San Delivers Results

Krissy’s Corner – Competing After Pregnancy


Krissy Chin talks about competing after pregnancy, what it felt like to be back on stage and what’s ahead for her.

krissy chin

KRISSY’S CORNER – HARDBODY JOURNAL
By Krissy Chin

Hello Hardbody Peeps!!!!

WOWWWIIEEE!! I am so EXCITED to share with you some amazing news – I notched my 1st IFBB PRO WIN! I won the 2014 IFBB NorCal Pro Bikini Masters Championships. When I won, I was just overwhelmed with so much emotion on stage-happiness, joy, shock, excitement and just a ton of thankfulness! It reminded me so much of how I exactly felt when I won my class back in 2007 at the NPC Figure Nationals/Team Universe when I earned my IFBB PRO card☺! What a blessing!

I was also so thankful to have made 1st callouts & to have placed top 6 in my 1st 2 IFBB PRO bikini shows since returning to the stage post-baby and since switching divisions from figure to bikini. There was a change of plans since I last wrote here on Hardbody, I moved up my debut and I actually competed in back to back shows. I made my IFBB Pro Bikini debut at the 2014 IFBB Dennis James Pro Bikini Classic and then competed the following week at Spectrum Fitness Productions 2014 IFBB Norcal Pro Bikini & Pro Masters Bikini Championships. How did it feel to be back on stage after 2 years?? IT FELT AMAZINGGGGG to be back on stage and having the opportunity to compete with so many beautiful & incredible ladies! It truly feels GREAT to be back competing. After these two shows, it made me realize how much I really did miss competing and being on stage. It also made me realize how much I miss seeing and competing with my fellow IFBB pro ladies, many of whom I have become friends with. The friendships I have made over the past 11 years in the fitness industry are worth their weight in gold☺

I have to admit that in my bikini debut at the Dennis James Classic, I actually was a bit nervous! I was a rookie out there on the Pro bikini stage and these Pro bikini ladies are incredible! I was also nervous because I honestly did not know how the judges would receive my, ”new look”. I worked so extremely hard with Coach Kim on my prep and with my transformation switching from figure to bikini. I was hoping that my new look was received well by the judges and that I was bringing a competitive physique to that Pro bikini stage. So when I made 1st callouts, I was absolutely elated to say the least!

I ended up placing 6th and I was extremely happy! My debut got me even more excited and motivated for my next show, which was the following week-Spectrum Fitness Productions 2014 IFBB NorCal Pro Bikini & Pro Bikini Masters Championships.

After getting feedback and speaking with Coach Kim, we made needed adjustments to come in better this next show. Being totally objective, I feel that I did look better and fuller my 2nd show and I felt a lot more confident on stage. Ladies your confidence on stage is so important. I always tell my clients that and after 2 years of not competing, I was reminded of that myself.

I competed in both the open and the masters divisions in Sacramento since I am now over 35 years young. Once again, I was super elated to make 1st callouts in both divisions in prejudging. I felt a lot more confident and comfortable on stage this 2nd show and I was extremely happy with the physique I was presenting. I had such an amazing time all weekend with hubbie Troy, baby London, Coach Kim, my fellow Oddo’s angels sistas and all the other wonderful people who took part in the seminar and show. I also had an amazing time on stage and competing with all the beautiful ladies! At finals, I was just overwhelmed with joy, happiness, shock and thankfulness when I won the Pro bikini Masters division and placed top 6 in the open! Just WOW! I notched my 1st IFBB PRO WIN! I couldn’t believe it! Yes, my smile was from ear to ear. As I mentioned in my speech on stage and during the interviews I did after I had after I won, I am just very thankful to the judges and very thankful to the NPC/IFBB for being such an incredible and GREAT organization that gives women & men the opportunity to compete and inspire with the many different divisions that are now available. I also want to thank my huge support team-my husband Troy (you are still my biggest support even after all these years), my beautiful angel London (you bring me so much love, joy and happiness), my incredible Coach Kim Oddo (you just da bomb!), all my family, friends & fans (it feels so weird to say that I have fans-I am just flattered!), my sponsors-Gaspari Nutrition, Sakura Bikinis (love my incredibly beautiful & custom made bikini!) & Pro Tan, my dear friend and amazing make-up artist-Nancy Jambazian (love ya Nancy!) and all the beautiful ladies who I had the blessing to compete with these past 2 shows!

Now….time to hit the gym, make improvements and come back better for my next show! Oh yeah……I really have to work on my bikini swagggg!!

Until next time…love, laugh and train hard!

With Love,
Krissyxo

Follow Krissy on…
Twitter – KRISSYCHIN
Instagram – krissychin
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/PROKRISSYCHIN



Don’t Call it A Comeback… She’s Been Here Before


Krissy Chin has graciously agreed to share her journey back to competition here on HARDBODY. Krissy brings us up to speed on what she’s been doing and what’s ahead for her. She’s a champion on and off the stage.

krissy chin
KRISSY’S CORNER – HARDBODY JOURNAL
By Krissy Chin

Hello Hardbody Peeps:)!

First, I just want to say that I am SO #EXCITED to be blogging here on Hardbody! I have been a BIG TIME fan of Hardbody from day 1!

I hope everyone’s year is off to a great start! My name is Krissy Chin & I am an IFBB Figure Pro, Team Gaspari Athlete, new MOM-Yeah!!!! and you can also find me emceeing NPC/IFBB shows throughout the year. My education is in physical therapy and health sciences where I hold a dual degree-Masters of Science in Physical Therapy & a Bachelors of Science in Health Sciences. I was propelled into health & fitness when I lost both my parents to cancer in the 1990’s. I then decided that I wanted to get a better grasp on my own health and well-being and I wanted to live a healthy lifestyle after seeing how fragile life could be. Well that was about 20 years ago and I can proudly say that I am still, if not more extremely passionate about health, wellness, fitness and helping & inspiring others whenever & however I can.

My incredible journey in the NPC began in 2003 and I earned my IFBB Pro card in 2007 at the Figure Nationals/Team U in New York by winning my class. I feel blessed to have qualified for the Figure Olympia 4X and have competed at the Figure International (Arnold) twice thus far in my career. My last show was the 2012 IFBB Pro Governor’s Cup where I placed 2nd while being 6-weeks pregnant. You are probably wondering, “Why did she compete while she was pregnant?!” Well, I had no idea I was even pregnant and here is how the story goes. I was 4-weeks out from competing in the 2012 California Pro when I knew something was just not right. My body was not responding how it typically did for prep and I felt bloated and constipated. Coach Kim Oddo even asked me if I ate something that I wasn’t supposed to because I had this lil “pooch” at the base of my 6-pack, which I never had! Well, after 3 home pregnancy tests and a visit to my OB/GYN, it was confirmed that I was 12 weeks and 4 days pregnant! Shocker to say the least especially since I was on birth control pills & we were not planning on getting pregnant just quite yet.

I went from full on prep mode to full on BABY MODE! Since my pregnancy was not planned and I missed my 1st trimester, I quickly researched, read and learned as much as I could about pregnancy and about having a baby. I have to say that I did enjoy my whole pregnancy and I loved being pregnant. I was glad that I didn’t experience any nausea or morning sickness, any swelling, back pain or any other symptoms that other expecting moms have experienced. Throughout my pregnancy, I made sure that I kept myself properly nourished, hydrated, rested and I kept myself in a really good, calm & peaceful place both spiritually and mentally. I also got regular prenatal massages & continued training up until 40-weeks without any difficulty. However, I must point out that my training did change during the pregnancy since my goal had changed once I became pregnant. My goal for training during my pregnancy was to stay healthy & strong for my baby and for myself, which I successfully accomplished. At 41-weeks, I had to be induced since my Dr. said that Baby London was quite cozy in the womb and I was at complete ZERO dilation. After 33 hrs of labor, I was able to successfully have a vaginal birth. Beautiful Baby London MeiLan was born a healthy 7 lbs. 13 oz. on Nov. 26th, 2012.

Fast forward to today, London is now 17.5 months (almost 1 1/2 yrs. old) and I am less than 4-weeks away from making my return to the IFBB Pro stage!! I debated for a bit about whether or not to compete again. Truth be told, I am a true competitor at heart and I truly missed competing so much! There were other factors which also influenced my final decision to compete which were, I really love being in tip top shape conditioning wise so I wanted to see what my body was capable of doing post-baby and if I knew I had the adequate time to prep without taking away from baby London. London is my number one. For me it was so important to give 200% to London that first year of her life and just nurture and love her as best as I could. I was with her 24/7 until only recently when I started her in daycare twice a week at 16 months of age. I did not even contact Coach Kim to initiate prep until London was 14 months of age. I just didn’t want to take anything away from London. In addition, Rich Gaspari and Gaspari Nutrition recently re-signed me to a 2-yr athlete contract (Wohooo!!), which also solidified my decision to compete. I am #EXCITED to announce that my 1st show of the 2014 season will be the IFBB Northern California Pro Bikini!

I would say that life has significantly changed since becoming a mom. I’ve had to become even more organized, learn to REALLY multi-task, do things at a much quicker pace and I’ve learned to be creative when things change or something comes up in order to accommodate London and her needs. The biggest challenge for me when first getting back into training was leaving London for the 30 min or for the hour. I must admit, I still have a hard time being away from her. Yes, I am that in love with our precious daughter. In the beginning, it was also a challenge to find the time to fit everything in that I needed to get done while caring for London. Since Troy and I don’t have family here in California, it has been the two of us working together as a team to manage our schedules, care for our precious baby and for our 2 fur babies. It was also a bit of a challenge for me the first few months since I was a first time mom alone at home and I was, “learning the ropes.” Now that London is almost 1 1/2 yrs of age & is in daycare 2-3X/week, everything has gotten a lot more manageable & has allowed me to get all my training in, cardio done, food prepped and all my work done- Gaspari appearances, online clients, posing clients and all my other responsibilities completed. With all that said and done, I must admit that I absolutely LOVE being a mom and that London has just been the biggest, most beautiful blessing!

Until next time, train hard, be happy and live each day to its fullest!

With Love,

Krissyxo

Follow Krissy on..
Twitter – KRISSYCHIN
Instagram – krissychin
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/PROKRISSYCHIN
Gaspari – http://www.gasparinutrition.com/teamgaspari/krissychin/



Hardbody Profile – Surfing Sensation Tia Blanco


I see the name Tia Blanco continue to pop up online and after reading her “Who’s Rad?” profile I knew she was a Hardbody. Women’s Surfing continues to gain popularity and with young women like Tia leading the charge it’s easy to see why. She’s talented, humble, confident but not cocky. Despite still being a teenager she realizes the importance of working out and eating healthy.  She’s the real deal in and out of the water.

tia-blanco

When I asked her manager Matt Meyerson how he came to manage Tia and to share his thoughts on the surfing sensation he had this to share…

Tia was brought to me through her coach, Mike Lamm. He expressed that Tia was something special and when I finally got to meet her, I understood. I had been approached by quite a few surfers for representation but with Tia I knew immediately I had to sign her. The fact that she is a true athlete and leads a healthy lifestyle focused on diet, training and eventually qualifying for the world tour was certainly a huge motivation for me to sign her. In women’s surfing the athletes are more often than not over sexualized and there is a lack of emphasis on their ability. With Tia I felt she could be marketed in a completely different light… as a true athlete; the future of women’s surfing. We love having this shining star on our roster and can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.

Hardbody Profile – Surfing Sensation Tia Blanco

Birthday:
May 5, 1997

Any Siblings?
1 sister – Aja Blanco

You started surfing at 3 with your dad but when did you first compete in surfing?
I started competing at 12.

What’s been your favorite event/contest so far?
I really liked the last contest that I surfed in. It was the ISA World Games. I got to meet so many talented surfers from around the world. It was also neat to compete as a team representing your country.

Tia represented the USA and finished third in the ISA World Jr final.

Congrats on your placing in Ecuador! How was that experience?
Thank you! Ecuador was an amazing place. The people were super nice and the food was good. I had a great time meeting surfers from all over the world. The best part of it all was cheering for my team! Whenever a teammate did well in their heat we all screamed really loud! I had so much adrenaline and got goose bumps cheering for them. When I made the grand finale it was so awesome hearing my whole team screaming for me! Best feeling ever :)

Where are you off to next?
My next contest will be in New Zealand.

Sweet! That’s not a bad gig. I read you Tahiti is your favorite place to surf, why is that?
Tahiti is such a beautiful place that it took my breath away. The waves I surfed were probably the most perfect waves I have ever seen (Teahupoo, Big Pass, and Haapiti).

Which do you prefer the long board, short board or SUP (stand up paddle)?
I prefer a short board because I love going fast and feeling loose when doing turns.

Stand Up Paddle is getting more and more popular and a great workout. Any advice for those who are thinking about trying it and tips to doing it?
I like SUPing it’s really good excersize but if you’re new at it be careful. You don’t want to hit yourself or anyone else those boards. They are big and can hurt you. Start at mellow beaches :)

Any rituals before paddling out?
I do my warm up that my trainer taught me. Basically, I just warm up certain muscles in my body.

Are surfers athletes?
Absolutely! Sometimes we are put in tough conditions that require you to be in good shape. However, to be at the top of your game ‘surf athletes’ train hard for all conditions.

Is the life of a surfer like it’s portrayed on ‘Blue Crush’?
Haha maybe for some people. I think its different for all surfers. When I was little I constantly watched that movie! I can relate to when she would get nervous and play mind games with herself. Sometimes winning and losing is all in your head!

What advice do you have for other women thinking about trying surfing for the first time?
I would say try on a long board 1st when the waves are really small. Don’t expect anything just have fun and you will easily fall in love with the best sport in the world.

What’s the key to eating healthy on the road, especially when traveling as much as you do?
Sometimes it’s really hard but I manage to get it done. I usually go shopping right before I leave on a trip and stock up on quinoa, nuts, dried fruit, oatmeal etc. I think what many people need to realize that you don’t live to eat, you eat to live.

I read that you’re big on the Vegan lifestyle of eating. In basic terms how do you explain eating VEGAN to others especially those who comment on your protein intake?
Haha, I get that all the time. Most people always ask me where I get my protein from. What they don’t realize is that dark leafy greens, beans and nuts have more protein than meat will ever have. Also, plant based protein is a much healthier protein whereas animal protein can lead to different cancers and diseases.

You’re pretty involved in PETA – how did that come about and why are you so passionate about it?
They actually contacted me on Facebook because they heard I was vegan. I love animals and PETA is a movement that I strongly believe in and that I’m really passionate about.

What peaked your interest in health and nutrition, especially at such a young age?
My aunt and uncle. They are my inspiration.

Do you time your meals around your surf?
No I usually just listen to my body. I eat whenever I’m hungry.

Favorite health / nutrition related book that you’d recommend to others?
EAT TO LIVE is a really great book.

Coconut water – love it or not so much?
The funny thing is, I used to hate coconut juice when I was little now I can’t get enough of it.

Do you use almond milk, if so what’s your go to flavor?
I use almond milk all the time I like the plain kind.

Do you take any vitamins or supplements?
I take Tahitian Noni Juice from Morinda everyday. I use Braggs Aminos, Kal’s Flake Brewers Yeast, cacao nibs, chia seeds and whole flax seeds daily. Most importantly, I think nutrients should come from
the foods you eat.

What would be the Tia Special Shake – ingredients?
Spinach, Kale, dates, carrots and a banana mixed with almond milk and cacao.

Do you prefer to mix a shake?
I use a Vita Mix.

Do you notice a difference in how the food tastes in other countries?
Yes, I definitely feel as if certain foods are better in certain countries. For example, when you go I the tropics, they always have the best tasting fruit.

 

Surfing is obviously a heck of a work out – what else do you do besides surfing for workouts?
I like to hike, run, do yoga and tumbling.

What would be your favorite?
An hour of hot yoga or hiking

Do you run for time or distance (on the beach)?
I like to run about 4 miles at a constant pace.

What’s your favorite type of yoga?
I love doing hot yoga :)

What type of a cleanse would you recommend to others?
I actually just did a green juice cleanse for 3 days it was really good.

