How did you first get started in the bodybuilding and fitness industry?
I have always been active and considered myself an athlete. At a young age I caught the competition bug and became a dedicated competitive gymnast. After nearly ten years I made the switch to dance and studied through high school until I became a dance major at Cal State Long Beach. After two years of my undergrad I suddenly got really sick and had to leave the program. Despite my disdain, I became a gym-goer in an effort to stay fit and active. Before I knew it I was being encouraged to compete on the physique stage in April 2010 and have to continued to compete since then.
Was there a defining moment that got you to start training at a whole different level?
When I first started training I stuck mostly just to the machine circuit at my gym. I wasn’t very strong and I certainly wasn’t informed about how to use the free weights or cable machines. One day while walking past the magazine racks at the grocery store I discovered a women’s fitness magazine and started looking through the pages. I saw a black girl with a fit body and a smile on her face and I was blown away to see someone that looked like me modeling in the pages of a magazine. I later learned that the woman was Alicia Marie! Next came Oxygen Magazine and Tosca Reno’s book Eat Clean Diet: Recharged and it was on from there. I was obsessed. I started getting brave and lifting on the “boys side” of the gym and researching the competitive world. About a month in someone at the gym noticed my improving physique and introduced me to my friend Lisa, who gave me the confidence to hit the stage just two weeks later. I took first in my class.
What are the top 2 or 3 ways you keep yourself motivated?
I stay in it. I’m all over the internet and in the magazines. I pay attention to what’s going on in the industry and on the stage and this keeps me fired up and always desiring improvement. Also, I know that goals keep you moving so there’s always something I’m working on, whether its my next competition or a shoot or a fashion show.
In your opinion what is the biggest hurdle you or most people have to overcome in regards to their fitness career and goals?
People just need to get started and realize that every day is not a picnic, especially in the beginning. For the most part I really enjoy my time in the gym. But on days when I really don’t want to get my workout done, I’ve learned that the secret is to do it anyway. You can’t hope and wish and dream alone. You have to work and you have to do it with consistency and energy, and give it time. I also think that a lot of people are in denial about being able to outwork a bad diet. They are frustrated by the fact that they are they spend (too many) hours and hours over-training in the gym, but nothing is changing because they are over or under eating processed junk out of boxes and bags. The thing is diet and proper rest are the essential part of the equation that gets you results.
How useful do you think supplements are? Do you use supplements? What is your current top supplement?
I think that supplements can be helpful for people IF they are putting in the work in their diet and training. There is no magic pill. Supplements are not a substitute for hard work and they don’t work without it. Personally I don’t rely on much other than whey because it’s a convenient way for a busy girl who’s not crazy about meat to get in her protein. From time to time I’ll use a pre-workout supplement for a boost but usually its just a good ol’ strong cup of black coffee.
In general what does your current training routine look like?
Right now I’m training for my nationals so it’s about leaning out for me at the moment. I follow a four day split and my reps are mostly in the 15-20 rep range and I’m focusing on bringing my legs down a bit so I work in circuits on leg days. I’m doing cardio 7 days a week sticking mostly to low intensity steady state cardio. I’m usually on a steep incline on the treadmill or on the stepmill to keep the focus on my quads, glutes, and hams. I like to switch it up and do some rowing because it’s a full body workout.
What is your current diet routine?
Currently I’m missing my carbs as I lean out for my show, but I keep hunger at bay by practicing intermittent fasting. Basically I skip breakfast and morning snack (aka meals 1 and 2) and eat my first meal post workout. I fast overnight up until around 1pm usually, which makes for a 14-16 hour fast with an 8-10 hour feeding window. This works for me especially when I’m dieting down because instead of having many small and unsatisfying meals that keep me hungry and obsessing over my next meal all day, I eat when I’m naturally most hungry and despite a low calorie count I eat fewer meals (usually 2 to 3) so I get to eat BIG when I do eat. Also I tend to eat my largest carbohydrate meal closer to bed time, which keeps me full through my fast.
How do you feel about ketogenic diets and extreme diets in general?
I’m not a fan of extreme diets that are followed long term. I know that that different people have their own results on differing diets because everyone is unique physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, religiously, etc. and it terms or their particular health a physique goals. All these factors play a roll in what type of diet is right for someone. For the most part I think it’s best not to completely exclude any particular food group from your diet for an extended time. Balance is key for health and happiness.
How did you get those awesome arms of yours?
To be honest, I don’t do a whole lot of work on them. My arms and shoulders have always been with me. Even as a little kid I had guns. I used to hate them and I think they made me look like a boy. Now I love them. I’m proud of them and I enjoy a good pump- but really my arms are just (pretty easily) maintained.
How did/do your family and friends feel about your training?
My friends and family are very supportive. There are some people who don’t understand why I like to lift heavy things or why I’m so willing and eager to sacrifice stuff that is really much more important to them than it is to me (i.e. staying out late, drinking, eating WHATEVER), but mostly I’ve been lucky to always have someone to cheer me on at competition and to go without tortilla chips in the house for several months at a time while I prep for a show. I’m blessed.
Can you give us a brief summary of your competition history?
- April 2010 Orange County Muscle Classic, 1st place bikini c
- September 2010 Tournament of Champions, 4th place bikini c
- April 2011 Orange County Muscle Classic, 9th place bikini c
- August 2011 Pacific USA’s, 1st place overall, 1st place bikini c
- September 2011 Tournament of Champions, 1st place bikini c
What are your fitness/bodybuilding plans for 2012/2013?
I’m gonna get my pro card this summer at the USA’s in Las Vegas!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 20 years?
Lookin’ great and feelin’ great.
The RateMyArms team would like to thank you greatly for taking the time to do this interview. Do you have any last words for our readers?
I’d like to say: Fitness is for everyone. It’s not a punishment, it’s a gift. Get started and stick with it and you’ll never regret the day you started to become your best self.
Photo Credits: Nga Azarian