I've always been an athletic and active individual. I played sports all throughout grade and high school, but for some reason slacked off and didn't do as much once I started college. When I graduated and moved home in spring 2007 I found myself with a lot more free time on my hands, and I wasn't all that pleased with the way my body was looking, so with some encouragement from my boyfriend I joined a local gym and started working out on a regular basis. I was a little overwhelmed by all the equipment at first, so my boyfriend (who was a personal trainer at the time) wrote up workouts and taught me proper form for lifting free weights and using machines. Once I started, I was instantly hooked. I loved the changes I saw in my body as well as the feeling of kicking my butt back into shape, so I stuck with it. About two years ago I decided to kick it up a notch and start seriously lifting heavy. I was impressed with the muscle gains I was seeing and wanted to find out how much further I could push myself and transform my body. Needless to say, I'm a little meathead now. The gym is my addiction! I love lifting heavy and seeing the amount of weight I'm lifting increase week by week.
While I AM guilty of having avoided free weights when I first started working out and had no idea what to do, I've never been a cardio bunny. In fact, cardio is one of my least favorite things to do! It gets boring too quickly and I can think of much better ways to spend my time most days. I actually had a shirt made that says "Cardio schmardio...I lift weights bitches." It cracks me up every time I put it on and it's quickly become one of my favorite gym shirts. :)
I don’t have a set amount of time I train each day. It depends on the muscle group(s) I’m working that day, how much cardio I do and if I throw in an ab workout at the end. When not training for a show or shoot, I’ll normally do 20-30 minutes of cardio. When training, especially during the last few weeks out, I’ll do anywhere from 1-2 hours of cardio. So I’m normally at the gym for an hour and a half to 2 hours each day, somewhat longer when preparing for a show since I increase the amount of cardio. Again, it all depends on what I’m working that specific day. I’m sure everyone has their own opinion on the length of training sessions, because everyone has their own unique goals they’re looking to accomplish. Some require more training than others. I’ve seen people pop in and out in 30 minutes while others plug away for 3 hours. I get in, get done what I need to do and get out. Overtraining only hurts you in the long run.
Motivation definitely comes and goes for me. It's easiest to stay motivated when I have a shoot or show coming up, because I know exactly how I want my body to look when it's show time and that mental image of me on standing stage or in front of the camera motivates me to keep pushing myself harder. When I don't have an event coming up or I'm just not feeling it some days, I'll look through pictures of my fitness idols or take a few minutes to read comments/messages from friends and fans. Seeing the positive comments and support from people telling me my posts and pictures motivate them to work harder at the gym or clean up their diet never fails to fuel my motivation and get me fired up to hit the weights again.
I'm not a huge fan of cardio. I normally do low intensity cardio on the treadmill, elliptical or stairmaster, or skip it altogether some days. However, I need to do between 1-2 hours of cardio a day when prepping for a show or shoot, and I've found that high intensity interval training (HIIT) works best when I'm in prep mode. I can't honestly say that I love it, but there's no denying HIIT helps burn more fat compared to low intensity cardio. It speeds up your metabolism and enables you to burn more calories, plus it takes a shorter amount of time. I prefer to do interval sprints on the treadmill, jumping squats and lunges or sprints outside at my high school track for HIIT. It's definitely not the easiest type of cardio, but you can't argue the results.
I use a 7-day cycle, hitting only one or two body parts each day. My routine varies depending if I'm prepping for a show or shoot, if I'm trying to bulk up or lean out, etc. I normally lift heavy when not in prep mode, so my rep range is anywhere from 6-8 with 3-4 sets for each exercise. When I need to lean out, I do 4 sets for each exercise, but lower the weight and do between 15-20 reps in each set. Occasionally I'll do drop sets on my last set. I do 20-30 minutes of cardio when not preparing for an event; when prepping, it's anywhere from 1-2 hours (yay). I also include an ab workout 3-4 days a week.
