Geri is a ISSA certified fitness trainer who has always lived a healthy lifestyle. Although she has always gone to the gym regularly, she wasn’t getting the results she desired. She began doing a lot of research on training techniques, nutrition, etc. Geri discovered a popular fitness program and decided to participate in it. After losing 9 pounds and dropping 7 percent of her body fat, she began to receive many questions from clients who workout at the same gym. Geri decided she had a true passion for fitness so she uses this interest to benefit others and as well as herself. She is always looking for new ways to push herself and to stay challenged. Geri’s future goal is to help as many people realize the importance and benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.
Geri Helm – Fitness Model Statistics
- Name: Geri Helm
- Height: 5’6
- Weight: 135
- Hair Color: Brown
- Bust: 36 B
- Waist: 28
- Hips: 37
- Location: Twin Falls, Idaho
- Website: Coming Soon
Geri Helm – Fitness Model Interview
How did you get started in the fitness modeling field?
I have always been into fitness and was never shy in front of the camera. We met some wonderful friends about three years ago while vacationing in Jamaica. The wife is a semi professional fitness model and the husband a semi professional photographer. I had the privilege of doing a photo shoot with them and have been hooked ever since.
What is the #1 thing you like best about being into fitness?
I like the fact that it keeps me healthy and energetic to do not only those every day things that most of us take for granted, but to participate in the extra curricular activities I enjoy as well.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field?
My biggest accomplishment in the fitness field is the fact that I am very passionate about fitness and presently have my national certification as a personal trainer with ISSA so that I can pass that passion on to others.
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?
The best way to get started in the industry is to have some professional photos taken and place them on a reputable website. I recommend onemodelplace.com or fitsights.com. Another good way to get exposure for the fitness modeling industry is to attend and/or participate in a fitness/figure competition. Make sure you have calling cards to hand out as well. If you know anyone who’s done fitness modeling, you may want to rub elbows with them as well. Pick their brain for all the information you can get.
Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?
I am presently not a full-time fitness model so my normal daily routine presently is at breakfast, at the gym by 5am, back home to get my husband ready for work, myself ready for work and off I go.
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?
The best cardio workout you can do for the maximum amount of return in the shortest period of time is what I call High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This consists of high and low intensity cardio mixed together. For example, if you’re using a treadmill for this activity, warm up with a brisk walk for about 2 minutes, then run or sprint (depending on your level of fitness) for one minute, then walk for one minute. Do this until you reach 20 minutes, raising the intensity slightly each time. Once you’ve been able to do this comfortably, you may want to extend the length of time you run and shorten the time you walk. On the last interval, push the intensity level one notch higher (90% MHR) for one minute. The do your cool down. You will burn more calories AFTER your workout then if you did a steady cardio workout for the same duration of time.
How much weight (pounds) should I focus on losing every week? What is a safe amount to make sure I keep it off?
A safe amount of weight to lose is 1-2 lbs a week. If you lose more than that, you are either losing water weight, or you are cutting your calories to an unhealthy level. Either way, if you attempt to lose more than 2 lbs a week, you’re restricting your body the nutrition it needs to the point that once you return to a normal way of eating, you will gain that weight back again. Remember, one pound equals 3500 calories, so that’s a lot to cut out of your diet along with working out.
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?
This is somewhat of a preference. Some fitness experts advise you to eat prior working out, some say to workout (cardio) on an empty stomach. I have discovered that I do much better with something in my stomach when I do cardio. I will usually have a high carb, low protein meal (such as a ½ cup oatmeal with fat-free milk) before working out. You do want to eat a meal rich in complex carbs and protein within an hour after you workout or your body will begin to burn protein to restore the energy it lost while working out. As for the meal before, that’s a personal preference. To gain lean muscle and lose fat, the bottom line is fewer calories in than calories burned.
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.
