Siobhan English – Fitness Model Statistics
- Name: Siobhan English
- Height: 5’4″
- Weight: 136 pounds
- Date of Birth: February 20th, 1970
- Hair Color: Black
- Bust: 38 inches
- Waist: 28 inches
- Hips: 38 inches
- Location: Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada
Siobhan English – Fitness Model Interview
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Winnipeg, MB where I was adopted and taken to Britain. About 8 years ago I had an amazing experience when I reunited with my birth family who I found on the Internet and was fortunate to travel to Canada to meet. Approximately 2 years later myself and my family made the decision to emigrate to Canada. I now live in Dauphin, MB.
I’m not a Personal Trainer, nor am I a nutritionist, but I have managed to personally train myself and educate myself regarding nutrition in order to lean up to approximately 8% body fat to enable me to compete and win bodybuilding competitions. During this process I also learned the tricky art of carbohydrate and sodium depleting and loading!
How did you get started in the fitness field?
I joined our local gym in October 2006 to lose a couple of extra pounds, you know, the kind that miraculously appear out of nowhere (no doubt due to the Ukrainian pierogi eating Capital of the world where I live). The first time I ever picked up a set of dumbbells, I was addicted. I just knew that this would be “my thing”. It gave me a tremendous sense of control and feeling of inner power, and this slowly intensified as my body started to change shape and I realized that I was doing this. ME! I couldn’t get enough. My eight-week punch card was punched each Saturday for a continuous 8 weeks. That’s right, even I find it hard to believe that I would go to the gym just once a week. As soon as that ran out I progressed to a full membership. I’ve never looked back.
What is the #1 thing you like best about being into fitness?
The control that fitness gives you over both your body and your life is amazing, the ability to deal with stress, sculpt your body and have fun all at the same time. The constant learning about food and exercise and how it affects your body is an ongoing journey, I feel I’ve come a long way, but I’m still learning and feel I always will be learning, there is still a long way to go.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field?
I’ve competed twice. My first bodybuilding competition was just 18 months after I joined the gym, in March 2008. I won 1st place in Masters and 1st place in Lightweight. In 2009 I entered Provincials and won 1st place in Masters and 2nd place in lightweight. Obviously there always has to be a goal, so 2011 will be Nationals.
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?
Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t class myself as a fitness model. I was fortunate enough to have a photo shoot with Duane Ryz, who is the photographer this year for MABBA competitions, they were progress shots and he did an incredible job. So I would think that if you have good photos, let people see them, send them to fitness sites, and magazines, it’s all about getting yourself noticed.
Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?
My day usually starts at about 5.30am when I’ll roll out of bed, find my runners (helped by the dog) and get out to the park for a 30 to 40 minute walk/jog, it helps me wake up and energizes me. If the weather’s not so good, I’ll sneak down to my basement gym and get some core work and stretching done. Then I need to wake up my mini monster and make sure he gets to school on time and at about 8am I’ll leave for work. After a day in work (and occasionally working at the gym in my lunch hour) I’ll head home and get ready for “ME” time at the gym. Gym time is usually 5.30 to about 7.30, but varies depending on the work hours (which vary during the months). Then come home and do whatever needs doing, and get organized to do it all over again the next day. I’m usually in bed by 10-10.30pm! Plenty of time for my muscles to grow 🙂
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 stair-climber is deadly, I’ve only maxed it once and I thought I was going to die! It elevates your heart rate, burns the calories, works your legs and butt super hard, and just seems to shock the snot out your body! After 30 minutes your legs are like Jell-O. Although I have to confess that I tend to opt for the treadmill, raise it to maximum incline and walk to my heart’s content.
How much weight (pounds) should I focus on losing every week? What is a safe amount to make sure I keep it off?
I would recommend losing no more than 1-2lb/week using a combination of exercise and healthy eating (I hate the word DIET).
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?
Supplementation isn’t always necessary. A lot of people feel they should be supplementing due to huge advertising claims. I do struggle to meet my personal protein demands, which is why I have opted to supplement with Whey Protein, (only the chocolate one – its delicious). I have one portion mixed with my Oatmeal in the morning and a another portion in my pre-gym shake. Most people would use a protein shake AFTER their workout, but that’s supper time so I have to compromise somewhere. I also mix Creatine and Glutamine in with my gym drink (1 liter), which I consume during training. At the end of the day, it’s finding out what works for YOU! We are all unique and everyone’s bodies respond differently to supplementation.
