Black Women Bodybuilding Presents: Shonda Caines

Tell us about yourself

  • Name Shonda Caines
  • Age 36
  • Height 5’5
  • Weight 145 
  • Occupation: Certified Fitness Professional (Trainer/Wellness Coach/Run Coach/Fitness Nutrition Specialist/Weight-loss Specialist), Speaker, Vegan Personal Chef

Give us a brief backstory on how you got started on your fitness journey/lifestyle.

(Shonda) After struggling with my weight from middle school and struggling through college, I decided to give it 100% once I finished graduate school. This was the only area of my life that I failed at and wanted to feel good about myself. With no medical health issues at 229 pounds, I wanted my outside to match my inside. I started to eat healthier while in grad school, and added exercise the last day of classes; I never looked back. It has been 9 years.

 

What struggle did you run into getting started or staying motivated to continue towards your goals?

(Shonda) Knowing my [why] for wanting to lose weight, staying committed and the courage to continue.

 

What advice do you have for those struggling with motivation to reach their goals or continue with a healthy lifestyle?

(Shonda) It is crucial that you know your [why] for pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Expose what is hindering you? Identify what are some habits you need to address? Find accountability partners to support, but also hold you accountable. Write do the pros and cons of a healthy lifestyle. Purchase a wellness journal, take pictures, get measure, give yourself the space to grow, focus on your own wellness goals and be patient with yourself. Biggest advice: it’s impossible to out work a bad diet. Eat from home more than dining out. Track all solid and liquids consumed. Get girth measurement done every 6-8 weeks. The scale doesn’t tell the whole story. Incorporate weight bearing exercises at least 3-4 times per week. Add interval cardio to your workout plan 5-6 times per week for 45-60 minutes.

What is your approach to Diet/Nutrition and the role it plays in reaching your goals?

(Shonda) Reduce/or eliminate alcoholic and sugary beverages. Increase water and unsweetened herbal/green tea. Increase green leafy veggies, clean proteins, pseudo grains, root veggies, beans, legumes and peas. Decrease packaged foods of all sort (sweet, salty, pre-cooked, etc) Eat from the outside of the grocery store more. Choose whole fruits over those pre-packed. Increase one’s herbs, spices and no salt seasonings. Eat more veggies and proteins at night and less fruit and carbs at night.

 

What is a typical day of eating like for you?

(Shonda) High fiber oatmeal.  Piece of fruit. Organic Quinoa/veggies/tempeh. Raw walnuts. Oven roasted butternut squash/Brussels sprouts/organic tofu. Green salad with seeds and plant protein. 10oz of water. Herbal tea.

 

What is your training schedule like and how do you split your workouts?

(Shonda) As a Group Exercise Instructor it varies, I exercise with my students in intermediate –advance Athletic Conditioning class (lots of squats, lunges, running, curtsy lunge, walking lunges, squat jumps, jumping jacks, etc).

  • Example workout:

        Legs: Machine free-weighted circuit 24-30 lbs

       3 sets; 12 reps; 30 sets after each rotation

        Curtsy lunge; reverse lunge; squat jumps; 30 sec break (repeat 3x)

        Lateral lunge; sagittal lunge; high knees 30 sec break (repeat 3x)

        Gobblet Squat; split lunge; jumping jacks 30 sec break (repeat 3x)

        Travel lunge; Stiff leg deadlift; squat jumps 30 sec break (repeat 3x)

        Wall throws; sumo squats; jumping jacks 30 sec break (repeat 3x)

Favorite body part to train?

(Shonda) Legs.

Can we get a sample of your workout playlist?

(Shonda) Yes! Any soca or reggae music (Island Girl)

 

Do you take any supplements? If so what do you take?

(Shonda) Currently, glutamine, BCAA (not daily).

 

What are your staple fitness products for you?

(Shonda) My Fitbit.

 

Favorite food/Cheat meal?

(Shonda) Vegan wraps with tons of veggies; organic tortilla chips; no cheat meals (either I want it or earned it).

 

One interesting fact about you?

(Shonda) I ran an ultra-marathon 50 miler to celebrate my 9th 90lb weight-anniversary Nov. 15.

 

Anything else you would like to share with us?

(Shonda) Weight-lifting makes me feel strong & sexy! I’m an endurance vegan athlete.

