Natalie Barratt – Fitness Model Interview and Photos

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Natalie Barratt – Fitness Model Statistics

  • Name: Natalie Barratt
  • Height: 5’6″
  • Weight: 133 lbs (in season) 138 lbs (off season)
  • Date of Birth: 12/17/1986
  • Hair Color: Brown
  • Bust: 36″ (B Cup)
  • Waist: 27″
  • Hips: 37″
  • Location: Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

Natalie Barratt – Fitness Model Interview

What is your background?
I have had a passion for fitness as long as I can remember. I have always been into sports and outdoor activities. Among my favorites include snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking and of course competing on stage. I am an amateur figure fitness athlete, and I plan to make it pro one day!

I am currently in my final year of my bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology with an extended minor in psychology. After I complete my degree I plan on applying for medical school or physiotherapy.

I have been a personal trainer for the last 5 or so years. I am certified with BCRPA and CSEP. I have also taken fitness courses for older adults, boot camps and postural assessments.

How did you get started in the fitness field?
After high school I got a diploma in fashion design. Within my 1st year I realized that, although I love fashion and art, it was not an industry I wanted to make a career in. I had taken my 1st personal training courses through BCRPA while in grade 12, so I decided to apply at a gym and get back into training. Also, right after I graduated with my diploma, I registered for my degree in kinesiology. I fell in love and have been working towards it ever since.

What is the #1 thing you like best about being into fitness?
Personally, I love the feeling of strength and empowerment that comes from exercising. No matter what type of mood I am in or where I am, I can workout in a gym, on the roads or in the mountains and I always feel a million times better. As far as training clients, I love seeing them meet and reach their goals. I also love seeing them transform, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually.

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What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field?
Getting on stage. I have always been shy and had a fear of public speaking. I honestly never really wanted to compete, until a few years ago when school and work became too busy to be involved in any team sports. I was training for a competition in November of 2010. Unfortunately, I nearly dislocated my shoulder a few months prior rock climbing, and was not able to rehab in time to get ready for the show. I was determined to get healed up and in shape enough to compete in the same show the following year. I did and I fell in love! I was surprised how much I liked the rush of walking out on stage!

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 suggest to others, first and foremost, to compete on stage a few times to gain exposure in the field. After that, booking a session or two with a photographer would be a great idea to add some work to your portfolio. After that, I would suggest contacting agencies. Although some people are in the right place at the right time, one usually will have a higher chance of success with the help of others who are already established in the field.

Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?
natalie-barratt-9I am a full time student, and I also work part time both as a personal trainer and a support worker for youth with developmental disabilities, so I am always busy. My day usually starts around 6 or 7am with breakfast then my gym workout (cardio and weights). University classes and homework are typically in the late morning or afternoon. I work in the evenings from about 2pm to 8:30pm. On weekends I designate for my outdoor sports; which are season dependent, along with visiting friends and doing homework.

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?
In my opinion, HIIT (high intensity interval training) is the best way to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. The idea behind interval training is that you work at a near maximal intensity for a given interval of time, followed by a lower intensity for a given amount of time. Your body has to consistently adjust to the demands of the workout, increasing your cardiovascular capacity as well as burning tons of calories. Bleacher running and sprint training is another great high intensity cardio that burns a lot of calories and follows the same principle as HIIT.

How much weight (pounds) should I focus on losing every week? What is a safe amount to make sure I keep it off?
On average, between 1-2 pounds per week is a safe amount to lose. Anything more than that and you will be burning either water weight or valuable muscle mass (which you DON’T want). It is also easier for your body to adapt to, and the weight loss will last in the long run, as opposed to losing a large amount of weight quickly which is harder on your body and harder to maintain.

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?
natalie-barratt-10For personal reasons I choose not to take any supplements, aside from an isolate whey protein powder and fish oil. I come from the belief that a person’s diet can and should be able to provide you with all the essential nutrients you need to build muscle and lose fat. However, when an optimal diet cannot be achieved, or for some reason you cannot eat certain foods, I would recommend fish oils, B & E vitamins, as well as BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) for muscle recovery.

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 schedule a cheat meal once a week. Usually, I will plan a dinner date with friends to my favorite restaurant. This gives me something to look forward to when my dieting gets more strict. I also always keep a fitness and nutrition journal which keeps me accountable and 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?
My staples include: chicken breast, egg whites, white fish, yams, brown rice, asparagus and green beans.

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 slowly and listen to your body! I see so many people rush into a fitness program when they have never been active before (or not in a long time), with goals of working out 5-6 days a week. Usually they burn themselves out, injure themselves, or become frustrated within a few weeks.

