What is your background?
My name is Tamika Bullock and I am 37 years old and a mom of two daughters. I am a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University with a Master of Science degree in Management and an Undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. I work in management in the insurance industry.
I’ve learned along my fitness journey that once you are able to control your mind you can conquer your body. This is something that I have to continuously remind myself of whenever I encounter a challenge that seems larger than what my mind can handle.
I competed in my very first fitness competition in April of 2014, and placed 1st in two bikini divisions (Masters Bikini and Open Bikini). My second fitness competition followed in June of 2014, where I placed 1st and became nationally qualified. Fitness has become a lifestyle and way of life for me.
How did you get started in the fitness field?
In January of this year (2014) it was my goal to become a healthier version of me and to be at my most fit state ever. I entered a fitness competition in April, 2014 as my “goal achiever” mark. I knew that once I made it to the stage that I would have successfully achieved this goal. Little did I know that I would fall in complete love with the aesthetics of bodybuilding and fitness.
What is the #1 thing you like best about being into fitness?
I love that I have so much energy!
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field?
My biggest accomplishment was competing in my very first fitness competition.
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 have worked with independent photographers to develop a portfolio that can be shared with agencies and other networking opportunities when/as necessary.
Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?
Being that I am a mom, career woman and fitness fanatic, I have found a fair balance of a typical day. My day typically starts around 4:45am as I head out to the gym for my 45 minute to 1 hour of fasted cardio. I prep meals 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the mornings (I’m not a huge fan of leftovers). Then I’m then off to work. I will typically return back to the gym in the evenings for weight training. I’m at the gym daily, however I will normally do two rounds of gym time 3 to 4 days a week.
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 #1 “bang for the buck” cardio exercise is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on the treadmill. My favorite is sprinting on the treadmill at a speed of 10.0 for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds, and repeat 6 to 8 times. I have found that doing this type of HIIT early in the morning (fasted cardio) will typically target fat best.
How much weight (pounds) should I focus on losing every week? What is a safe amount to make sure I keep it off?
Don’t focus on the weight (pounds). Focus on the results! Rule Número Uno for achieving fat loss: STAY OFF THE SCALE! Muscle is more dense than fat, so the scale is not always the best way to measure fat loss. In fact, getting on the scale every other day or week may discourage you if the scale numbers aren’t changing or even if your weight begins to increase a bit. This is normal when properly replacing fat with muscle.
If you are building muscle with proper nutrition and exercise then staying off the scale will help to keep you focused and motivated. So instead of using a scale for tracking progress, take frequent measurements (waist, hips, limbs), take progress photos, and pay attention to how your clothes fit.
What are some of the best foods to eat before and after my workouts to build lean muscle and lose fat?
Protein (lean meats) and good carbs (berries, oats, almonds, sweet potato, brown rice) are some of the best foods to eat either before or right after workouts. It’s usually best to have protein right after weight training to restore and build lean muscle.
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 love Reese’s Cups! One thing that I’ve learned is that it’s usually not the candy itself that I’m craving but more so the peanut butter. I’ve found ways to substitute such cravings for healthier alternatives. For instance, I may have a chocolate whey protein shake and mix a spoonful of natural peanut butter with it.
I do believe that you have to allow yourself at least one cheat meal throughout the week. Use this cheat meal to satisfy the cravings that have been haunting you all week and an opportunity to indulge just a little and then get right back on track to clean and healthy eating habits.
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?
Carbs: Berries, grapefruit, sweet potato, almonds, brown rice, oatmeal.
Veggies: All green veggies: broccoli and asparagus are essential.
Fats: Olive oil, avocado, natural peanut butter.
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?
1. Eat frequently! Eating 5-6 meals a day will be essential (eating every 2-3 hours).
2. Eat clean! Protein + good carbs + veggies. Stay away from processed foods, fatty carbs, soda, bad sugar foods, and alcohol.
3. Drink water! Water intake should be ½ of your body weight in ounces.
4. Stay active! Get in about 30 minutes of cardio every day.
5. Stay focused on your goals!
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 eating out at a restaurant I stick to this simple rule: Protein, veggies, and a good carb. Typically this will boil down to an enjoyable meal like a nice steak, broccoli or asparagus, and a sweet potato (without the loaded fixings of butter, brown sugar) and I can still enjoy the pleasures of going out to dinner without having to stick with the simple salad menu.
