Can a Fitness & Wellness Regimen Empower Women?

Can a Fitness & Wellness Regimen Empower Women?
Celebrity Trainer Holly Perkins Explains 3 Reasons Why It Can

From an early age, women have foisted on them images of the “ideal” female body, and self-esteem can plummet when they fail to measure up.

But celebrity trainer Holly Perkins says it’s time women stop buying into those societal pressures.

“There’s this perception that all women need to look like perfect runway models,” says Perkins. “They can feel the anxiety building when they are trying to meet someone else’s expectations. That’s when the effort to lose weight or get fit can add to the stresses of life instead of relieving them.”

Certainly, women should want to improve their health, get fit and look gorgeous all at the same time, says Perkins, who recently released a home-exercise system designed specifically for women called baladea (, with regimens she developed to fuse fitness and wellness exercises.

But getting in shape needs to be something women want for themselves, and not an effort to mimic some airbrushed image on a magazine cover at the supermarket, she says.

Perkins realized several years ago that her clients met their weight-loss goals faster when she created programs that addressed both their fitness and wellness needs at the same time.

They also felt happier about themselves. So she incorporated yoga and other stress-relieving and relaxation techniques into the baladea program.

Perkins offers three reasons why the right fitness and wellness regimen can empower women and emancipate them from society’s image pressures:

• Because looking good makes you feel good. That’s especially true when you’re trying to look good to please yourself and not others, Perkins says. “There’s this sense of empowerment when you exercise, eat a healthier diet and lose weight because it’s what you want and not because of peer pressure or societal pressures,” she says.

Self-esteem rises when you improve your image on your terms, she says, and as a result “looking gorgeous never felt better.”

• Because the science says so. Research shows that stress can keep you from losing weight and might even cause you to add pounds. Even if you eat well and exercise, an excessive amount of stress can counteract all your efforts. That’s why meshing fitness and wellness works so well, Perkins says.

“Stress reduction and relaxation can significantly improve weight loss,” she says. “That allows you to look and feel your absolute best.”

• Because while improving your look, you also become healthier. You will feel amazing not just because of elevated self-esteem, but because your body really is functioning better because of the diet and exercise, Perkins says. Your energy level will rise and “you will feel ready for anything,” she says.

“You can look awesome and you can feel happy at the same time,” Perkins says. “It’s all about letting your true self shine.”

About Holly Perkins
Holly Perkins is a national fitness expert and developer of baladea (, a customizable fitness and wellness system for women. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), one of the most prestigious certifications in the industry. She believes that making fitness a fun lifestyle is the best way to achieve true change. As one of the nation’s leading weight-loss experts and a highly sought-after celebrity trainer, she has been featured in numerous magazines, newspapers and on national TV shows.

Five Tips for Juicing

Thinking about Juicing? What You Should Know Before You Start
It’s no longer just celebrities, world-class athletes and alternative-lifestyle hippies turning to green smoothies and freshly juiced vegetable and fruits for improved health, says nutritionist and juicing pioneer Cherie Calbom, MS. (“The Juice Lady”).


“People from all walks of life are looking for proven ways to lose weight, energize, sleep better, strengthen their immune systems, and have brighter skin and a younger appearance. They’re also juicing to help their bodies heal from a variety of ailments,” says Calbom, author of a new book full of juicing tips, tricks and recipes, “The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies,” (

“No matter your diet, juicing offers a shot of goodness – nutrition, minerals, phytonutrients and more – that you might not otherwise get,” Calbom says.

Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been juicing awhile and want to optimize the experience, Calbom shares some important pointers that will help.

• Fruits & veggies happiness studies: Plenty of new research shows that adding more produce to your daily diet can benefit your mental health and sense of well-being. In one analysis of the eating habits and moods of 80,000 British adults, researchers at Dartmouth and the University of Warwick found that those who consumed the most fruit and vegetables every day rated themselves as significantly happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who ate lesser amounts. Research shows that the well-being score for people who ate seven to eight servings of vegetables and fruits per day was consistently three points higher than for those who ate little or none.