Instead, take the time to develop some SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, REALISTIC, and time based). These should help you to get on track and measure your progress better, which will motivate you to stay focused. Also, book an orientation at your local gym. Most offer free orientations and if you can afford it, do your research and hire a personal trainer to get you started.

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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?
Whenever I eat out, even on a cheat day, I always look online before going to the restaurant. Many restaurants offer their nutritional contents online, and if you can’t find that exact restaurant, look for something similar. You might be surprised at the fat and calorie content for supposedly “healthy” foods.

Also, when ordering, you can make simple changes that make a huge difference. For example, order grilled meat instead of sautéed meat. Order water steamed vegetables instead of sautéed vegetables. Order the salad dressing on the side instead of on top. Ask them not to bring out the bread basket before the meal. Drink water with your meal. And finally, ask to pre-pack half the meal to go before you get started. This way it’s already off your plate, you won’t be tempted to eat it, and you have a meal for the following day.

What exercises do you recommend for getting a bigger, rounder and fuller butt?

  • Barbell squats (in the squat rack).
  • Lunges (reverse or walking).
  • Cable glute extensions.

What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?
Eating clean all year long. Although it takes a lot more self-control, it makes it easier come contest prep.

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

  • natalie-barratt-5Breakfast: Scrambled egg whites, with veggies and low-fat cottage cheese, black coffee and water.
  • Mid-Morning Snack: An apple and 1 once of low-fat cheese or a protein shake.
  • Lunch: Chicken breast, steamed vegetables or fresh salad, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, steamed yam or brown rice.
  • Mid-Afternoon Snack: One hard boiled egg, hummus, fresh vegetables.
  • Dinner: Fish, steamed vegetables, brown rice or yam.

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

  • Strength Training Exercises: I superset or tri-set my workouts to increase the intensity and work 2 muscle groups every workout, 5 days a week.
  • Cardio Exercises: I like to trail run and hike in the summer (treadmill in the winter), step machine and run bleachers.
  • Additional Training: I try to swim and do yoga at least once a week.

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

1. Always start with multi-joint, multi-muscle exercises (lat pulldowns, rows, chest press, shoulder press, etc) to burn more calories and involve more muscle groups in your workout.
2. To isolate specific muscle groups: dumbbell bicep curls, dumbbell kickbacks, triceps rope pressdowns, cable bicep curls.
3. Women: don’t be afraid to lift heavy!
4. Eat clean.
5. Drink lots of water.

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

1. Get enough sleep.
2. Drink enough water.
3. HIIT.
4. Make sure your diet is clean.
5. Don’t starve yourself (eat small meals every 2-3 hours).

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

natalie-barratt-61. Eat a high protein diet.
2. Eat often.
3. Lift hard and heavy!
4. Don’t overtrain. Schedule recovery days which is vital to muscle growth and repair.
5. Sleep on a regular schedule.

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

1. Make SMART goals.
2. Keep a food and exercise journal.
3. Variety (hit the gym, run outside, play a sport, join a class or boot camp).
4. Hire a trainer.
5. Schedule your workouts and activity, just like you do for work or appointments.

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

  • Monday: Back and triceps: 12-15 reps, 3-4 sets, supersets, 45 minutes. Long and moderate cardio for 30-45 minutes.
  • Tuesday: Abs and shoulders: 12-15 reps, 3-4 sets, supersets, 45 minutes. HIIT cardio for 20 minutes.
  • Wednesday: Legs (quadriceps, hamstrings and calves): 8-15 reps, 3-4 sets, supersets. 45-60 minutes. Yoga in the evening for 30-60 minutes.
  • Thursday: Chest and biceps: 8-12 reps, 3-4 sets, supersets. Long and moderate cardio for 30-45 minutes.
  • Friday: Abs and shoulders: 12-15 reps, 3-4 sets, supersets. HIIT cardio for 20 minutes.
  • Saturday: Off or light cardio recovery day (swim, walk, yoga).
  • Sunday: Activity day (hike, snowboard, mountain bike, etc).

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. Drink enough water.
2. Mix up cardio! Do long sessions 2-3 days a week and HIIT sessions 2-3 days a week.
3. Get enough sleep.
4. Eat clean with low carbs (avoid white and refined carbs).
5. Build muscle! Muscle will burn fat!

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

1. Multi-joint, multi-muscle exercises (squats, lunges, step ups).
2. Hike, run stairs, sprinting and HIIT.
3. Clean up your diet.
4. Drink enough water.
5. Vary between light weight and lots of reps along with heavy weight and lower reps. This will trick your body! Don’t be afraid to lift heavy!

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