I get asked a lot how I manage to compete with a full-time management position, training clients, prepping meals, getting myself ready for the Olympia, doing nutritional programs— and still keep a smile on my face. I won’t lie, it’s a bit overwhelming at times, but I know that when I have a goal, I will get it done.
One thing that helps me stay focused is my team. We all have a team— the ones you can count on to help you through any goal you have. I have been getting a lot of questions from you all about what I do to stay on track, how I manage this all, what supplements I take, who makes my suits, and what I eat. I will give you all my tips and go-to’s for a successful contest prep.
This year I achieved my goal of making the top 15 in the Olympia, so I wanted to share what made my prep a successful and stress-free prep… The stress-free part is debatable! So let me explain WHO helps! We all have our team who even in our everyday life helps keep us grounded and makes sure we have less stress every day— especially when you need it the most and you feel like you’re going 1,000 miles a minute.
Find Your Go-to!
Every time I get in a rut, I go to my sis and best friend, Danitza. She is also a competitor and has two full-time jobs, two beautiful girls, an awesome husband, and can just balance everything without hesitation. She is my inspiration when the going gets rough. I know a lot of mothers out there who do this all as well and you all inspire me. I’ve had tons of excuses and tons to complain about. Then I sit back and say, “REALLY?! It could be worse. Shut it, train, and make it happen!” Of course, I have others who help put me back in check. especially during prep training. If it’s not the sis then it’s my coach, Kim Oddo, who sets it straight. Make sure when starting out an intense program, you have someone with the proper credentials to guide you.
Training Buddies, aka the “Buddy System”
I’m lucky to have such amazing friends who are also IFBB pros. One of my best friends is Amanda Latona, and we can count on one another to always have each other’s back, train with, and have a good laugh! I’ve recently started working out with my great friend, Mallory Haldeman. She just became an IFBB pro— also won the overall title in Chicago! We have set up workout dates, we share similar goals, and understand each other’s lifestyle. I couldn’t encourage this more! I highly suggest finding someone you can share a goal with. It helps to motivate and push you. This will only ensure a successful goal! Also, if your significant other is 100 percent supportive, they can also tag along and push you. That would be Mr. Joe Vespo for myself. He helps push through those cardio sessions with me and makes it a fun experience. Although we have different styles of training— him being a powerlifter competitor and me being a bikini competitor and rocking the weights— it works! So buddy up!
Taking the Stress Out
Sitting back and realizing you have supporters who can help you get ready for your event is extremely stress relieving. When I was getting ready for the Olympia this year, I knew I could count on my good friend, Aggie Garcia. To all the competitors out there, she is my go-to for suits (Illusions by Aggie). I get to sit back and she just does her magic and takes one of the biggest tasks at hand off my shoulders. Making sure you have that perfect suit for any competition is crucial!
BCAAs, glutamine, multivitamins, vitamin C and digestive enzymes are the most crucial in any regimen when it comes to training. My favorite supplements are my good old BCAAs and glutamine by Allmax Nutrition. It’s all pharmaceutical grade and the purest I’ve found on the market. Thanks to Kevin Kouwenhoven, a great friend and also director of sales at USA for Allmax, is the one who introduced me to these crucial supplements for my training a few years ago.
BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) are the essential aminos: leucine, isoleucine and valine. The combination of these three amino acids makes up approximately 1/3 of skeletal muscle tissue in the human body. BCAAs play a very important role in protein synthesis (the production of proteins in cells from amino acids to build muscle).
Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid (building block of protein) in the body. The body can make enough glutamine for its regular needs, but with extreme stress (the kind you would experience after very heavy exercise or an injury), your body may need more glutamine than it can make. Most glutamine is stored in muscles followed by the lungs, where much of the glutamine is made. Be sure to have these in your regimen, as it is crucial to overall progress.
I wanted to share a sample of my routine that I did during my Olympia prep to show you how hectic a day can be! With time management and writing it down in a planner/journal, you can achieve it all!
6 a.m. I have my BCAAs, glutamine ¾ scoop of protein powder; followed by 30-40 min. of cardio.
8 a.m. Meal 1: Oats, egg whites (sometimes I will make this into a pancake)
9 a.m. Drive to work; get ready for clients
9:30 a.m. Train first client
10:30 a.m. Corporate meeting to go over goals for our business
11 a.m. Second client; meal 2: Chicken and yams, down pre-workout BCAAs/glutamine
12 p.m. Weight train with my buddy! Down post-workout BCAAs/glutamine
1 p.m. Second cardio, 15-20 minutes post-weight
1:30-2 p.m. Meal 3: turkey, brown rice
2 p.m. Back to work! Answer e-mails, address issues that need to be handled in the gym, manage trainers, classes, schedules, the floor, etc.
3 p.m. Train next client
4:30-5 p.m. Meal 4: chicken and yams
5-7 p.m. Finish to-do’s around work
7 p.m. Start to wrap up the day and organize clients, work, etc. for the next day
7:30 pm. Head home make dinner: white fish, large salad, spaghetti squash
8-9 p.m. Wind down (let’s hope). If it’s an article day, start writing my next article for fitnessrxwomen.com!
10 p.m. Last meal! I make my egg white muffins and I top it off with almond butter (my dessert)
11 p.m. TIME FOR BED (I always pray I’m in bed by this time!)
As you can see, with a hectic day during contest prep, I still manage to focus on my goals and get my meals in. Regardless of prepping for a show or even trying to reach a lifetime goal, you too can achieve this! Time management and an amazing team of supporters will only help further your success. So get up, train and remember .. “Success trains, failure complains!”