Can you give us a brief background about yourself (how it was like growing up, profession, education, where you live, etc.)?
My background is probably not much different from most women out there. I had a great upbringing from a mom with a strong faith in God and a dad with a witty sense of humor always making us laugh. My parents are still married and living in the house I was raised in. My high school years were fun, I was a Varsity swimmer all four years, but I do wish I had been more involved in other school activities. I started college when I was 21 years old, working towards my general education hoping to obtain a Bachelors Degree in Nutrition, but unfortunately other great things came into my life and I directed my focus on becoming a wife at 23 and a new mom at 25. My husband and I were both raised in Southern California here in the Inland Empire and now residing in Highland, CA. We’ve been married almost 17 years with two boys, Kyle 15 years old and Daylan 12 years old. Knowing I wanted to be home with my boys, I started a typing service out of my home. I did that for eight years until they were both in school. For the last 9-½ years I’ve been working part-time as a medical esthetician for a dermatologist in Redlands, CA. Last year in 2012, I decided to go back to school to learn more about holistic nutrition and enrolled at IIN (Institute of Integrative Nutrition). I’m now practicing as a certified health coach and plan on incorporating a wellness program in my office to help guide women, men and even teenagers on how important nutrition is to having healthy skin. I also work one-on-one with clients looking to make lifestyle changes in a 3 or 6-month program. Depending on their goals they will also learn how to fuel their body properly to help shed unwanted fat and gain lean muscle, my favorite thing to teach.
You were diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Hypothyroid disease more than a few years ago. Can you share how you have battled with this condition and how it has affected your life and fitness career?
Having Hashimoto’s Hypothyroid sure hasn’t made things easy, but I’m a fighter and don’t give up easily. I’m determined to heal my body and live the best life I can possibly live.
It was in my early thirties I started to show signs of fatigue, muscle aches, frequent infections and losing my hair being the most annoying. These symptoms made it hard to continue my fitness career or even think about competing again. While trying to find answers I still had hope and didn’t let it get me down, although at times I probably secretly cried not wanting those around me to know how hard it was. I just didn’t understand how someone like myself living a healthy life would have such a disease.
Since finding the right doctor to help me monitor my thyroid and changing a lot of things in my life I’ve been able to lower my medication, my hair is no longer falling out and I’m back to competing and working hard in the gym. I feel so good and want to encourage other women struggling with this to never give up.
It took 13 years for you to step foot into the fitness competition world again. Why the long hiatus, what and/or who inspired your decision to compete, and how did you prepare for your comeback?
I’ve always wanted to compete again but these last years I was really focused on my health and couldn’t even think about stepping on stage, let alone putting in the hard work it requires. Working with a few clients that had been competing themselves got me motivated and every time I’d see them I would claim I really wanted to do it, but just never committed. Finally the year I was turning 40 I made two goals. One to become a certified health coach before my 40th birthday and my second goal was to compete. I set a date for the competition and started training for it. My diet of course changed, eating more frequently and my training became more rigorous. When looking back I can’t believe how brave I was to actually do this all on my own. Although my husband is very supportive he wasn’t able to be there because both of our boys had obligations with the sports they were involved in.
After doing my first show and getting my feet wet I decided to join Team Edge with Ingrid Romero and Joe DiScuillo. I set a date for August and rocked it. I was so happy with my transformation and the experience working with Ingrid and Joe, that I would never do it alone again. The friendships and support are amazing and they truly care about all their competitors.
What competition(s) did you enter, what title(s) did you earn, and how was your overall experience being back?
The first show I entered was the 2013 NPC Southern California Bikini Masters Over 35 and I was in Class C. I was so nervous and the show was bigger then I thought, but it was so much fun. I placed 3rd in my class, and was happy with my outcome and proud of myself for just getting on stage. The second competition was the 2013 NPC Pacific USA Championships Bikini Masters Over 35 Class C and the Open division. I took 1st in 35 and Over, and placed 5th in Open. I was so excited and couldn’t believe it. Thanks to Joe and Ingrid I was able to bring an even better physique to my second competition.
My overall experience being back was a little overwhelming. The sport has grown tremendously since I first competed back in 2000. The Bikini division was not even around at that time, so my first competition was Figure and I placed 1st out of six girls. Competing again has given me a whole new sense of training and pushing myself to be better in all aspects of my life. I can’t wait to do it again.
What advice would you give someone who has been away from fitness competitions for a long time and would like to come back?
My advice to anyone no matter what goals they have is to never give up on their dreams. We all know competing is a totally different ball game and a way of training and eating. I would first pick a contest date that would be realistic to meeting your goal. That’s the first step “committing”. Hiring a coach like Team Edge or someone with experience would be recommended. Even if you know the basics having accountability can make you more successful. Everyone has a different reason for wanting to compete so take that into consideration and give yourself 100%.
We’re curious, what does your weekly diet look like? Do you give yourself “cheat days”? What do you avoid completely in your diet?