In addition, make sure you don’t go to the gym too soon after eating a meal. Leave at least an hour and preferably two. Your bodies oxygen and blood supply are needed to meet the extra demands that exercise places on them and therefore your food won’t be able to digest properly, as well as making you feel uncomfortable! A pre-gym snack is great, a fruit, yogurt, rice cakes.
Ideally, after your workout would be an excellent time for a protein shake in order to replenish those muscle supplies!
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.
It’s strange, but once your body gets so finely tuned with all the yummy healthy foods, you rarely have cravings. I’m not saying they disappear altogether, but they definitely become few and far between. I find chewing gum helps and also Jell-O. Jell-O is awesome. You can even throw some fruit in there before it sets, or add some low-fat vanilla yogurt just before you eat it and occasionally, I’ll put a sprinkle of dry oatmeal on top of that! Quite the combination, but honestly, it tastes great. I strongly feel that if you’re craving something, its ok to indulge now and then. Go and buy that chocolate bar (even better if its one of the 100 calorie ones), or eat that slice of pizza, as long as the indulging is the exception and not the rule it’s not going to hurt.
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, whole wheat bread, yams, fruits, veggies, low-fat dressings for salad (lemon & poppy-seed is awesome) sauce (I love honey garlic sauce – its so versatile), fish, chicken, lean meat, eggs (lots of eggs for me), yogurt, rice cakes, almonds, olive oil, garlic, ginger and chili flakes.
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?
Walking would be an excellent way to start, its fun, it will elevate your heart rate, burn calories, get you outside and introduce you to new people whom you might not otherwise have met. Start slow and steady, just 20 minutes every other day at first and slowly progress to 30 – 40 minutes each day at a faster pace. Tell me that you don’t feel amazing after you’re done!
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 rarely eat out, by choice you understand. I always have great expectations of someone other than me preparing my food and I’m usually very disappointed! However, if you do eat out, a lot of restaurants now indicate which meals are low in carbohydrates and which are low-fat, helping you to make an informed decision. If in doubt ASK. Watch out for the hidden extras, the sauces and the dips! You can’t really go wrong with steak and baked potato, it’s the extra’s you put with it that will sabotage your “diet”.
What exercises do you recommend for getting a bigger, rounder and fuller butt?
Squats and lunges are the key exercises to raise that butt and get it firm! Work to fatigue. Glutes are pretty big muscles and they’ll take a lot. Work them smart and hard!
What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?
The necessity to be organized and the amount of continual planning involved. If I am unprepared everything seems to suffer for it. I always have a ton of fresh veggies prepared for super quick snacks or supper. Home made protein bars are always on hand, rice cakes, almonds etc. If they’re not there, I will eat whatever is available and trust me, that’s not a good thing. In addition, I always have to know what exercises I’m going to be doing the next day, what time I’ll be doing them and whether there are any social events on the agenda. If so, my workout will be planned around these events and NOT DITCHED! If I have to get up at 5am because that’s the only time I am able to work out – then I will!
Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat in a typical day to stay in shape?
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a portion of chocolate whey protein powder.
- Mid-Morning Snack: 2 x chocolate chip rice cakes and possibly some almonds
- Lunch: 2 x eggs on 2 x whole wheat toast followed by either a protein bar or a pro-biotic yogurt
- Mid-Afternoon Snack: 2 x rice cakes, or fruit
- Pre-Gym Snack: Protein shake
- Dinner: Stir fry (chicken and veggies and garlic and ginger) or a giant omelet that’s like eating pizza, again with veggies and chicken., or a salad with a low-fat dressing.
What type of exercises do you include in your routine to stay in shape?
Strength Training Exercises: A combination of free weights and weight machines, depending on my workout schedule at that time, which I cycle. It’s typically:
- Chest: Chest press, regular, decline, incline. Dumbbell chest presses, push-ups (varied).
- Biceps: Barbell curls, incline dumbbell curls, high arm cable curls, hammer curls, preacher curls, cable curls, body pull-ups.
- Triceps: Skull crusher, dips, kickbacks, overhead extensions.
- Back: Chin ups, regular and wide grip, t-bar rows, barbell rows, dumbbell rows, lat pull-downs, standing cable push downs, seated rows
- Shoulders: Front arm raise, side arm raise (varied positions), wall-crawler, Arnold press, standing row, cable front arm raise, shrugs
- Legs: Squats, lunges, leg press, hack squat, straight leg lifts, leg extensions, hamstring curls.
