Mercedes Perez – Fitness Model Statistics
- Name: Mercedes Perez
- Height: 5’3″
- Weight: 108
- Hair Color: Brown
- Bust: 34
- Waist: 24
- Hips: 34
- Location: San Antonio, TX
Mercedes Perez – Fitness Model Interview
How did you get started in the fitness field?
I started as a personal trainer and quickly realized fitness is my passion. After years “thinking about” competing I finally took the plunge and competed in my first completion. That opened up a whole new area of fitness for me, in the form of fitness modeling.
What is the #1 thing you like best about being into fitness?
I like being able to motivate people to change their lives and make healthy lifestyle choices that include eating better and exercising. I also enjoy sharing my knowledge of fitness with people.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field?
Becoming a successful fitness entrepreneur and role model.
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 think you can be successful by going either route. What worked for me was to contact photographers directly, this way I got experience in front of the camera and also I built a good portfolio. Then I started marketing myself by networking and e-mailing my pictures to people in the industry. It’s important to be persistent and not get discouraged when you hear a “no”.
Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?
I get up and eat breakfast and then I check and answer important business related e-mails. Then, I head out to the gym to workout. I do about an hour of weight training and 30 minutes of cardio. After that, for the next several hours I meet with my personal training clients. After that, I get home and finally get to sit down and play with my dogs.
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?
What I do when I have limited time and I want to burn as many calories as possible, is “active recovery”. This means that instead of resting in between sets, you recover by doing high intensity exercises. I do jumping jacks, mountain climbers, step-ups, jumping squats etc. This will get your heart rate up, you will be worn out when you are done but you will feel fantastic.
How much weight (pounds) should I focus on losing every week? What is a safe amount to make sure I keep it off?
You should focus on losing 2 or 3 lbs every week. This is a good steady and safe pace. Do not go on any drastic diets, the goal is to make sure that you lose the weight in a safe and sustainable manner. You do this by eating 5 or 6 healthy balanced meals spread out throughout the day.
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?
Before a workout its best to fuel up with carbohydrates. This will give you the energy to have a good effective workout. I recommend eating a banana, this will give you fuel to get through your workout.
After your workout your focus is muscle recovery. Within 30 minutes of your workout, drink a protein shake, this will aid in rebuilding your muscle tissue. To replenish your glycogen stores also take some glutamine and a piece of fruit. Then an hour after that eat a full meal, a good example would be a chicken breast with broccoli and sweet potato.
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.
What I recommend is that you give yourself a “cheat day” a week. That way you have something to look forward to and you can stay on track with your diet. Don’t feel guilty about eating a bad meal, a cheat day often kick starts your metabolism.
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 following foods are the staples of a healthy diet: Oatmeal, eggs, whole grain bread, broccoli, asparagus, sweet potato, chicken and fish.
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?
The best thing you can do if you have never exercised before is to hire a personal trainer that can show you proper techniques. However if that’s not an option, be sure to always use proper form and perform exercises in a safe manner. I suggest you start by doing strength training 3 times per week and cardio 3 times per week 20-30 minutes. Do this for the first 2 or 3 weeks and then as you become more comfortable with your workouts, increase your weight training to 4 times a week and cardio to 5 times per week 30-45 minutes. Also don’t forget diet is 75 percent of the equation so be sure to eat small healthy meals throughout your day.
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?
When you eat out be sure to stick with grilled fish or chicken. If you order a salad stay away from creamy sauces, they are packed with fat and calories. A better choice is vinaigrette sauces on the side. Order your veggies steamed, be specific that you want your veggies plain (a lot of restaurants put butter on their veggies). Skip dessert.
What exercises do you recommend for getting a bigger, rounder and fuller butt?
If you are looking to add fullness to your glutes you cannot go wrong with the basics, lunges and squats. These two classic exercises give great shape and size to your butt. Perform 3 or 4 sets of each with relatively heavy weights. You want your repetitions to be between 8 and 12. If you find that you are able to do more than 12 repetitions with ease, its time to increase your weight.
