Ilona Kovacs Fitness Model Interview and Photos

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Ilona Kovacs – Fitness Model Statistics

  • Name: Ilona Kovacs
  • Height: 5’7″
  • Weight: 120 pounds
  • Date of Birth: 10/16/1971
  • Hair Color: Brown
  • Bust: 34C
  • Waist: 24″
  • Hips: 34″
  • Location: New York

Ilona Kovacs – Fitness Model Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a fitness model and bikini competitor. I have a degree in biology and am also a certified personal trainer through NASM. I have always been active since I was a child. It was instilled in me to be athletic since both my parents were athletes. My father was a professional soccer player and my mom ran track and field. I started ballet when I was 5 years old and have never stopped since then! I did ballet for 12 years and then went on to do sports in high school (field hockey, softball) and I also became involved in aerobics and weight training. Professionally, I am an entrepreneurial person. I have been a certified personal trainer for over 10 years now and I also work in the corporate world as an administrator.

How did you get started in the fitness field?
I have always enjoyed working out since I was a child since taking my first ballet class. I started specifically taking aerobics classes in high school and some weight training. I was also interested in keeping in shape so later on, I acquired a degree in biology and then after I graduated, I obtained a certification in personal training through NASM. I recently started competing regionally and nationally in bikini competitions in such federations as NPC, WBFF, FAME, and INBF.

What is the #1 thing you like best about being into fitness?
The way it makes me feel after I workout. It’s exhilarating and not to mention how I look.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field?
Getting into competing at age 39! I just recently started competing in competitions last year in 2010, in the bikini and fitness model category. I’m excited and motivated about 2011. I will be competing in such competitions as the Arnold Amateur in March and other competitions this year.

What is the best way to get started in the fitness modeling industry? Should I just contact the photographers directly or should I use an agency?
I would definitely get some pictures done when you think you are at your fittest. Then I would enter a few competitions to gain exposure and network!

Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?
Depending on the day, I either get up in the morning and do cardio before I eat or I get up and prepare breakfast and my meals for the day. If I end up doing a workout during the day, I’ll go home from work and do weight training and then cardio.

I don’t have that much time during the day to workout, so I really want to burn major calories in a short amount of time. What is the #1 “bang for the buck” cardio exercise I should do to burn serious calories?
I would say do a HIIT routine (High Intensity Interval Training). It’s the best! Its quick and effective. What is it? It’s 20 minutes of high burst intervals with rest periods in between.

How much weight (pounds) should I focus on losing every week? What is a safe amount to make sure I keep it off?
I would say 1-2 pounds maximum. Any more than that and you are not eating enough calories. The goal is to keep it off long term not short term.

What type of food or supplements should I take before and after my workouts to help me see results in gaining lean muscle and losing fat?
I would say to have a good multivitamin. If you feel that you need a fat burner, try a non-stimulant one that doesn’t give you the jitters. But your health is your #1 priority. Also you can try using CLA, which is a good supplement that will help you increase muscle tone as well.

How do you deal with cravings for junk foods, sweets and salty food? I can stay on a diet for maybe a few weeks but I eventually get really bad cravings and binge on snacks and fast foods.
ilona-kovacs-7It’s tough, especially around holidays. We are human after all. It’s okay to give in a little bit here and there. But remember to have a goal in mind. My goal is getting in shape for a competition, which could take up to 3 months of strict dieting. However, once a week, I have my cheat meal which I look forward to. What keeps me motivated is looking at the fitness magazines and the girls that are in shape there. It gets me really motivated!

I’m trying to create a healthy shopping list to stick with. What are some of the main foods I should include to maintain a lean and muscular physique?
Protein, protein, protein. I can’t stress that enough. Lean meats like turkey, chicken breast and fish are the best. People seem to forget that in order to increase muscle mass, the body needs protein. Supplement that with veggies and fruits as well. You can also have some carbs, but stick to brown rice and whole wheat pasta.

I’m about 35 pounds overweight. I have never started an exercise program and really don’t know where to start. What tips can you give me to get started on the right track?
Start slow. Go for a brisk walk or go to the gym and get familiar with the layout. Sometimes gyms can be a bit intimidating but once you know what the machines do, they can be your friend. I would start out on the treadmill or stairmaster. Walk for a bit and then slowly increase your speed over time. Start lifting weights with low weight and as many reps as you can. You will increase your strength over time, I promise!

I tend to eat out most of the time and really don’t know what healthy foods to order from the menu. What tips do you recommend for eating out at restaurants to make sure my diet will not suffer?
Stick to foods that are not drenched in sauces. Stay away from heavy cream sauces like alfredo sauce, etc. Stick to “clean” foods, not fried foods. Choose broiled or baked proteins. Also, no “white” foods, no white bread, white rice or pasta. Eat brown rice, wheat bread, whole wheat pastas.

