“Be true to yourself, and be real with yourself and others. If there is one person that you need in order to achieve your dreams (whether they be health and fitness related, or otherwise) it is YOU! YOU are your most valuable asset, and YOU are responsible for where your life takes you.” – Sheena Jayne Martin
Sheena Jayne Martin is an IFBB Bikini Pro from New Zealand who will competing in the Olympia this September. And don’t let her unassuming persona and cute accent fool you – she is out to win Miss Olympia. This past week, I had the chance to meet up with Sheena in person in Orlando and find out how she is keeping up with her training and meal prep during these final weeks before the biggest show she’s ever competed in – while she is over 8000 miles from home.
FitRX: HI Sheena! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me for FitnessRXwomen! Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
Sheena: I am an IFBB Bikini Pro from New Zealand. I started competing in September 2013 and won my Pro Card in March 2014. I am a qualified lawyer and worked in the legal profession for 4.5 years until my Bikini Pro career literally provided me with the opportunity to change my life launching my own personal training and nutrition coaching business, Sheena Jayne Fitness (www.sheenajaynefitness.com), which I launched in May 2014.
Before I started body-building I was a group fitness instructor for Les Mills but my “fitness” passion really begun with dancing. I started ballet at the age of 3 and modern ballet at the age of 6. I continued dancing right through till I finished my law degree & begun working including syllabus training, performances, and cheerleading.
I love competing (& the lifestyle that goes with it) because I love the feeling of challenging my mind and my body. There is nothing like pushing beyond your comfort zone & forcing yourself to a place of growth as a person & an athlete.
At the age of 28, I feel like it took a little trial and error for me to find what I love in life, but now that I am here, I am giving it all I’ve got to make up for lost time! I am very grateful to have support from my mentors, Gen Strobo and Shannon Dey, from Bombshell Fitness, and to have the supplement sponsorship from the absolute best, Optimum Nutrition.
FitRX: You have had a LOT of success this past year, including winning an IFBB Pro Show and qualifying to compete in the Olympia. How did you get started competing?
Sheena: I started training for my first NZIFBB bikini competition in July 2013. I stepped on stage for the first time in September 2013. Just three weeks later in my second show I won the New Zealand National Bikini Short title & was invited to compete in the Prestigious Arnold Classic Amateur in Columbus Ohio. I decided to start training for my first IFBB Bikini Competition as a new challenge. I hadn’t done a lot of weight training, I had been more of a cardio and group fitness junkie but I had never managed to achieve the body I wanted. I thought training for a Bikini Competition would be a great way to challenge myself, and to achieve the lean & toned physique I had always wanted.
Before I begun training for Bikini Competitions (& really got stuck into strength training) I was a Les Mills Group Fitness Instructor for a number of years. The base of muscle I established before starting to train for competitions was mostly from my background as a dancer. I started doing Classical Ballet at the age of 3 and Modern Ballet soon after. Not only did I establish a great base of muscle from dancing but I learned commitment, how to apply myself to a sport and to a goal, and how to push beyond my comfort zone both mentally and physically.
FitRX: I think a dancing background is really a plus in this sport — for posing on stage, an also because of the discipline it requires. What does it mean to you to now be prepping for the Olympia?
Sheena: Competing at the world’s biggest and best IFBB show, the Bikini Olympia, is literally a dream come true for me. I don’t even think it has really “sunk in” yet that my biggest career goal is really real and I AM going to be stepping on that big bright stage among the very best in the world. I am big on goal setting. I like to be clear about what I want & I am always fierce (some may say stubborn!) when it comes to going after what I want. Qualifying to compete in the Olympia has been my goal since I begun competing and although I have worked incredibly hard to get to where I am now it is still so surreal to think that it about to become a reality.
FitRX: I like that! Being specific with goals can be scary because once you say it or write it, there is a chance you’ll fail; but, being vague with goals is almost like admitting the failure right off the bat. As you get ready for the Olympia, what does your training schedule look like?