Monday: Chest and Biceps
Cable flys (incline/decline) or incline machine
Rope curls on cables
Alternating hammer curls
Tuesday: Legs and Glutes - emphasis on quads
Squats superset with leg extensions with toes pointed out
Reverse lunges with dumbbells
Active rest day - Just cardio and abs
Pull ups superset with assisted pull ups
Wide grip lat pulldown
Seated row - close grip superset with wide grip
Bent over barbell rows
Friday: Shoulders and Triceps
Standing dumbbell lateral raises
Close grip bench press
Overhead tricep extensions
Saturday: Legs and glutes - emphasis on hamstrings
Stiff legged deadlifts
Standing calf raises
Seated calf raises
Active rest day - Just cardio and abs
Truthfully, I'm not a very strict dieter. I try to maintain an overall clean and healthy diet, but I don't measure/weigh my food, or count carbs, or keep a journal of everything I eat. I know my body well enough to understand what works and what doesn't, so I stick to eating what I know yields the results I want and avoid the rest. My main sources of protein are egg whites, lean turkey and chicken, fish and fat free Greek yogurt. I incorporate brown rice, sweet potatoes and oatmeal into my diet as well as lots of greens, vegetables and a limited amount of fruit. I also like Jamie Eason's protein bars - they are very easy to make and taste great.
I'm extremely proud of the transformation I've made in my body over the last 2 years since I started really lifting heavy. Looking back at pictures from when I first started fitness modelling and comparing them to how I look today, I can see a tremendous difference in my physique and it makes me feel great to see proof of what I've accomplished and am continuing to work towards. Several of my images have been published in fitness magazines, something else I'm very proud of. And I love that people view me and the results of my hard work as inspiration/motivation for themselves!
I have a sweet tooth AND a salty tooth, which makes sticking to a clean diet extremely challenging sometimes. I usually end up giving in and indulging in a cheat meal if it's not too close to the date of my shoot or show. A cheat meal every once in awhile doesn't hurt anybody :) However, if cheat meals are not an option, I'll snack on salt free rice cakes with sugar free jelly or almond butter, or some of Jamie's chocolate protein bars I mentioned earlier. Or I'll just drink water until I feel full. Not the tastiest solution, but I've worked too hard to get my body into this shape to let my inner fat kid get the best of me.
I have to go with squats, lateral raises and bench press as my top 3. I know most bikini competitors don’t really focus on chest, but I never skip bench-pressing each week. My current max is 155 lbs – not too shabby for a bikini girl! I love being able to bench a lot, it's one of my favorite exercises. My goal is to get my max up to 205 by this point next year, if not sooner. I also enjoy doing lateral raises. My shoulders are one of my weaker areas, and I'm always struggling to add size and definition to them. When I revamped my shoulder workout a few months ago I added lateral raises into the mix, and they've proven to be one of the most effective exercises for me, especially when done in drop sets. Finally, I can't get through a week without doing "big boy" squats haha. No Smith machine squats here. Squats are my favorite leg exercise to do because they impact my entire lower body and I definitely notice results from doing them.
Jamie Eason is my favorite fitness model, hands down. She is an amazing person an inspiration to so many people, myself included. I was fortunate enough to meet and spend time with her at the Arnold Expo this year, and she gave me some valuable advice about becoming successful in this industry. I'm also a huge fan of competitors like Dana Linn Bailey (view Dana Linn Bailey's interview with CutAndJacked.com) , Samantha Baker (View (Samantha Baker's interview with CutAndJacked.com), Ava Cowan and Cheryl Brown. They're all gorgeous women with incredible muscular physiques. Their dedication and work ethic in the gym is a great source of motivation for me and has definitely impacted how I train and push myself in my workouts.
TRAIN INSANE OR REMAIN THE SAME :)
Photography credits: OAMG, Andrew Nicholson, Bobby Black,Walt Ostarly, Phil Weber,
Jose Rosado, Bill Mason.