How Did You Get Started?
Growing up in a family of athletes and coaches, I was always aware of the hard work and dedication of sports performance. I was a high school multi sport standout and a collegiate track and field and cross country standout.
Following college I began teaching high school and eventually made my way to coaching track and cross country in '03. I maintained an adequate level of fitness, but not the same level at which a former collegiate athlete becomes accustomed. In May '04, after deciding to rejoin a gym, my membership included 5 free training sessions that I initially declined.
I remember thinking, "I'm a former athlete. I know what I'm doing in the gym. I don't need a trainer." After seeing the physiques produced by trainer Jolene Carter (www.jolenecarter.com), I agreed to sign up to train, and compete in my first figure competition. I'll never forget Jolene's words at our initial session:
"Are you going to listen to me?"
"Are you going to do everything that I tell you to do?"
"Good, then you'll win your show."
I guess Jolene was right. I went from 148lbs and 21% body fat to 128lbs and 6% body fat in 16 weeks, and won my first show (John Sherman Classic), which happens to be one of the biggest shows in Texas. I've been an avid competitor since.
What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?
Leg Extensions: 6 Sets Of 20 Reps
Plyo Box Step Up: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Leg Curls: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Plie Squats: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Leg Press: 3 Sets Of 20 Reps
Plyo Box Jumps: 3 Sets Of 10 Reps
Barbell Lunges: 3 Sets Of 30 Reps
Mountain Climbers: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Stiff-Legged Deadlifts: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Plyo Box Jumps: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Click Image To Enlarge.
Video Guides: Windows Media - RealPlayer
Note: Video Conatins Mountain Climbers And Power Jumps.
Overhead Dumbbell Press: 3 Sets Of 8-15 Reps
Bent Over Straight Bar Row: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Side Lateral Raises: 3 Sets Of 10-15 Reps
Standing Calf Raises: 3 Sets Of 20 Reps
Cable Rear Deltoid Raises: 3 Sets Of 12-15 Reps
Lat Pulldowns: 3 Sets Of 10 Reps
Seated Row: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Front Deltoid Raises: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
T-Bar Row: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Seated Calf Raises: 3 Sets Of 20 Reps
Hammer Curls: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Weighted Dips: 3 Sets Of 20 Reps
Dumbbell Curls: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Skull Crushers: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Concentration Curls: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Triceps Kickbacks: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Barbell Curl 21's: 3 Sets Of 21 Reps
Triceps Rope Pushdowns: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Cable Bicep Curls: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Triceps Pulldowns: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Incline Dumbbell Press: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Pushups: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Cable Crossovers: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Standing Calf Raises: 3 Sets Of 20 Reps
Bench Press: 3 Sets Of 8-15 Reps
Yoga Ball Pushups: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Flat Bench Dumbbell Press: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Pec Fly: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Incline Shoulder Press: 1 Strip Set Of 10 Reps
Pull Ups: 3 Sets To Failure
Bent Over Barbell Row: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Single-Arm Bent Over Dumbbell Rows: 3 Sets Of 15 Reps
Lying T-Bar Row: 3 Sets Of 20 Reps
Seated Horizontal Calf Press: 6 Sets Of 20 Reps
What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?
My diet is very simple, but has a lot of variety. I eat 6-7 meals/day. Each meal consists of 5oz protein and about 5oz carbs. I do not consume carbs with my last 2-3 meals. For breakfast I'll eat apricot or strawberry protein pancakes, chocolate, lemon, pumpkin, or carrot protein cake, southern fried potatoes and eggs whites, spinach and egg whites, breakfast taquitos, oatmeal, extra-lean turkey bacon, or breakfast quiche.
For lunch or dinner I'll eat crab cakes, meatloaf, black bean burgers, steak fries, tilapia, BBQ chicken, ginger spice chicken, chicken or shrimp fried rice, sweet potato fries, popcorn, and chicken and turkey frittatas. And contrary to a lot of competitors' diets, mine tastes as wonderful as it sounds!
What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?
The 2 supplements I "must have" are my All American EFX V&M (multivitamin) and Liquid Beef Aminos (LBA Pro). I rarely miss a day of taking them. The multi gives me energy throughout the day and the aminos prevent muscle loss, which was something I first experienced while training for the Arnold Amateur in 2008. I mix the vanilla aminos with a sugar free orange drink and it tastes like and an orange creamsicle and I mix the strawberry aminos with sugar free lemonade/limeade and it tastes like a Sonic slush...good stuff!
I also take Vanilla NF Pro Protein Powder (it takes like cake batter), AAEFX Kre-Alkalyn Pro (pre-workout), and Cell Rush (post-workout). In the past I have also taken EFX's Lean Fix, but I tend to stay pretty lean year round so I don't take it as often.
Why Do You Love Fitness?
The level of intensity at which athletes work is what keeps fitness interesting to me. It is amazing to see the healthy limits to which people push themselves to acquire and achieve goals. Again, I am a true competitor in life. Whether it is fitness or job related, I am all about seeing physical limits tumble and watching individual abilities supersede. Additionally, the friendships I have made and the wonderful people I meet with similar interests and a love for health are another reason why I love the sport.