Cravings for sweet or salty food is normal when you are restricting your food intake. Eating healthy is my biggest challenge when it comes to fitness so I must be very disciplined in my meals. I have to plan my meals or I will eat whatever is available. However, I still do get the cravings just like everyone else. To keep on target, I always keep my eyes on my goal. To keep myself focused and not get to the point where I binge on that sweet or salty food, I give myself one ‘free’ day a week to eat whatever I’d like. It keeps me focused though out the week and gives me something to look forward to. If you’re really trying to get cut and lean, then limit yourself to one or two meals per week that are ‘free’ instead of an entire day. I promise you, it’ll help you to keep on track and satisfy your cravings all at the same time. If for some reason you have a craving and it’s not your free day, have just enough of that food to satisfy the craving and then get back on track. We’re all human, so it’s ok to satisfy the craving now with a small taste then to push yourself to the point of bingeing.
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?
The best way to shop for healthy food at your grocery store is to start on the outside aisles and work inward. All the non-processed, natural foods are on the outside aisles. (i.e., produce, meats, dairy and eggs). When choosing meats, make sure to purchase lean cuts of beef, low-fat ground beef or turkey, chicken breasts, and fish. Chose low-fat or non-fat dairy products. In the produce section, be sure to get a variety of color (the darker the greens, the better they are for you). The more vibrant the color of the vegetable, the more nutrients it carries. Also be sure to purchase whole grain breads, cereals, rice and pasta. You want to avoid anything with processed flour or sugar (i.e., white bread, cookies, etc).
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?
If you are working out at a gym, the first thing you should do is get the advice of a personal trainer. They will evaluate your situation, health issues, etc., and place you on a workout routine best suited to your abilities and desires. They will also give some general meal planning advice. If they give you a specific meal plan, make sure they are a certified nutritionist as well since that is not their line of expertise if they are not. If you will be working out from home, start with a cardio activity that you enjoy doing (i.e., walking, jogging, roller blading, biking, etc). If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it. If you want to lose fat and gain muscle, you need to do some sort of resistance training. You can find a ton of useful information on specific exercises in some of the fitness magazines on the racks today. The ones I recommend are Oxygen and Shape magazine. These both provide a ton of useful information regarding exercise and nutrition, and I have found these both to be the most accurate. One piece of advice I can give you is do whatever keeps you motivated and also to always increase the duration and/or intensity of your workout when it starts to become too easy. Your body adapts quickly so don’t be afraid to push yourself a little further each time. You’ll see results quicker than if you keep doing the same thing.
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?
Although eating out isn’t necessarily recommended, when you do eat out there are a few rules to follow. What I recommend is to know where you’re going to be eating before hand and decide what you will order before you get there. Make sure to stay away from anything fried or swimming in a white sauce. If you must order pasta, make sure it’s a red sauce instead of white. Order a salad or a broth based soup prior to your meal (if applicable) and do your best to stay away from the bread. One thing I do when I eat out is request at the time of ordering that they split my meal in half and place half of it in a to-go box before I even receive it. Meals ordered at restaurants are almost always more than a healthy portion. That way, you get two meals out of one and you didn’t over eat just because it was on the plate. Also, be sure to drink lots of water or iced tea. If you must have alcohol with your meal, try to stay away from the mixed drinks which are high in sugar and useless calories. Stick to red wines or low carb beer.
What exercises do you recommend for getting a bigger, rounder and fuller butt?
There are many exercises that you can do to have a round, fuller butt; however, there are a few that work the best. Squats, lunges, and cable kickbacks are, in my opinion, the best exercises to firm up the glutes. However, if you are unable to perform squats to a full seated position because of knee or back problems, the next best exercise to do would be a leg press. However, on both squats and cable kickbacks, be sure to use a heavy enough weight that it really works those muscles. With both lunges and squats, make sure that when your knees are bent, that your knee does not over extend over your toes, causing undue stress on the knee joints. There are a variety of ways to perform squats and lunges, so be sure to find out the different way, try them, and mix them up to shock the muscle to help make it grow and become full and firm like you desire.
What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?
