During her college years, Jennifer taught aerobics at an all female gym and gained her personal training certification from a 6-week intensive training program in Maui. She loved the Island life! An opportunity to work as an aerobics instructor, personal trainer and fitness promotions coordinator at a gym in Bermuda presented itself to her and she has been living there ever since. She moved away from teaching aerobics and personal training several years ago, and has instead focussed on her own training with a goal to compete. At the same time, she has pursued further education and recently graduated with an Associates degree in Applied Nutrition.
Jennifer Hawkins – Fitness Model Statistics
- Name: Jennifer Hawkins
- Height: 5’6
- Weight: 128
- Hair Color: Dark Blonde
- Bust: 35
- Waist: 25
- Hips: 35
- Location: Bermuda
- Website: www.jldfitness.com
Jennifer Hawkins – Fitness Model Interview
How did you get started in the fitness modeling field?
I became a personal trainer and fitness instructor in my early twenties, began competing in my early thirties and have since branched out into fitness modeling.
What is the #1 thing you like best about being into fitness?
I love seeing my body transform. It’s amazing how weight training and proper diet can change your physique!
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field?
My biggest accomplishment has been the recognition from others in the industry, resulting in invitations to have a website designed for me, photo shoots, and exposure in on-line magazines.
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?
Most importantly, whether it be through an agency or otherwise, gaining exposure is key. This means that you must make yourself seen!!! If you want to be taken seriously, you must present yourself seriously. It is a business after all.
Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?
Wake up, eat pre-workout meal, train, eat post-workout meal, go to work, eat mid-morning snack, eat lunch, eat mid-afternoon snack, go home, cook dinner, and the rest of the night is mine to relax or go out to the movies or to visit friends.
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?
A 25-30 minute workout at the track. I alternate between sprinting up the stadium steps (two steps at a time) and taking long steps (three steps at time) for 15 sets*, then sprint 100 meters, then do another round of work on the steps, and then one more 100 meter sprint.
How much weight (pounds) should I focus on losing every week? What is a safe amount to make sure I keep it off?
To ensure fat loss, and not muscle loss, you should only lose 1-2 pounds per week. Start by reducing your daily calories by 250 calories per day. You should never drastically cut calories or your body will assume you are trying to starve it.
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?
A meal of complex carbohydrate is ideal before a workout, eg. bowl of oatmeal. Within 30 minutes of completing your workout, it is important to have a quick digesting source of protein and carbohydrate. A protein shake with a banana is a good example. One hour after that is the appropriate time to have a solid meal with a good source of complex carbohydrate, protein and fat.
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 eat good quality foods on a regular basis (every 3 hours), which not only helps to keep my blood sugar levels steady, but also helps to alleviate cravings for sweets. During the off-season I do allow myself indulgences. I don’t believe in constant deprivation. For example, last night after dinner I had a small piece of chocolate cake for dessert.
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?
Lean sources of protein (skinless boneless chicken breast, lean ground turkey, lean cuts of steak, eggs), complex carbohydrates (oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, potatoes), vegetables, and fruit).
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?
First, consult a physician to ensure that you do not have any conditions that should prevent you from starting an exercise program. I would suggest that you start a walking program at least 3 times per week for at least 30 minutes at a time. Make sure you purchase a new pair of shoes that provides adequate support. Monitor your results. As your fitness level increases, you can try different types of cardio and hire a personal trainer to guide you through a resistance-training workout.
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?
I believe that it is possible to eat out and still eat healthily. The first thing to be conscious of is portion control. Often restaurants provide portions that are far too big. Try a bit of everything on the plate, but do not eat the entire portion. You should also try to choose meals from the menu that provide a good source of lean protein, a complex carbohydrate, and vegetables. For example, grilled fish with baked potato and a salad. Pay attention to how the food is prepared. If the menu says ‘fried fish’, ask the waiter if the chef can grill it instead. Do not douse the baked potato in butter and sour cream. A great dressing to use on your salad would be vinaigrette.
What exercises do you recommend for getting a bigger, rounder and fuller butt?
In the gym, I suggest the basics like squats, leg press, hack squats, and lunges. I also pay a visit to the local track once a week where I combine sprinting up the stadium stairs and taking the stairs 3 at a time. Great workout for the heart and the legs!
What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?
