I was born in Washington DC and raised in the suburbs of the DC metro area in Bowie, MD. I attended Towson University in Maryland and received a BS in Accounting. I got my CPA license in 1985 and worked for 10 plus years in the accounting industry. I branched off into the area of Recruiting and received a MS in Human Resources. My last corporate position was as a Director of American Express TBS in Towson MD. I left my corporate career and have since aspired to become a personal Trainer.
Janet West – Fitness Model Statistics
- Name: Janet West
- Height: 5″4″
- Weight: 126
- Hair Color: Dark Brown
- Chest: 36
- Waist: 25
- Hips: 33
- Location: Ellicott City, MD
Janet West – Fitness Model Interview
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I started my career as a personal trainer a year ago and got a certification from the American Council of Exercise with CPR training and First Aid certifications. I work almost exclusively from my home gym where I train athletes looking to build strength agility and core and also adults looking to become leaner, stronger and healthier.
My interests are: weightlifting, competition in figure competitions, dance, modeling, watching my children’s sports activities, watching movies, and I love exploring new beaches and finding new vacation spots every year.
My main objective in modeling is to gain a new perspective for fit women regardless of age. To be a role model to women that aspire to having children and those that have had children to be able to find their body’s resilience and beauty by strength training and proper nutrition. I would like to focus my modeling on fitness, swimsuit, and lingerie.
In addition to modeling, I aspire to become an IFBB Figure Pro. I love competing and defining my body. I am a former Washington Redskins Cheerleader and was with the Redskins when they won Super Bowl XVII against the Miami Dolphins. I have not lost the desire to be on stage and perform and the figure competitions allow this expression on an individual basis.
How did you get started in the fitness modeling field?
I started in dance as a young child. I also was a majorette in a marching band and competed in solo dance and baton routines when I was 8-10 yrs old. As I entered middle school, I became interested in cheerleading. I was a cheerleader all through middle school and high school. To continue in my passion with dance, I started a pom/dance squad at Towson University in Maryland and was co-captain. While in college I was also an NFL cheerleader for the Washington Redskins in 82-83 season and I am still active in the Washington Redskin Cheerleader Alumni Association.
I began lifting weights and doing aerobic and cardio workouts when I was twelve. Basically, I was interested in adding shape to my slight build. I started doing some print work while in college for a fitness company as a model for fitness equipment. But was side tracked from the modeling side due to a hectic career decision to become an accountant gaining my CPA after graduating from college. Fitness has always been a big part of my life. After 15 years in the business world of accounting and recruiting, I decided to make fitness my career. I own my own business as a personal trainer.
I love to compete and found that competing in the NPC as a figure competitor enjoyable. Competing in figure helps keep me focused on my own physique and fitness goals in addition to my clients. I want to be the best role model I can be for my clients. I am now working with American-physiques as a fitness model. They seek sponsorship for women that compete through an online magazine subscription and seek sponsorship through work assignments for the models/figure competitors.
What is the #1 thing you like best about being into fitness?
I enjoy developing my physique and changing my appearance with strength training and dieting. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to see results from my commitment to a goal. I also enjoy the competitions because it makes me work harder to attain short-term goals and an arena to compete.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field?
My biggest accomplishment in the fitness field is working with people as a personal trainer in helping others to attain their goals. I feel great satisfaction from seeing results in my clients and seeing the confidence this brings them. As they change their bodies and get healthier, they share that joy with you as a trainer and you feel good about yourself. I love people and to be around people as part of my full-time job helping them and being part of their lives is tremendous for me.
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 like starting with an agency or representative first. Photographers are expensive and you may not know who the best are in the industry. An agency has more dealings with photographers from all different parts of the country. They know which photographers get the best results for their clients.
Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?
I usually begin training clients by 5:45 a.m. I eat breakfast before my first client whether I feel like eating at 5:30 a.m. or not to get my digestive system working and metabolism kick started. I’ll usually eat ¾ cup of oatmeal and 25g of whey protein first thing in the a.m. I try my best to eat every 2 ½ hours to get in six meals a day. I usually train 3 to 4 clients in the morning. I’ll stop to eat a second time around 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. which typically consists of 5oz of protein and 1 cup of pasta and typically repeat a similar meal at lunch time. I work out 5 days a week with strength training for approximately 60 minutes. I devote about 15 minutes to core each session. I follow up my training with a post workout meal consisting of 25g whey, 3 packets of oatmeal. I usually train with supersets consisting of no breaks between at least 2 exercises and 10-12 reps of each set. I do approximate 8 exercises in one hour for one body part. I am lucky in that I work from home and find time to do household chores between training and clients. I usually have 1-2 clients in the evening and/or run around to children’s sports activities. For my evening meal I eat 5 oz of lean protein and have 1 cup of veggies. I eat my last meal around 8:30 p.m. which is usually 25G of Whey and I go to bed by 9:30 p.m. to begin my day again.