What exercises do you recommend for getting a bigger, rounder and fuller butt?
Squats are great for getting a bigger butt and lunges are also great too. With machines, use a leg press or a smith machine.

What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?
Time management. I work 9-5 pm Monday through Friday and I am up in the morning to do cardio and in the afternoon I do weights every other day. But I keep my motivation going by setting a goal, like training for a competition or an event.

Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat in a typical day to stay in shape?

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal, strawberries, egg whites.
  • Mid-Morning Snack: Turkey, piece of wheat bread, veggies.
  • Lunch: Fish, brown rice, veggies.
  • Mid-Afternoon Snack: Salad, fish.
  • Dinner: 3 ounces of ground beef, whole wheat pasta (just a few pieces) and marinara sauce.

What type of exercises do you include in your routine to stay in shape?

  • Strength Training Exercises: Squats, presses, mostly with barbells and dumbbells (these isolate the muscles more than the machines).
  • Cardio Exercises: Variety, including bike, treadmill, and stairmaster.

What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for developing toned and defined arms?

1. Don’t forget to build all muscles of the arms not just specific areas.

2. Also remember to do shoulder exercises to look more symmetrical.

3. Weighted tricep dips are the best for triceps, they perfectly isolate the tricep.

4. Eat to build muscle. Lots of protein!

5. Barbells and dumbbells are better for you to train with than machines.

What are your top 5 tips for losing unwanted body fat?

1. Cardio.

2. Cardio.

3. Cardio.

4. I can’t stress it enough. Cardio!

5. HIIT. High intensity interval training works the best, it’s quick and you won’t get bored.

What are your top 5 tips for gaining lean muscle mass?

ilona-kovacs-81. Definitely diet wise, eating lots of protein, up to 1 gram per pound of body weight.

2. Weight training.

3. You can also use some supplementation. But not as a substitute for training, just to “add” to your routine. Such as CLA, fish oil, chromium.

4. In regards to weight training specifically, lift heavy and lift until failure to gain muscle otherwise you are just toning not gaining muscle mass.

5. Just remember every person is unique and each person gains muscle in different ways, so it’s best to team up with a professional to assess your specific situation.

What are the top 5 tips you recommend for staying motivated on a fitness plan and truly making a healthy lifestyle change?

1. I know for a lot of people, it’s about time management. Make the time for yourself, you will look and feel better! I guarantee that it’s worth it.

2. Grab a friend and motivate each other! There is nothing like getting support from your friends and family.

3. Have a goal in mind. Whether it’s getting ready for an event or even to compete.

4. Hire a trainer. That way you are paying for your motivation and it’s a guarantee that you will be there.

5. Make it a part of your daily routine. Once you get used to working out and eating right it will come naturally.

What is your training routine like? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)

  • Monday: Legs. I vary every few weeks, but generally I do free barbell squats, leg press, leg curls, step ups with weight, lunges.
  • Tuesday: Arms. For triceps I do chair dips, kickbacks, pushdowns, skull crushers. For biceps I do curls and hammer curls.
  • Wednesday: Back. Lat pulldowns, rows, hypers, close grip pulldowns.
  • Thursday: Shoulders & Chest. Incline dumbbell press, pec deck machine, shoulder press, laterals, front raises.
  • Friday: Cardio. Usually I do HIIT for 20 minutes.
  • Saturday: Rest.

What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for losing fat around the stomach and developing a toned and defined midsection?

1. The best way to lose fat around your stomach is cardio, specifically doing high intensity interval training (20 minutes, 8x at high level and 90 seconds of rest in between).

2. Planks. Try to stay prone for at least 30 seconds since this helps your overall core.

3. I am not a big fan of spot training, but in addition to cardio, you can do what I think is a good ab exercise which is bicycles.

4. For diet, once again a low carb, high protein diet is key to lowering body fat percentage. Make sure you eat good protein sources, like chicken, fish, turkey, lean beef, and eggs.

5. Just remember that everyone has 6 pack abs! You just have to eat right and exercise and it will reveal itself to you in time.

What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for toning the thighs, hips and butt?

1. I can’t stress enough that cardio is key to shedding body fat. I would recommend HIIT again.

2. Also, maintaining a low carb, high protein diet is key. Make sure that if you do eat carbs, they are the good kind like brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa.

3. Weight train those areas since nothing gets rid of cellulite more than building muscle. If you want to get rid of cellulite, lift weights! Do heavy squats, leg presses, leg curls and lunges are great too.

4. I do not recommend spot toning for thighs, hips and butt. I truly believe in doing cardio and weight training along with a good diet is the way to go.

5. There are some supplements out there that you can use to help with fat burning. Do your research and ask people for advice on what might work for you.

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