What Motivates You To Follow A Healthy Lifestyle?
I have always been very self motivated. Maybe it has something to do with my astrological sign...Aries are known to be natural competitors. I am my biggest fan and worst critic. As a self-motivator when I see something I want, my mind set is always, "Why not me?" Meaning, I am the only thing standing between me and my goals.
I am constantly setting new goals for myself to always have something to work toward. Whether it is athletically, personally, or professionally setting goals allows me to learn and grow which is such an important part of life.
I'm also motivated by the love of "feeling" healthy, and the fact that I like the way my physique looks when I remain lean for long periods of time. For the first 3 years I competed, I was a big off season binge eater. My mentality was "Once you learn how to take it (weight) off, it doesn't matter if you pick it up, because you can just work real hard to drop it." I would easily gain 30lbs during the off season and go from a size 0 to a 10. Sometimes it would kill my motivation, but I always got the weight off.
I finally figured that the up and down was too hard on my body and just not healthy. Things finally "clicked" in 2008. All the nutritional advice I'd paid for in my earlier years actually made sense. Now I'm a guru in the kitchen. If you name the dish, I can make a healthy version of it.
I keep an arsenal of awesome recipes close at hand. When you look good, you feel good. As a mental health clinician, I know how positive self-perception and motivation work together. You carry yourself different when you feel good about yourself. It affects your entire demeanor and daily behaviors...who doesn't want to wake up every day feeling good about themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally. I guess I'm just motivated by the positive effects associated with living a healthy lifestyle.
What Made You Want To Achieve Your Goals?
When I was a kid my parents had one rule about all activities: "Try your best and never quit." Once I made the decision to try my hand at the whole fitness thing, those words spoken by my parents always remained. They were both outstanding athletes and educators who encouraged my brother and I to use any talents we were blessed with to the best of our ability. Health and athleticism are my gifts. Through education I have learned that I can help and motivate others with my gifts to achieve their own success.
This is why I work so hard to achieve my own goals. I am a woman, a daughter, a teacher, a student, a sister, and a trainer who have people looking to me for motivation. If I fail myself, I fail my family, and those looking to me for support. "To much who is given, much is expected." Work passionately with the gifts you are blessed with to help motive, inspire, and encourage others to become their best...after all, in my opinion life is about paying it forward. I think that pretty much sums it all up!
What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?
With regard to modeling, I would like other ladies in the fitness industry who aspire to model and other ladies in general to understand that you can achieve success as a model by doing shots that emphasize classy sexy rather than trashy and provocative. It is very true that many higher paying shoots go for the "sex kitten" look and many women feel compelled to take these jobs because they pay the most.
I have nothing against these shoots, but at the end of the day I want my work to represent something different. I want to be able to show my family, children, church members, and friends my work without being concerned that some of it may be inappropriate. I like to consider my work sophisticated class. I guess you could say that my goal is to let others know that modesty is okay and is often far sexier than bearing it all.
With regard to competing, I want to participate in every organization and do the best I can in each one. If I get pro cards, great, but if not, no lost love. Most competitors tend to stick with NPC because it is the most recognized organization, but there are so many other organizations out there that are excellent competitive arenas as well.
They all serve as great learning opportunities because each is different. Additionally, I would also like to continue writing for fitness magazines, work on a calendar, and inspire and advocate for more women of diverse ethnic backgrounds to adopt a healthy lifestyle and get on that competition stage!
What One Tip Would You Give Other Fitness Competitors?
The one thing I tell all first time competitors or people with a desire to get into the fitness industry is to make sure you know who you are as an individual, make sure you have other healthy interests, and set realistic fitness goals. Standing on a stage and allowing people to pick you apart when you are often in the best shape of your life is not for the weak minded.
Having other outside healthy interests helps keep you grounded if/when you do not get the response, results, or success you desire within the fitness industry. Finally, by setting and constantly reassessing realistic fitness goals, it keeps you from becoming bored and always gives you something to strive toward. Always compete with a goal in mind and have a passion for what you are competing for. Know what you stand for, be true to yourself, and always remember that you are your best and worst critic.
Who Are Your Favorite Fitness Competitors/Bodybuilders?
I use to see Lenda Murray and Cory Everson in my brothers magazines and would think how cool it was for ladies to have muscles. As I got older I was initially inspired by Mocha Lee, who was one of the few black Tri-Fitness competitors. After I started competing, I admired Jenny Lynn, Davana Medina, Tanji Johnson, and Monica Brant. These days I really like Gina Aliotti's physique...she has the classic figure look with real muscle and no soft fluff!
What Features Do You Use On Bodybuilding.com?
I recently started blogging about 4 weeks ago and I am hooked. It's nice to see others who share common interests and struggles and see how they persevere. I find the comments people post on profiles to be the most helpful. There have been several times where I was dragging and read a comment left on my page that was very uplifting and inspiring. I also like the forums, and the often outrageous videos people post...oh heck I guess I just like the whole darn site!