My journey in fitness and health started at a very young age. I have been an athlete and motivator my whole life. I was always the first to show up at practice, last to leave. My life growing up was always active. From jr. guards and swim team to volleyball and soccer. I was always team captain, cheerleader to my teammates, comedic relief, the positive one. I played competitive volleyball in high school and in college I dance on a competitive hip hop team. I graduated in 2007 from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Communication with a minor in Nutrition and Spanish. I currently live in Orange County, CA where I was born and raised.
You are a master trainer in Lagree Fitness, Group X instructor, health/fitness coach, and fitness model and competitor. How did everything get started for you and what prompted your decision to follow these paths? Is there a certain one you like more than the rest?
In 2006, I discovered Lagree fitness, a high intensity Pilates-based workout, with a few friends. After a month of taking classes daily from Sebastien Lagree, the founder and creator, I was HOOKED! So, in 2007 I got certified and I loved it but wanted to do fitness modeling, start a website, inspire the masses and so on. I just love everything health and fitness! I ended up moving back home to Orange County in 2009, got certified in yoga and spin at YAS, I found out that I had some food allergies and Hashimotos, an autoimmune disease, which was the reason behind my moodiness, weight gain and hormonal issues. After readjusting from this discovery, losing weight and feeling more confident about myself, I restructured my life and my relationship with God, organized my plan of action to getting further in my career in fitness and health, and was blessed with a great boyfriend who supports me in all I do and have done these past 4 years (after coming from a list of bad relationships that robbed me of confidence and money). Since 2010, I have created a website that I am reconfiguring next year, signed with a talent agency, have done fitness modeling and will continue to more next year. I have done several photo shoots to build my portfolio, networked with fitness pros, including Natalie Minh, to learn all I can; I have transformed my body and competed in 2 fitness competitions this year and did well. In 2011, I became Master trainer for Lagree fitness and have taught over 20 trainings nationwide, started my own business of online coaching that is becoming quite successful (I have helped over 8 people change their minds and bodies since August 2013). I am always striving to be better, do more, learn more. Every 6 months I create a new vision board and/or add to it so I always stay on track to improve and progress in all I do.
Personally, I LOVE online coaching and modeling. I love helping people one on one, and I love to be in front of a camera! Helping people lights me up and pushes me to learn more and be better in all I do. Being in front of a camera is so fun for me because I am a performer and diva inside 😉
With your multiple careers within fitness, you get to work with many clients. How has that been and have any of them influenced you in regards to your own health and fitness?
I feel so blessed that I get to meet and work with all different people and walks of life everyday. It keeps my life interesting, and I have so many friends all over the world. So fun! Being a fitness and health professional, it is my responsibility to be healthy emotionally, mentally and physically. I am responsible for my clients’ health and well-being, and if I am not loving myself or in a right frame of mind, then I am no good to them. So everyday, I make choices to eat healthy, exercise, sleep, drink lots of water and keep my stress levels down so that I actually practice what I preach.
You competed in your very first fitness competition at the 2013 WBFF. What and/or who inspired your decision to compete, how did you prepare for it, and how was your overall experience?
My friend and trainee in Denver, Carradine Nichole, encouraged me to compete back in April. I never thought I would ever do one, nor did I have any interest in doing one until she opened my eyes to the opportunity. As I researched more about the WBFF and looked at the beautiful bodies of all of the fitness pros like Lindsay Messina, Chady Dunmore, Mandy White, Andrea Brazier and more, I wanted to do whatever it took to transform my body to get in the best shape possible. My experience was great but interesting. I placed top 10 in my bikini class of over 25 girls, first call outs and Best Gown! I worked with a pro coach Mandy White. I loved the accountability that you get from a coach, workouts and meal plan so I didn’t have to think twice about what I was eating or doing in the gym. I learned so much and transformed my body, but there were certain things about the process that I won’t do again and that I feel didn’t work for me personally. I do not believe in eating below 1200 cals, excessive cardio, no carbs, no fruit, carb loading. I do believe in eating whole foods, keeping it simple, lifting heavy, HIIT cardio, minimal protein shakes and bars a few weeks out.
With living a healthy and fit lifestyle, what does your daily diet look like? Do you give yourself “cheat days”? What do you avoid completely in your diet? It looks something like this.
a. Breakfast: 4 egg whites or 2 whole eggs, 2 oz avocado, ½ cups oats, coffee with stevia and cinnamon
b. Snack 1: 2oz yam, 4 oz chicken/fish and 3 oz greens
c. Lunch: 3 oz greens, 4 oz lean protein, 2 oz brown rice
d. Snack: Pro Complete 40 protein powder with 1 tbs natural peanut butter and PB2 with water or berries
e. Dinner: 4oz chicken/steak/lean ground beef, green salad, 1 oz almonds/cashews, walden farms dressing
f. Pm snack- 3 egg whites,1 egg
I try to keep carbs in the am and pre/post workout. I do drink red wine a few times a month. I do have cottage cheese sometimes. I do allow cheat meals, not days. Some weeks it’s none. Some it is 2/3. It all depends upon the events in the week, how I am feeling, and if I am prepping for a photo shoot. My favorite cheat is a double single protein style burger and animal style fries from In n Out. The best! If I really want or crave something, then I will have it. But most of the time, I try to just eat healthy and balanced and avoid eating sugar or anything that triggers a craving so that I don’t end up overdoing it. I completely avoid packaged foods like lean cuisine or pastries and such from 7/11, am/pm. I never eat that kind of processed food.