Do you feel like you’re treated differently being “a girl” or do the guys treat you like “one of the guys”?
I think the people that know me don’t treat me different because they know I can surf, but some people assume I can’t and treat me different.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge female surfers face in the industry?
Getting sponsored. There are so many talented surfers now a days with no main sponsor. However, I believe women’s surfing is getting bigger and bigger every day so a lot is going to be changing.

You have a number of sponsors… What advice would you give to other women who are looking for sponsorship…Anything that helped you get big names like Reef?
I would say be nice and humble to every person you meet. You never know who that person is. Don’t think about it too much, just do what you do and work hard.

Tia’s Sponsors
Reef
J7 Surf Designs
Daphnes Greek Cafe
Sticky Bumps
Tonic Shop
DFS Movement
Forged in Fitness
RPRT  (management team)

Any advice for women looking to get into modeling…You’ve done quite a bit of it already at a young age – any dos or don’ts you’ve learned?
Make sure you know who you’re dealing with and be confident and relaxed.

What’s your favorite social media outlet?
My favorite is Instagram but I’m required to use all social media. I have a Facebook, Tumblr and I just got a Twitter account.

• Instagram: tiablanco
• Twitter: tia_blanco
• Facebook: www.facebook.com/Tia.Blanco
• Tumblr: http://tiablanco.tumblr.com
• Website: www.tiarahblanco.com

Anyone you’d like to thank or give a shout out to?
I would really love to say thank you to all the people that support me in this world especially my loved ones.

Thanks Tia and all the best!

Check out Tia’s interview with girlisnota4letterword.com. Thanks to Cindy Whitehead and Matt Meyerson of RPRT Management for the introduction and a special thanks to Sina Blanco for the awesome photos. Tia can be reached through rp-rt.com for sponsorship and other inquiries.

Photo credits: Sina Blanco



Cindy Whitehead’s TEDx Talk – Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word


Our super rad contributor and friend, Cindy Whitehead gives an inspiring and motivating TEDx talk. She hits on a number of topics in this video and you may need to watch it more than once. Chances are you’ll want to because there are so many awesome messages in it. Cindy talks about how she came up with “Girl is NOT a 4 Letter word”, became a sponsored pro skateboarder and even skated down the 405 Freeway not that long ago.

cindy whitehead

Cindy is practicing what she preaches which is something we can all learn from. She’s telling her story and doing “epic shit”. Check it out and give her a shout on twitter at @SportsStylist or @GirlisNOTa4LW to let her know what you think. Visit her website for more photos and inspirational features on women doing epic things… girlisnota4letterword.com.

VIA YOUTUBE:
“Live life balls to the wall. Do epic shit. Take every dare that comes your way. You can sleep when you’re dead”. This is the personal motto of Cindy Whitehead.

She conquered the male dominated profession of pro vert skateboarding in the 70′s, and quickly became one of the top ranked professional female vert skateboarders in the U.S. for pool riding and half-pipe. To this day, Cindy still holds the distinction of being the only female to be featured in the centerfold plus a two-page article in a skateboarding magazine, and is the only female skateboarder to have been sponsored by Puma.

Since then, Cindy has gone on to coin the term “Sports Stylist®,” working as a fashion stylist specializing in sports, with companies like Gatorade, Nike, the NBA,and athletes such as Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant and Mia Hamm.

Last year she made national headlines by skateboarding down the closed 405 freeway in Los Angeles. In June of 2013 Cindy flew to Washington, DC to sign over some of her skateboard history to The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History’s sports collections.

Cindy has been profiled in magazines and sites such as, ESPN, The Huffington Post, & Women’s Wear Daily, and has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows. She most recently spoke in Washington, DC at The Smithsonian Museum’s Innoskate event.

Her catchphrase “Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word” has become a battle cry for girls worldwide.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

lead image composed from youtube talk



Dina Al Sabah Healthy & Fit Pregnancy Update


Checking in from the 3rd Trimester at 28 weeks !!

Lots to catch up on since I last touched base. I visited DC, celebrated my 40th birthday, took the gestational diabetes screening test (gag!), had my maternity shoot and started working on the baby room.

dina al sabah fitness

At the start of February, I decided that I needed to make more of an effort to walk more. Even with cardio, I felt that I could be more active, so I bought a Fitbit Flex. It was surprising to find out that on an average day, I did not meet the 10,000 steps that are recommended. Most of us have jobs where we sit all day, and unless we make conscious decisions to move, we end up not doing much. I have been incorporating a daily walk along with my gym workouts which has helped keep my step count above 10,000. My husband thinks I have lost my mind as I have started marching about during TV commercials, but I think it is a great way of adding additional activity to your day. I truly believe that staying active is one of the factors in allowing me to have an easier pregnancy with minimal swelling up till now.

My trip to DC was wonderful as I got to catch up with my best friends, eat Baked & Wired cupcakes  (hands down the best cupcakes ever!) and walk all over to burn off the calories! I managed to log 22,000 steps one of the days we walked to the Capitol. I thought that my DC cupcake escapade would be the last time I ate cupcakes as I usually do not eat that sort of thing. However, my dear friends decided to surprise me for my birthday, and I ended up with cupcakes, mini cupcakes and cake pops. Of course, I had to sample a little bit of  all the treats which extended my sugar coma for a few more days. Once the sugar coma wore off it was time to take the dreaded glucose screening test for gestational diabetes. The glucose solution was one of the most disgusting things I have had to drink. The sweetness was so cloying that I felt nauseated. Now if only they could give you cupcakes instead!  The little munchkin, on the other hand, loved the sugar and proceeded to dance about for the next few hours. Thankfully I passed!

As far as working out, I have tried to maintain my original schedule, but I have been feeling more tired these last few weeks. I am making it to the gym about 3 to 4 times a week instead of my usual 5. When I am down to 3 days, I usually have a leg day, and then split arms, back and shoulders into 2 separate days. The days that I do treadmill cardio, I set the incline to around 5% so that the booty and hamstrings are activated. I  am listening to my body and am doing only what I feel I am up to. I have to admit that it has been a bit hard to get over the guilt of not making it to the gym, but I know that this is not the time to have a competitor’s outlook on things.I have also been a lot hungrier than usual. The 3rd trimester is when you require the most calories, so I am sure that the hunger is from the drain of growing another human albeit a rather small one (2.5lb at the last check up).  To manage the increase in hunger, I have gone from  4 meals a day to 5 so that I have a mid morning snack and a mid afternoon snack.

I have attached a collage of what I looked like prior to getting pregnancy, and what I look like now. It is pretty amazing how the human body can adapt to growing and expanding to accommodate a baby! I marvel at it daily.

dina preggo

New Finds:
Storq http://storq.com/  – non fussy maternity basics that fit for the entire pregnancy

Isabella Oliver http://www.isabellaoliver.com/us - stylish higher end maternity wear that can also be worn after pregnancy

Tieks http://tieks.com/ - hands down the best and cutest  ballet flats I own.  I wear them to walk around everywhere and they keep my feet happy

Keep up with Dina on her Facebook fan page.



Interview with Iceland’s First (and only) IFBB Pro Margret Gnarr


Iceland’s first and only IFBB Pro took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to share a bit more about herself. Margret Gnarr will be making her IFBB Pro debut this weekend at the Bikini International in Columbus, Ohio. You may not have heard much about her before but rest assured you will in the coming days. Marget’s hardbody and looks speak for themselves but what you may not have known is that she’s a blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do. Get to know a bit more about Margret and give her a bit of encouragement as she’s not only competing as a pro for the first time but also representing an entire country.

margret gnarr


Name: 

Margret Gnarr

Born in:
1989

Currently live in:
Reykjavik, Iceland

Any brothers or sisters?
Yes I have 6 siblings, 3 brothers and 3 sisters

Where do you fall in the ages?
I grew up with two of my siblings to the age of 11 and I was the middle child. My brother is 2 years older than me and my sister is 3 years younger.

Any pets?
I have two dogs. Dolly is a Chihuahua/Cavalier mix and Ronja is a Icelandic sheepdog / Russian sled dog mix.

One food you will NOT eat:
Cucumbers !!! Hate them! Sometimes I say I’m allergic just to avoid eating them! I don’t know what is is with cucumbers. My dad and my younger sister are the same. haha

After my workout I typically eat…
Chicken, sweet potatoes and sweet peppers

Did you play sports growing up?
Yes, I was all over the place growing up! I loved all sports and I was very active from a young age. My favorite class in school was gym-class! I started in gymnastics when I was 6 but I didn’t have a lot of discipline so my parents sent me to Taekwondo for one year. At the age of 8 I went into figure skating and that’s when I started competing in sports and absolutely loved competing! I wanted to be the first figure skating competitor from Iceland to compete at the winter Olympics! At the age of 14 I hurt my ankles and couldn’t handle the landings after the high jumps so I took 6 months off from training and after 6 months my friend asked me about Taekwondo and told me she wanted to try it out. I went with her to our first training and after my first Taekwondo class I was hooked. I stopped figure skating and found another passion. Soon I got in the youth national team in Olympic Taekwondo Sparring and started competing. I have competed several times in Taekwondo and I have the black belt. I have been doing Taekwondo for over 10 years.

margret gnarr world champions winner

How did you get into competing in Bikini?
I have been interested in Bikini fitness since 2008 when it started in Iceland. My friend competed at the IFBB Icelandic Championship and I thought she looked so great. I have always been interested in modeling and I am also a singer so I love to be on stage. When it comes to modeling I was always told I had the face for it but not the body. My body was too athletic for modeling. When I saw the Bikini fitness class for the first time I thought to myself: “that’s perfect for me!” But at that time I had very low self-esteem after years of bullying and I knew I had to work on my self first to be able to handle fitness competitions. In beginning of 2011 I finally had the self-esteem I needed and decided to compete. My first competition was the IFBB Icelandic Cup in November 2011 and after that contest I was hooked!

A singer huh… Who is your favorite singer?
I have so many favorite singers! Can’t pick one:) Here are couple of my absolute favorite: Jason Mraz, Ed Sheeran, Imogen Heap, Hayley Williams and Jonathan Davis.

Will you give us a sample of your singing at the Arnold?
Yes! Of course! Will you play the guitar then?

margret gnarr world champions winner

Yes, totally! (Note to self forget to pack guitar).

 

Contest history:
IFBB Icelandic Cup 2011 – 3rd place
Arnold Amateur USA 2012 – 4th place
IFBB Icelandic Championhip 2012 – 2nd place
IFBB World Championship 2012 – NP
Arnold Amateur Europe 2012 – 13th place
IFBB Icelandic Cup 2012 – 1st place
IFBB World Championship 2013 – 1st place

How long have you been practicing taekwondo?
- For over 10 years now

Do you still do taekwondo while prepping for a bikini show?
I do Taekwondo in my off seasons but 12 weeks into a bikini show I only train Taekwondo

by myself. The reason is I don’t want to get hurt or bruised on Taekwondo trainings. When I train Taekwondo I do a lot of sparring and you can get hurt and that’s not good when you are prepping for a bikini show. Doesn’t look very good on stage to be bruised. haha

Do you have any foods in Iceland that you won’t find in the USA?
Yes! Icelandic Candy, Icelandic dry fish, Icelandic yogurt skyr.is (You can find Skyr in Wholefoods but its not the same as in Iceland)

margret gnarr world championships contest

What is Icelandic candy like?
- Its heaven! Icelandic chocolate is the BEST! I will bring some Icelandic candy with me for everybody to taste!!

What’s iceland dry fish like or is there nothing like it and it’s super amazing?
Icelandic dry fish is awesome in competition prep. There are 83 grams of protein in 100 grams of dry fish and no carbs. It’s very popular in Iceland and we grow up eating it like candy.

What’s the biggest difference between USA and Iceland that you’ve noticed?
The biggest difference in general is the size and population! There are 320.000 people who live in Iceland! That’s like a small town in the US!

How’s it feel to be the only IFBB Pro from Iceland?
I can’t explain the feeling. I still can’t believe I achieved that dream. Ever since I started competing I wanted to be the first Icelandic fitness competitor to become an IFBB Pro. I am honored to be the first IFBB Pro from Iceland and I hope I will make my country proud.

How long do you prepare for a competition?I’m prepping all year round but I start the competition diet 12 weeks into a competition.

Do you follow the same training you did from a couple years ago?
No, I got a new personal trainer last year and changed a lot. Doing more reps, lighter weights and more cardio.

Do you workout with a trainer?
No my coach lives on the other side of the country so I workout alone but sometimes a have a workout partner.

What tips would you give women who are looking for a trainer – what should they look for?
Always look for a trainer that has the right experience for your goals. I also think it’s really important to feel 100% trust to your trainer.

What are you doing when not measuring food, hitting the gym or hitting pads?
I’m a personal trainer, a posing coach, a spokesmodel and a singer. I barely get any free time! When I have some free time I like to just lay in bed and watch TV shows with my fiancé and my dogs and I also love to go to the spa at my gym, World Class.

I understand you have asthma. How do you overcome having asthma with cardio – any tips for others who suffer from asthma?
The right exercises helped me with my asthma. I barely feel it anymore. The asthma was very bad when I was younger but after I started doing sprints 3 times a week my endurance has never been better!

Do you listen to music while you work out? If so what’s your go to song for this prep?
Yes! I LOVE listening to music! I listen to dupstep and I have the volume very high. Keeps me more focused. Currently I’m listening to Skrillex, Modestep, NERO, Korn, House of Titans, Aviici and more.

What’s your typical breakfast look like?
I always have oatmeal for breakfast and when I’m not 12 weeks out from a bikini show I like to add cashew nuts, green apples and goji berries in my oatmeal.

photo of margret gnarr

Any tips for surviving a long flight?
Get a good sleep! That’s the best thing to do!

Has this prep been different from previous shows?
Yes, I have been doing way more cardio than I’m used to. That was probably the only difference but what matters most to me while prepping for a show is to feel good mentally, physically and emotionally.

How important is it to have a strong support system around you?
I find it very important because it keeps me motivated! That’s why I always surround myself with peop

le who support me.

Any one you’d like to thank?
There are so many people I would like to thank. My family and friends for all of their support. My coach Johann Nordfjord for always being there for me. My Icelandic sponsors: Nings, Harlengingar.is, Jan Tana Iceland, BPro Iceland, WOWair, Fitness Sport, Hamark, NYX Iceland, LG Simar, NIP+FAB Iceland, Fitness Akademian, Mizu beauty salon and Kiss Kringlunni. My American sponsors: BN Shape and Ravish Sands. I am also extremely thankful to the IFBB Pro league for giving me this amazing opportunity to compete at the Arnold Classic, Bikini international. It has been a dream ever since I started competing in Bikini fitness and I am so honored.

What’s the best advice anyone has given you so far in life?
My coach taught me not to take myself too seriously and that has helped me in my competitions and life in general.

Where can people find more info on you?
On my Facebook fan page www.facebook.com/margretgnarr
Twitter account @margretgnarr
Instagram @margretgnarr

What’s your favorite social media outlet?
Facebook.

Thanks for your time Margret and we look forward to seeing you compete at the Bikini International this weekend. For more information on the Arnold Sports Festival visit arnoldsportsfestival.com and be sure to follow us on twitter.com/hardbodynews for updates through out the week.

Behind the scenes video from Marget’s photoshoot.

Photos provided by Margret Gnarr. Photographers Sasha Paleeva & Lalli Sig.



Jessica Mone’s Road to The Arnold… Live in the Moment


We are days away from the Arnold Classic and that has had me reflecting quite a bit on my competitive career. My 31st bday is creeping up on me (March 7th!… I will, however, accept early birthday presents at the Arnold ;) ha!

jessica mone blog

I realized that in May it will be the 10 year anniversary of when I first stepped on stage! I’ve included pics from that first show below.

My first show was the prestigious Pittsburgh Pro/Am. Yes, that would be Mr. Jim Manion’s show! Talk about pressure! Lol. As you can see I was too busy freaking out being star struck taking pics backstage! There I am with my awesome trainer Mike Davies, my good friend Misty who I credit for getting me into competing, Michelle Adams (who I met attending my very first MD bootcamp weekend), THEE Dexter Jackson, Kelly Ryan and the absolutely gorgeous inside and out Elaine Goodlad! Elaine has become a friend and has done my makeup for shows and shoots over the years.