Sheena: My life has been very busy throughout the year and I was juggling hours personal training clients with hours on my laptop working on programs for Sheena Jayne Fitness clients as well as daily weights and cardio. It’s very tough to give competition prep your absolute best with so much going on. For this reason, I made the decision to spend a full month before the Olympia in LA training out of my favorite gym in the world, Golds Gym Venice Beach.
I have been here (in LA) for a week now and I am loving being able to find a great routine with my own training. Currently I am doing an hour of fasted cardio in the morning (mixing up a combination of treadmill sprints, stair climber work and other machines when legs need a little break from heavier impact work).
In terms of strength training I have generally been doing around 3 upper body sessions and 3 lower body sessions per week. My focus since I won the Orlando Pro in March 2016 through till my Olympia debut has been to build my glutes up as much as possible. Glutes are huge muscle and starting out with small glutes has meant I have been working overtime since I first started competing to build a bigger booty! Most of my lower body sessions have a glute focus, with some hamstring work but very minimal quad work (I have dominant quads from years of ballet so they don’t need any temptation to grow!). Upper body sessions are a mixture of back, arm and shoulder work. I have been battling a rotator cuff injury throughout this prep meaning I haven’t been able to train my chest and have had to be careful through all upper body training not to aggravate or worsen it.
My training is always a combination of heavier and higher rep work with lots of supersets throughout most sessions. I like to keep busy in the gym with supersets to keep my heart rate up and always leave feeling not only like my muscles are fatigued but that I’ve got my heart rate up too!
Stretching, foam rolling & sports massage have been a big part of my prep to make sure that I can recover as efficiently as possible throughout my busy training schedule.
FitRX: You look great! Your transformation over the past year has been amazing to see. With all the traveling you do, I imagine it can be tough to get all the equipment you need for all your workouts. Do you have a workout you can do with no equipment if you are stuck at a hotel or a place with nothing to use?
Sheena: Generally I prioritize getting into a good gym each day even whilst I am traveling and will schedule rest days on days where it’s impractical to make it to a gym. I’ve been known to leave the airport during a layover, taxi to a gym, train, shower, and go back to the airport for my next flight. If you want results badly, then there is no excuse and you won’t even want to be making excuses. I do whatever it takes to work one step closer to my goals each day!
I do always have resistance bands AKA “Booty Bands” with me which can be really useful to give more options and/or difficulty with glute training exercises when training in hotel gyms which often have a limited variety of equipment.
FitRX: Using a layover to workout is a new one! I’ve never met anyone who has done that. What a great way to pass the time! On to food– what does your typical diet look like as you get ready for Olympia?
Sheena: I like to eat clean all of the time. I feel best inside and out when I eat clean! I eat a moderate amount of carbohydrates and proteins with added “healthy” fats when appropriate. My favorite sources of carbohydrates are oats and sweet potato. Protein-wise I always incorporate my favorite protein powder from my sponsors Optimum Nutrition which is Gold Standard Whey in White Chocolate flavor and I eat lean meats like chicken breast, turkey and less-frequently lean beef. I love making big salads when I am on prep (and all the time actually!) as they always really fill me up, plus they’re delicious.
I also take a range of other Optimum Nutrition supplements year-round and when I am on prep, such as the OptiWomen Multi-Vitamin, Gold Standard BCAA’s, and all sorts of Amino Energy (we have fruit flavours, and the Café Series “coffee” flavors AND RTD versions which are all a staple for me!).
One of Sheena’s favorite recipes is her White Chocolate Protein Ice Cream!
FitRX: I imagine it must be really difficult to stay on track with your food when you are traveling overseas! How do you prepare for the flights? How do you prep food once you arrive?
Sheena: To be honest, the more you travel, the easier it becomes. Now that I have been traveling on the IFBB Pro Circuit for 2 years I sort of have a routine of what I do when I am traveling which keeps it relatively stress free for me. Some countries (like Australia!) it’s hard because they don’t allow you to take fresh food through customs into the country, but America is definitely body builder friendly in terms of traveling with food.
