Have you ever wondered what it takes to sculpt a fitness-model body? If enduring long bouts of uninspired cardio or following a restrictive diet come to mind, it's time to dispel those misconceptions and start fresh. The process is much more exciting and dynamic!
Instead of attacking your goal without first establishing a solid plan, follow pro fitness model Lais DeLeon's essential training, nutrition, and recovery tips. Then, try her weekly workout plan to whip your body into cover-worthy shape!
1. Start With Breakfast
Many people seem to think that living like a fitness model involves drastically restricting calories and possibly even skipping meals, but this couldn't be further from the truth! Instead of neglecting breakfast, for example, Lais DeLeon knows that this meal is essential to building a successful day. She takes it seriously so she has the energy to crush her workouts and hit the day running.
"After starting my day with a glass of water and an omega-3 supplement, I like to fuel it with a homemade protein smoothie," Lais says. "I make my breakfast shake with cold-brew coffee, unsweetened almond milk, two scoops of NLA For Her Chocolate Eclair protein, some raw oats, a tablespoon of chia seeds, a tablespoon of natural peanut butter, and ice."
While this might sound like an odd assortment of ingredients, the balanced mix of caffeine, healthy fats, complex carbs, and protein makes for the perfect morning fuel. This fuel prepares DeLeon for her workouts and ensures that she can put forth full effort. "If you aren't well-fueled, your workouts just won't be where they should be," she explains.
2. Eat Fresh, Well-Balanced Meals
Once morning nutrition is out of the way, DeLeon's focus on a smart diet doesn't stop. "While I do some food prep for the meals I eat on the go, I still like to cook fresh as often as I can," she says. "I find that fresh meals taste best, and if you enjoy your meals, you're far more likely to stick with your nutrition plan."
Lais focuses on eating more carbs in her earlier meals and sticking with vegetables at dinner. This helps keep her body energized earlier in the day when it's go time, and allows her to burn fat when she's less active. When it comes to protein and fats, though, Lais doesn't play favorites. "I always make sure all of my meals have a source of lean protein and usually include some healthy fats," she says.
Rather than dramatically cutting your calories to lose weight, fuel like a fitness model and make sure your meals contain 20-30 grams of protein from whole-food sources like chicken and fish; include slow-digesting, complex carbs like brown rice and whole grains; and don't miss out on the benefits of healthy fats from fish, olive oil, or nutrient-packed seeds.
3. Find the Best Foods for Your Body
Certain foods can cause some individuals to bloat or retain water, or may even cause an allergic reaction. To combat this, DeLeon recommends finding the foods that your own body digests best. While this takes a little experimentation, or even work with an allergist, you'll eventually be able to determine and eliminate the foods that may be sapping your energy or sabotaging your results.
"I try to keep dairy out of my plan as best as possible," DeLeon says, explaining a food group that's problematic for her. "I also limit how much gluten I eat, instead turning to carb sources like sweet potatoes and brown rice."
While gluten and dairy don't agree with DeLeon's personal metabolism, they might be fine for you. Remember that everyone's body reacts differently to certain foods, so find what works best for your own system. Pay attention to how you feel after eating your meals, and remove any foods that might be causing issues.
4. Prioritize Sleep
No matter how busy her schedule gets, DeLeon always tries to carve out enough time for rest. "Get your beauty sleep!" she instructs. "Sleep is when your body recovers from all the hard work you put in at the gym that day, so a good night's sleep will ensure the next workout you have planned is a success."
DeLeon aims for at least eight, if not nine, hours of sleep a night. While it can be tricky at times—especially on days when she has to get up before sunrise—it's a sacrifice she's willing to make to reach her goals.
5. Get out of the Gym
Too many people think they need to hit the gym daily in order to get that fitness-model body, but it just isn't so. Getting the body of a fitness model is about training smarter, not necessarily harder. "I truly believe that time spent on recovery is just as important as time spent lifting, because recovery is essential to progress," she says.
If you constantly beat yourself into the ground, your body is not going to respond the way you'd like it to. "It's important to understand that when you work out, you break body tissues down," DeLeon says. "Not allowing for full recovery can lead to overtraining."
In addition to having at least one day of rest each week, DeLeon recommends scheduling a recovery week every 4-6 weeks, during which you decrease the volume (total sets and reps) of your training sessions. This will allow you to progress and build your desired body for the long haul, not just in fits and spurts.
6. Spice up Your Workouts
When it comes to her own workouts, DeLeon isn't afraid to change things up. Lifting is essential to building fitness-model muscle and curves, but it's not the only way she trains. "There's no question that to see great results, you need to challenge yourself with heavy weights," she says. "But don't be afraid to venture away from time to time."
While she loves pushing the limits of her one-rep max, DeLeon also enjoys plyometric, band, and higher-rep training from time to time. Being flexible with your workouts can help you stick to your program, regardless of the circumstances. "On days when my schedule's so busy that I can't make it to the gym, I'll grab my resistance bands and head outside or do a home workout," she says. "There's never an excuse to skip a training session."
With all her traveling engagements, DeLeon sometimes has to get creative with her workouts and the equipment available. Still, she always has a strategy. Often, her training plan comes down to time management. "Spend time planning how you'll fit each workout into your week, and you'll be more likely to actually get them done," she says.
Lais DeLeon's Fitness-Model Workouts
Ready to get a glimpse of what DeLeon's workouts look like? Give her weekly training schedule a try! Note that when Lais is really trying to lose fat, she'll add 30-40 minutes of morning cardio every day except Sunday.