During the off-season I try to put on some extra muscle, but with that comes a little big of extra body fat. Psychologically it is difficult to see that your legs and abs aren’t as lean as they were in your last competition. It’s definitely a mental obstacle I struggle to overcome.
Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat in a typical day to stay in shape?
- Breakfast: Protein shake and organic oat bran cereal with soy milk
- Mid-morning Snack: Protein shake and fruit
- Lunch: Whole-wheat pasta with chicken and vegetables
- Mid-Afternoon Snack: Protein shake
- Dinner: Lean steak, boiled potatoes, salad
What type of exercises do you include in your routine to stay in shape?
- Strength Training Exercises: Basic, compound exercises like leg press, bench press, military press, T-bar rows.
- Cardio Exercises: Cycling, sprint/lunge workout on the stadium stairs at track
- Additional Training: Yoga class once or twice a week
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for developing toned and defined arms?
1. Nutrition plan consisting of good complex carbohydrates (brown rice, potatoes, whole-wheat grains), vegetables, fruit, lean sources of protein, and healthy fats. Stay away from processed and packaged foods.
2. Resistance training for the upper body – chest, back, shoulders, biceps and triceps exercises will all contribute to toned and defined arms.
3. Interval training cardio workouts three times a week – eg. 20 minute workout – 1 minute intense, 2 minute recovery
4. Pullups for biceps
5. Dips for triceps
What are your top 5 tips for losing unwanted body fat?
1. Reduce caloric intake by 250 calories per day – the 250 calorie-reduction should be primarily from carbohydrates. Protein intake should be 1 – 1.5 g/lb of body weight.
2. Increase cardio by 1 session per week
3. Incorporate more intense training methods at the gym – ie. Super sets, drop sets, etc.
4. Drink plenty of water and supplement with glutamine (to preserve muscle mass while you are losing body fat).
5. Monitor results and revise your plan accordingly.
What are your top 5 tips for gaining lean muscle mass?
1. Increase your caloric intake by 250 calories per day – primarily from carbohydrates. Protein intake should be 1 – 1.5 g/LB per day.
2. No more than 3 cardio sessions per week
3. Stick with compound movements at the gym – ie. exercises that incorporate multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Lift heavy, 6-10 rep range.
4. Drink plenty of water and supplement with creatine and glutamine.
5. Monitor results and revise plan accordingly.
What are the top 5 tips you recommend for staying motivated on a fitness plan and truly making a healthy lifestyle change?
1. You need to be committed and you need to be doing it for the right reasons….to make YOU healthier, stronger, fitter, etc.
2. Set small goals and consistently work towards meeting your goals. Success does not happen overnight.
3. If you don’t meet a goal, or if you go off of your fitness plan, don’t be discouraged. Pick yourself up and get going again.
4. Add variety to your workouts and eating plan to avoid reaching a plateau and to avoid getting bored.
5. Reward yourself when you do meet each goal that you set for yourself. Get a facial, a massage, or buy a new outfit! Be good to yourself.
What is your training routine like? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)
- Monday: Chest/Back – Superset 3 chest and 3 back exercises. Eg. incline bench press/pull ups, flat dumbbell press/t-bar row, cable crossovers/bent over rows
- Tuesday: Track workout – alternating 3 steps at a time with sprints up the stadium stairs
- Wednesday: Shoulders – 3 sets each of dumbbell press, incline barbell raise, single-arm lateral raise, bent over flyes
- Thursday: Legs – 3 sets leg press, step ups, leg extensions, hamstring curls
- Friday: Arms – Superset 3 bicep and 3 tricep exercises. Eg. preacher curls/dips, incline dumbbell curls/cable pressdowns, reverse curls/tricep pushups
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday: Yoga
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 must lose body fat in order for your abs to show. You can do all the ab exercises in the world, but if you have a layer of fat over top, they won’t show.
2. Everyday all day long, walk around with your abs held tight.
3. Don’t be afraid to use resistance when doing your AB workout.
4. Execute your AB exercises in a slow and controlled manner ….. squeeze.
5. Try pilates…..great for strengthening your core.
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for toning the thighs, hips and butt?
1. Get your diet in order so that your body fat level will show those great leg/butt muscles you work so hard for!
2. Cardio – cycling, elliptical, stair/stadium workout at the track
3. Resistance training – squats, leg press, hack squats, leg extensions, hamstring curls, step ups
4. Vary your workouts to keep your body guessing!
5. Walking lunges