I was always involved in some type of physical activity, but I didn't start taking training and nutrition seriously until I was about 15 years old. Previous to beginning my training regime, I was involved in dance for the majority of my childhood, then switched my focus to soccer for a couple of years. When I was about 15, I began training in the gym regularly in hopes to lose a bit of extra weight. I mostly focused on cardio, but that all changed when one of the trainers at my gym approached me and suggested I compete in a figure competition. She showed me how to train properly and I was instantly hooked! A few months into my new routine, I approached two of my biggest mentors and role models, Danny and Janelle Garon, asking for help to get ready for my first show. They prepped me for the 2012 NSABBA Provincial Championships, and with their guidance I won the Figure Short Class. I was fortunate enough to have their guidance again this year and took my class for the second year in a row.
For anyone who is trying to achieve their goal physique, I believe it is essential to stick to the plan! If you’ve hired a trainer, LISTEN TO THEM! It’s important to think for yourself and figure out if a certain trainer is the right match for you, but sticking to a plan and being consistent is key. You won’t see your body change overnight, so it’s important to be patient and trust the process. Otherwise, train as hard (but smart) as you can and don’t be afraid to push past your limits. Make sure that you're enjoying the journey; if you're miserable trying to get in shape, then it's not very likely you'll stick to your plan for long term. If you want to get in shape and stay in shape, you've got to adopt the lifestyle… Not a crazy 12-week diet!
Whenever I feel like I'm lacking motivation, I like to look back at photos from previous shows I've competed in. They help to remind me what I am capable of and how amazing it feels to accomplish the goals I set for myself. Everyone has days when they don't feel like sticking to their diet or heading to the gym for a gruelling workout, but pushing past obstacles makes any victory that much more rewarding.
I also love to look at pictures or watch videos of my favourite Pro Figure athletes. My ultimate goal is to obtain my IFBB Pro Card, so looking at pictures of Pro level athletes is always motivating.
I'm still trying to figure out what my body best responds to, but I've incorporated various types of cardio into my regime over the last couple of years. For my last contest prep, I did a lot of steady state cardio on the elliptical in order to bring my legs down. I also did a fair amount of HIIT training on the stair master. Very recently I have joined the Hollywood Militia (I am being trained by John Otis Hollywood) and my program includes HIIT cardio as well as medium intensity steady state cardio.
One of my favourite recipes to use when I'm in a calorie deficit is my "sweet potato pudding," which consists of sweet potato (duh LOL), whey protein, stevia, and egg whites or almond milk. I like to blend the ingredients together in my magic bullet and heat up the pudding for about 1 minute in the microwave. I also like to do a similar "pudding" with avocado instead of sweet potato.
My diet is full of a range of foods! Previous to joining Team Hollywood, I was eating mostly "clean" foods such as chicken, tilapia, oats, sweet potato, green vegetables, whey, etc. However, I am trying a new approach to dieting and nutrition. I still like to include these types of food in the bulk of my diet, but I am able to be a lot more flexible with food choices. I have a certain amount of macronutrients that I have to hit each day, so as long as I hit those numbers and get enough fibre/macronutrients, I can eat just about anything. About 90% of my diet is compromised of whole foods such as the ones I listed above, but if I want to indulge one day, I'm able to fit a small treat into my macronutrients. Many people think that flexible dieting means you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want, but this is hardly the case. I have to weigh all my food out and make sure my diet is full of nutrient-dense food. I'm really enjoying this approach, because it requires me to be very precise in regards to tracking macros, but I can still enjoy small treats without feeling guilty.
If I have a really bad craving for something, I'm able to fit a treat into my macronutrients without compromising progress. This becomes a lot harder when you're close to stepping on stage, as most "junk" food likely will not fit your macros for the day, but it is still possible to enjoy food while prepping for a show. I also have one re-feed day every week. My carbs are increased a considerable amount, so it's the perfect opportunity to have something I've been craving. Otherwise, I like to sip on tea or decaf coffee when I'm having a hard time with dieting. I find it also helps to keep me busy; if my mind is distracted, I'm less likely to think about food and focus on my cravings.
My top three favourite exercises would have to be side lateral raises, lunges, and one-handed dumbbell rows. I love to implement drop sets when performing all of these exercises.
I always listen to music when I train! Listening to music that pumps me up really helps me to get in the zone and focus on training. I don't have a particular playlist at the moment; I like to use an app on my iPhone called 8 Tracks. It features basically every music genre imaginable. Lately, I've been listening to a lot of rap and metal such as A$AP Rocky and Disturbed.
