I’ve trained for, dieted for, and competed in NPC bikini competitions for the past 3 years. In 2017, I placed 5th and 4th in my first two National shows (NPC Jr. Nationals and NPC USA Nationals). I am an online health, fitness, and competition prep coach, certified personal trainer, and fitness nutrition specialist.
I grew up an athlete playing competitive soccer, basketball, cheerleading, and track and field before I started college at the University of Washington where I obtained my Bachelors degree in engineering. After college, I started working as a professional engineer in the corporate workplace. A few years after starting work as a full-time engineer, I decided to take my fitness more seriously and trained for my first bikini bodybuilding competition in 2015. Since then, I’ve competed in multiple shows across the country and developed a sustainable fitness lifestyle that I practice year-round.
Because I train and manipulate my nutrition year-round to be able to build lean mass and get shredded for bikini physique competitions, I’ve learned a thing or two about fitness and nutrition along the way. Here I will share some fitness tips to get you started on YOUR fitness journey in 2018!
I know it sounds simple. It’s actually not that simple. I played sports competitively all through my childhood. I knew that lifting weights in the gym could make me stronger and could improve my sports performance. However, I didn’t’ know how to create the physique I wanted by lifting weights at that time. I also didn’t understand how to eat to achieve my body composition goals. Because building a desired physique is a combination of both training and nutrition, I needed help with both to be able to achieve the toned body and muscular shape I was looking for.
During college I took some time off sports and fitness related activities and focused on getting my bachelors degree in engineer and finding a job in that field out of school. My senior year of college I flew around the country interviewing for jobs and was busy trying to finish up my coursework and graduate. I remember that was around the time that the bikini division came about in the NPC and IFBB.
Before the bikini division, a lot of the female physiques that competed in the existing bodybuilding divisions appeared to be unattainable to someone just starting out without excessive drugs. And honestly, those physiques weren’t even appealing to me because I didn’t feel they looked feminine or healthy.
I had a friend who was posting photos on Facebook from her shows when the division first came out. I was so impressed with her physique and transformation from her first few years of college. Her toned physique and shape in all the right places was what I wanted for myself. However, I was extremely busy with other things I considered top priorities at the time and didn’t really have a clue of where to start without devoting time to in depth research on the topic.
When I graduated college and started work as a professional engineer in the corporate world was when it really hit me that if I didn’t learn how to achieve the body I wanted at that time, it would get exponentially harder to learn how as time went on. I saw people develop bad health habits and fitness was not a priority for many of my co-workers. Many people who made their health and fitness a priority didn’t have the physique I wanted, either. I was set on having a bikini body. I finally started my bodybuilding journey in 2015 when I made a new years resolution to step on the stage that year.
I had just ended a toxic relationship with an old co-worker at the time and he had moved across the country to take another job. I was able to focus and put everything into my prep. When I achieved my goal of stepping on stage, I realized I was capable of so much more and had dreams of improving my physique that I made into goals and then reality.
Years later I managed to get certified in personal training and become a nutrition specialist, place 5th and 4th at my first two National bikini competitions, launch my own health, fitness, and competition prep coaching business, and become a sponsored athlete among many other things! This all occurred because I took the initial step and got started on my journey. There was challenges, trial and error, learning, and moving forward that occurred on my journey – as there still is since my journey has not ended. I’m not saying everyone has to create a career out of their passion for fitness, but if I had not gotten started, I would never have known that was something I wanted to do!
It’s not always easy to know where to get started and I have learned a lot along the way. I didn’t have an IG account back then… I learned a lot by trial and error. As I met more people in the industry I started to learn more about what I wanted and didn’t want, who I wanted to work with, who I should avoid, and what I wanted my brand to be as a fitness entrepreneur. If you want it bad enough, you will find a way. But the sooner you get started on your dreams, the sooner you can evolve into the person you have always wanted to become.
Water is SO important. You can survive weeks without food but you can only live a few days without water. Water makes up between 45 and 75 percent of a person’s weight. Leaner people are composed of proportionately more water because muscle tissue is almost three -fourths water by weight, whereas adipose tissue (or body fat) is only about 10 percent water.
Nearly all the chemical reactions of metabolism involve water. Water is the solvent for many biologically essential molecules such as glucose, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids and plays a critical role in the elimination of wastes in the body.
I drink a gallon of water a day. I mix this water with all sorts of powder supplements like BCAAs, EAAs, creatine, protein powder, glutamine, pre-workout, et… I also drink coffee and tea that counts towards my water goal for the day!
You will never know how inaccurate eyeballing (or even using a measuring cup/tablespoon) for food portion measurements are until you measure something with a scale. A food scale can get you to the gram or ounce of whatever it is you need to measure. Things like a tablespoon of peanut butter, a cup of oats, or a scoop of protein can be difficult to measure exactly without a scale. Once you get in the habit of using a scale to weigh out your food or the difference between the container and what you ate out of it (like with a jar of peanut butter), the more you will know exactly what it is you are eating!
By measuring your food using a food scale you will ensure you are consuming the actual portion size vs. if you over or under-measured it using physical measuring devices (even if you didn’t mean to). For instance if you are eating 2 cups of berries, berries are all different shapes and sizes and will fit into a cup size differently depending on how they are cut, if they are cut, etc… By using a food scale, it doesn’t matter how the food is prepared, you will get the same serving size every time.
My Fitness Pal will also measure a lot of foods by weight, which makes it even easier to track! Which brings me to my next tip:
Tracking your daily intake is the only way to know exactly what you are eating. If you don’t know what you are eating, you won’t have a baseline to make adjustments to when you want to manipulate your physique or build your metabolism depending on your goals or if you’ve plateaued where you are at.
Tracking is also a way to start holding yourself accountable. I even like to track BEFORE my day by creating a meal plan with my macro budget for the day with easy to prepare food I can carry with me throughout the day so I’m always prepared.
Taking time for rest and recovery does not mean you are “slacking.” Rest and recovery is essential to performing your best year round. It will add longevity to your sport and help support a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
There are a few ways I rest and recover:
Bodywork can be performed on yourself, or you can find someone to help you with it. I have a chiropractor and massage therapist that I go to at least every 2 weeks. My chiropractic office also offers physical therapy and self-care products for trigger point and myofascial release. I think I have purchased every physical therapy tool they sell out of my chiropractic office! The more you can perform self-care, the less you will need to go have it done on you and the more effective having it performed on you will be because there will potentially be less overall issues to treat.
Another important factor to rest and recovery is sleep. Sleep is essential to keeping your hunger and hormones in check. It also helps with stress and allows your muscles to recover after the tissue has been torn and broken down. Take your sleep seriously!
Hot or cold baths, showers, steam, meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, and even just finding a good book to read can all be forms of rest and recovery that are essential to you being your best. You can’t always be performing if you want to perform well.
Enjoy these tips and let me know if there are any questions I can answer with regards to this information. I hope these tips help you on YOUR fitness journey.