Prior to lifting weights I was a competitive track and field and cross country athlete - so the only experience I had with regards to weights was in doing any sort of "strength training" as a part of my conditioning programs with my athletics. I was never a "cardio bunny" persay, but there was a period in my life where "being athletic" and "being in shape" did not include weight training in my mind.
It really depends - certain workouts of mine take longer then others and it depends on whether or not I'm preparing for a contest.
I'd say I'm most proud of my business - to be able to do what I do for a living. I am the proud owner of my own online training and nutritional company. I've been in business for myself for over a year now, and have been blessed to work remotely with IFBB fitness pros, IFPA figure pros, dancers, bodybuilders, competitive athletes, and average men and women both in the U.S and beyond. I specialize in contest prep packages, strength and conditioning programs, and nutritional consultation and planning.
I hate to brag - but I am an EXCELLENT cook and I LOVE cooking, both for myself and others. Cooking lean is a huge passion of mine. When I'm not preparing for a show I love making my whole foods protein bars and quinoa chicken salad.
The longest I've been away from cardio has been about 2 and 1/2 weeks, and from weight training, 4. I had surgery this past November and was unable to weight train or do cardio for a period of time. Although, the break was hard for me mentally, physically I think it was one of the best things for me.
I think the biggest obstacles or setbacks ANY of us have to overcome or work to surmount, are self created - from our own fears or self-doubt. I truly think that if you BELIEVE you can do something... you can, regardless of the circumstances or obstacles you may encounter.
I have a very strong foundation with my faith in God, which keeps me centered and motivated when I struggle. Outside of turning to God when I need to remain focused - I stay motivated through the encouragement and support of my friends, family, and trainer, and through the desire to be the very best I can at what I do. I'm competitive by nature, especially against myself, and constantly improving, growing, and honing my physique is something I'm very passionate and dedicated about.
"Nothing tastes as good as being lean feels." That's one of my mantras. To be honest I don't really have them. I haven't eaten "junk" in quite some time. I hate the way garbage foods make my body feel and I can honestly say I prefer lean, whole, muscle building, fat torching natural foods. I eat clean organic food year round whether preparing for a show or not. If I do have a craving it tends to be that I simply want MORE of what I'm already eating.
I'm a huge fan of Ava Cowan, Erin Stern, Candice Keene, Alicia Marie (click to see Alicia Marie's interview with CutAndJacked.com), and my trainer Gretchen Crass.
I use a variety of cardio methods in my training, as I find my body tends to plateau if I do one thing too frequently. I do a lot of plyometrics, HIIT, and interval training. I do some steady state cardio as well but less frequently. I do a lot of treadmill work and treadmill training, but I also use the Precor and Stepmill.
This varies SO much this is hard for me to answer. My body is my guide- I adjust what I'm doing according to what my body needs and how it's looking. It also (obviously) depends on whether or not I'm in prep for a contest. I tend to do cardio 5-6 days a week, but the duration and frequency depends on whether I'm preparing for a show or not. I take at least one day off from the gym completely, whether preparing for a show or not. Usually on that day I take the dogs for a long walk, or I take yoga, or something relaxing and enjoyable, but no hardcore cardio or weights.
Again, this varies so much depending on whether I'm dieting for a show or not. Staples in my diet include the following protein sources- organic free range chicken, egg whites from cage free eggs, lean bison steak, 99% lean turkey tenderloin, wild caught orange roughy, wild caught salmon, and Sunwarrior Protein Powder; the following carbohydrate sources- asparagus, quinoa flakes, organic oats, green beans, spinach, and sweet potatoes; and the following fat sources- naturally more peanut butter with flaxseeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, MCT Oil, coconut oil, and EVOO. If I'm not preparing for a show I also add in a wider variety of foods including apples, unsweetened applesauce, blueberries, strawberries, feta and low fat cheese, low fat cottage cheese, nonfat Greek yogurt, shrimp, scallops, lean cuts of free-range beef, and veggies like baby carrots.
That achieving the body you want is a process, learn to enjoy it. Become a student of your body and be ready to work hard, harder then you think you'll have to. Being lean is NOT easy- if it were, we'd be a nation of lean muscular bodies, not overweight children and obese adults. It takes consistency and hard work to achieve your physique goals- there is NO quick fix...
Photo credits: Walt Ostarly, Picturegroove Photography, Chaz Photographics, Pavel Ythjall, LHGFX Photography