 

To keep up with Shonda and learn more about her vegan personal chef business EBN’s Vegan Cuisine check out her Facebook page here and her IG page @Shonda_Caines

 

Black Women Bodybuilding Presents: Natoshia Coleman

Tell us about yourself

  • Name Natoshia Coleman
  • Age 26
  • Height 5’3.5
  • Weight 120-125lbs Stage: 113lbs
  • Occupation: Administration and IFBB Pro Athlete

Give us a brief backstory on how you got started on your fitness journey/lifestyle.

(Natoshia) I changed my lifestyle at the age of 22. I woke up one day and couldn’t understand why my body would ache to the core, I had an attitude about everything and just didn’t feel like a 22 year old should feel in my opinion. I had always been active in High School never a top athlete but admired their dedication. I slowly stopped being so active as I got older, I had thankfully gotten out of a very toxic relationship and I needed something to get me back on my feet. There was a point and time where I wouldn’t eat for hours, I’d pop fat burners and go do cardio and thought it was ok. I was always told “oh, don’t lift because that will make you look manly and you’ll blow up, you want to be soft so men like you.” Nothing about my body wanted to be soft and curvaceous so, instead of beating myself up about it I listened to it. I embraced my body for what I had instead of what I wasn’t. I was on Bodybuilding.com all the time reading articles, googling, and then one day I saw this photo of a beautiful woman with muscle in a sparkly red bikini and that was it. That’s what I wanted to do. I did my first NPC show in 2013 ended up winning the overall in bikini and I was hooked. I was able to take the stresses of my day and push them out with the weight I was lifting in the gym. I would do all over again if I had to, no doubt about it.

 

What struggle did you run into getting started or staying motivated to continue towards your goals?

(Natoshia) Honestly, it didn’t take much to keep me motivated in the beginning. I was so focused on changing my lifestyle and building a healthy relationship with food I didn’t have time for doubts. It wasn’t until my fist national show that I really had my eyes opened. These women were DOING IT! Suits to the nine, bodies were ridiculous, every single woman was drop dead gorgeous and they all had a little strut. Me a first timer and self-proclaimed tomboy, had a decent suit, old shoes, weave might have been three weeks too old but it still looked decent, swore up and down I was turning pro until that moment. I for a moment doubted myself and it showed, I wasn’t ready. The mental for me was the biggest lesson. It wasn’t the discouragement that I would get from some family members in the beginning, or the old friends who wanted me to come out, or the people that said “just one bite, just one drink”. I knew my goals and there was no stopping it. The mental aspect of it though was and still can be tough. The relationship I built with myself was important to me. Balance is key.

 

What advice do you have for those struggling with motivation to reach their goals or continue with a healthy lifestyle?

(Natoshia) Remember why you started and take it ONE day at a time. Having a major goal is great, it is just as important however to have those small realistic goals leading up to the major goal. I found that the small goals gave me direction and each week I was able to crush a new goal. Which, in my opinion, was great for my self-esteem for those days I wasn’t really feeling it. Whether it is to lift 5lbs heavier each week or lose 1lb a week or stretch 15 min longer each week make that small goal count. It helps more than you think and keeps you accountable. Also, make sure to give back to yourself when you deserve it. Don’t let your cup run empty.

 

What is your approach to Diet/Nutrition and the role it plays in reaching your goals?

(Natoshia) My preferred nutrition is a ketogenic style diet. I love fats, I love salmon and I love veggies. It brings me in really tight and I never have any mood swings with my prep because there isn’t anything spiking my insulin levels. My energy level is always high. It works well with my health goals as well because my family has a history of diabetes, heart problems, and cancer and kidney failure so preventive health is always number one for me. My meal sizes never change the closer I get to a show like they use to while carb cycling and I don’t pull water. It makes prep much easier in my opinion but everyone’s body is very different. My body runs much better on fats than on carbs.

 

What is a typical day of eating like for you?

(Natoshia) I eat about nine times a day.  Usually fatty meats and a handful of veggies and supplementing protein shakes here and there. I always finish my day off with a fiber supplement for sure. It really fills me up at night when I have those late night cravings. The mango flavor of my fiber supplement does the trick.

 

What is your training schedule like and how do you split your workouts?

