“The day I chose flexible dieting is the day I chose to live.” – IFBB Bikini Pro Cori Baker
Cori Baker – aka the “macro-hunter” – is prepping for the 2016 Olympia and still eating M&M’s everyday with her oatmeal (and will continue to until she is just 1 week out from that show). The macro-approach that she uses has helped Cori fight back from an eating disorder, reframe how she views food, and set a great example for her kids and followers on social media. This past week, I was able to spend an hour talking with this inspiring woman to learn more about her story and the diet secrets behind her incredible body.
FitRX: Hi Cori! Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. Can you start off by telling us a little about yourself — your family, career, how you got into competing?
Cori: I am a Mom. I have 2 kids: Garrett (9) and Berkley (6). I have been a hairstylist for 9 years and am just now weaning out of doing hair to focus more on macro-coaching and competing. I have my AFPA certification in Nutrition and Wellness.
I started training for my 1st competition on July 4, 2014, for a show in September of 2014. My goal was to become an IFBB Pro in my first year of competing. One July 4th, 2015, I received my pro card at Team Universe. My goal from that point was to qualify for the 2016 Olympia.
*** On June 4, 2016, Cori won the Northern California Pro and qualified for the Olympia. ***
FitRX: You did show after show until you qualified, how did you stay motivated?
Cori: I had a goal in sight, so anytime I experience pain or lack of motivation, I remembered that goal. I also didn’t want to let all the moms out there down. I wanted to prove that if you set your mind to something, you can do it. I don’t want anyone to give up on themselves.
FitRX: Something to be said about setting goals and going for them! Cori, you share a lot on your IG page about how you have battled back from an eating disorder and now live – and coach – a flexible dieting (IIFYM) lifestyle. Can you share a little about your passion behind flexible dieting?
Cori: I had always had an unhealthy relationship with food. I was the epitome of a yo-yo dieter. I would restrict foods all week that I was afraid would make me fat like bread and dairy; then, on weekends, I would binge like a lunatic. I was uneducated on what your body thinks is food… I saw a donut as a “fried fattening food” instead of what my body sees it as – 14 grams of carbs and 6 grams of fats. I would have a bite of a donut and go into a downward spiral and end up eating a lot more.
I did this (restrict/binge cycle) all through high school and all through college. After college is when the weight piled on.
In my first competition prep, I stuck to only a few food groups and got really tiny and frail. I knew this was not a healthy and had heard about the post-show rebound. I was so sick of the restrict/binge lifestyle and I wanted to set a good example for my kids.
Around that time, I came across an article by Layne Norton via Lauren Conlin’s page and discovered that the body recognizes food as carbohydrates, proteins, and fat – not clean or unclean. I watched all his (Layne’s) videos and learned as much as I could. The day I chose flexible dieting is the day I chose to live.
I took baby steps implementing the principles, but I began to notice I was getting more fit as I did. And, I was able to go and enjoy fro-yo (frozen yogurt) with my kids without getting into a downward spiral.
FitRX: I really enjoy your “macro finds” on IG – you always have some yummy looking food! Being this close to the Olympia, do you still eat these ‘finds’? What are some of your favorites?
Cori: I labeled myself the “macro-hunter” and I love doing it. I DO still incorporate my finds into my meals and snacks daily. I’ll still eat my oatmeal with M&M’s until a week out. It’s the little things that keep you satisfied.
A couple of my other favorite “finds” are:
* One of my current favorite macro finds! @realgoodpizza low carb and delicious! Readers can enjoy at 10% off using code corifit
*Purely Elizabeth grain free Banana nut butter granola is another favorite currently! I add it to the top of oats, ice cream, protein shakes, or it’s great by itself
FitRX: Those all look delicious! Now I’m hungry… What does your current training schedule look like as you prep for the Olympia?