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 like interval training on a treadmill. I might suggest a session of spending 30-45 minutes alternating 5 minute sprints with 1-2 minute fast pace walks. You can change the level on incline on each sprint and also try to increase the time jogging each time. Another way to mix up your cardio workout is to walk at a fast pace for 5 minutes and get off the treadmill to do various other 2 minute cardio burst workouts such as jump rope, jumping jacks, windmills, burpees and then back to the treadmill machine for another 5 minutes.
How much weight (pounds) should I focus on losing every week? What is a safe amount to make sure I keep it off?
Your weight loss will depend on how much you have to lose and will be relative to your starting weight. As a general rule it is safe to lose between one to two pounds per week. Although keep in mind that it is more important to change the body mass composition and a decrease in body fat as a percentage is the most important aspect to building a lean body.
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?
You need to take a combination of protein and carbs prior to and after the workout. Preferably eat 60 minutes prior to a workout and within 15-60 minutes post workout. I like to drink whey protein after a workout because in the liquid form, the protein gets processed in your system more quickly to repair the muscle and help grow muscle. This is typically your biggest carb meal of the day. I have 25 grams of whey protein and either a large wheat bagel or ½ cups of oatmeal following my workouts.
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.
I think that eating often will help with the cravings. If you are full from good foods and eat every two and half hour increments the cravings will be less severe. However, I believe setting up cheat days in your meal plan after you’ve been good for a period of time, helps to alleviate the picking each day. If I eat “clean” for a period of two weeks, for example, I may have one free meal that I eat which includes dessert. But I feel for myself, allowing a cheat meal or cheat food in an orderly fashion helps to keep me focused on eating the right foods in the interim.
I also think that it’s a good idea to set short-term goals and reward yourself for achieving such goals. My goal for example is to compete in NPC figure shows. However, someone else’s goal might be to fit into a favorite pair of shorts that no longer fit. Or, perhaps, rid oneself of an inch around each thigh. Realistic, achievable short-term goals help you stay on track.
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?
Brown rice, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, whey protein, rice cakes, green vegetables, packed tuna in water, chicken breasts, lean cuts of meats (i.e. pork loin, filet), fish, shrimp.
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?
I would suggest you find a personal trainer that can devise an overall program including cardio activity, strength training and meal planning. You can search a database of ACE certified instructors for your location through the American Council on Exercise. In addition, you might ask for referrals of a good trainer through friends, gym memberships, and associates at work. Word of mouth through a good source is one of the best ways to find a personal trainer.
Many gyms offer fitness assessments free of charge when you first purchase a gym membership. A fitness assessment staff member can take readings such as body fat percentage, circumference measurements, weight, blood pressure readings and assess flexibility and strength. It is a good idea to get some overall beginning readings to establish short-term goals along your path to encourage you to continue through your journey of reaching your goal of 35 pounds of weight loss.
A professional will ask you imperative questions related to your health to ensure you have no medical reasons not to participate in a vigorous exercise program. If you do have medical concerns, the professional will seek guidance from your medical practitioner on limitations to design in an exercise program.
It is important to have a mix of cardio and strength training for any individual seeking improved health and appearance. The amount of cardio activity will depend on your age, activity level, medical limitations, metabolism and other various independent factors.
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?
Salads are a good choice, however, order dressings on the side. Vinegar is a good choice for salad dressing or low-fat dressings. I try to eliminate cheese, bacon, and other fatty toppings. Other good choices when eating out are lean cuts of meat, such as filet mignon, grilled chicken breast without sauces. When dining at diners, chose vegetable omelets with egg whites or egg beaters (omit the cheese). My favorite meals to eat are chicken filet platter at Chicken out with a side sweet potato in a jacket (no butter or sugar added). A second favorite place to eat is an Outback. I order the Victoria Filet cut with a sweet potato and mixed veggies. If I’m eating at a fast food restaurant, I order the grilled filet sandwich and ask for the mayonnaise to be omitted and eat it bunless with a side salad or potato (no butter). Fuddruckers has petite filet medallions which are very good with a side salad (on the lighter side).
What exercises do you recommend for getting a bigger, rounder and fuller butt?
1) Full deep squats with an Olympic bar.
2) Gluteal raises with a band around thighs, heels on the bench, shoulders on a matt and legs wide.
3) One leg gluteal raises on a bench
4) Stability ball gluteaul hamstring raises lying prone on the ball w/ dumbbells
5) One legged stability ball squats 12 each leg 3 sets
What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?
The most challenging thing I deal with to stay in shape is my addiction to sugar. I love sugar and find myself wanting sweets such as cupcakes, cakes, and chocolate. I have a hard time limiting this type of indulgence and find myself binging if I take one step in that direction. Instead, I limit myself to indulgences on a timeline. It might be once a week, once every two weeks, once a month depending on my goals. This is easier for me to control than to have small indulgences each day. That doesn’t work for me. Having scheduled cheats works best for me. I eat “clean” for a specified period and allow myself a cheat meal then jump back on track for eating clean again.
Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat in a typical day to stay in shape?
- Breakfast: 6 egg whites, wheat toast (2 slices)
- Mid-Morning Snack: 3-4 oz of lean protein (chicken or tuna), 4 oz sweet potatoes
- Lunch or post-workout: 25 grams of whey, 2 packets of oatmeal
- Mid-Afternoon Snack: gardenburger, lean meat, 1 cup rice
- Dinner: 4 oz fish or shrimp, 1 cup of vegetables
- Before bedtime: 25 grams of whey protein
What type of exercises do you include in your routine to stay in shape?
Strength Training Exercises:
- Legs: Deep squats on the Smith Machine, Deadlifts, Hamstring curls
- Chest: Cable Cross Overs, Bench Press, Incline Press
- Shoulders: Military presses, Arnold Presses, Smith shoulder presses, front and side laterals. Rear deltoid Raises
- Back: Lat pulldowns wide and narrow, rows
- Arms: bicep curls, reverse curls, low cable bicep curls, tricep o/h presses, tricep kickbacks, cable kickbacks
- Note: I do 5 days of 45-50 minutes of strength training per week.
Cardio Exercises: My first choice is using the elliptical machine. I do no more than 35-40 minutes on the elliptical machine 3 days a week. I do not believe in doing a great deal of cardio as this can negate some of the muscle gains which will in effect help to burn fat in the long run more efficiently.
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for developing toned and defined arms?
1. Close Grip Bench Press
2. Tricep push downs
3. Skull Crushers
4. Bicep curls up and down the rack
5. Incline bench bicep curls with handle on low cable
What are your top 5 tips for losing unwanted body fat?
1. Seek out help of a personal trainer or nutritionist that can plan your meals according to your workout sessions.
2. Use spray butter with zero calories for flavor
3. Lean protein choices (imitation crab meat, tuna, and fish, chicken) and flavor it with spices.
4. Pick up Whey Protein powder at a nearby vitamin shop and use as a supplement to getting your proper amount of protein throughout the day based on your level of activity.
5. Make a program that you commit to and can manage as a lifestyle… (i.e… 2-3 days of strength training and 3 days of 30-45 minutes of cardio). Increase the intensity of your sessions gradually until you can build up to 3-4 days of strength days and break down body parts.
What are your top 5 tips for gaining lean muscle mass?
1. Continue to increase weights over time to increase stress on the muscles.
2. Vary strength training routines and exercises on each muscle group to target muscles in a different way thus recruiting more muscle fibers.
3. Target to perform 6-12 repetition range for each exercise.
4. Use proper form with each exercise.
5. Eat to fuel the body to have energy and strength to train.
What are the top 5 tips you recommend for staying motivated on a fitness plan and truly making a healthy lifestyle change?
1. Commitment – make a vow to start today
2. Set short-term goals – achievable
3. Seek out the help of a professional – a personal trainer, nutritionist
4. Nutrition is a major factor if not the most important factor in weight loss. Have a meal plan prepared for you that you follow with the guidance of a professional.
5. Seek support from friends and family. Get active and train with a friend and get a discount rate using a personal trainer.
What is your training routine like? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)
- Monday: Chest/shoulders (4 exercises of each muscle group. Between 8-12 reps, 3 sets). Incline Bench Press, flat bench hammer press, Chest cross-over’s on low cable, flyes. Shoulder work includes front raises, rear delt flyes, lateral raises and shoulder presses (i.e. Arnold presses, or Smith front and back shoulder press).
- Tuesday: Back/biceps. (4 to 5 exercises of each). Mainly pulldowns, rows both wide and narrow. 4-5 sets of bicep curls, reverse curls and one set of descending bicep curls.
- Wednesday: Legs (Deep squats, hamstring curls, deadlifts, and lunges). I incorporate walking lunges, wall squats, smith squats and combo lifts such as dumbbell deadlifts with hack squats.
- Thursday: off
- Friday: Chest/triceps (4 exercises for chest, 2 for triceps 3-4 sets between 8-12 reps). Tricep pull downs, overhead tricep press.
- Saturday: Back. One arm low cable rows, Wide grip lat pulldowns, narrow rows, bent over barbell rows.
- Sunday: off
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. Eat lean protein (lean cuts of meat, fish)
2. Eat protein and carbs at every meal and eat your most abundant servings at breakfast and within 60 minutes after a strength training session.
3. Work your core. I implement the stability ball, wobble board, bosu at every training session so I can work the core at the same time I am focusing on a more specific muscles.
4. Decline sit-ups. Progress with weights and increase reps.
5. Eat often at least 6-8 times a day.
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for toning the thighs, hips and butt?
1. Low cable standing gluteal raises with a bench or step
2. Squats – Smith machine wide legs, narrower stance
3. Lunges (walking, split)
4. Plie with weighted plates
5. SB Wall squats, one leg squats and hold for 15-30 second increments