I have been training seriously in the gym for a little over three years, however I have been an athlete my entire life. I feel very blessed to have been raised by athletic parents and as a result, an active lifestyle is all I’ve ever known. Growing up I played many sports at a competitive level but found my niche with fastpitch softball, which I played through the college level. After my college softball career, I always remained active but struggled to find another sport or activity that I felt as passionate about, until I was introduced to weight training. The mental and physical challenges of training… that drive inside that makes you want to push beyond what you thought you were capable of… the beauty of a sculpted physique – these are just a few of the many reasons why I love this lifestyle.
Motivation, for me, usually comes with ease. I am focused, driven, and have a constant hunger inside for greatness. When I set my sights on a goal, I give it 110% and never give up. I constantly want to better myself, and setting goals is how I achieve that. You can’t be afraid to set the bar high.
If I am ever feeling unmotivated, I always refer back to this quote:
“What do I fear?
I fear stagnation and lack of progress.
I fear never reaching my potential and being average.
I fear being forgotten... The past... Yesterday's news.
I fear giving up and being passed by, going softly into that good night.
I fear letting those I love down, letting myself down.
I fear settling, giving in to the "that's just the way it is" mindset.
I fear dying without leaving my mark.
I fear not feeling these fears anymore and just floating along.
These fears feed me, they nourish my drive.
I love my fear.”
I find that HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) works best for my body. I just love it! It’s challenging, and I get the best results from it. HIIT is great because you can mix it up and do something different every time. I love to take my cardio outdoors, especially to the beach where I’ll do sprints in the sand and then add-in a few plyometric circuits. My heart rate is usually through the roof within just a few minutes!
I have so many favorite healthy recipes! My all-time favorite dessert recipe:
Flourless Chocolate Chip Blondie Brownies
(From DAMY Health at DamyHealth.com
• 1 Cup Natural Smooth Peanut Butter (if you have a nut allergy you can always try to make these with a seed butter)
• 1/3 Cup Honey (Or Sugar-Free Maple Syrup)
• 1 Egg
• 1/4 Cup Egg Whites (2 Egg Whites)
• 1/4 Tsp Salt
• 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
• 1 1/2 Cups Cooked Chickpeas
• 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
• ½ Cup Sugar-Free Chocolate Chips
1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
2. Spray your 8×8 glass baking dish with healthy, non-stick oil.
3. Place all ingredients excluding the chocolate chips in your food processor and blend until smooth (stopping to scrape down the sides).
4. Using a spatula hand mix-in your chocolate chips.
5. Pour mixture evenly into your glass baking dish (use your spatula to smooth out the batter).
6. Place in the oven and bake for 27 – 30 minutes (until your fork comes out clean).
7. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes.
8. Cut into squares, serve and enjoy!
9. These are all-natural so I highly suggest storing them in a sealed tight container in your refrigerator
I eat clean year-round, whether I’m prepping for a competition or not. The only difference is, when I’m not prepping I will allow myself to indulge a little more in foods that aren’t on my diet, such as sushi, steak and potatoes, and pizza (occasionally). I eat 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day, and always make sure to include a lean protein source at each meal.
Here is an example of what my diet consists of:
½ Cup Oatmeal with ¼ cup of berries
1 Whole Egg + 4 Egg Whites
Whey Protein Shake
2 Rice Cakes with 1T Natural Peanut Butter
4 oz Chicken Breast on 1 Slice of Ezekiel Bread
1 Cup Broccoli
5 oz Greek Yogurt with an Apple (this is usually my post-workout meal)
4 oz Chicken Breast (or 97% Lean Ground Turkey)
1 Cup Spinach with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar for the Dressing
Casein Protein Shake
You can find my Blondie Brownie recipe above, which always does a stellar job curbing my sweet tooth cravings! I don’t often crave junk food, but if I do I’ll save it for my treat day! When I crave something salty, I make kale chips and lightly salt them. They are absolutely addicting!
Squats, Deadlifts, T-Bar Rows.