I ended up placing 10th at my first show, but I didn’t care… I was hooked!

I went on to win the overall at the next two shows, turned pro and made my pro debut at the Pittsburgh Pro placing 3rd in Figure! Talk about coming full circle!

I feel so incredibly blessed to have been a part of this industry for 10 years! I wouldn’t change a thing about my career in this industry. The good, the bad and the downright ugly. I claim it all!

If we don’t get so caught up in the wins and losses I’m sure each and every one of us can tell stories about how we have grown and learned throughout the competitive process.

Make sure you live in the moment, enjoy yourself and let it all soak in… Because in the blink of an eye 10 years will pass and it won’t matter which show you won or lost. It will be the memories and milestones that truly stick with you! I promise.

So as I step on the Bikini International stage I will have a huge smile on my face… Remembering that timid 21 year old girl first discovering one of her passions in life… And I will be thankful for the lessons and blessings I have received throughout my career.

God bless and thank y’all for following my “Road To The Arnold”!

@jessfit on Twitter.

jessica mone competing



Interview with Canadian Fitness Pro Danielle Ruban


IFBB Fitness Pro, Danielle Ruban will be competing in her second Fitness International competition this week. She was away from competition in 2013 due to a shoulder injury but is rehabilitated and ready to rock in Columbus. Danielle took time from her busy schedule to do this Hardbody Interview and share a bit more about herself. The Canadian gymnast turned IFBB Fitness Pro shares her love for the expresso machine, why she would never cut it using a fanny pack and more.

danielle ruban

HARDBODY INTERVIEW with DANIELLE RUBAN

Name: Danielle Louise Ruban

Birthday: Oct. 10, 1983

Born in: Belleville, Ontario

Currently live in: Cambridge, Ontario

Occupation: Online Contest Prep Coach

Years competing: 5 this will be my 6th year

Competition history:
2012 IFBB Arnold Classic Europe – 12th
2012 IFBB Ms. Fitness Olympia – 12th
2012 IFBB Toronto Pro Supershow – 4th
2012 IFBB Pittsburgh Pro – 4th
2012 IFBB St. Louis Pro – 3rd
2012 IFBB Ms. Fitness International -9th
2011 IFBB Pan American Games Championships 1st in tall, 1st Over-all
2011 IFBB North American Championships 1st Over-all (Pro Card Awarded)

Any pets? Two big, furry German Shepherds

How about plants… do you have any plants… are you a plants person?
I love plants! But I could not be trusted to keep one alive.

If someone has more than three cats and single they are… Who they are?!? Is this a trick question? “Judge not lest ye be judged” ;-)

If someone wears a fanny pack to the gym they might be… A minimalist. I practically need a hockey bag.

One trend you wish would come back in style… I know I am going to embarrass myself here: Bell-bottoms.

What was your favorite event in gymnastics? The floor exercise, by far. I pretty much only did the other events so I could do floor routines!

How often and long do you train gymnastics/routine? About 2.5-3 hours, 4 days a week.

danielle ruban fitnessDanielle performs her routine at the 2012 Fitness International.


What areas have you worked on since your last competition?
Plenty! I have really focused on re-building my physique. I cannot wait to see how everything comes together at my first show back! I worked equally hard at improving my routine, which will be explosive and exciting! Those are just the physical changes; mentally, I have matured a lot as well.

Do you think it’s more challenging to get exposure for Canadians than your US counterparts? No – I think if you compete internationally and you reach out to the right people, we Canadians can have the same opportunities as American competitors.

What would be a “typical day” for Ms. Ruban?
I wake up at around 6:30, and my first stop is the coffee maker. I just got an espresso machine and I am loving it! If it’s a “routine practice” day, I’ll eat first and then away I go! Three hours later I am back home, and my dogs are looking at me because they want to get a workout in too. I take them to a park and throw the ball until they have had their fill. Next, I spend time communicating with clients or creating new/updated programs. Being a contest prep coach is extremely fun and rewarding, and I am grateful to have found a profession that I’m so passionate about.

This close to a show, I will weight train, but go early to practice posing first. I practice my presentation daily now that the show is so close.

My training coach is a ‘Strong-man’ competitor, and today we will train back and shoulders. It’s amazing – I am days out from my competition and still lifting more weight each session! It’s highly motivating. Once I’m back at home, I will do some more work before folding up my laptop and getting ready to relax for the evening with my husband and dogs. All of us pile on the couch and watch a good show or movie. Some nights, if he is at work, I will read or journal before bed. I am usually in bed by 10pm and before I fall asleep I visualize my fitness routine or physique round presentation over and over until I fall asleep.

Favorite body part to train?
Shoulders. I was out with shoulder injuries this past season, and they have come so far. I finally feel really strong training them – That’s what fun is for me.

Did the shoulder injury keep you out of competition in 2013?
Not competing in 2013 was a hard choice, but a wise one. I had bilateral shoulder issues which took a very long time to heal. No treatment was working on me, and it was really hard deal with mentally. I wanted to take time to build and improve my physique, and for 6 months I couldn’t even take my shoulder through a pain-free range of motion. Working with a chiropractor who used the Graston Technique (where scar tissue is aggressively broken down) is what really helped. I was finally able to start working through the injuries and making some gains in strength and physique development. It’s not realistic to go from show to show, stay in peak condition, and make muscle gains simultaneously. I took the time to invest in my future fitness career. I started training with Craig Bongelli, who is a StrongMan competitor, and he has really helped me become much stronger and more explosive. I am excited to display these improvements to both the physique and routine round this season! I also took the time off to focus on building my training business, where I prep competitors for IFBB affiliated shows. Training clients who end up having a great experience and do well is almost as rewarding as competing myself.

Least favorite body part to train?
Calves.

How important is a good coach?
It’s not important, it’s key. Speaking from personal experience, I can say my coaches Layne Norton and Craig Bongelli have helped me to chase my potential in a way I never thought possible.

What tips do you have for women who are currently looking for a coach… What should they look for?
I think a GOOD coach should have personal experience with competing (i.e. Be a competitor themselves), have experience coaching competitors, and should have some kind of applicable education such as Kinesiology, Anatomy or Physiology degree. I think it would be a great idea for the individual looking to compete to speak to current or past clients of the coach they are interested in working. I think a good coach should genuinely care about their clients, love what they do, and lead by example. They should inspire, not intimidate, and consider the competitors’ HEALTH first and foremost. Here is a great video log by my coach Layne Norton: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uheW7ZljTXo

danielle ruban fitnessDanielle at the 2012 Fitness Olympia

Favorite way to prepare chicken?

BBQ! But this winter, I opted to use the deep covered oven baker – Thank you Pampered Chef

Favorite flavor of Mrs. Dash?
If I had to choose, the garlic on. But salt is not the enemy, so why not have Montreal Steak Spice?

What do you eat the day of a show when you know you’ll be performing your routine?
Similar to what I would eat on a day I am practicing my routine. I will have already eaten some carbs the day before, and prior to prejudging, so that’s really all I need. Maybe a few sips of Revolution Nutrition KICK, too!

How important is it to have a strong support team when prepping for a show?
I have learned this prep just how very critical it is. I have always had the support of family and my husband and my sponsors, but this year I have friends who will be there to support and cheer me on, and have been there the entire journey. My coaches will be there, too. I am dedicating this show to those people.

Any sponsors you’d like to thank?
Revolution Nutrition for always being there to supply me with my Supplement Arsenal and Cynthia James of CJ’s Elite Competition Wear for my Fitness Costume.

Where can people find more info on you?
www.danielleruban.com
On twitter: @DanielleRuban
On instagram:@TeamRuban

Favorite social media outlet?

Facebook AND IG – Don’t make me choose!

How excited are you to be heading to Brasil?
Words cannot describe! I have always wanted to compete internationally in the sport I love, and now I will be going to South America for the first time in my life!! I may never have gotten that opportunity if I wasn’t doing what I am so fortunate to be doing, competing in Pro Fitness

Favorite motivational quote.
“THE GREATEST BARRIER TO SOMEONE ACHIEVING THEIR POTENTIAL IS THEIR DENIAL OF IT.” – SIMON TRAVAGLIA

See more photos of Danielle in competition and performing her routine here.



Bethany Cisternino’s Road to The Fitness International


Bethany Cisternino is one of the top Fitness pros in the IFBB Pro League. She’s a threat for the top spots in every competition she enters and the 2014 Fitness International is no different. She was third at the 2013 event and has her sights set on the top spot. She’s been faced with the challenges that Mother Nature has brought to the East Coast with the ridiculous amounts of snow. Bethany hasn’t let that get in her way staying the course and coming in on top of her game.

Bethany Cisternino

She’s not only prepping for the show but also a teacher and coaches indoor track and gymnastics. The Bridgewater bad ass checks in with an update with just days to go until the big dance in Columbus.

Hey there hardbody peeps! We are a few short days away from the 2014 Ms. Fitness International and I am ready to rock! I’d like to share a few things I’ve found very important and critical to my prep this year (other than training).

I am at the Acura dealership because I hit a monster pot-hole and blew out my right front tire. AWESOME. No, not awesome. The snow and ice has been relentless this winter. I don’t think I have had a full week of school since before Christmas! One benefit from the cold weather and canceled classes… more sleep. I’ve had a chance to catch up on a lot of sleep and has allowed my body more time to recover.

Sleep is key. It is the time when your mind and muscles finally rest, recover, and grow. It can also be a huge factor in weight loss. I typically average 5 hours of sleep during the week. However, this prep I have made an effort to get at least 6 1/2 or 7 during the week. The weekends I never set an alarm. I listen to my body and let it get up when it wants to. If you are interested in benefits of sleep check out sleepfoundation.org for more information.

Every prep I learn something new about myself. This prep, I have learned to look at my training, dieting, and hard work as a celebration. I’ve tried not to complain about cardio or dieting. My leg is not being amputated and pizza will be still be served after March 1st. Everybody trains hard. Everybody has obstacles and challenges. Nothing about being an IFBB competitor is easy. Stop complaining and celebrate it.

“Yup. That’s right. That’s me. Check me out. Look what I can do.”

I’ve learned it’s ok to be proud. This does not mean post everything on Instagram. I don’t need you to “like” my picture for satisfaction or justification. Yes, we all tend to post pictures for fans and followers, but I have made an effort to internalize my efforts.

I’m talking about self-worth and self-pride.

In less than a week that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Win or lose (hopefully win) I look forward to celebrating with my friends, fans, and fitness sisters.

I may even do a dance!

When asked what kind of dance Bethany will do she said, “My dance will definitely include some form of fist pump — I’m from NJ.” But of course. LOL!



Yeshaira Robles – Two Weeks Out From The Arnold


Yeshaira Robles gives fans an update via her Youtube channel. She gives a bit of a confessional style video. Yeshaira is prepping for the Bikini International at the same time her significant other, Marco Rivera, is prepping for the inaugural Arnold 212 Bodybuilding.

Yeshaira Robles Road to The Arnold

She ends the video update with a couple samples of her training legs two weeks out from the Arnold. You can subscribe to her YOUTUBE channel here and follow along as she heads into the Arnold.

Follow Yeshaira on twitter @yeshaira.



Yeshaira Robles’ Hardbody Road to The Arnold


Yeshaira Robles stops by with an update on her Arnold prep. If you’ve ever prepared for a competition with your significant other you know it’s often a roller coaster of emotions. Yeshaira shares a candid conversation she was faced with over cooking fish and shares her go-to recipe for cooking turkey.

Yeshaira Robles Bikini

3 WEEKS OUT – BIKINI INTERNATIONAL

What’s up Hardbodies?!

3 weeks “Holla”!  My prep is going great and I keep seeing lots of changes every week.  I look like a 12 year old because I’m getting tiny. I haven’t had a cheat meal. I will have one when I deserve one, reason why is becasue I was enjoying it during prep 8, 7 and 6 weeks out. OK, so I had one poptart when I was 5 weeks out but that was it. I’m hoping to reach my target weight by Valentine’s Day so that Marco can take me out for some sushi yum.

Marco and I have been playing around with different recipes. We try to make our food enjoyable rather then say “ugh” and “I have to eat this.”  I have to share this story with you guys. I told Marco the other day to please take out the fish from the fridge so that I can bake it when I get home. When I got home he had already prepared and cooked my fish. The next morning I leave for work with my meals. When its time for me to eat, I go down to the cafeteria and pull out the fish. When I tell you that fish tasted like it was from the sea oh man it did.

Marco came to pick me up from work that day, I told him “babe, Thanks for cooking the fish for me. What did you season it with?”

Marco: “Why?”

Me: “Because it tasted like fish.”

Marco: “It IS fish.”

Me:  “I mean fish like if I fished it out from the sea.”

Marco: “You know what I ain’t never cooking for you again.”

Me: “I mean I’m not saying nothing bad I’m just asking,” LOL. I think its best that I prepare my own food anyways haha.

See some of my prep videos on Youtube.

Soon we will be in Columbus! I can’t wait.

Until next time Keep Training Hard =D


Yeshaira Robles

Follow Yeshaira on twitter @yeshaira and “like” her Facebook fan page. You can keep up to date on Yeshaira’s YOUTUBE channel as well.

Read More on Yeshaira’s Road to The Arnold.

 



Dina’s Diary – Staying Fit & Healthy During A Pregnancy


Dina shares the latest in her journal of staying healthy and fit during her first pregnancy. If you’re a Hardbody mom you’ll likely related to some of what Dina has to share. If you’re a mom-to-be like Dina is you’ll get an idea of what Dina is going through with her first pregnancy. She discuses how she’s feeling and what types of workouts she’s able to do. Dina also shares some of the beauty products she’s using and what her nutrition is like.

21 weeks pregnant

Dina’s Diary – Week 22

Yes, I have leaky boobs and am doing squats in the Smith Machine with 10lb plates! Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let me re-cap the week.

Ever since my anatomy scan, I have been feeling “movement”. As a primigravida (woman who is pregnant for the first time), I knew that it would take a while for me to feel anything. I have to say that it is the most incredible feeling, knowing that you have another life within you, that is moving about outside your control. I will admit though that I have gotten jabs at rather inopportune moments. I’m pretty sure you’ve all read about how pregnancy makes your hormones go crazy which can be a bonanza for all in the bedroom, but let me tell you that having my baby to be make his presence known at the very same time put a kibosh on everything. I’m sure I will get over it soon enough, but it’s taking some processing. Now as far as the leaky boobs…it happens. Usually this happens in the 3rd trimester but all bodies are different, and mine started at around 21 weeks. I gleefully wanted to share this new development with my husband, but he ran away shrieking. Now I know how to torment him! I also have a more pronounced Linea Nigra (the line that some pregnant women get that travels down the belly).

Body-wise I have been feeling pretty good. I feel stronger at the gym and a little less hesitant than I had been. I have gone back to squatting baby weights (yes, I use the Smith Machine now!). I find the leg press a bit uncomfortable, so I am no longer doing that. Here is what my arm day looked like:

WORKOUT

Machine preacher curls 3 x 12
Flat curls 3 x 12
Push-ups using upside down Bosu ball 3 x 12
Rope Pulldowns 3 x 12

And here is leg day part one..I usually train legs twice a week:

Leg extensions 3 x 12
Hamstring Curls on Cable Machine 3 x 12
Plie Squats 3 x 12
Smith Machine Squats 3 x 12
Deads with a wider stance to accommodate the baby bump 3 x 13
Side Step Ups 3 x 12

This week I added yoga and Pilates into my workout rotation. I find that yoga allows me to stretch and get in tune with my body. Pilates, on the other hand, kicked my butt. You have to love an instructor who tells you that pregnancy is not a disability and that she expects you to work! My tushie will thank her later.

