Valarie Sanford – Fitness Model Statistics
- Name: Valarie Sanford
- Height: 5’5″
- Weight: Off season: 132 lbs, Competition: 124 lbs
- Date of Birth: November 26, 1972
- Hair Color: Blonde
- Bust: 34″
- Waist: 27″
- Hips: 34″
- Location: Mesa, Arizona
Valarie Sanford – Fitness Model Interview
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am originally from the mid-west, which is where I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. I went on to live out my childhood dreams of being a Dolphin Trainer. It was an amazing experience that I will always cherish. I eventually moved on to the fitness industry. I am currently a certified Personal Trainer and a Fitness Coach.
How did you get started in the fitness field?
I have been an athlete since childhood which is, I guess, where this all started. I continued to workout and stay in shape as an adult. I enjoyed my time in the gym and found myself continually doing research on my own to improve my results in the gym and with my diet. Then one day it just hit me that I needed to make a career out of my new passion!
What is the #1 thing you like best about being into fitness?
I get great satisfaction out of feeling and looking healthy and being able to keep up with my two small children!
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field?
My biggest accomplishment in the fitness field has occurred over this past year. I decided to compete in an NPC Figure Competition in July. In my first show I took third in my Open Class and sixth in Jr. Masters. I continued to train hard for another show in November. I placed third again in my Open Class and fifth in the Jr. Masters Class. I qualified for Nationals in my first two shows. It was a huge accomplishment for me!
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?
That is a win-win question. Either way can lead to great exposure. I started by finding local photographers. I then used those photos to submit to organizations in an effort to get my name out there. It has worked out well for me. I have no objection to working with an agency either. I suppose I was always thinking of taking baby steps in an effort to see what doors would open up in front of me.
Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?
My typical day is probably just as crazy as any mom’s out there! One morning a week I am up at 4am to coach group personal training classes. I also work a few evening shifts throughout the week. On my morning off, my children are up early and we enjoy those first morning hours together at home. Then we pack up and hit the gym. Then it’s home for lunch and either work for me or on to soccer practice or Brazilian Ju Jitsu classes for my son. We have play-dates, afternoons at the park, and we spend the occasional day just doing the errands and things around the house. We are fortunate to live in a warm climate so we enjoy our pool and outdoor activities year around. I am very grateful that my husband has a great work schedule so we are able to balance our crazy days out!
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?
Actually, instead of focusing on one cardio exercise, I would change it up regularly. I say this for two reasons. First, your body will react and change for the first six weeks or so. Then, at that point, you will most likely plateau. Changing your workout up on a regular basis will keep you from hitting that wall. Second, any exercise that occasionally increases your heart rate to approximately 84% or above of your maximum heart rate will be like lighting a fire inside your body. You will be working at a level that will burn fat. That is really the key. You don’t need to maintain that intensity, just push yourself every few minutes to achieve that goal. You will have a much more effective workout. Doing that can also lead to additional calories being burnt at rest. Who doesn’t love that!
How much weight (pounds) should I focus on losing every week? What is a safe amount to make sure I keep it off?
First, I would say this requires a “lifestyle” change. I know we hear that all the time, but you have to be prepared for the discipline required to make the change and maintain that new behavior daily. This is true not only in your workouts, but in your diet. What you eat, when you eat, and how much you eat, all play a very important role in weight loss.
Setting a goal to lose just a few pounds a week is the safest bet. Keep in mind, muscle is heavier by volume than fat. If you are gaining lean muscle mass, it will affect the number you see on that scale. I advise watching how your clothes are fitting and how you are feeling just as much as what that scale tells you. Think of the scale as a tool since it will give accurate results, but may not give you comprehensive results of all your hard work or the big picture of what is happening to your body. I try to not even step on the scale.
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 prefer not to workout on a full stomach. For me a light breakfast is all I eat before hitting the gym. After you workout, it is always good to take in protein within 30 minutes. This can be a protein bar, shake, or your regular meal as long as it includes a portion of protein (turkey, chicken, fish, egg whites, etc). Some experts believe it is useful to take in protein right before bedtime. Your muscles actually do their building while you are at rest, not at the gym! So, fueling yourself up with a protein shake before bed gives your body the nutrition it needs to repair and grow efficiently. I would suggest taking a multivitamin and multi-mineral supplement daily.
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.
Oh yes, what a great question! This is one that affects us all! It can be so hard to stay on track! Here is what I do to curb my sweet tooth. When I am training for a show, I have one cheat meal a week. Its my one time to satisfy those cravings. Also, I pop in some sugar-free gum. On my off-season, I just love to experiment with healthy cooking! I have a huge notebook full of recipes I have collected. Several include ingredients like natural peanut butter, cottage cheese, nuts, spices and various protein powders. There are so many resources online for low carb, low-fat, high protein delights. I can prepare and snack on some delicious food without cheating! They are great to have on hand, pack in the car and travel with to keep you 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?
Think of how a grocery store is laid out. Make sure to stay on the outside aisles. Most of your whole foods, in their natural form, are located on the outer perimeter. The closer you get to the center, the more unhealthy and processed foods you will encounter. Stick with your fresh meats like turkey, chicken, and fish. Green veggies are great along with eggs, cottage cheese and sweet potatoes. My favorite food is all-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?
