I asked my followers to submit their health & fitness questions – and appreciated the fantastic response! Thank you for sending me your inquiries about exercise, nutrition, competing, getting sponsorship, fit pregnancy and more. I am going to reply to each and every one of you, so please continue to submit your fitness questions to firstname.lastname@example.org please!
Here are answers to the 3 Most Common Fitness Questions that I received.
Question #1: “So what exactly do you eat?”
Well, this depends entirely on when you happened to have asked me this question. My diet is based on my current fitness goals.
General Nutritional Guideline
I always eat fresh foods, rarely from frozen, and make a point to avoid processed foods as much as possible. I include protein with every meal and eat lots of veggies throughout the day. My protein choices are typically red meat, turkey bacon, ground turkey, seafood or eggwhites. I limit my carbs and prefer a higher fat diet, however I do love fruits and eat raspberries, strawberries, bananas, blueberries and pineapple regularly. I keep hydrated with mostly sparkling water lately or flat water with fresh squeezed lemon or lime. I very rarely drink, unless I’m on vacation, in which case, I do! To avoid getting bloated by the pool, I find it’s best to mix hard bar and water or diet sodas, and even bring along a calorie-free liquid drink flavour. I quickly learned on a trip to Jamaica to avoid indulging in too many calorie-dense beverages, like pina coladas, which are full of sugars that quickly convert to extra bodyfat.
Supplements are usually part of my diet, however not during pregnancy. I’ll discuss those more in a few paragraphs through a comparison to my prep contest approach.
During pregnancy, my diet changed, but not dramatically. I include more carbs to ensure my baby has enough calories to grow big and healthy. Salmon, spinach, omega-enriched eggs and dairy are included regularly and the only supplements I take are my prenatal vitamin and vitamin C (to keep my immune system healthy and fend off illness) and vitamin D (to bump up my calcium and ensure my body isn’t deficient). I also keep my iron high by continuing to eat steak often.
Contest Prep Diet Plan
Pre-contest dieting is a whole other story. A big rule for me is that I stop cheat meals at 18 weeks out from my show. That means no pizzas, no cookies, no alcohol, no dairy… if it’s not on my diet plan, it’s not passing my lips. This isn’t easy, but making it a black and white rule saves me agony obsessing over when my next cheat meal is and what to have.
My diet is high protein and fat, with carbs only incorporated during and sometimes after my workout. The carbs I have are intraworkout drinks and, post workout, a banana sometimes or sweet potato, always eaten with a source of protein and within 20 minutes of putting down my last weight.
My diet before a world-level professional competition consists mainly of beef, chicken, turkey, eggwhites and tuna, which tapers off to just lean cuts of steak and grounds turkey at 8 weeks out.
Veggies include a variety until the final stages again, where I eliminate the higher sugar vegetables such as carrots, snap peas and peppers and live on broccoli, asparagus, spinach, green beans and sometimes brussel sprouts.
I love avocado! This factors into my fat intake, alone with omega-enriched eggs, but in the final stages of prep, my options are reduced to coconut oil and the fat from red meat.
Supplements greatly aid me in reaching contest shape, including BCAAs, creatine, intra-workout carbs and fat burners or pre-workouts. During my off-season, I taper back on the fat burners and overall caffeine intake but otherwise continue with my favourite supplement stack. (More information on my supplements stacks are available in earlier blogs, so search back through my post history and subscribe to my YouTube Channel to learn from my years of pre-contest blogs.)
Question 2: “My goal is to build muscle, but I have bodyfat to lose too. What should I do first, cut or bulk?”
Please answer Yes or No to the below questions for me:
- Are you over the age of 25?
- Have you been exercising regularly for less than one year?
- Would you categorize yourself as overweight?
- Do you find it difficult to adhere to a diet plan?
- Am I correct to assume that you are not a competitive power lifter?
If you answered ‘YES’ twice or more, then you should cut bodyfat first, and later adapt your program for muscle-building priority.
Simply stated, the process of bulking is easier and much more fun! You get to eat more, have energy for your workouts, look big and full in the gym and are getting stronger by the week!
The tough work is cutting. To get that tight physique and muscle definition, you have to be able to deal with food cravings and mood swings, low energy and diminished performance in the weight room. Society clearly shows that not everyone is capable of doing it, otherwise there would be more ripped fitness models wandering around.
When my clients want to be more muscular, it often means their goal is to LOOK stronger, unless they are powerlifters chasing PRs. What I have to explain is that by reducing your bodyfat percentage, you will look jacked, even though you are actually losing weight. This is why you come to a professional. I have the right expertise of the process to help you achieve your goals.
Trust me, cutting bodyfat correctly is usually the right place to start.
Question 3: “Where do you get the energy?”
Do I have a lot of energy?
We all want more – there’s never enough! But I agree, I make it to the gym every day, which requires energy, and enjoy my regular cardio sessions. Honestly, I don’t know any other lifestyle – my day feels off if my healthy routine is thrown out of whack – so I find the energy.
If you have an important meeting tomorrow morning, you make sure to get the sleep you need to be at your best. My discipline with fitness gives me the firsthand knowledge that I am happier and more balanced when I get to the gym for a workout. I am responsible and make sure I reserve energy to get it done.
This realization is what I hope to pass on to those who work with me. My passion is helping my clients get past the beginning stages to make their active lifestyle a lasting habit.
You won’t have boundless energy everyday, but you will not have to ‘find the energy’ for the gym anymore. It’ll come naturally and without the internal struggle. You’ll also feel your overall mood enhanced and self-pride that is going to reflect on your life in other positive ways.
So force it at first – fake it until you you make it – don’t use excuses to skip your workout. One day the energy and dedication are just there.
It takes only 21 days to form a habit. Start today!