Cardio Exercises: Minimal – usually walking and/or jogging – I chose not to do too much cardio because my goal is to gain muscle. However, for the 12 weeks prior to competition, I’ll hit that treadmill hard in order to burn 1000 calories a day.
Additional Training: Lots of stretching! I can’t overemphasize how important stretching is.
Posing: I have integrated posing as part of my workout so that it feels “natural” to pose (which if you’ve ever tried to pose, you’ll realize how completely unnatural it actually does feel) and just give my worked muscles that extra little pump at the end of a workout.
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for developing toned and defined arms?
1. Nutrition is hugely responsible for any body part to appear toned. So healthy eating! A well-balanced low-fat meal plan enabling you to lose unwanted body fat. Some advice, not all fat is bad for you. Your body needs good fats like olive oil and the oils found in fish and almonds, don’t be afraid of them.
2. Hit the weights, work those biceps and triceps, chose about 3 exercises for each and complete 2 sets of 12 – 16 reps.
3. Rest! Most people neglect this. More isn’t always better! Your muscles are growing when you rest!
4. Cardio will ensure that you’re using up that stored energy supply often referred to as my biggest swear word “F.A.T.”
5. Work to fatigue, always work to fatigue. If 2 sets of 16 doesn’t tire your muscles its time to up that weight! You can do it!
What are your top 5 tips for losing unwanted body fat?
1. Healthy eating, incorporating a low-fat diet.
2. Cardio, cardio and cardio.
3. Incorporating active living into your lifestyle.
4. Weight train to increase your metabolism so you’re even burning more calories when you sleep.
5. Drink lots of water!
What are your top 5 tips for gaining lean muscle mass?
1. Ensure your protein demands are being met.
2. Work with high weights and low reps and I find it helps to do the compound exercises first, followed by isolation exercises.
3. Consume about 10% more calories than your body needs in order to gain weight, but ensure they are good calories in order to maximize muscle growth.
4. Again, hydration, keep drinking that water!
5. Get plenty of rest!
What are the top 5 tips you recommend for staying motivated on a fitness plan and truly making a healthy lifestyle change?
1. Tell everyone about your plans, they will encourage and support you and if possible find a friend with similar goals who would like to share this experience with you.
2. Keep things interesting. Don’t let your exercise routine become stale, change things periodically!
3. Music, good music and LOTS OF IT is a HUGE motivator.
4. Record your progress, weigh, measure, take pictures, whatever works for you in order to monitor your progress.
5. Subscribe to a motivating magazine, or join an on-line fitness site. Keep finding new exercises, recipes and ideas to keep things fun!
What is your training routine like? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)
This is a tricky one, mainly because I cycle my training on a 5-6 week basis, but I’ll give you an example of one of my cycles, it’s a 3 days on and 2 off, and I LOVE it. All of these are worked in sets of 3, with the reps between 8 and 12.
Monday: BACK, BICEPS & ABS
- Bent-over Barbell Row
- One Arm Dumbbell Rows
- Lat Pulldowns
- Standing Barbell Curls
- Alternating Dumbbell Curls
- Cable Crunches
Tuesday: CHEST, SHOULDERS & TRICEPS
- Chest Presses
- Incline Dumbbell Presses
- Chest Dips
- Barbell Overhead Presses
- EZ Bar Upright Rows
- Dumbbell Lateral Raises
- Skull Crushers
- Overhead Dumbbell Extension
Wednesday: LEGS, GLUTES & CALVES
- Leg Press
- Leg Extension
- Straight leg deadlifts
- Leg Curls
- Calf Raises
Saturday: REPEAT DAY 1
Sunday: REPEAT DAY 2
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?
This is a common misconception and one of the most asked questions that I have encountered. There is NO SUCH THING as spot reducing! However you can do the following:
1. Cardio in order to reduce excess body fat. (You’re abs are hiding right there, you just need to let them shine).
2. Strengthen your core by performing abdominal exercises and of course, don’t forget to balance that with the back strengthening exercises.
3. Low fat, healthy eating.
4. Plenty of water.
5. Weighted abdominal exercises like the cable crunch, weighted incline crunches and oblique crunches, just beware that this might just add an inch or two onto your waistline, after all, weight training encourages muscles to grow in size and your abs are no different. If you don’t want to add those extra inches to your waist, keep the weight low and the reps high.
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for toning the thighs, hips and butt?
1. Absolutely low-fat eating!
5. Adduction and Abduction exercises.