What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?
I find that friends and family often time make it very difficult to stick to a healthy diet. Family gatherings are usually filled with unhealthy foods, and social gatherings with friends usually involve alcohol. It’s important to stay focused on your fitness goals and learn to say no even thought it isn’t always easy.
Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat in a typical day to stay in shape?
- Breakfast: ½ cup of oatmeal and 6 scrambled egg whites.
- Mid-Morning Snack: Protein shake.
- Lunch: Grilled turkey patty with spinach and sweet potato.
- Mid-Afternoon Snack: Low fat cottage cheese and fruit.
- Dinner: Baked chicken breast with broccoli.
What type of exercises do you include in your routine to stay in shape?
- Strength Training Exercises: Squats, lunges, leg press, shoulder press, bicep curls, tricep extensions.
- Cardio Exercises: Elliptical machine, stair climber.
- Additional Training: Kickboxing, core training.
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for developing toned and defined arms?
1. Eat a diet high in protein and healthy carbohydrates.
2. Bicep curls with barbell (3 sets, 12-15 reps).
3. Hammer bicep curls (3 sets, 12-15 reps).
4. Tricep pull downs (3 sets, 12-15 reps).
5. Tricep dips (3 sets, 12-15 reps).
What are your top 5 tips for losing unwanted body fat?
1. Reduce your sugar intake.
2. Do cardio 5 times per week (30-45 minutes at a time).
3. Eat 5 or 6 small healthy meals throughout the day.
4. Incorporate strength training into your workouts (3-5 times per week).
5. Avoid alcoholic beverages, they are full of empty calories.
What are your top 5 tips for gaining lean muscle mass?
1. Increase protein intake to about 1 gram of protein per pound of lean mass.
2. Lift heavy, keep your repetition in the 8-12 range.
3. Don’t over train, work each body part no more than twice a week.
4. Intake adequate amount of calories based on your weight and goals.
5. Don’t overdo the cardio, too much cardio will slow muscle growth.
What are the top 5 tips you recommend for staying motivated on a fitness plan and truly making a healthy lifestyle change?
1. Set short term goals and long term goals.
2. Workout with a buddy.
3. Switch your workouts to avoid boredom.
4. Cross train, try yoga, pilates, weight training, hiking, swimming etc.
5. Hire a trainer that can keep you motivated and accountable.
What is your training routine like? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)
- Monday: I do a heavy leg day (squats followed by leg press, lunges, leg extension and leg curls) I do 4 sets of 10-12 repetitions. My goal is to put on some muscle of my legs. I follow this by 20 minutes of cardio on the elliptical.
- Tuesday: 1 hr cardio kickboxing, abs and calves.
- Wednesday: Complete upper body workout (3 sets of 2 exercises per body part) my goals is maintenance. I follow this by 30 minutes of cardio on the elliptical.
- Thursday: Abs, calves 45 minutes on stairmaster.
- Friday: I do a light leg day (15-20 repetitions, 4 sets of each exercise) I do active recovery, with jumping squats, jumping lunges, mountain climbers and jumping jacks. Followed by abs and 20 minutes on the elliptical.
- Saturday: OFF
- 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. It’s important to reduce the fat around your midsection in order to see your abdominals. Eat 5 or 6 small, healthy meals throughout the day.
2. Do cardio 5 times per week 30-45 minutes at a time.
3. Reduce your sugar and saturated fat intake.
4. Perform exercises that target both the upper and lower abdominals (crunches, hip curls, leg lifts etc).
5. Reduce or limit alcoholic beverages.
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for toning the thighs, hips and butt?
1. Nutrition is key, eat 5 or 6 small, healthy meals per day.
2. Do cardio 5 times per week, 30 -45 minutes at a time.
3. Do legs twice a week 3-4 sets 15-20 repetitions of each exercise.
4. Incorporate lunges, squats, leg press, leg extensions and leg curls into your workout.
5. Cut back on sugar, bread and alcohol.