Before any flight I will work out exactly how many meals I will need to get me to my destination (factoring in time changes is the tricky part) and to make sure I have some back up meals in case I have delayed flights and get stuck in airports. I usually prepare a lot of chicken and sweet potato portion weighed out into zip-lock bags as well as taking some fresh or grilled vegetables so I can throw together a salad. I never eat airplane meals, as even when there are some options that may be healthy enough if I am not too close to a show, I actually prefer my own prepared food.
I always have some oats and protein powder portions on the ready too for when I arrive wherever I am going. That’s a very easy meal as long as I have access to a microwave cooker! I prioritize getting accommodation with a fridge and at least a microwave. As long as I have a microwave I can survive cooking all vegetables, oats and sweet potatoes in the microwave and grocery stores in America usually have lots of roast chicken and turkey (including low sodium varieties) that you can buy meaning I can actually get away with not cooking any meat if I don’t have the facilities.
The thing about this sport is that if you want the results, you don’t question the work required to get there (both in the gym and in the kitchen!). The food part comes down to being prepared (I carry Tupperware containers and electronic scales everywhere!) and not being too fussy! If you truly love this sport as a lifestyle like I do then it actually becomes relatively stress free and enjoyable mastering the food routine on the road!
FitRX: That’s really so true! Making your workouts and food a priority are what get you successful results! What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Sheena: It is not so much “advice” but the qualities I have been raised with by the most amazing woman, my Mum! All of my strongest personal traits that have helped to become who I am and to get where I have got to today I have been raised with. Mum is most hardworking person I have ever met, and like herself, she raised me to be independent, determined, committed, and a little stubborn!
I am so thankful to have this strong female influence in my life because it has made me tough, resilient, and the kind of woman who fights for what she wants, who sets goals & strives tirelessly to achieve them.
FitRX: She must be really proud of you! Do you have a quote or motto that you live by?
Sheena: I am the queen of quotes, so I have lots of those (check out my Instagram, haha). I love quotes as a motivational tool as I think it is a really powerful way to send out your message to the world. Throughout my journey I have learnt the importance of strength, independence and drive. I have learnt how important it is to always be true to YOU along the way – to respect yousrelf, your values and your dreams. I guess that is the “motto” I have uncovered. Be true to yourself, and be real with yourself and others. If there is one person that you need in order to achieve your dreams (whether they be health and fitness related, or otherwise) it is YOU! YOU are your most valuable asset, and YOU are responsible for where your life takes you.
I am determined to live life on my own terms and not to spend time worrying about other people’s expectations or opinions. I am determined to be a go-getter, a dreamer and a doer – the best way to predict the future is to create it. I am always striving to be a better version of myself.
FitRX: You also have a thriving online training business! Congrats! What is your favorite part of training clients online?
Sheena: The thing I love most about what I do for a living (both my job as a personal trainer and online trainer and nutrition coach as well as my competitive career) is the ability that I have to motivate and inspire others. I don’t just do this for “me”, I do it for handful of people that I can inspire every day by sharing my story and exposes my challenges, weaknesses and successes. I hope that people out there who are following my journey see what I have set out to conquer, and what I have achieved so far, and think… “Actually, I could do that!”
Every day I see my own clients grow as individuals as they grow physically, mentally and emotionally into stronger, bolder and braver individuals. Dream chasers, and dream conquerors. There are no words for how rewarding it is to be part of each and everyone of my clients journeys and I truly feel blessed to have each of my client trust me to guide them toward their goals.
My goal after the Olympia is to focus a lot more time on writing for my blog, and filming content for my YouTube channel to help grow my business as much as possible!
FitRX: You are most definitely inspiring and your clients are lucky to have you! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview, Sheena, and best wishes to you at the Olympia and the rest of 2016!
Sheena: Thank you for reading – may your faith always be bigger than your fear & your dreams always be one size too big!
For more on Sheena: