Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a middle school guidance counselor currently working on a doctorate degree in counseling psychology. I earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in psychology, masters in education, and am also a licensed professional counselor. I competed in my first INBF figure competition April 2011 at the Buckeye Classic. I competed in 5 shows this year and in the end received my WNBF pro card in figure and Ms. Fitbody. I look forward to beginning my professional career in 2012.
How did you get started in the fitness field?
I always played sports from elementary to high school and my main focus was basketball and volleyball. Throughout college and after graduation I continued to “workout” by doing cardio and lifting what I thought then was weight. I never had much muscle definition until the past year. I met my trainer (Terrell Campbell), now my fiancé, at one of his BATL fitness camps. I tagged along with a friend and left early. He reached out to me later that day via Facebook, and we went out on a date and later in the week I joined him at the gym he trains at to get a workout in. He had just competed in his first bodybuilding show and asked if I was interested, my response was “No, I did not want to follow the diet”. He was able to convince me to let him train me for my first show, and I have no regrets.
What is the #1 thing you like best about being into fitness?
I like how I feel as a person. I’ve always had low self-esteem and tried identifying myself with different groups of people but never fit in. Now fitness is my “thing” and I love talking about it to others. It makes me happy.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field?
When I hit the stage for the first time in April 2011, my goal was to have my pro-cards by December. I was able to achieve one in May and the other in September. I didn’t have to compete in an October or November show. I am also proud of the fact that I was able to maintain A’s in my doctorate classes while prepping and competing.
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 contacting photographers is the best route. That way you can develop a portfolio and have something to present to an agency. Most sponsors and agencies want models to submit photographs before they make a decision. However, it is all about looking around because some do not require professional pictures.
Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?
Three days out of the week I do 2 a days and go into the gym around 5:45am before I go to work to complete my aerobic activity. I arrive at work at 7:15am and leave work around 3:00pm to head to the gym for my weight lifting (2nd gym visit if it’s a 2 a day). I workout for about 2 hours, go home and complete my school work for the evening, eat, and cook and prep my food for the next day. I try to be in bed by 10:00pm but that usually depends on how much school work I have for the night. I also just picked up a part-time job, so now my bed time varies a lot more.
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?
Most people confuse cardio with aerobic activity. Cardio is high intensity short bursts and aerobic activity is what you see most people doing when they are on machines (treadmills, elliptical, stepper). Aerobic activity is a steady pace for a long duration. The best way to burn the most calories is by using systemic combination movements. These movements include; clean and press, thrusters, sumo dead high pulls, kettlebells, dumbbell combinations, burpees, batl ropes, and the gorilla (burpee to squat jump to pull up). All these movements can be weighted and done for either reps or time.
How much weight (pounds) should I focus on losing every week? What is a safe amount to make sure I keep it off?
1-4 pounds is a safe amount of weight to lose weekly and you should be able to keep the weight off as you progress.
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?
Before a workout you should consume food that is going to give you energy about an hour before your workout. I usually do a protein shake with grapefruit (which is my 5th meal of the day) or I’ve done fat-free yogurt, strawberries and granola. You can also take a pre-workout supplement if you feel you need an extra energy burst. The best supplements to take after a workout are recovery supplements such as:
Glutamine: Helps recover muscle tissue that damaged during lifting
ZMA: Also helps with healing
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.
When I first started training my trainer told me to earn my free meals, which could be up to twice a week. I still stick to that theory in and out of season. I pick my two free meal days, they are usually my 2 a days or heavy leg days and I eat what I’ve been craving for dinner. After that I am back to my routine and I know I can look forward to the next free meal day. This helps keep me from going crazy and pushing myself in the gym.
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 do not like seafood, but fish is a great protein source. I use eggs, lean turkey and chicken to get my protein, along with protein powder. Vegetables complement my meals along with whole grain oats, brown rice, almonds, cashews, and sweet potatoes.
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. I don’t like the word diet so the first thing you need to do is get together a nutrition plan or ask someone who has experience in creating nutrition plans. Your food will feed you and provide energy for your workouts and it is the compliment to the start and end of your day.
2. Plan a routine: We are much more likely to stick to a plan if we have a routine. Your routine should include resistance training, cardio conditioning, aerobic activity, and stretching. Create a split that will benefit your needs.
3. Rest: This is needed to help the muscles grow and continue performing at their peak.
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 have the same 3-4 restaurants I choose if we go out to eat. It helps to get online and look over the menu before going to the restaurant. Also, do not be afraid to ask how they cook some of their food. Whenever I order broccoli I ask them not to use butter I also request that they put my salad dressing on the side so I can control how much is used. You should also control how much you eat out. It is always best to prepare and cook your own food so you know what is being used to season the food, plus it’ll save you some money.
What exercises do you recommend for getting a bigger, rounder and fuller butt?
1. Weighted lunges (reverse, walking, and side).
2. Kettlebell swings.
3. Squats (below parallel – the lower the better).
What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?
I enjoy what I do so I don’t really have too many personal challenges. The one thing that does challenge me is that I always have to explain myself to others. They ask why I workout every day and why I eat the way I do. I don’t mind telling them but then some people just don’t understand and think what I do is stupid. It is also challenging at work functions when people bring food to eat, but by now everyone knows my routine so they expect me to pull out my tuna, eggs, or vegetables.
Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat in a typical day to stay in shape?
Breakfast: ½ cup oats, 1 scoop of protein powder, 7 strawberries, 2 multivitamins, L-Carnitine, CLA.
Mid-Afternoon Snack: 4 ounces of chicken, salad, CLA, 2 Multivitamins and Omega 3 fish oil.
Pre-Workout: Protein shake, ½ grapefruit.
Post-Workout: Protein shake and rice cakes or granola.
Dinner: 4 ounces of lean meat (steak, turkey, chicken), 6 ounces of sweet potato, 1 cup broccoli or salad, 1 multivitamin, and Omega 3 fish oil.
Before Bed: Either 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter or 1 scoop of casein protein powder.
What type of exercises do you include in your routine to stay in shape?
Strength Training Exercises: Dumbbell and barbell: Deadlifts, squats, chest press, bent over rows, should press, upright rows.
Cardio Exercises: Systemic combination movements as described in question #3 above.
Additional Training: Abs, sprints, supplemental work such as leg extensions, leg curls, lateral shoulder raises, leg press, cable movements, and designated programs on the treadmill such as fire lungs and the 4 D’s.
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for developing toned and defined arms?
1. Barbell bicep curls.
2. Skull Crushers.
3. Multiple grip dumbbell curls (Hammer/underhand).
4. Dumbbell kickbacks (single and double arm).
5. Bicep and Tricep exercises on the cable machine.
*Variations between load and volume should be incorporated into the workout.
What are your top 5 tips for losing unwanted body fat?
2. Supportive eating (eat to support your workouts and no binge eating).
3. Increase your performance and activity level on a weekly basis.
4. Use resistance, cardio, and aerobic activity in your workouts.
What are your top 5 tips for gaining lean muscle mass?
1. Heavy lifting.
2. More healthy and frequent meals (I eat every 2-2 ½ hours).
3. Calculative increased calories.
5. Heavy combination movements (ex: cleans).
What are the top 5 tips you recommend for staying motivated on a fitness plan and truly making a healthy lifestyle change?
1. Make yourself accountable to someone or something.
2. Create a schedule and stick with it.
3. Share your schedule with others so they will be less likely to invite you to activities that occur during your workout time.
4. Have fun during your workouts and switch them up. We all get bored doing the same thing over and over in the gym; include variety.
5. Set performance goals that are realistic and do not beat yourself up if you do not achieve them, keep pushing.
What is your training routine like? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)
AM: Aerobic activity for 30 min.
PM: Deadlift and push shoulders
Deadlift: 5 sets (10 reps, 8 reps, then 3 sets of 5 reps)
Barbell shoulder press: (same)
Supplemental movements during this day include; side lateral raises, Arnold presses, leg curls, walking lunges (4 sets of 10), and weighted ab work
Double unders with jump rope, steps, kettle bells, clean and press, battle ropes (all movements are done for time in a circuit)
AM: AB work for 30 min.
PM: Back and Chest
Chest: Either flat bench chest press or Incline chest press
Back: Bent over rows with barbell and dumbbells
Supplemental work includes; weighted pull-ups, T-bar machine, DB flys, cable flys, pushups (4 sets of 10-12), weighted abs
Battle ropes, Thrusters, plyo-pushups, box jumps, Kettlebells, bicep and tricep exercises for reps and time, Sumo dead upright rows.
AM: Aerobic activity for 30 min.
PM: Squats and Upright rows
Back and Front squats: 5 sets (10 reps, 8 reps, and then 3 sets of 5 reps)
Upright rows: 5 sets (10 reps, 8 reps, then 3 sets of 5 reps)
Supplemental work includes: pulsing lunges, shrugs, calf raises, leg press, leg extensions, jumping lunges, scarecrows, reverse flys (4 sets of 10-12), weighted abs
HIIT workout on treadmill and Bicep and Triceps
Bicep: Barbell or fixed bar curls (4 sets of 10)
Tricep: Barbell or fixed bar skull crushers (4 sets of 10)
Supplemental work includes: hammer curls, partner curls, cable bicep and tricep exercises, parallel dips, weighted AB exercises, dB concentrated bicep curls
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. Adequate nutrition.
2. Cardio conditioning.
3. Aerobic activity.
4. Multi-joint movement with dumbbells (deadlifts and squats).
5. Rotational and lateral movements (wood chops, Russian twists, cable twists, and windshield wipers).
6. Train all parts of the core including small spine, obliques, lower abs.
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for toning the thighs, hips and butt?
1. Leg extensions.
2. Leg curls.
3. Glute and hamstring raise machine.
4. Mobile lunges (side lateral, forward, backwards).
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