Posted 20 February 2012 by Interview:

Stephanie Woods

What sparked your interest in training?

I've always been into sports when I was in younger. I was very active and even played Rugby in college. But no matter how active I was, I could never figure out why I was always "skinny fat". It wasn't until over 3 years ago after having my second baby that I started to really "train". I was always intrigued by the women in the Oxygen and Flex Magazines. I wanted to look like them. I wanted to see muscles! So, I started training on my own. I started to lift weights, clean up my diet, research as much as could about the science behind diet and exercise. Before I knew it, my body was responding and over time, with hard work and dedication, I began to see muscles. The moment I glanced in a gym mirror and could finally see my muscle definition for the first time was the day I became an addict. I had my WOW moment! I couldn't believe that I could shape my body. It's taken me over 3 years to get where I'm at today and I am still hard at work. I focus every day on trying to shape and mold my body into the physique that I want. It's an art and I love every minute of it!

How do you stay motivated?

My family, friends and fans are the one's that keep me motivated. I have the best support system in the world. I am just like everyone else. I have my blah moments. The moments where I don't want to go to gym and I don't want to diet anymore. There have been times where all motivation for me has flown out the window. Then I remember that I have the best fans, the best husband and children, the best family and friends a girl could ask for. They pick me up when I'm down. They push me when I need to be pushed. Without them, I wouldn't be who I am today. Everyone needs a good support system to stay motivated. Whether it's your spouse, your kids, your sister, brother, or friend. You don't have to do it alone!

What types of cardio have worked best for you?

HIIT. Without a doubt! To be honest, I don't do a ton of cardio. I maybe get about an hour or two of cardio a week. If your diet is on target, you train hard, lift hard and stay active throughout the day, I don't believe you need to get on the treadmill and run for hours on end.

What does your diet consist of?

Just about everything! Ha ha! I love food! Hence the reason why I started Stephanie.Fitness. I was tired of the usual chicken, brown rice, and broccoli. Don't get me wrong! I love those foods just the same, but I needed variety and I needed my food to taste good. You can find my recipes at

Diet is everything! You can exercise all you want, but until you clean up your diet and start counting your calories and macro's, you will never lose the fat you want to lose or gain the muscle that you've been working so hard for.

My diet usually consists of: oatmeal, lean meats, whey protein, egg whites, Greek Yogurt, vegetables {lots of them!}, cottage cheese, whole wheat breads, almond milk, fruits and did I mention vegetables {lots of them!} Ha ha!

How do you deal with cravings for junk foods,
sweets and salty food?

Ah! My favorite question! I am always finding ways to invent new recipes and foods that will help kick my sweet tooth in the bud. I still enjoy sweets, just Stephanie.Fitness style. I love adding Torani or Da Vinci sugar-free syrups to my plain Greek Yogurt or adding fresh fruits to my cottage cheese. I've also come up with some great protein muffins and even invented Protein Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. I am always finding ways to enjoy "junk foods" without actually ruining my diet. Often times my recipes make me feel like I'm cheating.

What are your top 3 favourite exercises?

Hands down.....Deadlifts, Lat Pulldowns, and Bulgarian Squats.

How much rest do you take between sets?

Anywhere between 30 seconds to 90 seconds. I'm always lifting heavy. Giving myself the proper amount of time to regain my strength between sets is crucial to building solid lean muscle mass.

Do you listen to music whilst you train?

Yes! I'm always jamming to my tunes! At the moment, I have Five Finger Death Punch, Breaking Benjamin, Avenged Sevenfold, Black Eyed Peas, Eminem, and Ke$ha.

What is your training routine like?

I like working one body part a day. By focusing on just one body part a day, I can really hammer all the muscles I need to work on within that muscle group. Since I work so hard on each body part, I also try to give my muscles enough time to repair and replenish themselves. So, resting each muscle group for 6 or 7 days makes a world of difference when I hit the gym the following week. I'm always stronger and well rested. Here is what a typical week looks like for me:

Day 1: Chest - 5 to 6 exercises - 15 to 24 sets - 8 to 12 reps each
Day 2: Arms {biceps & triceps} - 6 exercises - 24 sets - 8 to 12 reps each
Day 3: Back - 5 exercises - 15 to 20 sets - 8 to 12 reps each
Day 4: Shoulders - 6 exercises - 18 to 24 sets - 8 to 12 reps each
Day 5: Legs/Glutes - 6 exercises - 24 sets - 20 to 25 reps each {lighter weights}
Day 6: Off
Day 7: Off

I do cardio {HIIT} about 15 to 20 minutes every day. As well as rotating my abs and calves every other day.