Cori: I lift 5 times a week (each lift is approximately 1hr 15 minutes), and I do 4 20-minute HIIT sessions a week. I also do Hot Vinyasa Flow Yoga once a week, which has been a game-changer for me – it’s my time to let go of everything and center myself for the week.
FitRX: That sounds really sustainable as a regular workout routine. For your interview, I did something a little different and asked some friends/followers on social media what their questions would be for you. There were 3 “themes” of questions that seemed to come up.
1) As a mom, what does your daily schedule look like? How do you include everything you need to and also have time to spend with your family without getting off track?
Cori: I’m not perfect and I have days I struggle and feel I could do better. A typical day for me would look like:
• Wakeup – get kids ready for school and make breakfast. While the kids eat breakfast, I am gathering things I’ll need for the next few hours (gym bag, food, supplements)
• Once kids are off to school, I get my workout in right away. I do it first so it’s done. Then I have a few hours to answer emails and do client check-ins. I’ll pop into a grocery store to do some macro-hunting pics.
• When the kids get home, I allow 20-minutes for kids to get a snack. During that time, I get a snack for myself and get things ready for dinner. Then we do homework, and get dinner going. We also have soccer (for Garrett) 3 nights a week after dinner. Sometimes at soccer practice, I’ll do hill sprints and different exercises (like glute kickbacks and jumping jacks) with my daughter to teach her about exercise.
• When we get done with everything, then kids go to bed, and I do a little more work. And I also have time with my boyfriend — with no electronics (unless we are playing super Mario) or phones. I really believe in spending time with family.
I find if you put everything into compartments, it works. My meal prep really helps as well.
MEAL PREP tips
• I recommend doing it on Sunday. The number one thing to meal prep is meats. I always recommend prepping meats, and making 4 oz portions in baggies. Put half of them in the fridge and half in the freezer so you are set for the week. Having proteins prepped make meals really easy to put together. You can just add a protein to rice or veggies and you have a meal.
• My kids eat the same thing I do. I stay pretty basic – like loaded nachos, tacos, or spaghetti. Sometimes they’ll get a fattier meat and I’ll use 99% lean meat. Or they might get avocado and cheese, and I’ll just use avocado.
2) In your offseason, how do you stay focused? What do you base your offseason macros on?
Cori: In my offseason, I just eat everyday macros and do not carb cycle. I want to increase my macros enough to make the muscle gains I need while gaining the least amount of fat possible. I increase my macros slowly – reverse diet style – and stop increasing based on how my clothes fit and feel. I don’t use the scale as much.
3) What is one favorite recipe you make and enjoy with your kids?
Cori: Spaghetti is our favorite meal as a family. We like any sort of pasta and our 2 favorite sauces are Trader Joe’s tomato basil and White Liniment Marinara from Costco. I always use a lean-type of meat (either turkey or beef) and I always add a veggie or two for nutrients. It’s really easy to work into macros.
FitRX: I love the meal prep tips – very true that the proteins are the key to making it easier. What is the best piece of advice/wisdom you’ve ever received and can pass on to our FitnessRXwomen readers?
Cori: I’ve been thinking about this and this is first thing that came to my mind.
“In order to change, you have to be willing to get uncomfortable.”
It’s so basic, but so true. We want things to be easy, but it’s never going to be easy if it’s worth it. You have to be willing to do something different which is going to be uncomfortable.
FitRX: Great advice! My coach used to say get comfortable being uncomfortable, and I think that’s true in sports and life in general. Do you have anything else you’d like to share?
Cori: I am launching an all-new site November of this year. It will be for everybody to start their journey. It will include workouts, recipes, and education.
If someone is interested in learning about their macros right now, they can check out the free macro-calculator on my current site here: https://corifit.com/macro-calculator/.
I am also really grateful for my sponsors, Gains In Bulk. They have great supplements that I use on a daily basis.
FitRX: Thank you so much for taking the time to do this!! Best luck in the 2016 Olympia! We will be cheering you on!
For more on Cori: