How did you get started with bodybuilding?
I wasn’t born athletic, not even close. When I first started taking fitness seriously, just two years ago, I was a lost dog! They say that once you’ve hit rock bottom, there is nowhere to go but up, and that is exactly what happened. I’ll admit that cardio was my comfort zone and I wouldn’t dare work out where the men did at my gym. Over a few months, I soaked up any information about fitness and nutrition that I could. To be honest, I didn’t even know what a calorie or the three main macro nutrients were. Slowly, but surely, I made my way into the main section of my gym and have not left the weights since. Eleven months later, I competed in my first fitness competition and have competed in two more since, placing 2nd in my last competition. I absolutely love the empowering feeling of picking up a barbell and challenging your body. I’ve been able to completely transform my body composition since I started and if I were asked for one word that describes me now, I would say athletic, but it only took twenty-one years to be able to say that!
Fitness is not just a hobby; it has become a lifestyle for me. I plan to keep competing in the upcoming seasons so look for me on stage soon!
Where does your motivation come from?
This is a tough sport to get into alone and anyone who is in it knows that a support system makes all the difference. Luckily, I have met the most amazing people through this industry and I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything. They are in part, my inspiration and motivation. I’ve had many people along the way come to their own conclusion that this sport is purely physical, but they couldn’t be my wrong. At the end of the day, performing those countless squats, dozens of plyos, eating endless chicken breasts and drinking enough water to almost drown yourself doesn’t come close to the mental discipline, dedication, consistency and ambition that we hold on to the whole way through. It is so important to surround yourself with positive influences.
I’ve come from a very broken up childhood and the loss of several immediate family members that could easily make someone want to give up. My motivation doesn’t just come from wanting to survive it all, it comes from realizing my potential and never wanting to let myself beat myself.
What workout routine has worked best for you?
When not competing, I like to experiment a lot! Work out routines consist of a mix of strength/power, hypertrophy, and some endurance days with a few HIIT exercises at the end of my resistance training. I spend an hour in the gym a day, 6 days a week. On off days, I will do some type of ‘active rest’ activity, Pilates, or a quick season of cardio in the morning to get me going for the day. I am addicted to the rush of adrenaline from weight training and I still have to force myself to rest, rest, rest!
If you have to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?
- Stiff-legged deadlifts –my best results for glute and hamstring development
- Push ups – they can be done anywhere, you can add weight to test your strength or test your endurance
- Plyometrics – very challenging, sculpts long & lean muscle
What is your diet like?
Right now, since I’ve chosen to take this season off to build my physique (and I am a very hard gainer), I am taking in a lot more complex carbohydrates than I would normally be close to a show, which consist of mostly rolled oats, and yams. I have a moderate protein intake, including chicken, egg whites, low sodium tuna, white fish, lean steak, and protein shakes. My healthy fats include unsalted almonds, flaxseed oil, egg yolks, and natural peanut butter.
I make sure to include lots of colourful veggies and fruits all day long. If you can change one thing about yourself today, I can’t emphasize the importance of a healthy diet, so even if it is just one step at a time, do yourself a favour and at the very least, try.
They say that the pre and post-workout meals are the most vital meals for the day, what do yours consist of?
I think that pre and post work out meals are two out of three of the most important meals of the day. Breakfast would be the most important and my favorite. Because my work outs are not always at a set time, my pre work out meals are usually a snack after one of my bigger meals. I’ll pair a low glycemic carb with a high glycemic carb, with a bit of protein for added fuel which seems to give me the most energy during my work outs. Post work out, the second most important meal, is a banana with BioX Power Whey Isolate protein powder. I am always in shock to hear that people do not eat within 15-20 minutes of their work outs. Essentially, you are tearing your muscle fibers and breaking them down, so it only makes sense to repair them with proper nutrients afterwards.
When trying to cut down do you prefer to use HIIT or just normal cardio?
I add a few minutes of HIIT cardio to about half of my work outs all year round, just to keep up my endurance and burn extra fat, but not too much right now since I am naturally an ectomorph body type. My favourite types of HIIT also include Barbell & Kettlebell complexes. Close to a show, when I want to burn even more fat, I will do low-moderate intensity cardio in the mornings before breakfast, and maintain high intensity, high rep ranges during my weight work outs.
What is your supplementation like?
I have always used BioX Power Whey Isolate protein. It tastes amazing and I can curb any cravings with all the different flavours like chocolate-peanut butter and strawberry-banana. Other supplements include, glutamine, BCAAs, Vitamin C, Calcium, a good multi-vitamin, Papaya extract, Green tea extract, Fish Oils & ZMA to help with sleeping sometimes. I think I covered my bases!
Fitness/Figure: Ava Cowan, Julie Bonnett, Emily Ramsden-Stirling, Jamie Eason
“Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.” -Unknown
“Working out is my job. It might seem like I’m a mean person in the gym, but that’s just because I’m focused. After I’m done, I’ll talk to everybody and anybody.” -Elaine Goodlad