In high school and college I struggled to maintain my ideal weight. I had this image of a perfect body I wanted, but no idea how to really get it. I would go in phases where I’d be on some fad diet and doing excessive cardio at the gym, then eventually burn out, binge and give up. It was a vicious cycle.
My life changed when I started strength training regularly, about 3 years ago. At first I was intimidated by the weight room, but I learned a lot from some friends who taught me to lift in a traditional bodybuilding style. I began to love lifting heavy and pushing myself in the weight room, and working out became something I truly enjoy instead of feeling like a chore. I also loved the results, I saw how lifting weights transformed and sculpted my body in a way that no amount of cardio ever could. I still find the ability to shape and sculpt your physique through strength training to be so fascinating and exhilarating!
My workouts rarely last much longer than an hour at a time. I like to get in, warm up, crank out my workout and get out. On days that I am doing both cardio and lifting I prefer to split it up into two workout sessions, usually with cardio in the morning and lifting in the afternoon. Working out for longer than an hour at a time is actually counterproductive, it interferes with proper recovery and puts unnecessary stress on the body, causing it to release the fat-storing hormone cortisol.
Dieting and training for a show is a physically and mentally challenging process. I frequently use inspirational quotations to help me stay positive, focused and motivated. I like to search until I find the perfect quote that really fits how I am feeling that day. I keep a collection of my favorites, organized by the subject, for when I need a pick-me-up.
Photos really help me stay motivated as well. I look at photos of my favorite athletes and fitness models, as well as photos of myself when I am in peak shape. I sometimes look at photos from earlier times when I was heavier and out of shape, to remind myself how far I’ve come and how much better I feel about my body when I am training hard and eating right!
Another great motivator for me is music. I like to update my iPod frequently, adding new songs that I will be excited to listen to while working out. I always get a better workout when I have a fresh, upbeat playlist!
I spend a lot of time on the stepmill, especially before a competition, to give my glutes a little extra lift. I mix it up, I’ll skip steps, then do lateral step-ups, always focusing on pushing up through the heel of my foot to fire up the glute muscles.
I also like to do high intensity sprints on the treadmill, as well as walking or sprinting on an incline. I’ve recently started to incorporate more distance running into my weekly workouts and I’m already seeing great results from it.
Typically I lift 5 days a week with a three-day split that I rotate:
(1) back and shoulders, (2) legs and glutes, and (3) chest, tris and bis.
I do a 6th day of just cardio and abs. Most days I do 20-30 minutes of cardio in addition to lifting. I usually have one day off a week to rest.
I prefer to listen to my body rather than stick to a rigid workout routine- if I feel very fatigued one week I take an extra day of rest. If I’m feeling great, recovering well and getting plenty of sleep I might end up doing some kind of workout 7 days that week.
I keep my workouts high intensity, doing all supersets and tri-sets. I use a Polar heart rate monitor to keep my heart rate between 75-90% max during my workout.
Here is a sample of my 3 - day rotation (click image below to-download PDF)
This varies depending on my goals at the time. My year round diet staples include: Eggs and egg whites, chicken, turkey, fish, whey protein powder, oats, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, apples, berries, almond milk, tons of green vegetables, and WATER... at least a gallon a day, every day.
I am most proud of myself for how far I’ve come in the past few years, from feeling so unhappy in my own skin that I didn’t want to leave the house at times, to being able to get up on stage, under bright lights, in front of hundreds of people in a tiny bikini. The confidence I have gained in myself through fitness has changed every aspect of my life for the better.
I have a serious sweet tooth, so I chew sugar-free gum or drink hot tea to help combat cravings. But nothing beats willpower, when I prepare for a show nothing can break my determination! I envision how my body will look up on that stage. I constantly remind myself how much happier I am when I feel good about my body. Remember, nothing tastes as good as being fit feels!
Squats, deadlifts and push-ups. These classic strength exercises are extremely effective because they are compound movements, targeting many muscles in the body at once. I also love them because they are empowering exercises, I get such a rush after completing a set with perfect form, or beating a personal record in the gym with more weight or reps.
My favorite athletes are WNBF Pro Bodybuilder Brenda Rahe and IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Marcus Haley... they are incredible athletes and truly amazing people who have made such a positive impact on my fitness career. My favorite Bikini competitor is IFBB Pro Jaime Baird because she always presents herself with class and poise, and she’s also a very sweet, genuine, down-to-earth person.
Anything is possible if you want it badly enough and are willing to work for it. Never let excuses or self-doubt get in the way of getting what you really want in life.
Justine can be contacted via
e-mail at Justine [dot] fitness [at] gmail [dot] com
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Justine-Moore-NPC-Competitor-and-Fitness-Model/119306781478014