How did you first get started in the bodybuilding/fitness game?
I’ve had an interest in figure competitions since college, but had no clue how to get into them. After my second child, I was completely out of shape and unhappy. I returned to the gym and started training consistently. As I progressed, I wanted to set bigger goals. My first goal was to be in the best shape of my life by age 30, and I reached it rather quickly. After my birthday, I had to strive for even greater challenges, so I decided to finally compete. After my first two shows it was no longer about getting on stage, but about beating the odds and shattering ceilings in the gym. Now competing is just a reward for my hard work.
Was there a defining moment that got you to start training at a whole different level?
I pushed myself hard at first, but had no clue how to make great gains in the gym. I reached a point of stagnation and finally decided to hire a strength and conditioning coach in the spring of 2010. I worked with Bret Contreras and he helped me reach my fullest potential. Through him I learned how to execute proper form and technique, activate my muscles properly, and achieve incredible gains while spending less time in the gym. This all translated to greater muscle development and incredible strength gains. Though we no longer train together, Bret and I have become great friends and I still use his methods. I am actually helping to co-author a women’s training book with him called Strong Curves.
What are the top 2 ways you keep motivated?
The greatest part about being well-conditioned is that I wake up every morning feeling energized and on top of the world. Also, my family motivates me every single day. I love keeping up with my kids and inspiring them to take on athletic challenges.
In your opinion what is the biggest hurdle you or most people have to overcome in regards to their fitness career and goals?
Self-limiting factors hold so many people back from achieving their fitness goals. If you let those mental blockers prevent you from reaching your goals, then you aren’t living to your fullest potential. You are capable of the most incredible feats and the only thing holding you back is your own limitations. When I first went back to the gym after a rough pregnancy and 4-year hiatus, I could barely do a bodyweight lunge. If I’d given up then, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Why do you think some people are able to overcome this hurdle, but others are not?
It’s all mental. So many people set unrealistic goals and come down really hard on themselves when they don’t achieve them in an unrealistic time frame. Set small goals and milestones along the way. If you want to lose 20 pounds, start with getting your diet on track first. Once you get your eating under control, focus on losing that first 3 or 4 pounds. Let your goals grow from there. My goals have changed tremendously over time. If I’d held onto those initial lofty goals as the end-all, be-all of my fitness career, then I probably would have given up, too.
If you had to ratio the importance of training, diet and rest, what would the percentages look like and why? (e.g. 20% training, 30% diet, 30% rest)
I would put nutrition at the very top of the ranks, giving it a good 70% of the determining ratio for fitness goals. I recently had the pleasure of working with Alan Aragon for my last show and was amazed at how much my body changed in a short period of time. And I was very well-fed on his plan. I didn’t change my training a single bit. Well, actually I trained less leading up to my show because I found that my diet was doing a lot of the work. I think that rest gets 20% and 10% goes to training. I am a firm believer in training smart. You should spend less time training, but train more effectively. I can skip a workout any day, but I never cheat myself out of sleep, rest, or recovery.
How useful do you think supplements are? Do you use supplements? What is your current top supplement?
Having worked as a writer and marketer in the supplement industry, I know a lot of the effects are placebo (which can be a good thing). However, I don’t take supplements other than fish oil, multivitamins, and cal/mag/D3. I strongly believe that eating a high quality diet packed with nutrient dense foods can’t be replaced with anything that comes in a bottle or a can. There is strong research indicating the positive effects of whey protein, but I choose not to take it and don’t feel I am missing out on anything. I’ll stick with eggs.
In general what does your current training routine look like?
I am actually getting ready to head into track season, so my training is a bit of deloading right now. The transition period is tough as I am getting ready to incorporate 2-a-days. Right now I am doing 3 full-body workouts a week for 40 minutes, and fill the rest of my time with hiking and lots of stretching. During track season I will do sprint workouts along with full-body workouts 3 days a week.
What is your current diet routine?
I have been eating at maintenance for the past 3 months and it works really well for me. I eat 3 to 4 times per day, with plenty of fresh fruits, veggies, and protein. I stick to 1 starchy carb per day timed around my workouts, and a few servings of fats. Eggs are huge part of my diet and I have a good arrangement with a local farmer who keeps me stocked each week. a typical breakfast for me consists of 4 whole eggs and a piece of fruit. Dinner is usually 6 ounces of protein such as bison, beef, goat, or fish along with a starch and some greens.
How do you feel about ketogenic diets and extreme diets in general?
I eat to live and live to eat. A well-balanced diet is the only way to improve long-term. Extreme diets may get your physique looking the way you want it to in a short period of time, but in the long run they are detrimental to your health. I live with the mentality that this is my body forever. I refuse to do anything that may damage it over time.
How did you get those awesome arms of yours?
My arms used to be the bane of my existence. I struggled for the longest time to bring them up. I learned that having long arms worked against me because no matter how much muscle I packed on, they still looked small. They measured large, but the length took away from the girth. I found that doing tons of chin ups, pull ups, push ups, and body weight exercises really helped bring them up. Also, I tack on 1-2 iso exercises for arms to the end of each of my workouts. It’s just consistency and patience, really. And using compound exercises as much as possible. Deadlifts also helped bring them up tremendously.
Now everywhere I go I get compliments on my arms. I’ve never had this happen in my life, so I am tickled pink where in here it.
If you were to upload your arms to our muscle voting site (http://vote.ratemyarms.com/) right now, what do you think you would rate?
Oh, goodness. I still have a long way to go, but for an athletic woman I think I would rate a 7.
How did/do your family and friends feel about your training?
They are very supportive and proud of my accomplishments. I try to keep my goals and training to myself as not to impede. I think the less they know, the happier they are for me. Fitness is such a personal feat. No one can be more proud of you than you, so keep that in mind when searching for support. Not everyone is going to get what you do and why you do it. Don’t let that deter you. I’ve learned that not everyone is interested. I usually don’t talk about working out, competing, ect. unless someone asks.
Can you give us a brief summary of your competition history?
May 2009- NPC Gulf Coast Championship (4th place)
November 2009- NPC Western Regional (3rd place)
November 2010- NPC Western Regional (no placing)
June 2011- INBA America’s Natural (1st place overall)
August 2011- OCB Arizona Natural Pro-Qual (4th place)
What are your fitness/bodybuilding plans for 2012?
I am going to take the year off and focus on track. I enter the track season as a sub-master’s sprinter in the 100m and 200m in January. Though I’ll be racing, I plan to still build my physique in the gym.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 20 years?
In 5 years I will be a national level sprinter and figure athlete, a thriving business owner, author, mom, and wife. In 20 years I will be retired living the dream with my husband.
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?
Thank you for the interview. I would like to let everyone know I have a book coming out with Bret Contreras called Strong Curves in October. You can find it at www.strongcurves.com.
Photo Credits: RJS Photography and V Darius Photography