What is your background?
I am a certified dietary technologist, ISSA certified trainer, professional fitness model, gym owner, writer and mother of three. I have worked in the medical field as a dietary supervisor writing diets for patients with chronic diseases and more recently expanded into the field of sports nutrition. I now own a lakefront fitness studio and just finished my first Fitness Recipe Book which is due to be released this June which is very exciting. As far as fitness modeling goes, I haven’t done a whole lot other than appearing in Oxygen magazine a few times. I have also had a television interview with CKPG news and have written some fitness related articles for UMM which you can find on their website.
How did you get started in the fitness field?
I decided to compete after having two children as a way to get back into great shape. I did my first competition eight months after having my second child and won first place in the fitness model category at a FAME regional show. There were more than thirty women competing in this division and at 33, I was the oldest of the group. I was caught completely off guard when they called my name for first place! I definitely was not expecting to win the competition.
What is the #1 thing you like best about being into fitness?
Feeling good about myself and inspiring others.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field?
Winning first place in two of my four competitions and placing 6th at the Worlds. Appearing in Oxygen magazine was pretty surreal as well.
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 competing with a reputable organization is a great way to gain exposure and learn a lot about the industry. I have always had pictures taken at the show, each organization usually has a photographer and photography package available at the competition. I haven’t had any experience using an agency or very limited experience with professional photographers.
Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?
I try to get up and do some cardio exercise with my husband before getting my kids off to school, although I have to admit, with three little kids I don’t always get enough rest and it’s much easier for me to sleep in sometimes. After getting the kids off to school I usually do a workout and then start training clients. I generally spend an hour or two in the afternoon preparing a healthy dinner and good snacking items for the kids when they get home. Between cleaning, cooking, training clients and life, I don’t have much spare time to relax. We are a very active family so we usually have some activities going on in the evening.
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? I enjoy interval training on any cardio machine. I like to push my limits as hard as I can for a few minutes then slow down for a few minutes and then push hard again. I don’t think a person needs to do a ton of cardio to get really lean. I try to encourage my clients to put more emphasis on strength training and healthy eating rather than overdoing it with cardio. I generally don’t do more than 20-30 minutes of cardio 5 days per week but my family is very active with waterskiing, hiking and biking in the summer and skiing, snowshoeing or snowmobiling in the winter.
How much weight (pounds) should I focus on losing every week? What is a safe amount to make sure I keep it off?
This depends on the individual and how much weight they have to lose. I find that very overweight people tend to lose weight very quickly when starting a new exercise and diet program. Some individuals tend to shed a lot of water at the start just by cleaning up their eating. I generally try to set realistic goals for my clients. One pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories so trying to burn more than 2-3 pounds of body fat in one week is pretty tough. It is easy to gain and lose water weight so don’t be deceived by fad diets that promise you will lose 10 pounds in your first week, this is most likely water weight that you may lose initially but are likely to regain.
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?
I’m not a big supplement fan. I am el natural. I do not believe in taking fat burners or any other unnatural energy boosting supplements. I do however believe that getting enough protein to meet your body’s requirements during training is important and this is sometimes tough to do through diet alone. Whey protein powders and no-sugar high quality protein bars are great if you are a busy person or travel a lot and don’t have time to cook or eat properly. I also will generally take BCAA’s (branched-chain amino acids) before and during my workout to help ensure that I am not burning my muscle as a source of energy. I also like to incorporate healthy foods such as flaxseeds and healthy oils into my oatmeal and protein cookies.
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. Well, I have an incredibly big sweet tooth. I love cookies, milkshakes and chocolate. My secret is that I have found ways to make my favorite sweets into sugar-free, wheat free, protein packed foods that I eat daily, even when I’m getting ready to compete. I have spent years developing recipes of treats that I could eat while staying fit. I would not be able to compete if I had to stick to boiled chicken, oatmeal, fish and cucumbers. My dietary background gave me the skills to develop recipes and eating plans that would not interfere with my goals. I believe my methods and meal plans are very different from most competitors and that is the reason I decided to write a Fitness Recipe Book with all my best secrets. It is so easy to stay on track when you don’t feel deprived. My book is due to be released in June of 2013.
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?
I have incorporated a complete healthy shopping list in my new book to make it simple and easy for people to follow. There are definitely some staples I like to stock my cupboards with including oats, rice, eggs, grapefruit, dry cottage cheese, chicken, fish, avocados, ground turkey breast meat, beans, lentils, applesauce, molasses, stevia, flaxseeds, nuts and nut butter, rice cakes and so on.
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?