• More studies … Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health concluded from a study of 982 Americans that those who exhibited the most optimistic outlooks on life also had the highest blood levels of carotene, a key antioxidant that’s delivered by a colorful array of produce: dark green spinach and kale, carrots, and sweet potatoes, and vibrant yellow or orange fruits like peaches, papayas and cantaloupe, among others. And “juicers” should consider starting at a young age. A study of 281 adults with a mean age of 20, conducted at the University of Otago, New Zealand, showed that those who reported the highest daily intake of fruits and veggies also declared they were happier, calmer and more energetic than those who ate less.

• “Do I need to juice; can’t I just eat produce?”: This is a common response, but the reality is that most people in today’s society – especially those who are booked from morning to evening with a busy lifestyle – rarely get an optimal amount of produce throughout the day. A half-cup of veggies is a serving and ¾ of a cup of juice equals one serving; chewing seven to eight servings of produce every day requires much more effort and time than drinking fresh juice for some of the servings. That makes people much more likely to benefit from juice, she says.

• Flavor diversification: Some people soon fall into creative ruts because they stick to the same basic ingredients, and that can be a disincentive for sticking with juicing. Diversify! Try gourmet and exotic juice blends, or even plant-based ingredients you simply haven’t yet considered, some of which may include: butternut squash, one-inch ginger chunks, beets with leaves and stems, Brussels sprouts, and fennel bulbs with fronds. “Juicing is not about just using common fruit ingredients – spice it up and experiment with healthy vegetables; it works!” Calbom says.

• An exotic example: A fennel-watercress-cucumber blend juice is an excellent way to mix up your typical cocktail. It includes: 1 handful of watercress; 1 dark green lettuce leaf; 1 cucumber, peeled if not organic; ½ fennel bulb and fronds; 1 lemon, peeled if not organic. Cut produce to fit your juicer’s feed tube. Wrap watercress in lettuce leaf and push through the juicer slowly. Juice all remaining ingredients. Drink immediately; this portion serves one.

About Cherie Calbom, MS
Cherie Calbom, MS is the author of 21 books, including the best-seller “Juicing for Life,” with 2 million copies sold in the United States and published in 23 countries. Known as “The Juice Lady” for her work with juicing and health, her juice therapy and cleansing programs have been popular for more than a decade. She holds a Master of Science degree in nutrition from Bastyr University. She has practiced as a clinical nutritionist at St. Luke Medical Center, Bellevue, Wash., and as a celebrity nutritionist for George Foreman and Richard Simmons.

Alea Suarez – 7 Tips To ‘Fitting It All In’

Alea Suarez stops by with two weeks left in her Arnold prep. She shares the challenges of traveling, sick children, managing a business and more. How does she do it all? Check out her tips on fitting it all in and why she says “forget balance”.


Fitting It All In
By Alea Suarez

Hey Hardbodies! Wow! Prepping for the Arnold has definitely had its challenges for me this past month. I traveled to San Francisco to see family for a birthday party, my youngest son got the H2N3 God awful flu and somehow the rest of the family managed to avoid it, thank God! My business is picking up, which I am grateful for, but a little hard to manage while Hubby had to travel for work for a week and in the height of our oldest son’s basketball season.

People tell me, “I don’t know how you do it all.” Honestly, some days I don’t know either but I do have some competition survival guidelines I try to stick to in order to get it done. Mind you, this HAS to be flexible which is sometimes difficult for me, but here it is:

• Make a L.O.P. (List of Priorities) I write down what HAS to get done that day in order of importance & try my best to knock them out in that order when I have any time.

• Make a POA. (Plan of Action) My schedule is different every day so I go through everyday of the week & make an hour by hour schedule “booking appointments” for my “To Do tasks” where I don’t have a client scheduled. I try to time everything out from cardio & returning e-mails to an hour of laundry & returning text messages. I often fine there are not enough hours in the day & that’s where the LOP comes into play & can shift & change as clients schedule or cancel. That drives me a little crazy because once I get set, I don’t like to have to adjust. But I’ve learned it just goes with having your own business. Whioch leads me to #3…

• Forget balance. Balance is BS, especially for business owners who work from home part-time & homeschool part-time. When you’re trying to meet deadlines with children around, it’s laughable to think that you can somehow neatly schedule your life into “work” “family” and “me” time. Instead, I TRY to embrace the idea that sometimes your life is going to be crazy and hectic, and at other times, the pace will be a little slower.