What’s your training routine? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)
- I workout 6/7 days a week because I love working out! Some weeks I only get in 5x, but I try everyday because it makes me happy and I love improving my physique.
- I like to do HIIT or sprints for cardio 2/3x a week 20 min. 1 min sprint/1 min jog. On sprint days I like to do a full body circuit using TRX and med weights.
- 3/4x a week heavy lifting. Legs 8/10 sets per exercise. I love squats, dead lifts, leg press, hamstring curls because I want to increase my booty and hamstrings. I love working Shoulders and back. Lat pull downs, individual shoulder press, lateral raise, front raise to get that nice, sexy shoulder cap. Then I do an upper body day for chest, bis, tris. I love 21s, dips, overhead triceps. On those heavy days I may do 20 min of low intensity cardio. All hard and heavy because I am trying to put on muscle while keeping body fat low. I also try to do yoga 1/2x a week for the mind and body release, and it is so healing for the mind and body.
- To be overall healthy, it is all about the balance of sleep, water, nutrition, and keeping stress levels low. Yoga helps me do that by reminding me to get out of my head and let go and love and appreciate who I am and all I have.
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. I like cla, L carnitine, ZMA, vit D, B complex, BCAAS, creatine sometimes and a pre-workout if my energy is low. I do protein shakes post workout too if food isn’t readily available. I have taken fat burners, but I think it is best to get results the most natural way possible. I use Truestar vitamins, which I also distribute. They are rated #1 vitamins in North America, all natural and holistic. And I use Allmax and Intek brands from Wholesale Nutrition Center in Orange County. The best place to go for all of your nutrition and supplement needs, and the best prices too. With all of the products I use, I feel great energy daily and I have amazing recovery. No complaints over here.
Where do you get your motivation from to stay consistent and continue to strive in your fitness pathways?
My motivation comes from my clients, myself, my boyfriend, and all of the fitness pros out there doing great things to motivate, teach and inspire the masses. I want to be someone that others say motivated them to do more and be better. People like Natalie Minh, Jamie Eason, Natalie Jill, Layne Norton, Sharon Polsky, Nathan Harewood and so on. All people that know a lot, have done a lot, and are kind enough to share with all of us what to do and how to get “there” and more, and most of the time free of charge! Natalie has been such a mentor to me. Always available to answer my questions or give me guidance, when she is one of the busiest people I know! I look up to her so much, and I am not just saying that because this is her magazine. She is truly an amazing, smart, humble, kind, generous human being.
Do you have advice for women and men who wish to enter the fitness industry and start competing, but don’t know where to start?
Research, research, research about coaches and federations, go see a show, ask people who have competed lots of questions, and also ask people with bodies and looks you admire who coached them and how their experience was competing. Make sure you are in a healthy frame of mind mentally and emotionally before you even start competing. It is a huge commitment and can take over your life and affect relationships if you don’t approach it in a smart and healthy way—that is hugely in part to who you choose as your coach. Know WHY you are even doing one. Do not do it to win and get your pro card. Sure, after your first one, but before your first, do it for a reason beyond winning! You have already won by taking part in the journey and committing to get yourself in the best shape ever and stepping on stage.
Since you recently competed in your first fitness competition, do you have any competitions coming up? What are your future plans and goals?
I think Global Physique in March and WBFF in April 2014! But it all really depends on where my life is going in the next few months. I have many projects that I am working on right now. My boyfriend and I recently started “Better YOU Health and Fitness,” a company that is multifaceted. We do online fitness and nutritional coaching, personal taining, bootcamps, yoga, pilates, and athletic training/speed/agility. We are being featured in Riviera Magazine this January. We are very excited! I plan on building our business and website, working out hard to transform my body even more, photo shoots, model, and be open to whatever else comes my way! Right now I am focusing on enjoying a healthy balance with work, training and social life, and learning to listen to how I feel mentally and emotionally regardless of how I look.
Any shout outs?
I went to a WBFF camp this past weekend, and after meeting and spending time with fitness pros and competitors Nathan Harewood, Lindsay Messina, Sharon Polsky, Michelle Price, I am so motivated and inspired to get my body in even greater shape, get my businesses going, create more connections and build more relationships with fitness and health pros, photographers and so on, but with a healthy, positive, humble, open outlook. These individuals who I have admired and only seen pictures of and read about could not be more down to earth, humble, smart, fun, normal, giving, encouraging—I was and still am blown away. I aspire to be that person. I aim to be very successful and the best ME in all I do, and at the end of the day, I want people to say that I was kind, generous, humble, fun; that they want to be around me and that I am different from the rest.
So I proudly shout out to all of those people who have guided me, helped me, encouraged me, inspired me, challenged me, loved me, and supported me throughout my journey. My parents, my grandmother, Dartangan Johnson, my friends (too many to name), Natalie Minh, Mandy White, God (He makes all things possible), Lindsay Messina, Sharon Polsky, Angela Ellefson.
Lastly, where can we find you on the Internet?