What exercises do you recommend for getting a bigger, rounder and fuller butt?
So I use to be afraid of the Stairmaster and stayed away from it completely during my first fitness competition prep. I later learned that the stair master does wonders for the body and it’s become one of my favorite forms of exercise to tone the lower body.
What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?
Preparing 5 to 6 meals a day (every day) is quite time consuming and sometimes challenging especially on the weekends when I’m busy with running errands and on-the-go. However, I have found convenient ways to store a pack of tuna or quick clean meals in a lunch bag and carry them with me whenever I’m on-the-go or away from home for a long duration of time.
Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat in a typical day to stay in shape?
Breakfast: Oats, berries, egg whites.
Mid-Morning Snack: Grapefruit and almonds.
Lunch: Grilled chicken, asparagus, sweet potato.
Mid-Afternoon Snack: Tuna, boiled eggs.
Post-workout: Whey protein shake.
Dinner: Salmon and green beans.
What type of exercises do you include in your routine to stay in shape?
Strength Training Exercises: I do a lot of different weight lifting using free weights, machines and other equipment.
Cardio Exercises: Treadmill (incline and HIIT training) and StairMaster.
Additional Training: I see a personal trainer/coach one time per week.
How does your family and friends react to and deal with your strict fitness lifestyle (dieting, eating out, workouts, parties)?
My family for the most part has been very supportive. My friends had quite a different reaction being that I was always at the gym, training, or turning down opportunities to hang out. I can admit that in the beginning of my fitness journey and prepping for my first fitness competition that I had to purposely removed myself from the social scenes in fear that I would lose focus and indulge. Now since I have become more disciplined and know my limitations, I am able to dine out with friends and family and still eat clean or go out with friends and not be tempted to have a glass of wine or overindulge. Once my friends were able to see this new side of me being able to maintain my fit lifestyle and still have fun they have become much more receptive to my new fit lifestyle.
What are your top 5 tips for losing unwanted body fat?
1. Drink plenty of water daily.
2. Eat clean and eat frequently.
3. Stay active with cardio.
4. Surround yourself with other fitness people. They will understand your journey a lot better. They will encourage and inspire you to keep pushing towards your fitness goals.
5. Never give up! The moment something becomes too challenging for you, that’s when you know you will need to put your greatest effort forward. Keep pushing because it’s just you against you!
What are your top 5 tips for gaining lean muscle mass?
1. Eat enough protein that is equal to your body weight in grams (per day).
2. Lift heavy especially on legs and back. Gradually work yourself up with weights.
3. Be certain to take vitamin supplements.
4. Lift to the point of exhaustion.
5. Rest and recovery is key! Allow yourself enough rest and sleep and perhaps a break from doing anything at least a couple of times a week.
What is the most important thing you recommend for staying motivated on a fitness plan and truly making a healthy lifestyle change?
“Motivation is what gets you started and habit is what keeps you going.” Healthy habits are just as addictive as bad habits. Make it a habit to make it a lifestyle change.
What is your training routine like?
Monday: A.M. Fasted cardio and P.M. legs with heavy weights (leg press, squats, Smith machine squats, deadlifts).
Tuesday: Core and abs with light cardio.
Wednesday: A.M. Fasted cardio with back, shoulders, chest.
Thursday: Biceps and triceps with StairMaster (HIIT training).
Friday: A.M. Fasted cardio (no weight training).
Saturday: Legs (various legs with cardio and plyos).
Sunday: Back, shoulders, chest and light cardio.
What type of nutritional supplements do you currently use and which ones do you recommend for a beginner getting started on a fitness program?
Fish oil and vitamin B12 are the only supplements that I have used.
What is your favorite healthy food or meal you really enjoy eating? Also, what is your favorite cheat meal or food you like to indulge in from time to time?
My favorite healthy meal is oatmeal with all the fixings (strawberries, blueberries, cinnamon, topped with natural peanut butter). Of course if I had a choice of food to indulge in it would be 50 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and I would eat them all in one setting!
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