For nutrition, as I progress into my pregnancy, coach Layne advised that we should be slowly increasing my calories weekly. This week I get a few more carbs and a smidgen more of fat. Don’t get me wrong, I am not being completely obsessive with my diet, and I am indeed having fun. My husband made me buttermilk pancakes on Monday, and I was in a food coma for the rest of the day. My philosophy is to enjoy what I eat, but that pregnancy does not mean eating for two. It is my job to ensure that what I eat is nutritious for both myself and my son to be and that I maintain good health and weight gain. My OB advises a range of 25 – 35lb for me, and so far I have gained 11 lb. I haven’t had any real cravings, and my meat aversions are still there though they are diminishing slowly.

I thought I would touch on my beauty regiment.I have had to change some of my go to products during pregnancy. Having darker skin, I am predisposed to get melasma (dark patches). My aesthetician advised that I could use some vitamin c and kojic acid to keep it from getting worse. Below are some of the things I am now using with the approval of my OB.

Turbo Booster C Powder
Clé de Peau foam cleanser
Clé de Peau protective lotion
Image Ageless Total Skin Lightening Serum
Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder

As far as on my body, I am a firm believer that stretch marks are genetic and no matter how many lotions and potions you apply, you will not avoid getting them should you be predisposed to them. My go to body products are:

Ultra Moisture In-Shower Body Lotion
Olay Quench Body Lotion Shimmer

Those two are the only products that have stopped me from getting scaly skin on my legs, and trust me I have tried everything.

For an extra treat, I love using
REN Moroccan Rose Otto Ultra-Moisture Body Oil

That’s all for now!



Oksana Grishina’s Road to The Fitness International


Hi Hardbody fans and friends! I’m always happy to share my thoughts with you before the Arnold Classic, so here’s another blog for you!

There are only three weeks to go before the show, and I can’t wait to get on the Arnold stage! My performance is just about ready. Now I’m working on my stamina, to put both parts of my routine together, and be sure I have energy to jump to the pole!

Fitness champion Oksana Grishina - Hardbody Road to the Arnold

Thanks to all of you for your interest in my routine, and your many supportive comments and shared videos. I really hope you like this new performance but, of course, this is still Fitness, so my focus is on completing strong and clean Fitness elements in my routine. I am very thankful to X-Pole for making this performance possible. I am grateful, also, to SAN Nutrition and Six Pack Bags for their constant support over the year. SAN supplements and my Six Pack bag both help me keep my energy up, while staying on my diet, day in and day out.

Fitness is a tough sport. Even as we work hard to perfect our routines, we must stay on a strict diet that challenges our energy reserves, and train hard in the gym to maintain muscle mass, tone, and definition to present a great shape on stage. We fight through pain and small injuries all the time, but sometimes it’s more than a body can take. Injuries are always a risk, and I am sad to see great athletes like Myriam Capes unable to make it to the stage. I know she’s a fierce competitor, so I expect to see her again at the Olympia. For the next three weeks, my goal is to keep my body as safe as possible, while finishing my prep.

Working with the pole has been a completely new workout and set of movements for me. I started from scratch, never having used a pole before, and it’s been really cool to experience the learning process from the beginning. It’s such a great workout for the whole body—arms, abs, back, legs! I am always working with my body weight, and I can see gains in size and strength in my arms from just the last few months. It’s hard work, but great fun, so give it a try. Of course, be ready for some bumps and bruises at the beginning, lol. But with experience, you’ll find your way more gently :).

As some of you may know, I’ve had a documentary film team following me around for a few months. Fall Guy Productions will continue to follow my prep and the competition at the Arnold, and I’m really excited to share some behind-the-scenes views of Fitness! I’ve never had to go through my prep in front of a film crew before, so this will mean some extra work for me, but it’s a new experience and I want to share my Fitness prep with fans. It’s a great opportunity to see what Fitness competition and the life of a Fitness athlete is like. I hope this gives fans, people in other parts of our business, and the broader public, a better understanding of what a Fitness competition is.

Thanks, again, for all the support you’ve been giving me online, through Facebook and Twitter. I will continue to post my pole workout videos, leading up to the Arnold. I hope some of you will give pole fitness a try. To all my sister competitors: stay safe, stay strong, keep motivating others, and good luck on the Arnold stage!!

With love,

Oksana
www.oksanagrishina.com



Hardbody Road to The Arnold – Fit and Healthy with Jess


Top IFBB Bikini Pro, Jessica Mone updates us on her prep for the 2014 Arnold. Jessica will be competing at the Bikini International and has been kind enough to share her journey with Hardbody. Jess shares, “to the spectators you look like the epitome of health, but are you really?” Read on…

jessica mone blog

 

Fit and Healthy…?
It’s the day of the show, the moment you have been prepping for for weeks! All of the blood sweat and tears you have poured over the stepmill and 5 billion meals of fish sweet potatoes and asparagus have SO been worth it, right?!

You look amazing on stage. To the spectators you look like the epitome of health, but are you really?

We all know what it takes to get in show shape and many of us would say that we feel the furthest thing from healthy on those days leading up to the show.

We have all heard about some of the damaging things people are doing to get ready for these shows, not knowing how bad they are really hurting their bodies.

That is why last year going into the Arnold I made the goal of getting into the best shape (mentally physically and emotionally) of my life. This was one of the best decisions I could have ever made!

I wanted to share with y’all what has continued to make my show prep, and more important, my every day life so much healthier!

My husband and I make a daily “green drink” that is truly an anti inflammatory, alkalizing,  immune system boosting, toxic removing, disease fighting, energy cranking, skin glowing, internal deodorant, bowel cleaning DREAM!!! :) lol.

I could go through and list what each ingredient specifically does, but this blog would be never ending. I figured that little description would peak your interest and you would do your own research, like I did, and learn some amazing holistic ways to help better your health!

Sure, you can add some fruits in with this to try and make it taste better, but honestly we just chug it down bc the benefits far out way the need for it to taste good for me :).

See our “GREEN DRINK” ingredients / recipe here.

I can promise you, you won’t regret adding this into your health and fitness routine. Especially for us competitors that can tend to feel a little run down as the show gets closer.

I notice a definite increase in energy, less sickness, my skin has never looked better and I always suffered from issues with IBS (TMI sorry!) and I can’t believe how that has cleared up!. The amazing part is reading about the long term health and disease (etc) fighting benefits!!! They are endless!

We are 5 weeks away from the Arnold! I hope to bring a great look to the stage, but  I KNOW for sure I will be bringing a HEALTHY from the inside out look:) and to me that is truly WINNING!

Thanks for reading! God bless!

Please write to me in the comments or tweet me at @JessFit with some suggestions on topics you would like for me to write about in future blogs.

Read my first blog of the year here.

 



Hardbody PROfile: Elissa Martis – Doctor of Physical Therapy


The 2014 Figure International is just a few weeks away and the competition will be fierce. While much of the chatter is on the seasoned veterans for the top spot, one Florida competitor is quietly training for an upset. Elissa Martis has a smile that will light up the darkest room and a physique that will stop traffic at the busiest intersection. It’s a honor to be selected to compete at the Arnold and to do so as a rookie, in your pro debut is promising.

Elissa Hardbody Profile

She was the 2013 NPC Figure National overall champion and she’s put together an impressive competitive resume in a short amount of time. When you learn what she’s gone through to get there, you’ll admire her accomplishments event more. We caught up with Elissa as she preps for her trip to Columbus and compete against some of the world’s best physiques.

HARDBODY PROfile:

elissa abs dan ray photo

Full Name:
Elissa Leandra Martis

Born in:West Palm Beach, FL

Currently live in:
Jupiter, FL

Any siblings?
1 brother, Ricardo Martis 29

Are you older or younger than your bro?
I’m the oldest by 11 months

Did you get in trouble for stuff your brother did?
Haha, no. If anything, he got in trouble for stuff I did.

Did you play any sports growing up?
Volleyball in High School

Occupation:
Doctor of Physical Therapy

Does your job give you more insight into competing?
Currently, my job does not relate directly to competing because I work mainly with children in the hospital. My education provides me great insight into training, recovery and understanding our physiology and body mechanics.

How did you get started in competing?
I re-tore my ACL along with MCL and bilateral meniscus in my Right knee in June 2012 and required 2 knee surgeries to repair. The latter of them being the end of August 2012. I was in the gym twice a day rehabilitating my knee and training. I gave myself the goal of getting my quad size symmetrical and then I would begin the prep for competing. In early February, I contacted my coach, 6 weeks later I was in my first show, placing 2nd. And I’ve been addicted since.

How did you tear your ACL and MCL?
My first ACL tear was in 2000 playing volleyball in high school. My most recent injury (don’t laugh) occurred while I was playing in an adult kickball league. I fatigued my muscles performing a Crossfit WOD immediately before our game, combine that with the existing instability from my previous injury, my knee gave out. Definitely not my proudest moment and should have gone with my better judgement. I just couldn’t give up on my team.  I required two surgeries within 4 months and was out of work for 5 months. Looking back now, the incident was a huge blessing in disguise in many ways.

What was the biggest challenge you face with your first show?
I was only 6 months out from ACL repair and my stability and balance in heels, let alone on stage was questionable. Throw nerves on top of that, I was incredibly fearful of tripping or forgetting my poses. I also was self conscious about the size difference in my legs. It was more apparent to me than to others because I was working hard to regain size and strength so every minute flaw I noticed. But once I stepped foot on stage, all fears left and I was immediately in love.

IF you could go back and give some advice to the version of you for the fist show, what would you tell her?
I would tell myself to forget about flaws and fears, focus on the hard work and dedication endured to get to that point and be proud of the package I was bringing.elissa npc nationals winner

Contest History:
• Battle on the Beach, Daytona Beach, FL March 2013- 2nd place Figure D
• NPC Southeast Classic, Hollywood FL, 2nd place Figure D
• Jr USA’s, Charleston, SC 1st place Figure Class E
• Team Universe, Teaneck, NJ 7th place Figure Class E
• NPC Nationals, Ft Lauderdale, FL Overall Figure and 1st Place Figure Class E

What did you do different to come back and win the overall after a 7th place finish?
I truly believe the difference was allowing my body to rest. Team Universe was my 4th show in 4 months. Competition prep is very taxing on my body and I did not allow myself time to rest. I had about a 2 month off season that allowed me to mentally, physically and emotionally recuperate.

What body part do you enjoy training the most?
I love training shoulders and Back

Body part least enjoy training?
Chest

You enjoy fastest cardio in the morning, why is that?
It wakes you up, gets your heart rate and metabolism going and makes the day feel very productive. Missing a day of fasted cardio makes me feel guilty and sluggish all day!

What’s for breakfast?
Oats!! We make oatmeal pancakes with muscle egg egg whites, oats, stevia, cinnamon, cocoa! Accompanied by an egg white omelet with onions and spinach. It’s my favorite meal of the day!

Do you work with a trainer?
Yes. Catherine Holland. She is also an IFBB Figure Pro. She has done an amazing job and has really been able to tune into my body as well as help me learn more about what body likes/dislikes.

How did you meet up and work with Cat?
My boyfriend, Jordan Zabriskie, introduced Me to Cat. He also is a competitor and was working with her for his physique shows. She ended up being a great fit for me, and has gained a good understanding of my body in the last year.

How much do you fluctuate from a contest to a show?
Off season I’m normally 134 and show day I’m usually 125-127lbs. Every off season I’ve gained more and more muscle so I’ve been fuller yet still staying lean. It’s a learning and growing experience with each off season I encounter.

How many weeks prep is best for you?
I find that 6-8 weeks is when I really make changes. Keeping a clean and healthy diet all year long really helps keep my prep efficient and on the shorter side.

Favorite food when prepping?
I love oats!! And flank. And sweet potatoes. And the occasional allowed almond butter!!

Wow you are an Oats Super Fan… Any particular kind / brand of oats? 
Good old fashioned oats. While we normally live on an organic, hormone free, gluten free diet as much as possible, we have found it difficult to afford that with two competitors in the house.

Least favorite food during a prep?
Tilapia. I’ve never been much a fish person. And having to prep and reheat fish just feels wrong. I prefer my fish to be fresh.

Any tips on how to make tilapia taste better? 
I douse it in lemon juice, and season with salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic. We occasionally use Walden farms products and the sesame ginger taste great with it.

Do you take a cheat meal / day? If so what do you have?
I generally do one a week. Usually it’s Sunday. Closer to comp week I usually do filet and baked potato. But when I have some leeway I love our homemade buffalo burgers with sweet potato fries or a burrito.

Biggest support system is?
God has truly guided me through some hard times the last few years and helped me overcome my knee surgeries and personal setbacks. My boyfriend, Jordan Zabriskie, is my heart and soul. He also competes with me, despite his heavy work schedule as a chiropractor and business owner. Having the two of us maintain a clean diet has really been crucial to my success. It also has been a blessing to have friends and family who understand and appreciate the sport that support me and motivate me when I need it most.

What advice would you give other women just getting into weight training?
My biggest piece of advice is to not be afraid of lifting heavy. Muscles are sexy and healthy, And the key to seeing change in your body is diet. No matter how many hours of training or cardio you do, without a healthy sustainable diet, you won’t see the results you crave and strive for. Don’t let your hardwork go to waste by eating processed sugary foods and making poor meal choices.

elissa photo by dan ray

You’ll make your pr debut at the Arnold. How did you decide on it for your first show?
After winning overall, one of the popular questions I received was when I would make my Pro debut. At that point, all I could think of was going to Disney (seriously!) I did not expect to win nor did I anticipate the overall. I was focused on that show alone and the future was a distant thought. At the photoshoot the next morning with J.M. Mannion, he looked at me and told me that I had a really good possibility of being invited if I applied. At that moment, I knew I had to apply.

What changes are you focused on heading into the show?
My goals are to improve my V taper and build my glut and hamstrings. Coming off the surgeries, I’ve been at a disadvantage with the inability to do plyos and intense interval sessions. Now that my knee is stronger, I’m praying to make some great changes in the coming year.

Long term goals in and out of fitness?
Make it to the Olympia. Make an impact and be a positive influence to women and girls who struggle with body image and health. I want to start a family and juggle all of life’s challenges while still making an imprint in the fitness industry.

Favorite quote:
It’s a biblical scripture that pulls me through difficult times: Philippians 4:13 ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’.

Any supplements or protein you include in your training?
I love Isopure protein. It’s delicious and low carb. BCAA’s are delicious and help with muscle recovery.

Favorite fitness accessory:
Absolutely my iPod. Put in my headphones and get work done. I’m in the zone during my workouts.

Ever carry a gallon jug around?
I like to carry a large water bottle (64 oz) and measure my water that way. Being a physical therapist in a hospital, I’m not able to carry around a gallon jug.

Where can people find more info on ya?
Facebook: IFBB pro Elissa Martis
Instagram: elissa621

Any eeps you’d like to thank?
Id like to thank God for guiding me through challenges abs blessing me immensely. My boyfriend for being my biggest supporter, my Coach Cat Holland for her impeccable guidance, my posing partner Maximus ( our dog) for helping me with my back pose;), and my family for their continual support and love. A special thank you to the following; J.M. Mannion for the opportunity to compete, CJs’ Elite Competition Wear for providing a beautiful competition suit, Juan Hernandez for posing guidance and instruction , Isaac Hinds for taking the time to show interest in my fitness journey and amazing photography , and Dan Ray for being an awesome photographer/friend.

Thanks and we’ll see ya in Columbus!

Photos Courtesy of Dan Ray

 



Road to The Arnold with Yeshaira Robles – 6 Weeks out


Top IFBB Bikini Pro Yeshaira Robles checks in with an update on her road to the Arnold. She’s currently six weeks out from the Bikini International and this time around she’s dieting with her significant other. The fit duo has a fun, light-hearted relationship where they keep each other in check. Check out what’s up with Yeshaira.

 

yeshaira-robles-blog
What’s Up Hardbodies?!!!