My rule? Whatever your focus is at the moment, be present. When work is crazy, work hard to keep up. (This includes final couple of months of competition prep ;-)) Those are the weeks you’ll make a weekly meal plan for the family too so you can shop ahead & know what you’re going to make for the family. When work is slow, catch up on your LOP & enjoy your family time whenever you can, even if you have to schedule “Family time” in. Take time for your partner. Don’t worry about creating “balance” every single day; instead, look for a sense of accomplishment over the long haul.

• Do it when you can. I mean this literally “Whenever Possible.” This for me, includes: When a client cancels, waiting in line, during my warm-up or cool down on the treadmill, on the stairmill, at my son’s basketball practice, at my daughter’s gymnastics class, etc.

• Be brutally honest with yourself about time-wasters. 
I’ve talked to so many people who swear they “don’t have time” for something they really want to do, but then I watch them chatting instead of working out; partying instead of prepping their meals or working on their career goals. Of course we all need downtime, but since most people have to be on the computer anyway, it’s easy to fool ourselves that we’re “working” or “networking” when really, we’re spending about five minutes of every hour working and the rest, Tweeting our Instagram self-portrait (BSP) in the bathroom mirror and then engaging in long discussions about others’ BSP. Some multi-tasking makes my day more interesting, and it’s always possible that I’ll stumble across an amazing business idea & get inspired by someone’s quote or update pic while reading my Facebook feed…but at some point it just becomes time wasted. If you constantly feel behind, ask yourself if you really don’t have enough time – or if you’re filling the time you do have with activities that aren’t moving you toward your goals.

• Let work and life blend.
I assume you’re competing (or aspire to) for a reason: you want to compete, but you also don’t know how it would be possible. Am I close? We all want to make sure our loved ones (not just kids, friends, family, partners) aren’t getting shorted because of our competition, but in my 4 years of being self-employed & competing, I’ve found that the advice to completely separate work and home is just unrealistic. Instead, I’ve learned to embrace the fact that my work and home lives do blend for much of the day. 
That might mean I’m scheduling clients while taking my kids to run errands or checking my email from the playground bench while my eight-year-old plays. It also means that I’m careful to set aside at least 2 hours every night of focused, “totally available” time to devote to home and family. I also get up before the kids get up to do my cardio and/or train clients most days. That way, I feel like my family is getting both “quantity” and “quality” time…and I feel a lot better about the time I spend in the gym and the multi-tasking I sometimes must do.

• Do it your way.
 While I have my ways, everyone & family situation is unique. Reading about how other competing parents manage their time and energy can be inspiring, encouraging, and also gives you lots of helpful ideas you might be able to modify for your own life. The key word is modify. We all have different circumstances, goals, and work styles that can affect everything from whether you’re the get-up-at-the-crack-of-dawn-before-kids-or-work, or the burn-the-midnight-oil type, to whether you do best leaving the office or house on a much needed lunch break. 
Be flexible, and realize that what works during one season of your life might not work during another. But most of all, get to know yourself: there are lots of ways to be a successful competitor, working (or whatever your juggling) parent, so create the life and career that works for you.

That’s Hardbody!

Alea Suarez

Follow Alea on twitter at @AleaTigress and like her facebook page. You can see her competition photos on For more information on the Arnold Sports Festival visit and use #ASF2013 in all your tweets.

Five Tips & Tricks for a Flawless Valentine’s Day

Looking forward to that PERFECT Valentine’s Day night with someone special? Have you been prepping to make sure everything goes according to plan? This Valentine’s Day, make sure to prep with these essential tips to make the night (and yourself!) flawless – from start to goodnight-kiss finish!


Tip #1: All About the Fragrance:
Looking your best is just part of it – you also have to feel your best, and SMELL your best! Research shows that a large part of attraction is based on smell, so make sure you grab the perfect perfume for the big day! For Valentine’s Day, a floral fragrance is ideal. If you don’t normally wear perfume, consider a scented body lotion or oil for just a touch of scent that he won’t forget.