I would visit a few local health clubs or gyms and see what environment you feel comfortable in. Maybe you like a large facility with several options and lots of variety. Or, maybe a smaller, more personal studio is more your style. Find a place where you feel comfortable. Ask for advice from a few personal trainers and again, choose one that you feel understands your goals. They will be a great resource for you in getting started and maintaining your workouts.
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?
The great thing about many restaurants now is that several offer a “healthy” menu. They may call it low-carb, or low-calorie but basically a healthier alternative to the regular meals. I suggest going online and browsing local restaurants and see what they offer ahead of time. That way you know when you walk in the door that there is a good choice waiting for you. All you have to do is order it!
What exercises do you recommend for getting a bigger, rounder and fuller butt?
Squats, squats and more squats!
What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?
That is an easy one for me to answer. I have a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old. My home is full of snack foods. It is challenging to keep from nibbling on their food. It is especially difficult when I am preparing for a show. Discipline is paramount! It can be so hard to prepare and clean up their meals which are full of all the things I crave. I just look over at my trophies and think that nothing tastes better than how looking good feels!
Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat in a typical day to stay in shape?
- Breakfast: 1/2 cup oatmeal. Maybe egg whites also.
- Mid-Morning Snack: Protein muffin, bar or shake.
- Lunch: Turkey wrap, turkey burger, maybe dinner left-overs.
- Mid-Afternoon Snack: I love crackers and natural peanut butter!
- Dinner: Grilled chicken with rice. Sweet potato. Broccoli.
What type of exercises do you include in your routine to stay in shape?
- Strength Training Exercises: I usually spend my time in the free weights section. I love working shoulders with exercises like presses and lateral raises especially. For back, I love pull-downs and reverse cable cross. I also love leg day. Walking lunges and lots of squats!
- Cardio Exercises: Sprints on the treadmill seem to really work for me.
- Additional Training: TRX or suspension trainers are my new love! Check them out!
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for developing toned and defined arms?
1. Lots of shoulder work! Men and women both. They really shape and define your upper body. I am currently hitting shoulders twice a week.
2. I love overhead shoulder exercises. Very effective.
3. I combine biceps and triceps a lot. Although the bicep gets a great deal of attention, it’s the smallest arm muscle. The tricep is so much larger (3 muscles versus 2 muscles). Don’t forget to work the triceps hard! I do a lot of bicep supinated curls and triceps kickbacks.
4. The great thing about arms is you can do several exercises, like dips and tricep pushups at home!
5. If you don’t have dumbbells at home, you can purchase a resistance band fairly inexpensively to work arms at home or while traveling. Also, look around your home for objects that are safe to use in place of a weight. Maybe a water jug filled up that is appropriate for a particular exercise. Get creative and never miss a workout.
What are your top 5 tips for losing unwanted body fat?
1. Cut out the soda.
2. Reduce your sodium.
3. Drink LOTS of water.
4. Keep the cardio consistent with peaks of higher intensity.
5. BE CONSISTANT!
What are your top 5 tips for gaining lean muscle mass?
1. Take in at least 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight, each day.
2. Lift one body part a day.
3. Go heavy!
4. Keep your diet in check.
What are the top 5 tips you recommend for staying motivated on a fitness plan and truly making a healthy lifestyle change?
1. Make a plan. I keep a calendar with notes.
2. Know why this goal is important to you, why are you doing this?
3. Prepare healthy foods ahead of time to keep on track.
4. Find a partner or support person to share your successes and struggles with.
5. BE PATIENT. You won’t change overnight, but you will change!
What is your training routine like? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)
- Monday: 35-45 minutes cardio, usually treadmill. Legs 3 sets 15 reps. approximately 5 exercises.
- Tuesday: 35-45 minutes cardio. Arms, biceps and triceps, 3 sets 15 reps. 3 exercises each.
- Wednesday: 35-45 minutes cardio. Back. I go heavy. 4 sets, 15 reps. 4 exercises.
- Thursday: 35-45 minutes cardio. Shoulders. I go heavy. 4 sets, 15 reps. 4 exercises.
- Friday: 35-45 minutes cardio. Chest and abs. I go a little lighter. 3 sets, 10 – 12 reps. 4 exercises.
- Saturday: Maybe a walk or bike ride in the neighborhood.
- Sunday: Rest
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. The key to a toned stomach is your diet. You can have great abs, but they may be buried under a layer of fat so you won’t be able to see them.
2. I like doing lots of crunches without weight.
3. The Pike on a TRX is a fantastic exercise for toning the midsection.
4. Abdominal exercises are easy to do at home, so make a habit out of cranking out some reps at night or in the morning!
5. You can always practice tightening your abs throughout the day, at your desk, while driving or even while cooking dinner!
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for toning the thighs, hips and butt?
1. Squats and lunges are great for toning the lower body.
2. Walking on a high incline on the treadmill will also make the muscle fibers in the lower body fire, and get toned up.
3. If you are a runner, doing sprints outside is a great way to target the hips, thighs and glutes.
4. Again, keep the diet clean, low in fat, sugars and sodium.
5. Don’t neglect the rest of your body. Remember, you are an amazing machine and your body is a system, designed to work together in harmony.