What have I been up to? Hmm… well, I’m six weeks out from the Bikini International yayy. I’m looking forward to a few things; Seeing everyone, wearing my bikini, having my hair and make up done and posing on stage. I don’t normally get all dolled up, so that’s why I look forward to competing. When I go to the gym I wear sweats and a tank top. I admire some of the girls I see wearing booty shorts and sports bras they look amazing. I told Marco (my fiancé also prepping for the Arnold) the other day that when I get really close to show time I’m going to wear those type of clothes to the gym. He looked at me and said ” Well if you’re doing a shoot yes, but not to work out.” LOL

Training has been going very well. At first I was sore all over, I had to roll out of bed. Now nothing hurts. Food has been more like fuel for my body. That’s how I think of it.

I can’t go food shopping with Marco. I like to add 100 calorie treats to the cart, but when we get to the cash register oooooo it’s a different story. He picks it up and says “Really Yeshaira? Is this what you’re going to eat”. I tell him, “It’s just for some in between snacks” he says “No put it back”. Now the lady at the cash register looks at me and looks at him. Here I am looking thin. I could just imagine what she’s thinking haha. (Damm he doesn’t let her eat nothing). So now I go food shopping by myself as well sometimes hehe.

Here’s another funny story with Marco. Last night I turned off the heat at home since it was warm. He gets out the shower and tells me “Did you turn off the heat?” I say ” Yes it’s hot in here”. He says “Hell no its cold!! Its because you’re fat”. LOL he’s the worst.

That’s all for now.

Thanks for reading and until next time Keep Training Hard!

You Guys Rock “Peace”!
Yeshaira Robles

Follow Yeshaira on twitter @yeshaira and “like” her Facebook fan page. You can keep up to date on Yeshaira’s YOUTUBE channel as well.

Read More on Yeshaira’s Road to The Arnold.



Week 21: Staying Healthy & Fit While Pregnant


Dina Al Sabah is checks in with an update after traveling to Germany. She shares an easy-to-follow training circuit you can do in your hotel room and reminds us all to get outdoors and enjoy the nice weather when possible. Dina shares what she’s been craving at 21 weeks into her pregnancy and what she plans to incorporate in the coming weeks to stay fit. Read the latest from Hardbody Mom-to-Be…

21 weeks pregnant

 

Staying Healthy & Fit While Pregnant - Week 21
This week had me traveling to Frankfurt and the Hague. The compression stockings did their job, and I had no swelling. I also kept up my water intake while on the plane though it did make me run to the bathroom hourly! The weather in Frankfurt was very mild so instead of going to the gym I walked about the city, and I did a mini circuit in my hotel room.

Mini-Circuit Hotel Workout:
3 sets – 15 push ups
3 sets – 15 body weight squats
3 sets – 15 lunges

I love walking in cities that I visit. Frankfurt has some beautiful historic architecture as well as a very modern skyline. Eating was a little tricky as I have had a complete aversion to chicken, beef and fish. I can stomach beef and chicken if  ground up and mixed with veggies, but that is not always easy to find. Needless to say, I did not meet my protein quota. I did indulge in a wonderful croissant – one has to when in Europe. The croissant was most delicious on the way down; however  the aftermath was not so pleasant.  Pregnancy  hormones have  slowed down my digestion and caused me to have reflux especially when eating something that has a high fat content. One of the things I noticed on this trip is the quality of food available at both the Frankfurt and Amsterdam airports. It is too bad that most of the airports in the USA do not have good options.

A great advantage about living in Los Angeles is the weather. This year our winter has been nonexistent. It felt so good to step out of the airport and into the warm sunshine.

The day after I returned I had my anatomy scan scheduled. This scan is usually done around 20 weeks and checks the development of the fetus. Thankfully everything is progressing well, and I got to see the little rascal kicking and punching; at one point he even smacked himself in the chin!!! I am always anxious when I go to my check-ups. I now have a system in place where I check the little guy’s heartbeat with my pocket fetal doppler before each appointment just so I know that he is doing well. There is nothing more reassuring than hearing the whomp, whomp, whomp of his heartbeat which usually clocks in at 145 – 150 bpm.

The jet lag has made me extra tired these last few days, so I haven’t done much in the gym other than walk on the treadmill and some light upper body/ab training. Nothing to write home about. I do have a yoga class scheduled on the weekend, and I am adding some Pilates in next week so that I can have some variety.

My latest comforts have been:
- lemon, cucumber and mint water
- zucchini pasta – I got a little spiral cutter that makes pasta like strands… a little sauce and Parmesan cheese make this a tasty treat
- tangerines

I will check in with you all again soon.

week 21 dina
If you have questions related to Dina’s pregnancy and what her journey has been like post them in the comments below or email her.



Cherish Each Moment – Jessica Mone’s Hardbody Road to The Arnold


You may be wondering… Jessica Mone, who dat? Jessica Mone is none other than 2014 Bikini International competitor, Jess Paxson. Jessica is back to share her journey to the Arnold stage and what she’s been up to over the last year, marriage being one of the many things. The blonde beauty finished fifth at last year’s Bikini International and is looking to not only match that placing and surpass it  this year. She reminds us all that there’s more to life than counting calories and getting too wrapped up in a show prep.

Jessica Paxson Mone Arnold Hardbody


A New Year New… A New Name?? ;)

Hello everyone! I’m excited that Hardbodynews.com has invited me back for another Road to the Arnold guest blog! I figured I would fill you in on what has been going on in my life since the last time I stepped on stage.

It wasn’t the plan but the 2013 Bikini International was my one and only show in 2013. I was so excited to place 5th at the show and celebrate my 30th birthday, a few days after the show, in the best shape mentally, physically and emotionally of my life. That was my goal going into prep last year.

I was planning on doing at least one more show, but as the title of this blog states… I had a wedding to plan ☺. I married my husband, Blair Mone, on August 10, 2013 and enjoyed every second of planning and enjoying that time in our lives. We enjoyed a wonderful honeymoon and soaked up that special time! I never stopped training hard and sticking to a healthy clean eating lifestyle (but of course I indulged as well ;)).

I spent a lot of time focusing on my leg and glute training as that is something that I wanted to work on with my physique. I hadn’t had a full year off competing since I turned Pro in 2005 and made my pro debut in 2006. Not only was it good for me mentally but I feel like my physique will show the time off was a good thing as well.

As I go into my 11th year competing I’m finally figuring out this whole balance thing ☺. We as competitors tend to become all consumed with each bite of food we put in our mouths, each step we take on the treadmill, what show is next… measuring our lives in “how many weeks out am I?”… when we get a second to step away from it all and really take in the special moments in our lives without the distraction of contest prep, the truly important things in life tend to become even more appreciated.

A lot of my blogs focus on things outside of meal prep and training. Don’t get me wrong, I am focused and still love to train and compete. I just feel passionate about sharing the lessons I’ve learned that have made me realize just how important balance is in life.

I let this industry consume me for quite some time and let me tell you, it only led to disappointment bitterness, resentment and unhappiness.

Recently, my best friend lost a young friend of hers suddenly and tragically. It has really made me think even more about my own life and what I am doing to give back and make an impact living out my passion and purpose in life. Don’t let a competition or anything else consume you so much that you don’t enjoy the little things in life…because when the 12 week prep is up, that friend that you blew off because you had another 30 minute cardio session to do and asparagus to eat, just may not be there when you are done. Take time to reevaluate your priorities in life, I promise you won’t regret it.

Sorry to get all heavy on this first blog! Ha! I promise all the blogs won’t have such a serious tone; this has just been something that has been weighing on me that I wanted to share. Please write to me in the comments or tweet me at @JessFit with some suggestions on topics you would like for me to write about in future blogs.

We are just about six weeks away from the 2014 Arnold Classic and I am itching to get back up on that stage once again! This year I plan on competing in a few more shows than I normally do, so I am excited to see what the 2014 competitive season brings!

Thanks for reading! God bless!

Jessica Mone

Cherish Every Moment



Kaitlyn Leaves WWE – Plans Return to Fitness


Former Divas Champion Kaitlyn has decided to leave the WWE and eyes a return to the Fitness Industry. You may recall Kaitlyn, or known to those in the fitness world as Celeste, competed in the NPC before her meteoric rise to the top of the WWE. Celeste shared some of her adventures here on Hardbody and we’re happy for what her future has in store. She announced that she is engaged to PJ Braun, trainer and NPC Bodybuilder, and that she plans a return to the fitness industry with a new supplement company.

kaitlyn leaves wwe

Celeste has something most search for but never find… a personality. It’s her witty sense of humor, ability to poke fun at herself and of course her hardbody that make her a star in whatever she chooses to do. Celeste shares that she will be starting up her own clothing line for fellow muscle chicks and look for more in the coming months. While we’re bummed we won’t get to see her kick in any more skulls inside the ring, we wish her nothing but the best in the next chapter of her life.

See her video goodbye here.



Dina Al Sabah – Staying Healthy & Fit While Pregnant


Dina Al Sabah let the world know the news yesterday… She’s expecting! Dina posted a photo on Facebook and shared the news with everyone. She’s been kind enough to document her journey and share it here. Dina was one of the pioneers in the IFBB Women’s division. As an amateur, she competed in women’s bodybuilding, fitness and figure. After successfully petitioning for her pro card (since she wasn’t able to through her country at the time) she had a solid run as a Pro Figure competitor. She made the transition into the Bikini division and found herself in the top spots once again. Dina graced the cover of Oxygen, IRONMAN and other magazines along the way. If you think she’s just another attractive competitor/model, think again. She has a degree in Electrical Engineering and has probably forgotten more about computers than most people ever know. Dina decided to hang up her competition suit after a successful career.

dina-al-sabah

Dina Al Sabah’s Pregnancy – The First 20 Weeks
Prior to pregnancy, I had very clear thoughts about how mine would be. Of course, I would stay on the same diet and only add the necessary calories; I would workout up till the very end, and I would not have to switch to maternity clothing until I was at least half way through. Needless to say, all those lofty thoughts went out the window pretty much the minute I saw that positive sign on a home pregnancy test. Clearly every pregnancy journey is unique and is dependent on each individual’s circumstances. In my case, in order to optimize my body for pregnancy I had to be mindful of not exercising too much or eating too little. As a former competitor, I would always be anxious if I could not see my abs in the morning; however, having low body fat was not going to be conducive to getting pregnant. The months prior to getting pregnant I ate more and did less cardio allowing my body to settle in at about 132 lbs.

The first few months of pregnancy were miserable. I had low grade nausea throughout the day that peaked at night. Most foods I used to enjoy like chicken and steak ended up making me gag. I couldn’t even stand to watch my husband eat meat. My go to foods were noodle and vegetable soup, eggs, crackers…and more crackers. The nausea was always worse if I let myself get hungry, so I put myself on a 3 hr. eating schedule. Most of the reading I did stated that protein would help keep the nausea at bay, but the only things that I could tolerate were starches. Other than feeling crabby, I was also not allowed to work out until I was about 12 weeks along. My OB was extra cautious due to my “advanced maternal age” and preferred that when I started back up in the gym that I keep my heart rate under 135 and that I avoid overheating. He recommended swimming as the best form of cardio while pregnant.

I invested in a Mio Alpha watch to keep track of my heart rate as the Polar chest strap was just not working for me. At my first gym session, I noticed that my heart rate was much higher than it was usually. Just walking on the treadmill was giving me a heart rate in the 120’s, so I literally had to stroll very leisurely. Upon further investigation, I found out that this increase is very normal, and it is, in fact, one of the first signs that some women pick up on when they are pregnant. At about 13 weeks, I resumed my weight training activities. I cut back on all my weights by 50% and started off with a lower body/upper body split. Once I felt better, I returned to my regular workouts albeit at a much lower intensity. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to have a healthy baby, enjoy my pregnancy and not overdo it in the gym. I applaud women who are pregnant and box jumping, crossfitting, running etc.; I am assuming they are doing it with the blessing of their OB. I, on the other hand, feel that I can go back to those activities once I give birth.

Weeks 9-13
I started taking weekly “belly” shots to see how things were changing. To the average person, I most likely look a little bloated, but I do notice a difference. I also notice that I am starting to have some water retention and that my jeans are very snug especially towards the end of the day. Nausea still rears its ugly head every so often, but I have only thrown up twice. At 13 weeks, after my NT scan and first trimester screening, I felt well enough to start some activity. I have been very anxious since the beginning as I have had the unfortunate experiences of miscarriage and thoughts of doom and gloom are always lurking.

Weeks 14-17
Thankfully the nausea has abated, but I still cannot stomach eating much protein. My coach, Layne Norton, suggested using pasteurized egg whites in smoothies which I actually enjoy. I moved to a 5 day split (back/chest, legs part 1, bi/tri, shoulders, legs part 2) and about 15-20 minutes of steady state cardio at week 16. My usual cardio is incline treadmill, elliptical and sometimes the stepmill. My goal has been to keep my heart rate in the 120s. When I lift, my heart rate does go into the high 130s, but I make sure to give myself enough rest for it to go back down. If I lived in a walking city I would choose to walk everywhere, but Los Angeles makes that a little difficult so indoor cardio will have to do.

Week 18
This week I got some lower back pain which can be one of the unfortunate symptoms of pregnancy, so I have taken it easy and skipped the gym. I have implemented a nightly stretching and rolling routine. I do a series of neck stretches and some sun salutations. I also use a Rumble Roller and Beasties on my back, shoulders and neck. I look forward to my bi-weekly pre-natal massages.

I haven’t had any cravings; however, my aversions are still there. I am able to eat ground meat, but anything else does not sound appealing at all. I usually start off the day with a Muscle Egg shake. I throw in either a half banana or berries depending on my mood, and about 1/4c of Fage 2%. I have also been addicted to Fitness Bread; something about its chewiness just makes me salivate. I usually have a slice with breakfast, and sometimes as a snack. The great news is that I am still not interested in sweets!

Week 19
My back feels better, so I’m back in the gym yay!

For my workouts I did:

Back (10 -12 reps, 3 sets): seated row, high pull, dumbbell row plus 15 minutes on treadmill

Shoulders (10 -12 reps, 3 sets): lateral raises with hold at top, upright rows, front raises plus 15 minutes on stepmill

Arms and mini legs (10 -12 reps, 3 sets): preacher curls, flat curls, rope pull downs, pushups, standing lunges, glute bridges using the stability ball, Bosu body weight squats plus 20 minutes on elliptical.

I really wanted to get to the gym one more day, but my husband was feeling a bit under the weather, so I stayed home since he would feel bad that I snuck in an extra workout without him… yes men are silly!

I am forcing myself to drink lots and lots of water. I found a wonderful water pitcher with an infuser so I am making all sorts of flavored water. My current favorite is cucumber mint. Last week I experimented with lavender and lemon which was very tasty.

Week 20
Happy New Year Everyone!

We are off to Germany tomorrow for a few days. I have already been instructed by my OB to walk every hour, drink plenty of water and wear some over the counter compression stockings. Last night I tried out the very sexy compression stockings. While they were surprisingly comfy, the stockings are hideous. Thankfully I am flying in a cabin with a flat bed seat so at the very least I can get some sleep, but my goal is to drink enough water so that I HAVE to get up every hour, that way there is no slacking off. I had a decent leg workout today but kept it super light as I do not want to be sore tomorrow!

Leg extensions, box squats, cable kick backs, straight leg deads, plié squats.

I will check in with you next week when I return.

If you have questions related to Dina’s pregnancy and what her journey has been like post them in the comments below or email her.



Trish Warren’s Hardbody Road to The Arnold


Trish Warren joins us to share what life is like as a mother, wife, business owner and top fitness pro. Trish made her return to the stage last year after having baby. She picked up where she left off and didn’t miss a beat. Trish continues to up her level of difficulty in her routines and is a threat to the stop in every show she enters. Check out what Trish has been up to and what a “normal day” in the Warren residence looks like.

Trish Warren Fitness Pro

Happy New Year Hardbodies!

Last year was a monumental year for me as I had to learn how to balance my life between God, Branch, Faith (my daughter), my career, and competing. At times it was very trying, and I spent a lot of time praying for the strength to endure such a busy lifestyle. Most women would shut down and give up, but I somehow found the courage to keep pushing forward. I have been blessed to have a support group that saw the champion in me that I was struggling to find. Some of the fears I faced were, stepping back on stage after having a baby not knowing if I will be as good as my last show; can I encourage Branch as he struggled with overcoming a knee injury that was re-injured during the filming of Generation Iron when he was bucked off his horse Pistol?

