Name: Natalia Worthington
Before: August, 2005
Weight: 190 lbs
Body Fat: 35%
After: Summer, 2007
Weight: 135 lbs
Body Fat: 10%
How I Got Started
As I gained some extra weight after having 2 children, my knees started to get affected (I was diagnosed with chondromalacia). I had no knowledge about good nutrition, and made wrong food choices every day. I'd say I was an 'emotional' eater. You know the kind who eat when they are happy, sad or bored.
Chondromalacia Patellae (also known as CMP, Patello-femoral Pain Syndrome, or Runner's Knee) is a degenerative condition of the cartilage surface of the back of the knee cap, or patella. It produces discomfort or dull pain around or behind the patella.
Not only my weight got out of control, putting stress on my joints, but the way I was eating was raising my chances for type II diabetes (I am genetically predisposed). At first I was in denial. Then I realized that by trying to find satisfaction in food, rather than in the relationship with God, I was robbing my family of a wife and mom I was designed to be. I decided to make a change. My husband also prayed for me (as he told me later).
I shared about my knee problem with a friend of mine, Diane M., who happened to be a bodybuilder. Her advice was to strengthen my quad muscles. Soon after she took me to the gym she belonged to, and showed me 'the ropes.' I've never been to a gym before in my life. I was so scared of the place - there were mirrors everywhere!
Big sweaty guys making grunting noises and throwing weights on the ground. But Diane put me at ease. Having someone actually show you what to do with the weights really helped. She also wrote a beginner's training program for me. I laminated it and took it with me to the gym every time, started working out for health and loved the results!
About 2 years ago I was checking out my favorite section of the bookstore, Fitness and saw Maggie Diubaldo's photo (she a 5-foot-8 Canadian figure competitor, model, etc) in Oxygen mag and said to myself "She's my height. This is how I'm going to look like!" I put a goal before myself, and I put a photo of Maggie as my computer wallpaper.
At the time after exercising and eating better my weight was in the healthy range, and instead of size 18 I wore size 12 jeans. But I was not about to stop there. I decided to challenge myself more and achieve that figure competitor's shape. For me it meant 10% body fat and around 135 pounds. I kept log of all my workouts and nutrition - it's very important!
How I Did It
I realized to reach my goal I had to really fine-tune my nutrition. I found some useful calculators on bodybuilding.com and found out how much calories I needed a day to maintain my current state. Then I made sure I consumed around 500 less calories/day, while continuing my rigorous training.
I started loosing more weight. But I was not just losing fat, but muscle mass as well. As I came to realize later, my calories were too low and my cardio was too excessive. I looked thin, but there was no 'pop' of the muscles.
I had to go back to the drawing board and re-think my strategy. First, I upped my calories by 200 on my training days, while eating at maintenance on non-training days (40 protein /30 carbs /30 fats macro breakdown). Then I cut my cardio to 2 times per day, swapping 1 hour steady state cardio for 20 minutes of HIIT. I stuck with 8-12 rep range during my weight-lifting sessions, adding weighted ab work. I noticed I was slowly putting on a bit of size while getting more defined.
The final step I undertook to get really lean was cycling my carbs and adding 2 more early morning cardio sessions. I also used CytoLean by Gaspari Nutrition to help me with energy levels. No other supps were used except once a day whey protein shake.
Sample Week Of My Diet
I ate 5 meals with around 300 calories each.
- Coffee - 1 cup
- GoLean Hi-Protein/Hi-Fiber Cereal - 1 serving
- Light Soy Milk - 1 serving
- Raspberries/cantaloupe/blueberries/strawberries - 1 cup
- EggBeater's Egg Whites - 3 servings
- Whole egg
- Red Bell pepper - 1 cup chopped
- Onions - 1/4 cup
- Kefir - 1 serving
- Chicken Breast (boneless, skinless) - 4 oz
- SteamFresh veggies (not seasoned) - 1 servings
- Brown rice - 1/2 cup
- Coffee - 1cup
Truth be told not many women can stay at this lean state for a prolonged period of time. And it's not the healthiest thing to do anyway. You gotta give your body a break. That's why I found eating whole foods at maintenance level 5-6 times per day, while doing weight training 3 times per week (plus a spinning class to keep my cardio-pulmonary health at optimum) works for me.
Suggestions To Others
Since seeing the photo of a famous FAME competitor and model Maggie my goals changed, and I do not look to any particular figure model as my inspiration. My competition is with my own self now. Every day I see to it that I don't abuse my body, train myself to become strong, fit and function the way it was designed to.
At the end of the day it's really not about being 'shredded' and 'cut' for a regular Joe and Jane. It's about taking care of the Temple, which is your body, that God has entrusted you with. Think of food as fuel, and choose your fuel carefully.
I am happy I could demonstrate to my children that to accomplish something worthy in this life you need to swim upstream! I proved to them that it is possible to eat clean and stay lean (eat right/stay tight) in this 'fast-food' and 'remote control' society.I love seeing my family getting more fit and healthy.
I have experienced first-hand all the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. The journey to the place where I am now would have been a lot easier if I had a knowledgeable and motivational trainer at my side. I want to be that shoulder to others now. That's why I am in the process of becoming a personal trainer, so that I could pass on the experience and know-how I've accumulated to all who are ready to make a change. Sometime down the road I'd love to own a gym and make a huge impact in this war against obesity and ignorance in the area of nutrition.