“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
Tiffany Lee Gaston is one of the most prominent fitness models and writers in the industry. She has been on seven magazine covers, and is authoring her own book From Broken to Badass. She is also a wife and mom of three beautiful children, and graciously took the time to share some of her fitness tips, recipes, inspiration, and beauty regimen with FitnessRx for Women.
FitnessRx: Hi, Tiffany! Thanks so much for sitting down with me. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
Tiffany: I grew up in south Florida and was the oldest of two children. I was a very active kid, competing in many sports, but gymnastics and track were always favorites, and where I excelled.
Discovering weight training in high school exposed me to a whole new world, one in which I quickly fell in love with. I suffered from an eating disorder as a tween, so learning how to be fit in a healthy way and embracing my athletic body was a huge life lesson for me.
During my late teens, I had fun landing small roles in film and television and doing lots of print work. Since overcoming an eating disorder, I gravitated toward fitness and my training became a great outlet for me. I began to focus more on that and directed my efforts in alignment with maintaining a positive body image. It was no surprise to me that I ended up married to someone with the same passion for health and fitness.
I competed five times during 2013, which was very difficult due to the intensity of the sport and the amount of travel it required, all while maintaining the busy schedules of my three kids. I was missing out on what’s most important to me, my family. The decision to hang up my clear heels the following year was not an easy one, because I felt I was extremely close to earning my pro card. I realized I’d never get these years back, so though it was a difficult decision, it was the right one for me. I have such greater balance in my life now, and my writing and contribution to the fitness industry is much less about the intensity of competition and more about the discovery of balance and the passion I have for promoting health and wellness to the mainstream masses.
FitnessRx: You have an incredible website and following. What is the message that you share?
Tiffany: Thank you! I share fitness, food and family for the most part. I began a blog about four years ago and it gave me a creative outlet, which I really needed at the time. Though I haven’t maintained it as I’ve liked due to the challenging task of writing my first book, From Broken to Badass, it’s been great fun for me to share transformation stories of others and feel good content with my community of fellow badasses.
FitnessRx: Awesome! You have competed in gymnastics, track, long distance running and NPC figure competitions! How did those compare? Which did you enjoy most? Do you plan on competing again?
Tiffany: Never say never, as I really enjoy the sport, but I have no plans at this time. I think all the sports I’ve participated in were very mental and allowed me to challenge and compete most with myself. I thrive on that accountability and have since I was young. If I’m not growing and continually evolving, I feel like I’m essentially going backwards. I’ve always had that drive.
FitnessRx: That’s a great way to describe what fitness is all about. Your drive is very evident! What is your current goal in fitness?
Tiffany: I strive to maintain a fit body year round, because it’s my lifestyle and what I love. I don’t fluctuate much, because I never go completely off the rails. This allows me to be prepared for anything that comes my way from a TV appearance, photo shoot, etc. Because I enjoy balance, I have wine when I want and I’ll never miss a bite of birthday cake, but I live by a 90 percent rule. I make strides to stay on point 90 percent of the time, but that little 10 percent is what helps me maintain my sanity!
FitnessRx: That’s a great goal. What does your training currently look like to stay fit all year?
Tiffany: I enjoy many types of training, but I currently perform a four- or five-day split of isolation exercises, along with some functional training for more variety. My lifting sessions last 45-60 minutes.
Depending on my current goal, I’ll add in fasted cardio three to five mornings per week for 30 minutes. I will also do HIIT sprints and plyos one to two times a week to amp up my training— these workouts are about 20 minutes.
FitnessRx: Sounds very maintainable! What do you like to do on your rest days?
Tiffany: I love going on family bike rides, hiking or anything fun we can do as a family!
FitnessRx: To support your training and goals, what does your typical diet look like?
Tiffany: I eat an anti-inflammatory diet free of grains, dairy and sugar. I don’t track macros or measure/weigh my food. I eat all real food with a focus on lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. I focus on starchier carbs in the morning surrounding my training, and eat three to five times a day. This most resembles a Paleo diet if you want to label it.
I also use StrongGirl Nutrition Supplements to enhance my training and results.
FitnessRx: You are such a foodie and have great recipes on your site and in your cookbook. Do you have a favorite recipe you can share?
Tiffany: I love to make these or some version of these (substitute lean ground beef, turkey or chicken) because the entire family loves them, which is rare, and they are so simple to grab-and-go.
BISON AND SWEET POTATO MINI MEATLOAF
**Recipe makes 12 full-size Muffins**
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large bowl, season ground bison with sea salt, onion, garlic and rosemary. Distribute mixture evenly in greased muffin tins filling no more than ¾ full. Gently press down to pack.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until internal temp reaches 160 degrees.
FitnessRx: Sounds yummy! You have been on seven magazine covers and in countless magazines. Do you have any beauty tips you can share?
Tiffany: I can’t believe I have been on seven magazine covers; it’s still surreal to me when I think about it! I think the greatest tip I can share is consistency in training, diet and hydration and always take good care of your skin. I use great skincare products, because it really does make a huge difference. Some favorite brands are Jan Marini, SkinMedica and Obagi. I always use sun block on my face and never go to sleep with makeup on!
FitnessRx: Thanks! Great tips. What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Tiffany: I think releasing the fear of judgment has been the biggest single thing I’ve had to learn, even as an adult. To live a life authentic with who you are inside, is the ultimate goal, though that can be far easier said than done when we don’t release our fear of judgment.
FitnessRx: That’s so true, and much easier said. I was scanning your website, and absolutely love your blog entry “Create your own Happiness,” and you also share some amazing #ratherbeabadass stories. What is your best advice for women (and men) who want to improve their fitness and be happy as they train/diet?
Tiffany: Thank you! First and foremost, do it for you and no one else! If you are unhappy and are ready to make a change, you can succeed. Putting negativity out of your mind is not easy if it has become a habit in your life, but like anything else, if we work hard at our goals, nothing is off limits. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is not supportive and you should consider what value or place they have in your life. Often times, making a major change in your health and body, can also mean it’s time to “trim the fat” within your social circle, if you are surrounded by negativity. You are who you hang around, so being mindful of the messages your inner circle is sending you is also very important to your success.
FitnessRx: Great advice! I noticed you also have a clothing line dedicated to #ratherbeabadass. What was your inspiration for that?
Tiffany: I did a small run of T-shirts, tanks and hats with my frequently used hashtag, #RBAB. My inspiration behind the hashtag and the merchandise is that becoming your own best self is a choice we can all make, regardless of any perceived obstacle. I’ve connected with some truly amazing individuals that have done just that. From battling cancer, to suffering from MS (multiple sclerosis) tremendous weight loss and more, the human spirit is so incredible to me and the promotion of those beating the odds serve as daily inspiration for me.
FitnessRx: All the apparel looks great! Is there anything else you would like to share?
Tiffany: My upcoming self-published book, From Broken to Badass, will soon be released. It takes a closer look at some of the hardships I faced early on in life and how I used those negatives to forge an even stronger internal drive.
FitnessRx: Sounds incredible! Thank you so much for sharing your story and fit life tips with us. Good luck with your book and all your future endeavors!
All HD photos of Tiffany are by James Patrick
Family photos and recipe are by Tiffany Lee Gaston