My most challenging thing when it comes to staying in shape is eating. I love to eat, so I must constantly be very disciplined in my meal planning and cheat meals to stay in the best shape I can. I enjoy working out, and I enjoy the way it makes me feel, so I don’t have much of a challenge in that area. There are occasionally those days that I don’t wish to work out. On those days, although I do go to the gym and exercise, I have a difficult time pushing myself. Those are the days I wish I had a partner to push me to the point I know I should be working out at.
Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat in a typical day to stay in shape?
- Breakfast: ½ cup oatmeal with, 1 Tbsp flax meal, 1 whole egg, 3 whites, 3 oz. of lean turkey or ½ cup veggies, 1 cup of fat-free milk
- Mid-Morning Snack: Either 5 oz. of tuna or chicken, with ½ cup of veggies or a protein bar or shake.
- Lunch: 2 cups leafy greens with 5 oz. of chicken and low-fat ranch dressing or a turkey sandwich with lettuce/tomato/mustard on whole wheat bread.
- Mid-Afternoon Snack: Same as mid-morning snack
- Dinner: 5 oz of either chicken breast, lean beef or fish, 2 cups of veggies. Every
third day, I replace this meal with either ½ cup oatmeal or 4 oz. sweet potato, one banana and ½ c. brown rice (a high carb meal).
- Note: I eat this 6 days a week and one day a week, I have a cheat day and eat whatever I’d like.
What type of exercises do you include in your routine to stay in shape?
- Strength Training Exercises: I do weight resistance training 6 days a week, doing each body part once a week, legs twice a week, and abs every third day.
- Cardio Exercises: I do 30 minutes of cardio on a treadmill twice a week and a 45-minute spinning class twice a week. My goal is to burn 1500 calories per week in cardio training.
- Additional Training: Once my fat loss plateaus, I will increase my cardio (calories burned) by 10% until I plateau again, and increase another 10%, and so on. I try to occasionally get in a yoga or pilates class to improve my strength and flexibility.
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for developing toned and defined arms?
1. When working arms, you want to be sure to do two to three exercises per body part.
2. Make sure to vary your weights and reps to keep your muscles growing (i.e., do heavy weight, low reps one week then low weight, high reps the next).
3. Make sure to rest the muscle you’ve worked for at least 48 hours before working it again. It’s when you’re resting that your muscles grow.
4. Eat a clean, consistent diet to rid your body of that extra layer of fat so you can see those wonderful muscles you’ve developed.
5. Be sure to keep educated on different exercises available. The best magazine sources I have found are Oxygen and Shape magazine. Oxygen is more for the serious fitness person, possibly someone who wishes to eventually compete, while Shape is more focused on the woman who wishes to keep tone and in shape, so chose whichever fits your needs.
What are your top 5 tips for losing unwanted body fat?
1. Perform high intensity interval cardio to burn the most fat in the shortest amount of time. Do as I mentioned before, and increase your cardio workout by 10% once your fat loss starts to plateau
2. Be sure to include resistance training in your workouts. Muscle burns more than fat, so the more muscle you have on your body, the faster your metabolism.
3. If you do too much cardio right out the gate, you will have no place to go increase to once your fat loss plateaus. I suggest no more than 4 days a week to start. At that rate, it gives you room to increase your cardio and still not become overtrained.
4. Be sure to eat a clean, consistent diet, full of high quality protein, nutrition rich vegetables, and whole grains.
5. Drink lots of water. I try to drink approximately one gallon of water per day.
What are your top 5 tips for gaining lean muscle mass?
1. Be sure to vary your workout intensity from week to week, or at least every couple of weeks. For example, lift heavy weight, low reps one week, then light weight, high reps the next.
2. Drink lots of water. Keeping your muscles hydrated will help them to grow.
3. Be sure to consume a high protein, healthy carb diet. If you want to build
muscle, you should consume one gram of protein per pound of lean body weight. Make sure to have a high quality protein with each meal (all 5-6).
4. Do your best not to consume any food after 7pm. It sounds simple, but it does work.
5. Give your workout variety. Your muscles adapt quickly so be sure to change your routine about every 4-8 weeks, or your body will get used to what you’re doing and you will not see the desired results.