Can I give my daughter the attention she needs to meet all of her important mile stones, can I maintain my full-time business while Branch and I prep for a big show, and will the decision for Branch to work with Neil Hill bring a favorable look, or will it backfire?

 

My fears stuck with me through the Olympia, and while I seemed calm and collective on the outside, I was numb and a wreck on the inside.

Leading up to the Olympia our schedule seemed unbearable! Branch was going to therapy 3-4 times a week, which was adding to the stress of our normal hectic daily schedule. We had to stay up late, and get up early to get in all of his meals, because Neil had him eating so much more than he previously had. Faith was becoming more adventurous so trips to the gym were becoming more difficult, and my routine sessions were often paused so Faith could show me that she could do what I was doing. I remember boarding the plane to Vegas praying for God to give me the ability to handle any outcome with a positive attitude knowing that his plan was perfect and I have to trust this. Branch and I both slipped a few places and the weekend was much quieter than I was used to. I felt that I brought a very balanced physique to the stage and a super entertaining routine, but this was not enough to keep me in the top 5.

 

 

I then decided to see if I could redeem myself at the Europa Phoenix but once again left with a disappointing outcome. This weighed very heavy on my heart and I needed time to decompress and re-evaluate my fitness dreams. I continued to seek God for answers and search deep within myself to see if I still have the ability to be a competitive fitness pro. I have decided to give it another shot at the Fitness International as competing is my passion, and I do this for myself. I will go into this show with no expectations other than proving to myself that I still have the ability to make improvements. So far I have found a balance that seems to be working for us.

A normal day at the Warren residence looks something like this..

• 6:30 wake up, and have coffee and make breakfast while Branch does his cardio.
• 7:30-9:30 work
• 9:30 make our pre-workout meals
• 10:00-11:00 train
• 11:30 make lunch
• 12:00-2:30 work
• 2:30 prepare another meal for Branch and I
• 3:00-5:00 work
• 5:00 prepare another meal
• 5:30-7:00 my cardio and routine time
• 7:00 cook again
•  7:30-10:30 family time. Make a shake before bed.
• 10:30 listen to a sermon from Pastor Troy at www.opendoorexperience.com

Faith is with me most of the day and enjoys helping me work! She still goes to the gym with me and try’s to keep up with me as best she can. In the weeks leading up to the Fitness International I will be posting updates and recipes on my fan page www.facebook.com/trishwarrenfanpage, as well as blogs here on Hardbody. Thanks for your support and I will catch up with you in a couple of weeks!

Until Next Time,

Love Life and God Bless!
Trish Warren



Road to The Arnold with Yeshaira Robles


Yeshaira Robles is embarking on her return to the Arnold stage. In just a few short weeks, the New York momma will be competing in the Bikini International. She’s keeping us updated on her journey and what’s happening along the way. This year is extra special because she’s prepping with her fiancé, Marco Rivera. How is it prepping for a show together? See below and check out Yeshaira’s video on how she cooks the always popular tilapia.

Yeshaira Robles Road to The Arnold

Happy New Year Hardbodies! =D

Hope everyone enjoyed their Holidays, I sure did. I had one Christmas/Birthday wish that I was soooo hoping for… My biggest wish was for Marco Rivera (my fiancé) to get an invitation to compete at the 2014 Arnold Classic 212. When I found out the news I was jumping for joy. Especially knowing that we will be competing together at this amazing show. I got the privilege to compete there last year, and it was an incredible experience. We are 8 weeks out to the show and I literally just started my prep for it. Marco has been prepping since December.

How is it for us prepping together? Well it’s not that bad.I stay out of his way and he stays out of mine. It’s actually much more easier when we diet together. We both eat the same protein, carbs, vegetables etc. It’s more difficult when one is dieting while the other is not. There was an incident when I ordered pizza and the delivery guy came at the same time that Marco did from the gym. I was like “oh man he came early from the gym” he was pissed I thought my pizza was going to be tossed out the window LOL. My pizza days are behind me. It’s time to bring my best to the stage. I am very excited for this prep, and I’m looking forward to stepping on the Arnold stage again.

Let the prepping begin! Until next time keep training hard!

** Peace**

Yeshaira

Follow Yeshaira on twitter @yeshaira and “like” her Facebook fan page. You can keep up to date on Yeshaira’s YOUTUBE channel as well.



Oksana Grishina’s Hardbody Road to The Arnold


It’s a new year and with that comes new competitions. We’re excited to bring the first of many HARDBODY ROAD TO THE ARNOLD blogs with some of your favorite competitors. Who better to kick things off than one of the fans favorite fitness competitors… Oksana Grishina. Oksana continues to raise the bar with her routines and last year she brought the crowd to their feet with her JOKER themed performance. She’s kind enough to share her journey back to Columbus here with all of you. Check it out!

Fitness champion Oksana Grishina - Hardbody Road to the Arnold

Hi Hardbody Fans!

I hope you all had a great holiday with family and friends. I wish you all a Happy New Year! May all your dreams come true!!

Each new season of competition means a new performance for me. And, for me, each season begins with the Arnold Classic, the show where I debut my newest performance. Of course, at the end of each year, I never know what to expect. Without an idea that touches my heart and soul, and moves me to create, I’m not likely to compete. But I’ve been fortunate to have experiences and ideas that surprise and inspire me.

When I first had this new idea, it seemed impossible to do, but I did not give up, and everything is now coming together well. As a Fitness professional, I have always been impressed by girls who do pole dancing. I think it’s important for those of us who live and work in the world of Fitness to see and know all different forms and practices. Pole Dancing is a beautiful combination of art and fitness, and I am interested and enthusiastic about the growth of Pole Dancing classes and competition. Of course, some people just see it as a form of striptease, but it’s really totally different, and so much more than that, and this is what I like. It’s a difficult sport, but still accessible to people without a strong background in dance or gymnastics. Like anything else, it takes hard work and practice.

Of course, Pole Dancing is new to me, so I had to try it! I went to my first class and… couldn’t do a thing, lol. Despite my strength and background in sport, I was surprised to find how very hard it was. Still, like all sports, technique is the key. I am starting from scratch, but there is no giving up. I decided to get a pole of my own to work with at home. They are pretty expensive, so I am so happy to have the sponsorship of X-Pole, the leader in pole fitness equipment! With their help, and some expert training, it looks like all is good!

With a pole at home, I’m working out as much as I can. Of course, this is another workout to add to my schedule, on top of weight training, acrobatics, and cardio. It’s a lot of time and work, but I love it!! The pole work has been painful—for my arms and my skin everywhere! I’m getting lots of good advice and making progress every day. As I am a Fitness competitor first, the pole is just a part of my performance. But, I hope that by incorporating Pole Dance into my Fitness routine, I can share Fitness competition with the growing Pole Fitness movement, and expose the pole arts to the broader fitness community.

As always, I plan to give you my best at the Arnold Classic. This new routine is challenging, exciting and interesting for me, so I believe it will be something the fans will like as well. I’ll keep posting videos to Youtube as I train, so you can see my progress on the poleJ. Many thanks to X-Pole and the Arnold Classic team for making this performance possible!

In addition to the Arnold Classic and X-Pole, my sincere thanks go to my sponsors SAN Nutrition and SixPack Bags, both who help me to stay fit and in shape, in a healthy way, all year long, despite a busy competition and travel schedule!

2014 is the year of the Horse… my year! Work as hard as a horse, believe in yourself and your crazy ideas, and you’ll be blessed with success!

Until next time Hardbody,

Oksana Grishina
IFBB Fitness Pro Champion
www.oksanagrishina.com

Follow Oksana twitter @OksanaGrishina and “like” her Facebook page. Oksana also keeps fans updated on her SAN Nutrition blog. Visit arnoldsportsfestival.com for more information and use #ASF2014 in all your social media when talking about this year’s event.



PROfile: Iron Games Winner – Taylor Matheny Benston


Taylor Matheny Benston shares what works for her when it comes to diet, nutrition, training and supplementation. The blonde cutie recently won her first pro win but she’s been eating healthy and cooking up a storm for years. Find out what workouts helped her build a pro physique and more in this bodybuilding.com interview.

taylor matheny benston bikini pro


What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

Being a nutritional chef helps me maintain a clean healthy diet year-round. I love weightlifting and only do minimal cardio.

What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?
I stay with a balance of fruits, fresh veggies, lean proteins, and complex carbs. I never deprive myself of any flavors or taste. I use fresh herbs and spices in abundance and I have special recipes for answering those sweet tooth cravings without feeling guilty!

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?
I have always been a big fan of Dymatize ISO-100 protein powders. They are great tasting and make amazing muffins and brownies! I make sure I always have my liquid calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D supplements on hand at all times. They help keep my bones strong and they are easy on the joints after all the lifting.

Read the entire interview here.



Olympia Interview with India Paulino


India Paulino has found a winning look and already has the Bikini International crown to her credit this year. Now she has her sights on the biggest show of them all… the Olympia. David Robson from Bodybuilding.com caught up with the Floridian to gain some insight into her contest prep.

india-paulino-olympia

Paulino tells Robson that she’s put her career as a police officer on hold and that she’s been traveling quite a bit. When it comes to food prep, India shares that she eats “a little less food” for a contest and has adapted clean eating as a lifestyle.  India goes on to say, “As far as training for a show, I would say I’m intense.” You learn about her favorite BSN supplements, what she’s been training since the Arnold and more.

Read the entire Olympia Interview with India Paulino here.

You can meet India at this year’s Olympia Expo where she’ll be working the BSN booth and of course catch her on stage as she attempts to dethrone Nathalia Melo for the Bikini Olympia title. Follow all the coverage on social media with the hashtag #olympia.



Interview with Camille Leblanc-Bazinet – One of The Fittest Women In The World


Camille Leblanc-Bazinet is one of the top ranked Crossfit Athletes in the world. She splits her time between Canada and the United States as she juggles college and being one of the rising stars of Crossfit. We caught up with Camille one month out from the 2013 Crossfit Games to learn a bit more about her. Camille shares what she eats, what duct tape can’t fix, her favorite song to sing in the shower and more. She’s definitely one hardbody athlete you’ll want to follow because she not only looks the part but also lives it.

camille-crossfit


HARBODY INTERVIEW WITH CAMILLE LEBLANC-BAZINET

Age: 24

Height: 5’2″

Weight: 130 lb

Born in:
Canada

Currently live in:
Montreal 80% / San Diego, CA 20%

Best part about Canada:
My family the food and Montreal is amazing

Best part about California:
Surfing, my husband coach and friends

What’s the best part of being a twin?
You are raise with your best friend

Were the two of you competitive with each other growing up?
We were not competitive together but I was competitive with everyone lol… We are way different she was playing hockey and I was doing gymnastic. We support each other a lot.

What’s the best song to sing in the shower or in the car?
“I will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston. hahahahaha


Any chances we’ll hear you putting out your own album?
lol hahahahaha hell no… I love singing by myself it is so much fun but I am more than scared to sing in front of anyone.

Are you still going to school for chemical engineering?
Yes, I am still in school and I have 36 credits left can’t wait to be done.

Will you put that on hold for a career in CrossFit or what would you like to do as a chemical engineer in a “perfect world”?
In a perfect world I would love to keep doing things with CrossFit especially to help out women and girls with the way they view themselves… but I also have a big passion to try to make a difference in the world with my degree… I want to do recycling process for industry and air and water treatment to try to save our planet.

Do you feel being pushed in gymnastics at a young age helped you in CrossFit?
Yes, I would recommend anyone to put their kids in gymnastic simply to learn kin-aesthetic awareness… just to be better in general in anything they want to do.

What was the most challenging sport you’ve tried?
Crossfit hahahaha which is why I love it so much… once you think you get better at something there is something new to work on… It is just so much fun the variety of this sport.

What other sports do you participate in now?
Now I ski and surf for fun.

Do you do any other type of training besides CrossFit?
No I pretty much just cross fit for training… because it involves already pretty much everything… do weightlifting power-lifting, running, swimming, etc.

Who introduced you to CrossFit and do you remember what your first WOD was?
I was introduced while I was playing rugby some of my teammates were doing crossfit so they challenge me to come try and my first workout was 5 rounds for time of 400m run 25 burpees :)

camille-leblanc


What should someone look for in a CrossFit gym and trying it for the first time?

A lot of attention from coach and a warm welcome from the other clients… they’ll take care of you as if your in their family.

Do you eat before or after a WOD?
Both… if I do a long endurance workout I eat 2 hours before other ways 30 minutes before and I always eat after a shake and sweet potato.

Do you change your diet up in preparation for The Games?
Yes… I already eat clean most of the year but I just clean up more and I eat way more since I do more volume… pretty much meat veggies, almost no fruits, sweet potato and some nuts… with bsn synths-6, amino-x and I take religiously my extreme endurance.

What do you eat the day of The Games?
Anything that goes in… I struggle to eat when I am nervous so if I want to eat somethings I do so to have fuel. Mostly sweet potato pouch (baby food), protein shakes and tons of water and coconut water.

Do the type of shoes you wear in CrossFit help you an any you’d recommend to others?
Yes, I totally love Reebok weightlifting shoes when we squat so I stay back in my heels. I like the Reebok Nanos cause they are light and keep my feet near the ground for more stability.

Do you think women get the same exposure and attention in CrossFit as the men?
I think we might get a little more… It is great to see a sport where the women are put in front and where we seem to have as much attention… I think it might be because it is creating a new way for women to see themselves and it is inspiring for people.

What would you like to see more women do in the world of CrossFit?
Accept themselves and stop worrying about their weight. lol… gain muscle and be proud to be strong!

Do you feel like there’s pressure on women to look a certain way in CrossFit?
Yes, I think women still want to be small and ripped, but I think we shouldn’t care about the way we look as long as our fitness is going up.

Are the women friendly and hang out with each other at The Games or not so much?
Well for myself there is a group of athletes that I can’t wait to hang out with… I know that I always have tons of fun with the majority of those girls and the reason why is because I have a huge respect for them… everyone works so hard to qualify that it seems ridiculous to me not to be friend with them… and they are all so amazing.

One event that you hope is not on this year’s schedule at The Games?
Just rowing for a certain distance or time.

How much of competing in CrossFit is mental?
Well all year you train and once your competing the work is already done and then its 90% mental.

Do you have any rituals or things you do to stay mentally strong during an event?

Yes, my husband ask right before event if I am hungry… and that always fired me up (hungry to win).


Who are your current sponsors?

bsn, cep compression, extreme endurance, wodshop, via prive and Reebok shoes.

What advice do you have for women trying to get sponsorships?
Work your ass off and they’ll come to you.

Favorite BSN product?
Syntha-6 peanut butter cup

Any recipes you’ve created using a BSN product that’s your go to meal?

Yes in a magic bullet…
• ice
• chocolate coconut water
synth-6 peanut butter
• one frozen banana
• a spoon of peanut butter
Way too good!

What’s the best piece of advice anyone has given you?
Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do… you make the call.

Anything duck tape can’t fix?
hahahahaha when your sole hurt lol

Favorite line in Forrest Gump?
Life is like a box of chocolates. (obviously)

Was it more pressure to compete head to head and have it broadcast on the web or didn’t matter to ya?
It was more like an honor and a chance to prove myself… there was nothing really to win but it was a crazy experience and people gave me so much love it was one of the best experience i ever had… obviously it made me push way harder too.


Any aspirations to try out for the 2016 Olympics?

Yes, I really want to give a shot in weightlifting.

Where can people find more information on you?
They follow me on Facebook via my fan page or on instagram @camillelbaz and twitter on the same name.

Thanks Camille. All the best at The Games and thanks for your time.


Photos Courtesy of BSN.

 



Pro Skateboarder Cindy Whitehead Talks Style, The Smithsonian and More


I caught up with our resident style’n guru Cindy Whitehead aka The SportsStylist® to learn a bit more about her life as a professional skateboarder. Cindy has a no BS approach to life and she’s the epitome of what living hardbody is all about. She’s one of the coolest people you’ll ever meet and reminds us all to follow your passions and do what you love. Cindy doesn’t just say it, she lives it.