Tip #2: Look great, no matter what “time of the month” it may be: We girls know that “that time” comes around RIGHT when you don’t want it – unnecessary bloating, horrible cramps can leave you feeling terrible. To combat PMS symptoms, try Girl Uninterrupted®, a fresh, new and all-natural approach to PMS relief. It’s composed of an all-natural blend of essential amino acids and herbs that have been specifically formulated to directly address those common symptoms of PMS. With Girl Uninterrupted, you’ll be able to curb bloating to fit into that gorgeous red dress and keep those PMS side effects at bay!

Tip #3: Get Your Beauty Sleep. More than just a pretty-making mechanism, sleep is an essential component to staying slim. During those coveted 8hrs of shut-eye, your digestive system is pumping hard to process your food, metabolizing carbohydrates and breaking down fats – so make sure you don’t skimp out on sleep before the big day so you can look (and feel!) your best!

Tip #4: Moisturize!
Valentine’s Day can leave you stressed, but your skin should be the last of your worries before the big day! Moisturizing keeps your skin hydrated, smooth and unaffected by changes in air and temperature that usually dry out skin.

Tip #5: Pre-Dinner Workout: Whether you’ve been working out every day before Valentine’s Day or you barely managed to hit the gym, a quick workout before you go out with your guy can help bring color to your cheeks, achieve that natural glow and can help settle nerves while you tone! Try a small circuit of pushups, squats, crunches and high knees to get your heart rate up and tone specific areas before your night out.

Tips via Mayling Kajiya

Protein Powders Decoded

If you’ve ever bought a protein powder you’ve probably scratched your head at some point wondering, what the heck is that? When protein powder first hit the market there were few choices and fewer flavors. Now there are a million and one flavor profiles and various types of protein. Men’s Health recently compiled a list of various protein types and broke down what each means.

This should help you better understand what each protein is and how to read the labels. Visit for more information on what the best protein powder for you.

Whey: A type of protein in milk. Considered a “fast” protein because it’s quickly broken down into amino acids and absorbed into your bloodstream.

Casein: Another type of milk protein. Because this type is digested more slowly, it’s ideal for providing your body with smaller amounts of protein for a longer period or time—such as between meals or while you sleep.

Soy: If a soy protein is listed as the first or second ingredient, choose another product. Isoflavones, the active compounds in soy, have been shown to raise estrogen levels in men.

Concentrate: Contains slightly more carbohydrates and fat than purer forms, but also contains more health-promoting components. Can be clumpy.

Isolate: A purer form of protein, so it contains less fat and carbohydrate.

Hydrosylate, or hydrolyzed protein: Protein broken down into smaller fractions, so it’s absorbed into your body faster than a concentrate or isolate.

Micellar casein, or isolated casein peptides: Almost pure casein protein. Absorbs slowly into the bloodstream. Can be pricey.

Caseinate: A type of casein protein that is less expensive than micellar casein, but isn’t as pure of a protein.

Milk protein: An ingredient that mirrors milk’s protein composition—80 percent casein, 20 percent whey.

Egg-white protein, or instantized egg albumin: A high-quality protein made from eggs. Good for cooking.

Read more at Men’s Health.

Note, this was published on MEN’s HEALTH some info may not be applicable to women.


Five Simple Tips To Stick with Your New Year’s Resolutions

Back to basics. That’s a theme we all need to revisit and remind ourselves of from time to time. Below you will find five simple tips. Take a minute to read and apply them to your 2013 goals. You’ll have a better chance of following through and achieving them if you follow these five simple tips.




Follow Team Challenge Head Coach Dave McGovern’s Easy Advice
New York, NY (January 23, 2013)  –  Even with the best intentions to get in shape or  drop some weight, statistics show very few new year’s resolutions actually work.  According to Time Magazine, 60% of gym memberships go unused and attendance is usually back to normal by mid-February which indicates resolutions are not being kept.

“I see it every year,” says Team Challenge National Coach Dave McGovern. “People really do want to keep their new year’s resolutions, but they just don’t know how.”

