Can you give us a little background about yourself and what it is you do (education, profession, where you were born, where you live, etc.)?
I was born in Tipp City, Ohio and currently live in New Bern, North Carolina, near MCAS Cherry Point, where my husband is an engineer and a captain in the United States Marine Corps. With a degree in Exercise Physiology and over 9 years of experience as personal trainer, I looked everywhere for resources I could trust when other new moms asked me for advice. I found great workouts for women who could spend hours at the gym and diets, which certainly worked…if you had the time to spend hours in the kitchen and didn’t mind going hungry and lacking in energy as you chased fat loss. But, I knew that wouldn’t work for busy women and new moms who needed energy as much as they needed results, so I created BeyondFit Physiques and I now work as an entrepreneur and fat loss coach helping new moms get their bodies back.
Have you always been active? When did you first start getting serious about living a healthy lifestyle? What was your turning point?
I have a degree in exercise physiology and have been “working out” since high school. But, it wasn’t until my husband was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 that I was inspired to take my fitness to the next level. I began lifting weights and I saw the change that my body made…it was incredible!!! I couldn’t believe it. From then on, I was hooked! Fast forward a few years to the birth of my son: now my inspiration has shifted from looking good in a bikini to being a fit, functional mom who can keep up with a little one! Now I want to be the best example I can be and show him how to live a healthy life.
(My transformation – just 12 weeks after I started lifting weights and competing 7 months postpartum)
What made you decide to go into fitness modeling?
It was a fun “bucket list” item and I thought it would be cool to see how my body would respond after having a baby!
Have you thought about competing?
I competed in my first bikini competition 8 months postpartum (June 2013), stepped on stage for my second show in November 2013, and placed 2nd in the open bikini!
You are a Metabolic Effect Fat Loss Coach. Can you tell us about more about this program? How does it work?
I am certified through Metabolic Effect as both a personal trainer and a hormonal fat loss nutrition consultant. Basically, I help clients balance their metabolic hormones for optimal fat loss through strategic training and nutrition strategies.
We’re curious, what is your diet like? What do you eat in a typical day? Do you avoid anything in your diet?
Here’s a sample of what my personal meal plan typically looks like:
Breakfast – 4 egg white omelet with fibrous veggies, 1/3 cup oat bran (or 1⁄2 cup oatmeal) made with water; add stevia/cinnamon for taste.; served with 1/2 cup berries.
Snack – 2 hard boiled eggs and cucumber slices
Lunch – Low carb wrap with buffalo chicken
Dinner – Salmon with Asian Slaw
Before Bed – 30 second chocolate protein cake (YUM!)
I don’t avoid anything. Yes, I do eat according to my goals, but I also try to do so without falling into the “dieting victim” mindset. For women, this is key. Thinking of food in terms of items that you can and cannot have is disastrous. Not only are you setting yourself up for an all out binge, but you’re also wasting a ton of mental stress by focusing on something that truly doesn’t matter. It’s FOOD! I don’t know about you, but as a busy wife, mom, friend, and coach, I have much more important things to think about than some stupid brownie I am telling myself I “can’t” have. To keep from depriving myself, I not only altered my mindset, but I also use buffer foods (hey almond butter and cocoa powder!) and strategically consume “off plan” meals to stay satisfied. In addition to enjoying occasional treats, here’s my perspective and a great mindset shift that you can adopt as well: I CAN have anything I want, at anytime. But, I am simply CHOOSING not to. It’s my choice.
What’s your training routine? What specific program do you follow? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)
“Getting slim without the gym” has been my new favorite motto since having my son. As you know, there are some days when getting out of the house to exercise is simply not an option. The good news is that you can still get fit in the comfort of your home. Don’t despair if you feel like you don’t have time to get to the gym. Remember, our goal is to do SOMETHING and you can get a fabulous fat burning workout in the comfort of your own home. Hold your baby and do squats and stationary lunges (no weights needed!) for your lower body, then lift your baby overhead (get ready for some giggles) to strengthen your arms and shoulders, or lay on your back and do “baby chest presses.” During those precious 30-minute nap times, grab some dumbbells and get in some rest based training hybrid workouts, pushing hard until you can’t and then resting until you can.
