?
A. I have a few tricks up my sleeve for breaking a plateau. I can accomplish breaking a plateau by either changing my diet to cycle my carbs or I can also break a plateau by changing my training. Instead of going in to do 1 hr of steady cardio, I begin to do cardio 10-15 min, then weights; then go back to cardio. Working out in this fashion tricks my body into thinking it needs the muscle; it will eventually give up the fat.
Q. What are your future plans?
A. I’m currently prepping for the 2011 Governor’s Cup and Nationals to follow later in the season. I aspire to fitness model this year as well as write for well-known publications.
Q. What do you want our readers to know about you that they couldn’t find out from seeing you on stage or in print?
A. That I’m a woman of strong faith. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ~ Philippians 4:13
Despite making it through a lot of challenges in life, I choose to do something constructive with the lessons. I love building strength on the outside as the external expression. But what I love even more is using fitness as a vehicle for gaining inner strength.
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