This year, let the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s Team Challenge provide the support and accountability that you need to reach your fitness goals in 2013.  Below are Coach Dave’s top five tips for sticking with your new year’s resolution:

• Create one, specific goal.  Whether it’s to lose a certain amount of weight, to walk or run 5-6 days per week, or to complete a 10k or half-marathon, having a specific goal is a great way to stay focused. Make sure your goals are ambitious, but attainable for you with a bit of hard work and persistence.

• Make small changes and don’t overdo it. The human body is very adaptable, and it’s designed to move. The key to starting a running or walking program is to make gradual changes to your current situation. Start by walking 15-20 minutes 3-4 days per week. Gradually increase the time you walk, and if you want to run, start adding a few minutes of running at a time, interspersed with 2-3 minute walk breaks. Over time increase the duration of the running segments and decrease the time of the recovery walks.

• Track your progress in a training log. It’s a new year. Get a calendar, special book or use an online workout tracker like or Record your workouts every day, even if you take the day off.  Track your mileage, how you feel, what you eat, how much you sleep, and anything else that has an effect on your training. Then—and this is important!—go back and read your diary from time to time! If things are going well, continue with the same plan. If you’re going through a bad patch, try to sort out what might be the cause, such as increasing your mileage too quickly, insufficient rest, poor diet, etc.

• Tell others about your goal. When family, friends and co-workers take an interest in your goal and ask how your weekend long run went; do you want to tell them you ran farther than you’ve ever gone before, or that you finished off a bag of donuts while watching the Real Housewives Marathon? Accountability keeps you honest. Social media is a great way to update friends and family of your progress.

• Make it fun! Training with others, varying your training routes, and rewarding yourself after milestone workouts are great ways to make your training more enjoyable.  Finding creative ways to make your workouts fun is the key to sticking to your goal into February and beyond!

“I ran six days a week and followed the Team Challenge training schedule to the letter,” says Regina Orelli.  “I was certainly not a runner when I started, but I stuck with the program and got encouragement from my teammates.  Two summers ago, I completed my first Half Marathon in Kona, Hawaii!  It was a miracle!  Not only that I was able to run 13.1 miles, but that I was in Hawaii and I was 65 pounds lighter!”

About Team Challenge
Team Challenge is the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s endurance training and fundraising program. Through Team Challenge, you can run or walk 13.1 miles or train for a triathlon while helping to find a cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, two chronic and often debilitating digestive diseases that impact 1.4 million Americans.  In 2013, Choose Your Challenge!  We currently have 10 events scheduled for 2013.  6 domestic half marathons, 2 international half marathons and 2 triathlon events.  From the vineyards of wine country to the beautiful urban backdrop of Chicago, what will your Challenge be?  For more information on Team Challenge, please visit to register today!

Seven Ways to Find Balance in Your Week with Candice Keene

Candice Keene is juggling college classes and preparing for the 2013 Figure International. She checks in this week to share her top seven ways to find balance. She shares what works for her and how you can implement them into your daily routine.


This week demanded extra thought, preparation, and being sure to sticking to my planned schedule. This is where to-do lists are extremely handy! This is the second week of classes so everything is on the up and up. Last week was course overview, add/drop etc. This gave me a little room to run those extra errands that I’ve been meaning to do, or write up a few more game plans to conquer over the next 5/6 weeks, and hustle some ProCakez. I am taking two on-campus classes and two online classes. As much as the online classes seem convenient, they can actually bite the dust if you’re not on top of it! Previous semesters I have crashed and burned with the online courses… thinking, “Oh I’ll do it tomorrow,” or “I’ll catch up the past few weeks this weekend.” Ummmm… NO! Lol about pulling your hair out! And the closer a show approaches, forget about it!

I started going back to school the same time I started competing, so I’ve been able to juggle and balance it all pretty well..but man, it can be a biotch! Lol 
So, by creating a weekly schedule that you HAVE to be disciplined enough to follow, creating detailed to-do lists (detailed because when you are taking 4 classes, the brain tends to forget a lot especially when the carbs drop lol), and creating a repetitive habitual daily practice, this just makes life a hell of a lot easier. By not stressing as much, you are able to keep your cortisol levels in check, which we all know how detrimental high cortisol levels can be to fat loss!