 

cindy-whitehead

 

Cindy has a hundred and one things going on and she was kind enough to do this interview with us. She talks about what it’s like being a female athlete, her own style, life as a stylist, skateboarding down the 405 highway, her own skateboard, The Smithsonian and more.

THE HARDBODY 411:

Name:
Cindy Whitehead

Currently Reside in:
Hermosa Beach, California – the small beach town I grew up in!

You started skateboarding at a young age… Who helped you get started in skateboarding?

I asked for a board for my birthday because I saw people doing it and photos in magazines. Then once I started skating on the streets of Hermosa, the pier and the strand – local guys I hung out with encouraged/pushed me.

cindy whitehead skateboarderDid your parents approve of your skating passion?
They kind of realized that at a young age I kind of did my own thing. I had been living /traveling in a VW van with my mom and brother for over a year in Mexico & Guatemala when I was nine so “being yourself” was encouraged. And my grandparents lived nearby and they were my biggest supporters!

Do you still skateboard today?
Absolutely! I don’t drop into pools and skate vert like I did back in the day anymore but I do ride banked walls, cruise the street, as well as the strand by my house, and have fun.

How does one turn pro in the world of skateboarding?
You compete at the amateur level, practice hard, get some sponsors, win some contests and when you or your sponsors feel you are ready, you enter the pro division at a contest – which means there is prize money rather than just product when you win.

Once you turn pro in skateboarding are you always considered a pro?

Yes, you never go back to amateur status. Later when you stop competing you may still be referred to as a Pro Skater, OG Pro Skater, or a former pro skater – depending on who is talking about you.

Are there different divisions in pro skateboarding? Give the 411 on skateboarding for dummies, like me.
There are women & men’s divisions. Sometimes if there are not enough women competing the women compete with the guys in an “open pro division”. Then there are also types of skateboarding, like street, downhill, vert etc. and each discipline has its own pro division, but some people skate/excel in more than one category. Like my friend Judi Oyama, she is an old school pro skater in slalom & downhill as well as vert.

Who were your first sponsors?
My first big sponsors were Sims Skateboards, Tracker Trucks, Flyaway helmets and Puma Tennis Shoes

What advice would you give young skaters on getting sponsored?
I’d say it’s not all about getting sponsored; it’s about skating because you LOVE it. But to answer the question – sponsors look for someone who rides consistently, shows up on time to demos, contests and photo shoots and is going to show off their product well.

Do you remember your first magazine feature and what it was?

Oh yeah. It was a 2 page article and a centerfold in a skateboarding Magazine. I was grounded for a month at the time for ditching school to do a photo shoot, so when the magazine called my house to tell me that I had the centerfold my mom answered the said “that’s nice, but she won’t be able to see it until she is done being grounded in 10 more days”. Nice…

HaHaHa! That’s awesome.

cindy-whitehead7Cindy Whitehead Skateboarding magazine feature


Were there many girls skateboarding at the time you started?

There were not a ton of girls but there were enough to have pro and amateur divisions at most big contests. We were so spread out geographically that most of us rarely skated with or saw another girl skating vert at our home skatepark so coming together for contests was great! I met one of my close friends Judi Oyama at one of these events – in fact it was Winchester Skatepark and it was the contest I turned Pro at back when I was about 16 years old.

It’s stereotypical for men to look at women as lesser than in the world of sports, were there guys who were supportive of you and the other women in skateboarding?
I would say back in my day skateboarding if you gave respect and charged hard you gained respect from the guys. I never felt that the guys I skated with treated me as anything other than one of them. They never said, “let the girl drop in” or gave me preferential treatment – and I really appreciate that. It meant I was 100% accepted.

Did you sneak into pools and places you weren’t supposed to be in to skate?
Hell yes! Backyard pools, running and jumping fences and when the police arrived & if you didn’t run fast enough, or were unlucky, they sat you down on the curb with your hands under your butt and either wrote you up or called your parents or maybe on a good day, let you go with a warning. We got also got shot at with buckshot on the Indian Reservation when we snuck in to skate the legendary Arizona Pipes.

That sounds like quite the adventure!

What’s the thrill behind skateboarding or is it something you never fully understand until you do it?
I think it’s like anything you love – you crave it. For me it’s been about mastering a trick after falling hard hundreds of times trying it over and over again, the freedom of going fast, floating in the air when doing airs, hanging with good friends and pushing each other. Skateboarders are family for life. You can go anywhere in the world and say you are a skateboarder and I guarantee someone will have your back and welcome you in.cindy-whitehead1

There are photos of you rocking huge headphones while skating. What were you listening to?
Since they were “radio” headphones back then it would be anything from REO Speedwagen and the Beach Boys to Heart, Aerosmith and Led Zepplin. I wasn’t too into punk.

Are women getting more coverage in skateboarding now or are they still left in the shadows like the early days?
I think the women are getting more & more coverage for sure. They are excelling faster than ever, and banding together to make sure that 2013 is the year of the “Girl”. There are now more competitions, they are raising their visibility and are a force to be reckoned with. Amelia Brodka’s new movie UNDEREXPOSED is also something to look out for in women’s skateboarding.

Was Dogtown and Z-Boys an accurate portrayal of the 70s skating scene?
It was a fun movie made by friend and fellow skater Stacy Perlata, and it was about of one small part of the skateboarding scene during the 1970’s. It wasn’t meant to be an overall view of skateboarding – it was about the Dogtown crew. If you watch Stacy’s new movie, THE BONES BRIGADE you will see an amazing inside view of another part of skateboard history – the Powell-Peralta Bones Brigade Team. There are more movies coming out about different teams/parts of skateboard history and if we piece together important information from each of those, we can get a more complete portrayal on skateboarding history as a whole – and that itself is not a movie has been done. Yet.

Are there any girls that stand out today and ones to watch?

Absolutely! So many great girls are skating/competing today – Lizzie Armanto, Alana Smith, Julz Lynn, Nora Vasconcellos , Leticia Bufoni, Mimi Knoop, Amelia Brodka, Allysha Bergado, Amee Jay, Katherine Folsom, & Jean Rusen, are just a few names to watch for in the women’s division. The younger girls like Poppy Starr Olsen, Annika Vrklan and her sister Klara, Bryce Ava Wettstein, Jordyn Barratt are some that I am keeping a close eye on. See how long the list is and I haven’t even named them all! That makes me smile.

Wow, that’s awesome.

Does skateboarding still mean freedom to you? How is skateboarding a lifestyle?
Yes absolutely. Every time I skate or am just around people that skate I feel like I am “home”. Family. Love. Those are all things that come to mind. It’s a mindset we grow up with and an understanding and a deep appreciation of one another as skaters and people.

What was your “style” of skateboarding?
Skating pools and half-pipes I had to be a bit more aggressive and charge the wall but I also tried to have a smooth style when I skated – that was and still is, something that I thcindy-whitehead5ink is important.

What would you typically be rocking at the skatepark for a wardrobe?
Shorts (padded if I was trying a new trick) OP cord shorts if not. A fitted team tee or striped short sleeve, low socks, Pumas or Nikes (before I was sponsored by Puma), red knee and elbow pads and a bad ass flyaway helmet if I was skating in a skatepark.

So you were the stylish one at the park…?
I think we were all pretty stylish – even the guys! If you look at mainstream fashion now, they are constantly referencing and emulating those looks, so we all must have been doing something right to be trendsetters!

Do you feel like your work as a stylist was influenced by skateboarding?
Absolutely on certain shoots, like the commercial I just did for a big shoe company. It was all about the skater lifestyle and influence via the styling so you can imagine what a rad day I had working on that!

You keep a blog where you identify trends and cool shit. (itsnotaboutpretty.com) It seems like skateboarding is “Fashionably cool” lately. Do you like the integration and is it an accurate portrayal?
I think anytime a sport like ours is being looked to set trends and used as a fashion reference, it only helps us in the long run. I do find it interesting when I see something in Vogue where the model is in high heels and a beautiful dress holding a skateboard – but being in the fashion industry, I embrace it all, and I understand the fashion world’s fascination with it.

Skateboarding is often associated or thought of as a California sport. Were there any other hotbeds for skateboarding in the 70s?
There were kids skateboarding all over – Florida was a big area for awesome skateboarders – my Sims teammate, Mike Folmer came out of Florida and he was a huge pro skater, as did legendary freestyle genius, Rodney Mullen. Places like Cherry Hill, NJ and Apple Skatepark in Columbus, Ohio also had amazing skaters. These areas had a couple of the best skateparks outside of California! California had the most parks and the main magazines were based here, so yes the coverage was greater BUT skateboarding was happening all over the USA.

We used to see “no skateboarding” signs everywhere – do you still see those around?
I unfortunately still do. Even right near where I live. I am hoping in time that will change.

You skateboarded down the 405 FWY during Carmegeddon. Was that the biggest adrenaline rush for you as a skateboarder?

It was one of them for sure. And it was a hell of a lot of FUN. The planning, the trying – we tried for over 2 hours before we could safely access the 405 fwy and not get caught. Finally getting to skate it was mind blowing. I have lived in LA all my life and I spend more time than I’d like to on that fwy so it really felt like a F-You of sorts over the usual traffic I encounter daily.

405 skateboarding, cindy whitehead

Cindy skateboarding down the 405 interstate while closed. #crazyCool

It received quite a bit of press and you didn’t get arrested so that’s a score. LOL! Speaking of F-You…You have your own skateboard now “Girl is not a 4 letter word” a collaboration between you and Dusters California – what does that mean to you and how did the idea come about?
The idea came about one day over lunch at my house with Michael Brooke who is the owner/editor of Concrete Wave Magazine and is also the founder of Longboarding For Peace, and Nano Nobrega who is the creative director at Dusters California skateboards. We were all talking about the cool stuff Longboarding for Peace is doing all over the world, and Michael suggested that Dusters do a collab with me and we tie it in to LB4P and any other non-profit I wished to help out. So that’s where the idea was born and 9 months later here we are! I am very excited about this collab as I believe in everything LB4P is doing and being able to also contribute to GRO (Girl Riders Organization) is awesome too as many more girls will be able to try out and/or continue their love of skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding etc.

How involved were you in the creation of the board and what’s your favorite part of it?
I was very lucky to be involved in every aspect of the design process while working closely with Nano Nobrega in making this board. The phrase “Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word” is something I thought up and have been using for awhile now and I like the strong message it sends, the artwork & lettering was all hand done by me via pencil, paintings and ink and the message on the tail of board is a combination of phrases I like/say often. We discussed colors and board shape + size at great length – I really wanted a cruiser board that everyone could easily ride but that could also be ridden in a skatepark (old school style!) if you wanted to. Some of my favorite things are the gold trucks that are completely badass (you don’t see too many boards with gold trucks out there), the little skull and the words “Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word” in the wheels, the skull embedded in the grip tape, and the Longboarding for Peace logo as well as GRO on the tail in metallic gold. It’s these elements of design that set Dusters apart from a lot of other boards on the market. And I am stoked they went the extra mile for me in every part of the design process to produce a board that I am 100% stoked with.

A portion of the board sales will go towards GRO “Girl Riders Organization”. Why that organization and where can people find more about it?
GRO (girlsriders.org) helps girls of all ages get into action sports so if you wanted to learn to ride a skateboard, snowboard or surf you could show up at a GRO clinic and have people help you and provide all the gear so you could try that sport out in a safe, female friendly, environment. GRO has done a lot to teach young girls about the female riders that have come before them and to help further women in action sports, and I fully support that message.

Where can people buy the board?

The board is being stocked at skateboard shops all over the USA and abroad. Boards are hitting the stores as early as June 15 in some parts of the USA! You can follow us on Facebook at Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word or via the Dusters California website to stay up to date on where boards are being sold.

It will also be part of the VANS WARPED tour, right? What’s the skinny on that?
Yes! We will be giving away 1 board at each stop on the Vans Warped Tour All you have to do is pick up a “passport” at the Concrete Wave/Longboarding for Peace booth, get 6 non profit booths at the Warped Tour to stamp it to be entered to win. I am really stoked that the board is part of the tour this year!

You’ll be speaking at INNOSKATE and be part of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC, along with Tony Hawk. That’s pretty rad. How did that come about?

The amazing people at the Smithsonian Museum (Jeff, Betsy, Jane & Kate) have been so awesome to all us skaters over the past couple years and I can’t say enough nice things about them – I feel that they are now part of the skateboarding family – they know us all that well. Their team flew out here again recently for IASC & the Skateboarding Hall of Fame & the next week they called me up & asked me to speak at Innoskate (not email text, etc.) How professional and nice is that? I was so excited – what they are doing on June 22 is part of skateboarding history. There will be a 1/2 pipe set up in front of the museum; guys and girls will be doing demos on the ramp all day. Various speakers will discuss skateboarding, innovation, fashion, and the future of skateboarding and everyone is going to have an AMAZING time! For the National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation to put on this huge unprecedented event is really something you don’t want to miss. You can actually read more about it here: http://innoskate2013.tumblr.com/about.

What items will the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History’s sports collection be accepting from you on June 22?
I am donating quite a few of my late 1970’s & early 1980’s skate gear and apparel as well as the prototype of the new “Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word” board and all it’s original artwork. I am really honored to have some of my personal skateboard history be accepted into this amazing museum!

Cindy's Smithsonian donation.

Cindy’s Smithsonian donation.


That’s a HUGE honor. Do you have your speech written or will you wing it?

I have a general idea of what I’m going to be talking about for Innoskate but yes, some of it I will be winging so it feels more authentic and that’s how I think I work best.

You also have your own shirts / clothing coming out, right?

The t-shirt line is new, and we are just getting started, but we have gotten great feedback so far on the prototype’s we have made. They say things like “Pretty Radical” and of course “Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word”.

When will that launch and where can people find out more about it?

The hats and t-shirts will be released in the next couple of weeks and can be found on the new girlisnota4letterword.com website and via our facebook page.

Thanks for your time Cindy. You’re an inspiration! I really appreciate you sharing a bit of your story here on Hardbody.

Thank you so much for having me on Hardbody, it is an honor! And I’d like to give a shout out to the amazing people & companies who made all of the above possible; Longboarding 4 Peace, Dusters California, Concrete Wave Magazine, Dwindle Inc., Vans Warped Tour, the Smithsonian Museum, GRO, my awesome husband, and every girl and guy out there that loves skateboarding. xx

Try to keep up with Cindy at…



Can Dieting Make You Fat? A Look at Metabolic Burnout


There’s been numerous discussions online and we’ve heard the chatter offline about “Metabolic Burnout”. The blame game continues to be played with few players stepping up to take responsibility. We decided to consult with professionals to get their take on the matter and help shed some light on this hot topic.

What is Metabolic Burnout? Are you suffering from it? What causes it? The answers to those questions and more.

metabolic-burnout

Can Dieting Make You Fat?
Metabolic Burnout is a recently popular term used by many women in the competition world.  It is known to occur due to the result of many years of abuse (stress, lack of sleep, prescription and over-the-counter medications, poor diet and exercise patterns) that cause your organ(s), most specifically the adrenal glands, pancreas or thyroid, to work less efficiently. Your internal balance is thrown off and the body struggles to bring itself back into equilibrium.  A few of the most common symptoms include: fatigue or inability to fall asleep, hunger and difficulty losing weight.

This controversial topic embodies the notion that if an individual drops below an intake of about 1400 calories/day (or perhaps 1200), the metabolism will “shut down” and he or she will “hold on to fat” and will not lose weight.  In addition, the extreme low calorie dieting then predisposes them to acquire even more body fat.  This debate underscores the large gap that exists in our understanding of basic physiological laws that govern the regulation of human body composition.  A striking example is the key role attributed to adipose (fat) cells as feedback signals between adipose tissue depletion as a consequence of dieting followed by increases in food intake.  A feedback loop between fat depletion and food intake cannot explain why individuals after dieting begin to overeat well after body fat has been restored to a normal level, and then continue to eat and cause “fat overshooting”. In order to address the credibility of dieting causing predisposition for increased fatness, this paper will examine both the physiological and psychological relationship between dieting and re-feeding.

