When I played tennis at my university, I cracked a bone in my right foot my junior year, which forced me to be off the court for the season. I work as a personal trainer, and co-workers of mine told me about the sport of figure bodybuilding. So, I thought I'd give it a try since I could still weight lift, even though I could not run/play tennis. I immediately became hooked, and 4 months later I entered a competition and stepped on stage to place 2nd in my class! Through competing and getting into dieting for the first time in my life, I couldn't believe the huge impact food had on how my body felt and looked. So, through my degree and certifications, I learned more about it! I always knew I wanted to continue training like an athlete once my college athletics career ended, so it was very easy for me to adapt to the sport of bodybuilding.
Well, I use myself and the people around me as motivation. Being a figure competitor and a fitness model, I know that a lot is expected of me. I know what I am capable of achieving when I have complete control of my mind and body. Once you realize that you yourself have the ability to sculpt your body through hard workouts, a positive mindset, and a proper diet, you can’t get enough! Being fit became a lifestyle quickly for me, and it’s amazing to see just how far you can go. My fans motivate me as well; it is very rewarding knowing that I can help someone achieve their own fitness and health goals by what I’m doing myself. On those days I am lacking motivation, I always look up to my favorite athletes to see what they’ve done that day, and it always works!
To me, I’ve always seen the results I’ve wanted from cardio. Because I change up my cardio regiment so frequently to avoid boredom, it seems like any type of cardio works for me. Being a college tennis player, I changed my cardio almost daily, whether it was training for tennis or actually playing tennis. However, I don’t do empty stomach/fasted cardio, even in-season.
The Stairmaster is my favorite cardio machine. If I only have a short time period to do cardio, I do increment sprints on the stairs (level 13 for 45 seconds, down to level 7 for 1 minute and continue these increments). I also always enjoy a nice run outside when the weather is nice. Hiking, bike riding, you name it and I’m there!
Yes! It is clean-eating pumpkin pie bars; perfect for the season!
(For sweeter pumpkin topping, add 1/4 cup stevia or sugar)
*Mix together all of the pumpkin topping mixtures and set aside. Mix together all of the crust ingredients and pat down into a prepared 9x13" pan. Bake crust for 10-15 mins (until slightly crispy) at 325 F. Pour the pumpkin topping on top of the crust and bake at 325 F for 35 - 40 minutes or until the pumpkin is set. Remove and let cool in the fridge (about an hour) before cutting.
I typically eat clean year-round allowing myself around 2 re-feeds a week. I like staying lean because I feel that I train better, and also so it is easier for me to prep for a last-minute photo shoot. My in-season diet is very strict with 6-8 meals a day with about 20-25g protein and 20 g carbs each meal, with fats varying between 30-50 g/day depending how far out I am from a show. Some of my favorite staple foods are egg whites, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brown rice, chicken breast, lean ground turkey, asparagus, and broccoli.
My top 2 go-to's for cravings are flavored hot tea and gum; they almost ALWAYS work! On those times that they don't work, it's all about distracting myself, whether that means studying, doing stuff around the house, going to the grocery store/mall... etc.
Absolutely. I listen to a variety of Dubstep (Skrillex is my favorite) along with remixes of various upbeat modern songs. Music helps distract my mid-set to just keep pushing. It also always helps if a good part of the song comes on right towards the end of my set… it always gets me a great surge of energy to finish strong! I almost always wear headphones in the gym, even if my iPod is dead. Definitely helps me keep focused!
I usually take 1-2 days off from the gym per week. I split my workouts up by body zone. Here is an example workout of my split:
Short-term goals for me are usually competing in shows or doing photo shoots to be in the best conditioned shape possible. In the long run, a big goal of mine is to continue with this lifestyle and continuing to motivate others to improve their lives as well along the way. It’s such a rewarding feeling knowing that you can make a positive impact on someone else’s life. With that being said, my long term goal is to keep my physique in as best shape as possible year round while continuing and always making improvements to make the best version of myself. One day, I hope to also get my IFBB Pro Card for Figure and have the privilege to step on the Olympia stage.
I am proud of everything I have accomplished with my physique and how far I’ve come in the fitness industry. Being athletic and in turn naturally lean, I was always the girl who ate whatever she wanted with a huge sweet tooth, without thinking twice about nutrition. I never would have thought it would be possible to completely change my lifestyle around to where I am today. From me changing myself, it has helped me change and help others with their own lives as well, and that means the world to me!
Watching my clients transform is also very rewarding. I had one of my lady clients tell me that I was the reason she was able to come off all of her diabetes medications. I had another send me a picture in her wedding dress ecstatic how beautiful she looked after she lost the weight. Also, I had this one client who was recovering from a neck surgery from having nerve issues, and when I first began working with him, he was unable to raise his arms over his head at all by himself. He told me that he wasn’t even able to lift a can of soda to his mouth without the use of two hands. On my last day with him, he was dumbbell shoulder pressing 10 pounds in each hand! It is so rewarding knowing what a difference you can make in someone’s everyday life.
I would say my setbacks are like anyone else’s; I am my own worst enemy. There are days where I just want to sleep all day, skip the gym, go out to eat and splurge, quit a rep or two early. It is so easy to lose focus and fall off track, and when this happens, it is all myself doing it. A support system to me is huge; without the support of my family and friends, I wouldn’t be where I am today. If I know I am lacking motivation or slacking, I call them up and immediately get whipped back into it!
I take TONS of progress pictures, almost daily during contest prep. If I ever lost my cell phone during a contest, I feel bad for whoever finds it! I don’t pay too much attention to the scale; it’s mostly how my clothes are fitting/my measurements, and my appearance that is important to me.
Erin Stern and Bella Falconi.
Whey/casein protein, aminos, multi-vitamin, ZMA, glutamine.