Absolutely! When in the gym, listening to music helps me to stay focused and block everything else out. It can also amplify the intensity of my workout! I go for something with a powerful beat to help psyche me up before a big set. I listen mostly to reggaeton and house music, but lately I’ve been filling my iPod with Kaskade! Favorite song:
Kaskade ‘Call Out’. I put that song on repeat and listen to it through my entire workout!
I weight train in the gym 4-5 days a week, depending on my schedule and what my goals are. Usually I will stick to a routine for 2-4 weeks, and then change it up so I continuously see results and don’t plateau. I often add in supersets and drop-sets to increase the intensity and help maximize results. With my goal right now being to add lean mass, I am focusing more on a lower rep range with heavy weight, and I always go to failure (and past failure when I have a spotter). I keep my rest periods between 30-60 seconds, depending on the body part I am training.
Checkout Megans 4-Day training split: Here
I can measure my progress fairly well just by looking in the mirror. Occasionally I’ll take progress pics (more so during competition prep to see how well I am leaning out). During prep I also weigh myself just once a week, but other than that I never rely on the scale!
I do think that supplements are an important addition to diet and training in building your ideal physique. I love Optimum Nutrition products and have been using them for years.
Supplements I use on a daily basis:
Whey Protein (Cookies and Cream is my favorite!)
BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)
CLAs (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)
Creatine (Cycle on and off, but currently using)
In the bodybuilding and fitness industry, I have always idolized Arnold Schwarzenegger. I admire his knowledge of (and love for) bodybuilding, and his willingness to spread his knowledge. Some of my favorite reading material comes from his New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding!
Outside of the industry, two of my favorite athletes are my younger (identical) twin brothers. They are so incredibly talented, competing nationally (and ranking top 3) in many different sports. After sweeping Judo Nationals and Judo Jr. Olympics this year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them competing in the 2016 Olympics! ☺ They inspire me!
Inside the gym, I am most proud of the effort that I give, day in and day out. No matter how I am feeling during any given workout, I never give less than my absolute ALL! I find no point in half-assing anything. I am going to leave that workout knowing that I couldn’t give another ounce of me, every single time.
Outside of the gym, I am most proud of the relationship that I have with my husband. We are nothing short of best friends, training partners, and soul mates. We challenge each other and support each other, and I know that he will always be my #1 fan!
I think that I would be wandering aimlessly without goals. Goals keep me structured and driven. I am currently training to compete in the figure category at the NPC National Bodybuilding Championship this November. One of my short-term goals leading up to Nationals has been to add lean mass to a couple areas of my body. That goal gives me something to focus on every time I step into the gym, and every day with my diet. Another short-term goal of mine is to win a National Championship and earn my IFBB Professional status as a figure competitor. Beyond that, I am going to keep my long-term goals to myself for the time being. ☺
1) If your goal is to shape your physique, then weigh training will need to become your best friend. Learn to love the weights. Heavy weights! Despite the common misconception, you are NOT going to get big and bulky from lifting heavy weights. If only it were that easy! Testosterone is what contributes to the big muscle gains of men, and ladies, your testosterone levels are nowhere near that of a man. If a fit and shapely body is what you want, start challenging yourself with heavier weights! Plus, doesn’t it feel more badass to lift heavy?!
2) Don’t fall for “quick fix” gimmicks. I see this happen all too often. If a pill, diet, or workout program claims to give you quick results, chances are it’s too good to be true. In addition, performing a certain exercise will NOT spot reduce fat from a specific part of your body. Take some time to educate yourself. There are plenty of excellent online sources that are packed with training, diet, and supplementation information, including CutandJacked.com. If you’re wanting improve your health and physique, it needs to be a lifestyle change, a program that you can stick to for the long haul!
3) Never EVER give up! You are going to have good days and bad days. Everyone does! Don’t let the bad days get the best of you. The bad days will be a true test of your mental strength, and you’ll find out just how bad you really want it. You will become stronger with every obstacle and weakness that you overcome, and when you reach your goal, you will thank yourself for it. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, I’m saying it’s going to be worth it.
Megan Donnelson Jensen
Birth Year: 1984
Contest Weight 122lbs; Off-Season Weight 130lbs
Facebook Athlete Page: www.facebook.com/MeganDonnelsonNPCFigureAthlete