The Metabolic Effects of Low Calorie Diets
A low calorie diet is a diet that contains between 900 and 1,300 calories a day, while a very low calorie diet has no more than 800 calories per day. Typically a very low calorie diet is for obese individuals on a short-term basis and monitored by a physician.  This type of chronic restrictive dieting may tend to decrease a person’s basal metabolic rate overtime. A study published in the 1987 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition was conducted over a six-month period to determine the effects of a low calorie diet, energy expenditure and resting metabolic rate. The 15 women who participated in the study had a reduction in basal metabolic rate in the last three months as well as a decrease in energy expenditure. Another study published in the 1991 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that the participants had a significant decrease in resting metabolic rate in the last two weeks of the three-week study.

As the results of these studies indicate, a low calorie diet may lead to an initial weight loss but could also cause a lowered metabolism that may not necessarily recover to its original levels even after increasing your calories back to a normal amount. So while you may drop a ton of weight fast by minimal calories a day, over time, your body will go into “starvation mode”, decreasing the amount of calories you burn at rest so as to conserve your body’s energy stores and prevent death. It may sound dramatic, but remember, our genes haven’t changed all that much since pre-historic times when death from starvation was commonplace.

Post Low Calorie Dieting and Fat Overshooting
It’s not that dieting makes you fat, but that being fat makes you more likely to diet!  Most competitors fall into this “Post Dieting – Fat Overshooting” category.  This is basically the process of losing body fat and then increasing food intake and decreasing energy expenditure to such an extreme that the person regains far more body weight than needed resulting in body fat overshooting.

The weight rebound that comes after the period of dieting apparently includes an overshoot in both increased appetite and fat gain. People seem driven to eat more than necessary to restore their normal weight, and they gain more body fat than they had prior to the beginning of the diet.

Psychological Causes for Post Dieting – Fat Overshooting
There have been countless psychological research studies concerning the most effective ways to maintain weight loss.  This research has proven that weight loss maintenance has not only a physiological component, but a psychological one as well.  Of course you do not want to attempt to maintain your contest weight and conditioning year round.  However, there is no need to find yourself in a weight loss and gain cycle due to behaviors, which cause you to re-gain all of the weight you worked so hard to lose.

As human beings, we are naturally goal oriented.  A research article published in the 2013 edition of Psychological Review outlines a common internal conflict in those concerned with their weight. This conflict exists between the desire to lose the weight and keep it off, versus the desire to enjoy food. Sports psychology research shows us that staying committed to a task-oriented goal is much easier than staying committed to an outcome based goal.  The goal to obtain a particular physique for a competition is task oriented in nature, and this task- oriented desire to obtain a stage-ready physique can often overrule the goal of food enjoyment and lead to weight loss success.  After a competition has ended, competitors no longer have the short-term, task oriented goal of obtaining a stage-ready physique to drive them to continue with their lifestyle modifications.  The goal associated with their food intake behavior then becomes outcome oriented in that it is not based on a specific event, rather it is based upon the broad outcome of not re-gaining the weight.  The less effective outcome specific goal mixed with an immediate short-term goal of food enjoyment can lead to a behavioral shift.  This shift can cause the individual to completely abandon all lifestyle modifications that led to their weight loss.  Without a task oriented physique goal in sight, this shift in goals can lead to weight gain, which often exceeds that in which they lost.

Research demonstrates that those who regain weight after losing weight during a period of dietary restraint, displays several common behavioral factors and personality traits.  In clinical trials cited in the 1997 and 1998 Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology concerning individuals who experienced successful weight loss and then suffered subsequent gain, the following behaviors were observed; lack of attempt to restrain their eating, marked decrease in physical activity, an increase in television viewing, reports of marked hunger and eating due to depression.  Another very interesting and well-documented behavior found in those who regain weight, is that they often stop weighing themselves once they have reached their weight loss goal.  This statement is not advocating that obsession with the scale is healthy.  However, according to researchers at the University of Hertfordshire, those who were able to keep their weight loss over time found the ability to utilize the scale as a measure of behavioral restraint. These individuals found themselves able to modify their dietary behavior if they observed themselves regaining an abundance of the weight in which they had lost.  Those who were not able to maintain their weight loss were more likely to have either abandoned the scale all together or did not attempt to modify their behavior when observing an increase in bodyweight.

Researchers at Brown Medical School found that there are many baseline personality traits (personality traits observed before the dietary restraint began) to be associated with the regaining of weight after weight loss goal completion.  These factors included a higher baseline level of disinhibition in relation to desirable food, higher baseline levels of binge eating behavior, a self-reported inability to maintain unrelated lifestyle and behavior modifications and a history of yo-yo weight gain and loss.  This does not mean that individuals who possess these personality factors cannot be successful in maintaining weight loss.  Rather, it serves as an alert to these individuals that they must be conscious of their predisposed triggers, which may cause them to have difficulty in maintaining their weight once their weight loss goal has been achieved.

Following a diet that contains too few calories can have some very negative (and possibly permanent) effects on your metabolism and overall health. Not only is it impossible to meet your nutrient goals for the day, but chronic crash dieters or contest dieters are also shooting themselves in the foot in terms of weight loss by slowing their metabolism and thereby making it even more difficult to shed excess pounds in the long-term. In addition, you’ll be setting yourself up for nutritional deficiencies, which can have long-term complications (i.e. anemia, osteoporosis, etc.)

It seems as if those people who are claiming damage from dieting and competing most often “cheat” on their nutrition plans and then attempt to make up for it by increasing exercise duration and cutting back calories even further.  The even bigger issue is that many of these same people will gain 20-30 pounds (or more!) after their competitions by completely ceasing exercising and becoming a stranger to the gym for weeks or months! So when its contest time again they have even more weight to lose!

Competing in a sport based on obtaining a lean, tight, sculpted physique requires dietary restriction.  However, starving one’s self or resorting to extremely low calorie diets is not necessary to obtain a stage-ready physique.  By taking your time to lose the initial weight correctly, the final stages of your competition prep will not be as difficult.  In addition, having a strategy for success after you have left the stage is equally as important.  Honestly assess your personality traits in relation to the research demonstrated concerning those who have difficulty in maintaining weight loss success, and take the steps necessary to assist yourself in modifying your behavior.  Additionally, prepare for how you are going to maintain a majority of your weight loss after your task oriented competition goal has been completed.

This type of “yo-yo” weight loss makes losing weight more and more difficult over time.  In order to be successful and healthy throughout years of this sport, you MUST make this a lifestyle and live it 365 days a year.  Then it won’t be so difficult or dangerous when its time to prepare for a competition.  The intelligent choice is to remain within 5-7lbs (no more than 10lbs) of your contest weight year round.  This lifestyle choice makes competition training and nutrition easier and more enjoyable.  If you chose to be involved in this sport then you aspired to be fit and healthy so why would anyone allow herself to gain 20+ pounds of fat?  LIVE THE LIFESTYLE and be happy, healthy and fit forever!

AUTHORS:
Tracey C. Greenwood, PhD
Associate Professor of Exercise Science
Eastern University
IFBB Fitness Pro

Shannon Dey
M.S. Heath Education
Doctoral Candidate Sports Psychology
IFBB Fitness Pro

Sources:
Bacon, L. & Aphramor, L.  (2011).  Weight science:  evaluating the evidence for a paradigm shift.  Nutrition Journal, 10:  9-15.
Dulloo, Ag., Jacquet, J. & Montani, JP.  (2012).  How dieting makes some fatter: from a perspective of human body composition autoregulation.  Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 71: 379-389.
Dosil, J. (2010).  The Sports Psychologist Handbook, Wiley and Sons, NJ.
Fletcher, B. (2011).  FIT – Do something different:  A new behavioral program for sustained weight loss.  Swiss Journal of Psychology 70(1), 25-34.
Friedman, M. (1998).  Differential relation of psychological functioning  with the history and experience of weight cycling. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66(4), 645-650.
Hermen, P. (2008)  Undereating or eliminating overeating?  American Psychologist, 63(10), 202-204.
Kruger, J. et al.  (2004).  Attempting to lose weight: specific practices among U.S. adults.  Am. Jour. Prev . Med., 26: 402-406.
Lahti-Koski, M. et al.  (2005).  Prevalence of weight cycling and its relation to health indicators.  Obesity Research, 13: 333-341.
McGuire, R. (1999) What predicts weight regain in a group of successful weight losers?  Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67(2), 177-185.
O’Neill, PM. & Jarrell, MP. (1992).  Psychological aspects of obesity and very-low-calorie diets. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 56(1): 185-189.
Stroebe, W. (2013).  Why most dieters fail but some succeed:  A goal conflict model of eating behavior.  Psychological Review, 120(1).  110-138
Wing, R. (2008).  Maintaining large weight losses:  The role of behavioral and psychological factors.  Journal of consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76(6), 1-15-1021.
Zorbas, YG., Merkov, AB. & Nobahar, AV.  (2001).  Effect of low-calorie diets on metabolism of man.  J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol., 9(5-6):457-65

 



WWE Features “Superstars and Divas bodybuilding past”


Our resident Hardbody contributor, Kaitlyn became the WWE Divas champ and shot to worldwide fame in the process. We’ve known her since her competition days and today WWE.com took note of her past on their website. See the excerpt below for what they had to say about the HARDBODY champ.

kaitlyn

From WWE.com:

WWE Divas Champion Kaitlyn got an early start in the world of bodybuilding, beginning her training at 18.

“I did really well in several NPC shows in Texas,” the Divas Champion said. “The first show I ever did, I trained all on my own and didn’t have a nutritionist or a trainer. I just loved bodybuilding and fitness ever since I was a kid. I placed 10thout of 20, which is pretty good for doing everything on my own at 18.

One year later, she came back and won the same show.

However, Kaitlyn’s favorite moment was competing in the Arnold Classic figure division at the amateur level. “I was the youngest competitor on stage,” she said. “Even though I didn’t win the show, I placed top five. Just being in the top five in the Arnold Classic — a huge international show that I was invited to — was such cool moment for me.”

Recalling the rigors of bodybuilding competition, Kaitlyn revealed her secret to success.

“A lot of people say the diet is the hardest thing. But once you commit to doing it, the diet just becomes routine. The hardest thing is staying mentally focused. Once you accept this [diet and cardio] is what you have to do, it’s easy. The second that you get out of the right mindset, it screws everything up.”

Certainly, Kaitlyn has figured out the key to success in WWE as well.

See more WWE superstars and divas who competed in bodybuilding here. We were a bit surprised that they didn’t feature Aksana who not only competed in the Figure International but she also shook Arnold’s had as the winner in 2009.

zivile

Zivile at the Arnold Classic / Figure International



A Recharged Nicole Wilkins is Ready for New York


Nicole Wilkins has solidified herself as one of the best IFBB Pro Figure competitors of all-time. She’s steadily climbed her way to the top of the Figure ranks and  hasn’t placed lower than second since 2009. She was the first woman to achieve pro status in not only Figure but also Fitness, at the same show. Something that will never be matched since competitors are no longer allowed to compete in both at the same show. She tried her hand at Pro Fitness and with some success but it wasn’t until she focused her efforts solely on Figure that she shot to the top.

nicole-wilkins
The 2012 competitive Figure season wasn’t the best of her career but now that she’s settled into a new home and taken some time off, the champ is back. Keep in mind, “not the best” for Nicole was winning the the 2012 Figure International (for the third time) and three runner-up finishes, something most competitors only dream of accomplishing. This weekend Nicole will compete on the stage where she achieved pro status, the Tribecca Performing Arts Center. The nervous excitement will likely be there again but this time she’ll be after the New York Pro Figure title.

We caught up with the popular fitness model, spokes-model and champion figure competitor on the heels of her return to the stage.

HARDBODY INTERVIEW with NICOLE WILKINS

How’s it feel to be back on stage?

I am excited and a little nervous. I feel like it has been so long!

How long of a break did you take?

I haven’t stepped onstage since the beginning of Oct last year at the Sheru Classic in India.

This was the longest break you’ve taken in a few years, right?
Right. This was the longest break I have had since 2006.

What was the most helpful thing for you to take a bit of a break?

I was really tired and burnt out last year. I wasn’t feeling my best and I needed to take a step back to enjoy myself in the gym again. I had more time to get settled into my new home, spend time with family, go wine tasting in Temecula, gain some strength back, enjoy dinner dates, etc. When it was time to start the prep for this show, I was ready.

What was the most challenging part of not competing for months?

There is not as much structure. I love routine and order. It was also a little difficult to sit out of the Arnold. Other than that, I honestly enjoyed every minute of it. It went by pretty fast.

Did it feel weird not prepping for a show over the holidays?

Yes definitely. I caught myself a few times. I still ate clean and worked out like normal, I just had some dessert :) My family is pretty healthy even during the holidays and always make me plain chicken, yams and veggies. I have been competing at the Arnold since 2008, so I have dieted through the holidays every year since then. I had developed a bit of a habit I guess.

This weekend is your return, did you do anything different for your NY PRO Prep?
Every prep my body is a little different – especially the older I get. For this show, I still lifted heavy and incorporated carb cycling, but we were careful not to overdo anything. I am the type of person that will run myself into the ground if that is what it takes. It can be a blessing and a curse. I also recently moved to Temecula, so I was able to pose every week with Kim Oddo. It helped that he could see me regularly.

Do you pack all your food for a show like New York?
I always pack my own food on all of my trips, whether I am competing or not. I measure everything out and put it in baggies. Oatmeal, yams, rice cakes, almonds, steak, salmon etc. I bring it all in my 6 Pack Bag (www.sixpackbags.com). I have to be prepared and food is the most important part! ;)

When’s your last weight training day before a show?
Wednesday I will train shoulders and it will be my last training day.

When do you stop doing cardio before a show?
Usually Wednesday. This time I may do 30min in the morning on Thurs before I fly out.

Who makes your competition suits?
Maggie Keaveny (www.maggie-suits.com). She is amazing and has been doing my suits since 2007!

What’s the best part of living in California now?
The weather!!! I did not miss the cold snowy winter. I love that I can hike outside up the hills, lay in the sun and go running in the morning – the weather is always the same. I also moved from a tiny tiny apartment into a house, so I am loving the space.

Most challenging part of living in Cali?

Definitely missing my family and friends back in MI. Thankfully, I have gotten to see them just about every other month since I moved. I travel a ton so I try to get back as often as I can. My parents and some of my best friends will be in NYC and the Olympia and I will go back in July for a week for my show (NPC Nicole Wilkins Classic July 13 www.michiganfitnessshows.com).

You have a video blog on Fitness RX for Women – what topics do you get asked about the most?
Definitely diet and motivation. It seems like most people have the training part down. The challenging part about the nutrition is that no body is the same and your body is constantly changing. There isn’t a ‘one plan fits all’. With the thousands of different diets out there, its no wonder people are confused. And as far as motivation, no one can give that to you. You have to find it within yourself. It comes and goes all the time. Just be consistent, find something you are truly passionate about and don’t let anything or anyone stop you.

Are you still training others?

Yep! I do one on one training during the week and I also do online training. My current site is being renovated so it is best to just directly email me at nicole@nicolewilkins.com

Do you train dudes or only women?
It is primarily women but I do have a handful of men. I don’t discriminate ;P

Where will peeps see ya after the NY PRO?

I will be home for about 3 days and then off to Finland and Sweden for 10 days, home for 3 days, then off to Chicago for Jr. Nationals, then to New Orleans, Texas, Team Universe in Jersey, USAs in Vegas, then to Massachusetts and finally Windsor all before Aug 10th. I am tired just looking at that schedule!

What’s your favorite way to communicate with fans?
Facebook at www.facebook.com/nicolewilkins01
Twitter @nicolemwilkins
Instagram @nicolemwilkins

Mantra heading into this weekend’s show…
Give it to God and have fun!

Thanks Nicole, safe travels and we’ll see ya in The Big Apple.

Thank YOU! See you in NYC!

View Nicole’s competition photos here.

 

 



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