Also, just as important as external balance is, internal balance is just as important if not more so. If there is internal chaos mentally, spiritually, emotionally… you can never perform optimally in what you are trying to do in your external life. It’s all about BALANCE. 
So to sum up my balance mechanisms and then some, here are my top seven ways to achieve all over homeostasis:

1. Prepare -  Have one day in the week (preferably Sunday) to prepare bulk quantities of food to last through the week.

2. Set aside a quiet hour for you to brainstorm and reflect on what you need to do for the week ahead (school, job, training, misc errands etc). Then create a daily schedule with daily to-do’s within them.

3. Listen to positive audio or read self-help books at least one hour a day to keep your mind in check.

4. Visualize your end goal everyday as a constant reminder to yourself to not slack with your schedule and your to-do’s. Remember, consistency is key.

5. Have a little girl time with the gals. Even if it’s a weekly track workout, you still have that communication and support from your besties.

6. Find time for weekly yoga and massage. These will ensure a calm state of mind.

7. And finally, practice Gratitude.

Have a great booty kicking week everyone!! 
 Until next time!


Follow Candice on twitter at @candicekeene, Instagram @candicekeene and like her facebook page. Check out her competition photos on For more information on the Arnold Sports Festival visit and use #ASF2013 in all your tweets.

Lead image courtesy of Candice Keene.




Meal Preparation Tips from Fit Mom Yeshaira Robles

Yeshaira Robles shares her tips to preparing meals and making sure she stays on track with her busy schedule. Check out what her day is like with work, working out, being a mom and preparing for the Bikini International. Yeshaira also shares some fun photos of herself with Mr. Olympia, Jay Cutler. You can’t help but cheer for her every time you see her smile.


Yeshaira Robles, 2013 Bikini International Contender

Wow what a week!! My body is starting to feel back to normal, I love all the sore muscles. I trained every day last week Sun-Thurs Holllaaa. I did my cardio and kept my food semi-clean. It usually takes me a week to get back in action, so by the 2nd week its on. I’m starting to have the crazy competition dreams: no tanner on, my hair a mess, missing my shoes etc Ha.

I like to prepare all my meals for the week on my day off, that way I don’t have to worry about getting a meal in when I have a busy schedule. My suggestions to you guys is to cook everything in one shot: chicken, fish, sweet potatoes, rice etc.

• Weigh them out and put them in small baggies
• Take your meals for each day and put them in a large freezer bag and freeze them
• The night before take out one bag and put in the refrigerator, that way it thaws out over-night

I always cook my breakfast in the morning :)  (can’t eat frozen eggs and oatmeal lol)

This is how I start my day when I’m not working:
* morning cardio on an empty stomach.
* breakfast and get my daughter ready for school.
* back home to sleep for 2 hours
* eat my 2nd meal
* gym time weights and 2nd cardio
* house duties and answer emails
* pick my daughter up from school. We always go for ice cream or a cupcake. (if I’m dieting I don’t have any, If I’m not dieting I do)
* homework, playtime, dinner and movie of choice then bed time for her
* my alone time, I like to watch TV

Every day it changes around because I also work full-time.

yeshaira2Yeshaira with Mr. Olympia, Jay Cutler while pregnant & after getting her abs back.


Last week I wrote about how I gained 67 pounds during my pregnancy. I was huge.  I was determined to go back to my normal weight it didn’t happen as fast as I thought it would, but I made sure that I was consistent each day. Some moms out there find it difficult to drop weight and it all comes from within. You have to want it. People called it baby weight, no it wasn’t baby weight because the baby came out and I was still heavy!

If there are any new moms out there reading this never give up! Trust me, anything is possible, and I’ve made so many of my dreams come true. I’m sure you can too..Always remember that it’s not going to happen overnight, in a week or in a month. But it will Happen!

Ladies feel free to email me if you have any questions 🙂

Until Next Time,

Train hard and Rock on!

Follow Yeshaira on twitter at @yeshaira and like her Facebook page. For more information on the Arnold Sports Festival visit and use #ASF2013 in all your tweets.


