Health and wellness has been instilled in my life since I was a child, I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that was always active. I played sports as well growing up and you could say I was a bit of a tomboy, having two older brothers; I didn’t really have any room to be “girly” without running the risk of getting teased about it. After finishing high school in a small town and going to a local public school with over 10,000 other students, the transition proved to be really difficult for me. It took me some time to figure what it was that I needed to do in life and eventually I found my way to a smaller, private college and graduated with a degree in Exercise Physiology. However, learning about the science of a healthy lifestyle and actually living it was far from the truth for me. I rarely exercised, drank way too much, developed a smoking habit and had maybe one questionably nutritional meal a day from the age of 18-26. It was a very destructive lifestyle where I had to realize what my own worth was. Keep in mind, that I have struggled and continue to struggle with my self-image where I constantly am in fear of “gaining weight”, almost phobia like. I have never been overweight at any point of my life, but unfortunately I believe our society plants the seed and cultivates the desire in young people to try an obtain an unrealistic self-image and sets up those with a weak support system or low self-confidence into a whirlwind of disappointment and frustration.
In March 2012, I woke up on my kitchen floor realizing that I needed to make a change and that I owed it myself, my family, my friends and especially my clients that I was meant to be a leader in the fitness industry. I turned my life completely around. I promised myself and I would never live my life so selfishly and that I would use my talents of perseverance and old-fashioned hard work to inspire, encourage and coach others towards becoming the best person they are meant to be. I work as a health fitness specialist with the General Electric employees by running Lunch and Learns, personal trainer as well as teach group fitness classes and I absolutely love it. I also work with other competitors and help coach and mentor them through the entire process. I find that the emotional and psychological changes can be the most trying part of the preparation of the show. I do this sport to continually prove to myself that I'm worth it. That I can do anything I put my mind to that I have control over what I become. I know that I exemplify this mantra through everything I do and I know it would resonate in anything I do and represent. I would love the opportunity to reach out to others to help support them in their fitness journey, whatever it may be. Whether that is writing articles, motivational speaking, running seminars, working booths/expos or just sitting down and chatting!
At the end of day, I know that I am my own creator. Every choice I make or choose not to make reflects in what I do. Whether that is in reference to my stage presentation, my job or my relationships. I know I have people that look to me for guidance, support and motivation. My motivation comes from those that I know might need that extra push. I’ve learned that my emotional pitfalls are not valid excuses when it comes to reaching my goals. No matter what obstacle comes my way, no matter how my heart has been broken or no matter how much I want to give up…tomorrow is coming…and I don’t get to do today over…so I better make the most of it! I never want to get on stage and regret missing a working or being lazy about my meal prep. Every moment counts.
I never thought I would enjoy cardio. In fact I always said if I was running it would only be if someone was chasing me with a knife. Although every competition I have done, my feedback had always been my conditioning was not quite there. So I put in work for this last show. Morning fasted cardio for 30-40 minutes on the step mill and then 30 more after my lifting work out. I will admit I respond the best to high intensity interval sprints on the treadmill and any work on the step mill.
Right now with it being my off-season I continue to eat healthy. I am reverse dieting at the moment and am slowly introducing calories back into my diet. I am probably close to 2100 calories right now consisting 48.2% Protein, 35.5% Carbs and 16.3% Fats. I have incorporated more red meats as I had taken them out of my diet during my prep time because it had the tendency to striate me and being in Figure that’s not really ideal. Fish isn’t my favorite thing but I made it work by going to a local restaurant and had them cook it for me to my specifications. I think that was more psychological as I felt like I was getting a “cheat meal” when really I wasn’t.
I believe it’s all psychological. You always want what you cannot have. But when I do get those irresistible cravings I drink A LOT of water. It helps me get my mind off of it. I realize that I am usually just bored and want to eat something, which is usually something I am not supposed to have. I’ve allowed myself to enjoy a Quest Bar or 2 tablespoons of almond butter every two weeks to help myself psychologically and emotionally.
I am a huge fan of Electronic Dance Music/House Music. There is just something about it that helps me get through the workout and lose myself in the repetitive beat. (Skrillex, DeadMau5, Lindsey Stirling, Bassnectar, Phantogram, Krewella, Nero, Flux Pavillion, The Bloody Beetroots, etc.)
Of course. I think it’s important to always have goals in mind, otherwise it’s too easy to get distracted and wander away from making the progress you want to make.
Short Term goals: I would like to get my weight up to a solid 145-150 on my off season while adding some muscle mass to my upper body (shoulders and arms to be specific) while maintaining a 10-12% bodyfat.
Long Term Goals: To win my pro card in Woman’s Physique and step on stage with some of the most beautiful women in the industry at Olympia.
I am most proud of the fact that I have been able to be disciplined enough to bring myself through 6 different shows. I have learned how my body reacts to such stresses and am able to be in control of how my body looks as well as be aware of my emotional and psychological changes while I am in prep mode.
Yes, there are times when people in my life have not been completely understanding or supportive of my training. What I have chosen to spend my time doing is time consuming and can be stressful. There are times when it cuts into time that I could use for “personal” time. I am committed to my goals and do not want to step on stage and have any regrets or guilt for choices I made during my prep. There are times where I feel lonely in this sport but at the same time I have been able to form solid relationships with other competitors and others who have fully committed themselves to living a healthy lifestyle. There have been moments that I question why I do what I do and why I put myself through it, but I also know I could never give it up. It is something that has literally saved me from myself and I will always hold that close to my heart.
Progress to me is measured by the way I look and feel. I despise the scale and rarely step on it.
I am a big fan of Metabolic Nutrition Protizyme, Tri-Prep, T.A.G, 360 Cuts Pre-workout Activator, MusclePharm CLA, I also take an ALA, multi-vitamin, fish oil, and digestive enzyme.
Kayla Dee (Johnson)
Year of birth: 1985
Weight: On Stage: 129 Current: 138lbs Off Season 145-150lbs
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