If you have no idea how to start I think it’s a good idea to hire a trainer that you like and trust. One that will design a plan that is good for you. Even if you were to start walking every day and incorporate a few exercises such as pushups and jumping jacks would be great. Diet is half the battle, eating clean generally helps people to get off to a really good start. I don’t believe on following fad diets or the ones that have you taking “magic pills”. In fact, I think many of these can promote short term weight loss but mess up your metabolism in the long run causing you to gain back everything you lost and then some. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
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? Stop eating out so much! It is very difficult to reach your goals if you are eating out all the time. Reason being is that restaurants love to add oils and butter to their menu items and generally always grease the grill. Even if you order a plain chicken breast or scrambled egg whites, they will generally be cooked in a not-so-healthy oil and have tons of sodium added. You can never really be sure of what you are eating because you haven’t prepared it.
If you are going to eat out, I feel that Japanese is a better choice. Sushi is generally seaweed with seafood, rice and veggies so you can’t really go wrong with having a nice sushi meal. Wasabi and ginger served on the side are very low calorie as well. Soy sauce is fine unless you are trying to cut down on your sodium. I think many people tend to order salads thinking that they are making a good choice but you have to very careful with what is added to the salad including cheeses, deli meats, salad dressings and so on. For example, a chicken ceasar salad is generally packed with calories and fat.
What exercises do you recommend for getting a bigger, rounder and fuller butt?
Squats, squats, squats! Lunges also work great as do hamstring exercises. I also like to do a lot of plyometric leg jumping exercises. You also need to make sure you are eating enough protein to avoid burning your muscle tissue. If you burn your muscle, your butt will tend not to fill out as nicely.
What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?
My busy schedule and trying to juggle between family, social and work. It can be tough to get in a workout some days.
Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat in a typical day to stay in shape?
Breakfast: My homemade protein cookies and coffee.
Mid-Morning Snack: Dry cottage cheese and fruit bowl.
Lunch: Whey shake or a few of my homemade protein pancakes with some fruit.
Mid-Afternoon Snack: Rice cakes with advocado and tuna.
Dinner: My homemade turkey chili, Asian rice wraps, shrimp stir fry or my homemade tacos. A lean meat or fish with rice and veggies is always good too.
What type of exercises do you include in your routine to stay in shape?
Strength Training Exercises: Chin-ups, pushups, arm curls, plyometric exercises, squats and lunges.
Cardio Exercises: I love my Stairmaster, spin bike or cross trainer as well as doing outdoor activities such as biking and hiking.
Additional Training: I do exercise classes with my clients and have some plyometric classes where we just use our own bodyweight without any balls, weights or bands. I hope to put them on DVD and sell them on my website one of these days!
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for developing toned and defined arms?
1. Push-ups (regular, triceps and wide versions).
2. Laying shoulder flies.
3. Front shoulder raises.
4. Lateral shoulder raises.
5. Lots of triceps such as kickbacks, pulldowns and dips.
What are your top 5 tips for losing unwanted body fat?
1. Always combine protein with every meal.
2. Eat healthy fats such as avocados, olives, flaxseeds and healthy nuts and nut butters.
3. Incorporate weight training into your routine.
4. Cut out sugar.
5. Do moderate cardio at least 5 days per week.
What are your top 5 tips for gaining lean muscle mass?
1. Eat enough protein.
2. Make sure you eat complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal and rice.
3. Workout with weights.
4. Don’t skip meals.
5. Eat an hour before bed and have some lean protein with a little bit of carbs to make sure you muscles have enough fuel during your rest and recovery period.
What are the top 5 tips you recommend for staying motivated on a fitness plan and truly making a healthy lifestyle change?
1. Know what your goals are.
2. Remember why you are doing it.
3. Set time aside to stick to your fitness plan.
4. Have support.
5. Track your progress and don’t give up.
What is your training routine like? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)
Monday: 30 minutes of running, chest and hamstrings for 3 sets of 3 exercises (12 reps each).
Tuesday: 30 minutes of stairclimber, back for 3 sets of 3 exercises (12 reps each).
Wednesday: 20 minutes of running, cardio with arms and plyometrics.
Thursday: Legs with some core work for 3 sets of 5 exercises (10-12 reps each).
Friday: 35 minutes of biking, shoulders for 3 sets of 4 exercises (12 reps each along with pushups).
Saturday: 45 minutes of variable cardio (I usually do interval training).
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. Clean eating.
2. Building muscle by doing weight training.
3. Do some cardio every day but not too much as this will burn your muscle and it will be difficult to tone up.
4. Some abs or core strength training. I don’t do a lot of crunches as I think it can tend to make women look bulky sometimes through the midsection. I like to look lean but feminine.
5. Lots of plyometric moves that use core muscles and focus on strengthening low back muscles which will help make your tummy look tighter.
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for toning the thighs, hips and butt?
1. Eat clean.
2. Use the stair climber for cardio or do uphill walking.
3. Do lots of lunges and squats.
4. Incorporate exercises such as side lunges, hip abductions and hamstrings to your weight workout.
5. Do lots of plyometric lower body jumping exercises.
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