Since I just joined Team Hollywood, I have a brand new training program and I am super excited to see what improvements I can make to my physique!
In regards to cardio, I've got 2 HIIT sessions per week as well as 4 medium intensity steady state (MISS) cardio sessions per week. John likes to use cardio as a tool to burn calories, so I've got a specific caloric goal to hit instead of a time goal.
In regards to weight training, my program is spilt into 2 strength days (upper body and lower body) and 3 hypertrophy days. Here is a sample of what my typical week looks like right now:
Upper Body Strength workout and MISS cardio
Lower Body Strength workout and MISS cardio
HIIT cardio and Rest Day from weight training
Chest, Delts & Triceps Hypertrophy workout and MISS cardio
Back, Rear Delts, Biceps & Traps Hypertrophy workout and MISS cardio
Lower Body Hypertrophy workout
Rest Day from weight training and HIIT cardio
With my current program, my macronutrient goals change according to what I'm training. On normal training days, my carbs are moderate. On Saturday, one of my lower body days, I get to have a re-feed (increase in carbs) and on my rest days, my carbs are lowered.
I like to set both short and long term goals. I currently have a few short-term goals I would like to accomplish. Some of these include improving my metabolic capacity, staying fairly lean all year around (avoiding gaining unnecessary weight in the offseason), and stepping on the National stage by 2014. I was planning to compete at the 2013 CBBF Figure Nationals this summer, but I'm not sure if I'll be ready in time. I'm more concerned about taking care of my health and improving my metabolic capacity, so if things don't work out, I plan to step on the National stage in April (IFBB World Qualifiers). My long-term goals include competing at the North American Championships, possibly the Arnold Amateurs, and of course, earning my IFBB Pro Card.
I am most proud of my work ethic and my ability to push past obstacles. I've been working EXTREMELY hard the last year to improve my physique so that I could compete at a national level, and although there is always room for improvement, I've done quite a lot over the last year. I've had many ups and downs this year, but I've managed to push through all of the hard times and all of my efforts have definitely paid off thus far! I am unbelievably grateful for all of the opportunities that have come my way the last few months and I plan to keep working my butt off to accomplish even more.
I've recently experienced a few setbacks. I've been worried that my metabolism is damaged from doing so much cardio and lowering my calories so low in order to compete at my last show. Though I was able to get in great shape for provincials, I think my body needed a break and I tried to continue prep for the national stage. After stepping back and really trying to re-evaluate everything, I decided I need to increase my calories and shorten the amount of time I spent doing cardio in order to try and re-build my metabolic capacity. I might not be able to compete this summer, but I think taking care of this issue and making sure my health is in check is more important than rushing into a show. I believe this is the best choice for me in the long run, as I want to have a long, successful career in the fitness industry.
I like to use various methods to measure my progress. I usually refer to the mirror before I worry about the scale, but both are great tools. Having an online trainer, it's essential that I weigh myself and report any fluctuations, as this helps him to be more accurate when designing my program. I also like to pay attention to how I feel performance-wise AND mentally. Having the right mentality in this sport is just as important as being physically fit.
There are so many people I look up to in the fitness industry! Two of my biggest role models and mentors are Danny and Janelle Garon; they have been there for me more than anyone in the last two years and I look up to them as athletes and amazing people in general. In terms of fitness models or pro athletes, I really look up to Jodi Boam, Candice Keene, Erin Stern, Dana Linn Bailey, and Nicole Wilkins.
I would definitely recommend using a whey complex or whey isolate protein; I like to use whey pre-workout and post-workout, as it is fast-digesting and light on the stomach if you're about to have a gruelling training session! Supplementing with whey can also make it easier to hit your protein intake… some people find it pretty difficult trying to get all their protein from solely animal sources.
I also recommend some other basic supplements, such as Omega 3/ Fish Oil pills, BCAAs, Glutamine, Multivitamins, and Vitamin D. I think these are a great base to start with. A few of my favorites are GLUTAMEND, AGENT M, STRONG MAN, and OMEGA OIL by FUSION BODYBUIDLING. If you want, you can always add in fat burners, creatine, pre-workouts or other supplements depending on your goals. But always remember that supplements are only there to help… You can't depend on them! I always suggest perfecting your diet and training before incorporating a huge supplement regime; don't rely on them to work miracles.
Year of birth:1995 Weight: Stage - 125-135 Offseason 140-150 Height: 5'4
Facebook Athlete Page: www.facebook.com/FigureCompetitorKatiaCallegari
Youtube Channel: www.youtube.com/channel
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