What are the top 5 tips you recommend for staying motivated on a fitness plan and truly making a healthy lifestyle change?
1. Realize that to make a healthy lifestyle change, it’s exactly that. This is not a diet that you go on and then go back to your normal way of eating. Find a way that you can eat for the rest of your life and stick with it.
2. Find a friend that will workout with you and keep you accountable. It’s a lot harder to skip going to the gym when you just don’t feel like it when you have someone who’s counting on you to be there.
3. Mix up your workout. If you keep doing the same thing month after month, eventually you’ll get bored and just stop working out. Find exercises you enjoy doing, and you’ll always want to do them.
4. Have patience. The weight you gained didn’t happen over night and losing it won’t either.
5. If you must weigh yourself, do it once a week, at the same time of day, preferably on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. Don’t rely on the scale to tell you your progress – rely on how you clothes fit. It’s a much better indicator.
What is your training routine like? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)
- Monday: 30 minutes of high intensity interval training (HIIT) on the treadmill. Back, Shoulders, Traps and Abs. I lift heavy weights to the point that at 8-10 reps, the muscle is fully fatigued. I generally do 3-4 sets of the exercises – Assisted Pullups, Wide Grip Cable Pulldowns, Cable Rows, Rows on a Smith Machine, Shrugs on a Smith Machine. I do 3 super sets of toe touches, crunches and side bends for the abs.
- Tuesday: Spinning class of 45 minutes
- Wednesday: 30 minutes of HIIT, Hard Leg workout – Squats on a Smith Machine, Walking lunges (3 sets of 20), Hack Squat, Leg Curls, Hamstring Curls, Standing Calf Raises, Seated Calf Raises
- Thursday: Spinning class of 45 minutes, Shoulders, Chest, Abs – Barbell Rows, Dumbbell Shrugs, Incline Chest Press, Dumbbell Bench Press, 3 super sets of toe touches, crunches and side bends for the abs.
- Friday: Biceps & Triceps – Super set of barbell curls with 20#, alternating between wide grip and narrow grip (reps – 12,10,8,6,4), Cable Curls, Tricep pushdowns on cable machine, Dips (to fatigue)
- Saturday: Light Leg Day (2 sets of each at high reps, lower weight), Squats, Walking Lunges, Leg Press, Hamstring Curl, Standing Calf Raises, Seated Calf
- Sunday: 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. You can not spot reduce, so the best way to get those ab muscles to show is to eat a very clean diet, rich in proteins, lots of vegetables and complex carbohydrates.
2. Drink lots of water – I try to drink at least a gallon of water a day.
3. The last place to lose fat is around your mid-section, and it’s the hardest. I have found that when I hit a plateau of losing fat on my body, I increase my calories burned through cardio by 10%. When I hit another plateau, I increase it again by 10%, and so on.
4. Make sure that when you do abdominal exercises, that you don’t use too heavy of weight. You want to tone that area, not build it. If the weight is too heavy, it will actually make your waist bigger and not slimmer.
5. Vary your AB workout often. The AB muscles adapt quickly so you need to put some variety in your workout to work them to full capacity. I usually change my AB workout about every 4 weeks.
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for toning the thighs, hips and butt?
1. You can not spot reduce, so you just need to make sure that you are getting plenty of cardio to work off the extra layer of fat that all of us women carry around our lower body.
2. The best exercises for lower body that I have found are 1) squats, 2), lunges (can never do too many of those) and 3) cable kickbacks. I have also found that running really seems to work off that extra layer of fat that we carry on our hips and inner thighs.
3. 80% of how you look is what you eat, so if you want to rid yourself of that extra layer, you must eat a very clean diet, and drink lots of water.
4. To reduce the appearance of cellulite, make sure to eat a consistently clean diet. Part of what causes the appearance of cellulite is the yo-yo effect of eating well, then eating poorly and back and forth.
5. Patience is a virtue. Stay motivated, stay strong, and your dream of a tone, healthy body will happen.