I ditched my gym membership when Jackson was born and I get all my workouts in at home (usually in the garage or even in the living room, sometimes in my slippers). I like early morning workouts, so I try to get up 3x/week for rest based training hybrid workouts, where I’m pushing hard and really focusing on lifting heavy weight. I don’t typically do any steady state cardio, but I’ll throw in sprint workouts (with Jackson in the stroller) maybe once/week if I’m working to lean out, have a photo shoot, it’s beach season, etc. I’m also a huge fan of slow, leisurely walks with my 3 dudes (Jackson, Patrick, and Gilbert) and try to take a walk once on the weekends and at least one or two nights during the week. Here’s a “stroller sprint” video. I also put my entire 12 week postpartum fat loss workouts here: www.beyond-baby.com.
Do you believe in supplements? If so, what are the ones you use and what results have these given you?
I take whey protein, krill oil, and BCAAs.
1. Whey Protein – With the same low sugar content and less sodium than egg white powder, whey proteins are naturally high in BCAAs that are easy to digest. It immediately supplies the muscles with high quality protein, which directly correlates to an increase in physical performance and enhanced body composition.
Keep whey protein powder handy and simply stir a scoop into 8 ounces of unsweetened almond milk or water for a quick and easy fat loss power snack.
2. BCAAs – For a busy woman, BCAA supplements are key. BCAAs help fight both hunger AND cravings… all while promoting fat loss.
BCAAs lower cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that we as busy moms are all too familiar with. The main functions of cortisol are to increase blood sugar, suppress the immune system, and aid in protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism. When cortisol is released with low levels of HGH (often occurring when we don’t get enough sleep) and/or high levels of insulin, it causes muscle burning and fat storing. BCAAs lower cortisol and thus have an incredible ability to suppress stress induced cravings and blunt hunger.
BCAAs balance brain chemistry. BCAAs are precursors to our brain’s stimulating chemical glutamate, as well as our brain’s number one relaxing chemical (GABA). What busy mom doesn’t need some extra help relaxing? By balancing these stimulating and relaxing responses in the brain at a chemical level, we can stop cravings before they even start.
BCAAs control hunger. In addition to balancing blood sugar, the BCAA leucine activates hunger controlling molecules (mTOR and AMPK) in the brain.
When lowering your carb intake, BCAAs will become a busy mom’s best friend by not only lowering your stress hormones, but by controlling hunger and cravings, and giving you the energy you need to keep up with your daily life.
Your website BeyondFit Physiques is dedicated to moms trying to lose weight post-pregnancy. Can you tell us about your experience? How has pregnancy changed your body and how long did it take you to get back in shape?
Although every new mom is eager to look like our old selves again, one of the most important things to remember is to be patient with yourself. Give yourself some grace and remember, it CAN be done…but it’s going to take time to get your body back. How much time? The National Women’s Health Information Center advises that about one pound per week is a safe amount of weight to lose postpartum and will not affect your milk supply or the baby’s growth. With the average woman gaining about 30 pounds during pregnancy and typically losing around 18 to 20 in the first month, that final 10 pounds will push your postpartum fat loss goal to several months after baby makes an arrival. I was able to step on stage for the first time after having Jackson 7 months postpartum.
What tips would you give to new Moms who just had their baby and looking to regain their body?
Understand the hormones! Calories in vs. calories out is NOT the whole picture when it comes to fat loss, especially postpartum. You know that the key to sustainable fat loss comes in both a caloric deficit (that is, burning more calories than you consume) AND balanced metabolic hormones. But for new moms who are breastfeeding and can’t sustain a significant caloric deficit, the hormonal balance becomes even more important. Another complete blog post could be done on postpartum hormones, but here’s the deal in a nut shell…prolactin, the master hormone responsible for lactation, affects a large number of systems throughout the body. It stimulates the production and secretion of milk, depresses fat production in the liver, and stimulates the delivery of glucose and lactate to the mammary gland for enhanced fat production. Research shows that there is also a suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis at this point, which is responsible for the release of the stress hormones. This may dampen the responses to exercise in terms of having increased energy and fat burning and many women experience a slight lowering of their basal metabolic rate (the calories you burn at rest), as well as an increase in water and weight retention. (for more help in balancing those hormones, burning fat, and getting your body back, check out my program: Baby Beyond)
What are your long term goals in this industry? Are you working on any upcoming projects?
Healthy kids are raised by healthy moms, so I want to start a #fitmom revolution! I want to teach moms all over the world how to be healthy; for themselves and for their families! In addition to my 12 week postpartum fat loss system (Baby Beyond), I also launched an online membership program with my own personal recipes, workouts, tips and tricks and more (BeyondFit Life)!
Any shout outs? Where can we find you on the Internet?
Thanks for having me!