My diet is pretty simple sticking to a lot of the same foods. I try to stick to organic whole foods whenever possible. I always start my day with a fresh squeezed lemon added to my water that I drink throughout the day. This aids in fat burning, cleanses the liver and prepares your digestive system. When planning my meals I usually try to eat at least four to five meals a day with the right ratio of carbs, protein and fats and according to my workouts. I also like to incorporate intermittent fasting on maybe the days I don’t workout. I feel like its helpful to sometimes give our digestive system a rest and it also helps with shedding unwanted fat. Breakfast is my favorite meal and I love to make my oatmeal and egg pancake topped with berries and maybe ½ a banana with a drizzle of maple syrup. My next meal might be some Greek yogurt with Trader Joe’s liquid Stevia. For lunch it’s usually leftovers from dinner, but sometimes I like going out to eat, which is usually Chipotle or Rubio’s. They are probably the closest to fresh food. I also snack on almonds or may have a protein shake later in the day. For dinner I like a variety of meals, from chicken fajitas, roasted whole chicken and I like to cook a lot of sweet potatoes, red potatoes, broccoli, squash, asparagus and making large green salads. Quinoa is another favorite that we can have for breakfast, lunch or dinner. As far as cheat days I can’t say I have a special day where I indulge in something, I just keep everything in moderation and know the days I can have a little more of something I wouldn’t have on a regular basis. I do love chips and salsa especially Trader Joe’s organic tortilla chips. I always have a piece of dark chocolate everyday as it has great benefits and taste good. The one food I try to always avoid is gluten as I believe there is no nutritional value to it and most of the time it does nothing but harm our bodies.
What’s your training routine? Do you follow any specific programs? If so, what has worked the best for you and why? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)
Working out over the years I’ve always been intrigued by weight training and how it can transform your body. I love feeling strong, having definition and muscle. My routine is usually split up into chest, biceps, and triceps, legs on a day of their own, back and shoulders and jump training known as plyometrics. I like to use HIIT training for my cardio sessions and I usually do about 20 minutes 3 times a week. I love core training for my abs with a variety of plank workouts. My leg day usually looks like this: I always do 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps with little rest in between. I like to start with the Smith machine doing squats, sumo squats, and donkey kicks. I love doing the curtsy lunge and walking lunges, leg press, leg extension and ending with hamstring dead lifts and curls. I’m always trying new things and working hard to make gains and know that weight lifting has worked the best for me. I really don’t think there is any other way if your trying to get that sexy toned body.
In addition to your diet and training, do you believe in supplements? If so, which kinds do you use and what results have these given you?
I do believe diet is 80% of our results and training can give us even better results, but as I’m sure all fitness enthusiast know that supplements take us to that next level. I think the intense training I do and the goals I have, supplements are important for recovery and strength. I love BCAAs for muscle building and recovery; they also help with mental clarity, energy and even your sleep. I always take this before and after my workouts and sometimes even before bed. Kre Alkalyn is another supplement I use from time to time. This also helps with athletic performance. I like to use glutamine for muscle repair and soreness, which is also an amino acid that helps with recovery. I try to get most of my meals from food but I do use a protein powder that is non-GMO, soy free and gluten free that I love. My results with using these supplements have made it easier to make gains, recovering faster to get back in there and do it again, and making it easier to get my protein needed to build more muscle. I’ve always been the type to have a hard time gaining weight when eating a clean diet, but since my last competition I’ve gained 8 pounds and I’m staying lean while doing it. That was exciting for me to see my hard work pay off. I do believe that not all supplements are created equal and truly love the products I’ve found.
From your posts online, you seem to enjoy cooking. What are some of your favorite clean recipes that you would like to share? Do your husband and two sons eat clean as well?
I have to say I cook a lot more since studying at IIN and with my family in mind I really just want the best for them, and eating whole food is going to give them that. I love my new cookware that I got last year at the Longevity Wellness conference. It’s so fun to use and basically cooks my food for me. Some of my clean recipes I cook are spaghetti squash and a turkey meat sauce with added canned organic pumpkin for added nutrients, served with a large green salad. I also love cooking chicken fajitas, with bell pepper, and onion seasoned with a Trader Joe’s taco seasoning that’s gluten free. I try to just keep it simple and always serve lots of greens with every dish I make. I think together my family and I have all learned over the past few years to make better choices and we really value the benefit of having a clean diet as apposed to eating fast food like we used to.
You are a Team Beachbody coach and a health coach. Can you tell us more about how it has been like coaching?
I became a BeachBody Coach a few years back because I love their products. When going to the gym became harder to do with working and not wanting to take time away from my family I started working out at home. I started with the PX90 and then decided to try Insanity. I absolutely love the Insanity and got great results. I actually earned my t-shirt by sending in my before and after pictures. Being a health coach is my passion and being able to coach others that want to change their lifestyle is an amazing experience. It’s not always an easy road for some and being there for them emotionally to encourage them is only going to help them be successful. I love being part of changing someone’s life.
As a mom, wife, and fitness competitor and coach, how do you make time to juggle everything and also workout? What is the most challenging part?
I’m sure like most busy moms out there we just find time to do it. It’s not always easy and yes I get overwhelmed at times, but I know the reward at the end. If I want to get in more days at the gym I usually go at 5am. Working out is important to me and always has been so with that being said I don’t think I could ever not find time for it. It’s who I am and just a lifestyle for me. The most challenging to me is asking for help when I need it. That’s one thing I will be working on for the New Year.
Since you have competed again after 13 years, do you have any competitions coming up? What are your future plans and goals?
I have to say I loved being back and I’m so thankful I found Team Edge for their support and encouragement. I would love to compete again this next year and will be setting a date soon. As of now my ultimate goal is to expand my health coaching business, finish writing my first eBook and reach out to more women who may be struggling with thyroid issues or just need support on how they can too change their life through diet and exercise.
Any shout outs?
My first shout out is to my biggest supporter in everything I do and that’s my husband Roland. He believes in me and that means a lot. My boys Kyle and Daylan for working hard at everything they do and wanting to fuel their body with the right choices. I’d like to thank Ingrid and Joe for letting me be part of their team and for creating Team Edge for women like myself. Thank you Natalie Mihn for giving me this opportunity and taking such beautiful pictures.
Lastly, where can we find you on the Internet?