I always lift heavy during my workouts and do low reps, except for my leg day. I have a tendency to have bigger legs and glutes. On my leg days, I am usually just using my body weight or very light weights and high reps. I've noticed a huge difference in my legs ever since I quit training them with heavy weights. My body is shaped better than it has ever been and for once, the bottom half of my body isn't bigger than my top half.

Do you set short and long term goals?

I am always setting short-term goals. Not so much long term, because for me, eventually all the little one's will add up to one long-term goal and who knows what that could be. I'm always changing my mind. What I wanted a year ago, is not the same as I want today. So, setting short-term goals for me is more logical. I can always see the end of the road with short-term goals. They are easier to achieve and I can focus on them more if I know that I could be done in just a few short weeks or months.

At the moment, my next short term goal is to get a cook book with my recipes published and have it ready by Fall of 2012. We shall see....

What are you most proud of?

My family. I am proud to be the wife of such a wonderful and supportive husband and I am proud to be the mom of two rambunctious little boys. I am also proud of myself and how much I've accomplished in the last 3 years. I gained a ton of weight with both of my kids. After having my youngest, I wanted to change.....and so I did. I have worked so hard to get where I'm at today with my physique and to say that I've had 2 kids who are both under the age of 6, lets other moms know that they can do it too!

Have you had any obstacles or setbacks
towards achieving your goal physique?

Yes! I have trained for 2 different bodybuilding figure competitions, and both times I've been let down and have had to back out. My last one, I was ready to go. Only a few days away from being on stage at an NPC competition. I had my suit, my heels, my bags packed, and a hotel all lined up. Two days before I was due on stage, I became very sick with Strep throat and a kidney infection. Needless, to say, I couldn't compete. I've come to terms with it and it all worked out in the end. I'm happy where I'm at today and training for those shows, I was able to prove to myself that I could do it. I could train hard. I could lean down. I learned a lot about myself in those few months of training. Getting sick was not my plan, but it really didn't set me back either. I'm always trying to look at the positive side of things. I guess it just wasn't my time to get on stage.

How do you measure your progress?

The mirror. Screw the scale! I hate the scale! I wish people would throw them out! Your scale doesn't tell you what's going on inside your body. It's just giving you a number. It doesn't tell you how much extra muscle you've put on. It doesn't tell you how much water you're holding onto for that day. If I feel good, my clothes fit good, and I like what I see in the mirror, then all is well. If my pants feel a little tighter or I don't like what I see in the mirror, then I work on it. I lower my carbs for a few days or weeks and I keep training. I don't let my scale weight justify how I'm going to feel for the rest of the day. 99% of the time, people know when they've messed up on their diets. So, fix it...don't get on the scale and then be bummed you gained a few pounds. Well, duh! Your diet has sucked for the last few days. Now, do something about it!

Who are your favourite, athletes or fitness models?

I'm a huge Jay Cutler and Ronnie Coleman fan. They have more dedication than anyone else I have ever met.

What supplements would you use/recommend if any?

Whey protein and Creatine

What 3 tips would you give to any woman wanting to get a feminine, CutandJacked physique like yours?

Tip #1 - Lift Heavy! No matter how hard you train or how heavy you lift, women will never get bulky. It's not in our genetic makeup. We have too much estrogen and not enough testosterone. You need to lift heavy to shape your muscles, to tone them, and to strengthen your bones.

Tip #2 - Eat Food! Don't starve or go without! You need to constantly eat to fuel your body. Most women say they don't eat breakfast because they're not hungry. You want to know why you're not hungry? You're metabolism is a mess. If you've been sleeping and fasting for the last 8 hours, you should be starving when you wake up. Eating 5 to 6 meals a day with proper calories and macro's, will not only fuel your body and keep you burning calories all day, but it'll also help get your metabolism back on track so that you can be a fat burning machine, even while you're sitting on the couch.

Tip #3 - It takes time! Months, even years. Building muscle, leaning down, and perfecting your body takes a long time. Especially if you have a lot of fat to lose and a lot of muscle to gain. Don't ever give up! Keep going strong! Keep working hard! If you plateau, change your workout routine. Switch up your diet. Even changing the time of day when you workout can do the trick. Just don't ever, ever give up! Be patient. It takes time.