Nicole Nagrani’s 10 Fit Tips For Students

Champion Bikini Pro, Nicole Nagrani shares a few tips on how she stays in top shape while attending college. Anyone who has attended college knows it’s not easy to eat healthy but it can be done. How does Nicole juggle prepping for a show while attending class, finishing home work, eating all her meals and working out? Find out she avoided the “Freshman 15” and more in her top ten fit tips for students.



By Nicole Nagrani

When attending school, things can get really busy when you have to go to class, finish homework, make time for studying, workout, find (healthy) food to eat, and attempt to have a social life. Yes, they say college days are your best days, but the way you treat your body in your adult-forming years can have a huge impact on your future health. Also, by forming good habits early on, you are more likely to continue taking care of yourself as you get older.

I began competing in the NPC as a teen figure competitor when I began college. Initially, my plan wasn’t to compete, but I was just attempting to avoid the “freshman 15” by eating healthy and working out. A lot of students are going out on their own for the first time and don’t really know how to acclimate to the new freedom they are given so they go buck wild with the partying, junk food, and staying up all night. Well, I have a few tips that worked for me that helped me stick to being healthy when I began college.

1. SET GOALS – Before you embark on your fitness journey, make goals for yourself and write them down. You are more likely to achieve what you set out for if you know exactly what you want to accomplish.

2. PRIORITIZE – If you are student, whether you are in high school, college, masters program or any type of educational institution, obviously your studies are most important. Then from there, you need to determine what is most important to you. If working out is really important to you to improve your overall well-being once you lay out all of your tasks on the table, then make sure it actually become a priority!

3. MAKE A SCHEDULE – When planning out your week ahead of time, include your classes, when you would want to workout, what body part you plan on training, when you’d have time to study, and when you’d have time to rest. This way if you follow your schedule you will get everything accomplished that you need.

4. EAT RIGHT – It is definitely not easy to make healthy choices at college, especially if you are on a meal plan. BUT… it is possible! You just have to be conscious about the choices you are making and really attempt to stay away from the garbage. Also, you can always stock up on healthy foods that are easy to grab on the go like tuna, rice cakes, carrots, and so on.

5. GET A WORKOUT PARTNER – It’s easy to let your busy day wear you out and prevent you from hitting the gym. If you have a scheduled workout with a friend you are less likely to stand them up.

6. WORKOUT WITH MUSIC – I can’t even tell you how many times I go into the gym at my University and feel like its social hour. People go there to see friends, talk in between sets, and really just create more distractions for themselves. If you wear headphones, you are less likely to pay attention to the dude trying to interrupt your workout and get your number!

7. DRESS NICE – I am a firm believer in the idea that if you look good, you feel good. Even if I have class at 8 am, I make sure I get up ahead of time to make sure I look cute because it really reflects on my mood. When I look cute it gives me a better attitude to approach my day, and I can better apply myself to whatever I am doing. This also goes for the gym. If you wear sloppy clothes and look like hell, once you start seeing people you know you are going to want to get out of that gym ASAP. Get some cute outfits so you feel comfortable in the gym and want to sport your new attire when you’re working on your fitness!

8. STUDY – When you apply your mind, you actually burn calories. Your brain utilizes a lot of nutrients that you put in your body. So maybe if you think of studying as a second workout, it wont be such a pain to actually get done!

9. GET YOUR FRIENDS INVOLVED – When you are at school and away from home, you really rely on your friends that you make to comfort you. If you’re friends are also interested in working out and eating healthy, then if you all are doing it, it will be much easier. Believe me, I know what its like to be sitting around all of your friends eating pizza and drinking beers while they repeatedly try and get you to join them against your own will. So maybe if they were all on the same page as you, you wouldn’t have such a hard time resisting them.

10. LEARN BALANCE – Nobody said that if you want to eat healthy and workout, that you can’t enjoy some of the indulgences that come with being a student. Every once in a while it’s a good thing to go out and enjoy yourself and maybe have a drink or so. It won’t kill you. Don’t deprive yourself of the experience, but learn how to balance yourself between your fitness goals and college fun.


Follow Nicole on twitter at @NicoleNagrani and like her Facebook page. You can watch Nicole compete at the  Arnold Sports Festival where she will attempt to reclaim her title of Bikini International Champion. Cisit for more information.

Disclaimer: Reader discretion advised, please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or diet program.