  1. Plyo’s are usually my Thursday workout. Great if you need a hard workout in a short amount of time.
  2. Hot yoga is a huge part of my training now. I like hitting one session a week at least. Sunday afternoons usually.
  3. Beginning of the week is usually a heavy leg day with Glute focus
  4. Cardio is every day. Make it fun

 

Favorite body part to train?

(Natoshia)  I would have to say my favorite body part to train are my legs as a whole. I’m quad dominant so to stay balanced I have to modify my workouts. I like the challenge.

Can we get a sample of your workout playlist?

(Natoshia) Oh Dear. I literally just pulled up my last play list and still had to edit it.

  1. Beyonce – Formation
  2. Justin Timberlake – Drink you away
  3. Tory Lanez – Luv
  4. Beyonce – Crazy in Love (Live from London)
  5. Grace – You don’t Own Me
  6. Kanye West – Fade
  7. DJ Khaled – For Free
  8. Tank – #Bday

 

Do you take any supplements? If so what do you take?

(Natoshia) Yes I do. I take the basics because the basics work.

For my Arnold prep:

Isolyze: Isolate Protein

Omegalize: all of my omega fats, very important to me

Artholize: This helps protect my joints and a great collagen supplement

Fiberlize: This fiber is amazing! I can’t tell you the difference it’s made in my gut health. It’s the last thing I take at night and it fills me right up. No cravings at night and I wake up with a flat tummy.

 

What are your staple fitness products for you?

(Natoshia) For sure ear phones, music drives me in basically everything I do. I’d also have to say my bands and yoga mat.

 

Favorite food/Cheat meal?

(Natoshia) Oh the Good ole’ Burger and Fries! YUMM!

 

One interesting fact about you?

(Natoshia) I have a bikini obsession.

 

Anything else you would like to share with us?

(Natoshia) If you do decide to check out the products I use for my prep at www.speciesnutrition.com  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! Save yourself a dollar or two and use my code “TOSHIA25” because sharing is caring. They are honestly great products that don’t mask what they offer. Also for any inquires please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email at toshia.angel.fit@gmail.com.

 

To keep up with Natoshia check out her FB page here and her IG @Toshia_angel_fit 

 

Black Women Bodybuilding Presents: Chlaine Dixon

Tell us about yourself

  • Name Chlaine Dixon
  • Age 26
  • Height 5’5
  • Weight: HW-289 CW-216.8 
  • Occupation: Customer Service and Sales

Give us a brief backstory on how you got started on your fitness journey/lifestyle.

(Chlaine) I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2015 and then Sleep Apnea in 2016. It was at that point that I knew I needed to do something. I had always been overweight. At one point, I did not even care. I started to think about my future and decided to make the changes necessary to live a long and healthy life.

 

What struggle did you run into getting started or staying motivated to continue towards your goals?

(Chlaine) Fear! On August 3rd, 2016 I went through weight loss surgery called Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG), or the Gastric Sleeve. In this 1 hour procedure, 80% of my stomach was removed. I now have a small tummy in the shape of a banana. My new belly can hold 1-5 oz. at a time. I was so scared to be put to sleep and have 80% of my stomach removed. Also, the approval process was stressful at times. But I knew I had to do something and I had to do it FAST! Also, my relationship with food was a struggle. I constantly overeat, and made bad choices with the foods I was putting in my body.

 

Tell us a little bit more about your WLS experience and what you think others should know about it. 

(Chlaine) My process was fast. I made the decision to have the surgery in April 2016, and it was scheduled for August 3rd. My surgeon was Dr. Westmoreland at Murfreesboro Surgical Specialist. I called my insurance and they directed me to him. When I called the office, I had to set up a consultation to make sure I was eligible and to make sure that this was something I really wanted to do. It’s different for different insurances, so something that I had to do may not be something that you should do. For my insurance to cover VSG, I had to have 6 months of consecutive doctor visits in the past 2 years, a letter of medical necessity from my doctor, a psychological evaluation, a meeting with a nutritionist, I had to attend a support group with other people that had the surgery, I had a meeting with the surgeon, and a pre-op class. Also for my insurance required that my BMI be 40 and above, or if below 40, I had to have 2 medical conditions caused by my weight like sleep apnea or diabetes. Something that I think others should know about the surgery is it is in no way easy! Also, please make sure you are in a good mental space. If not, you may find it hard to cope with new things going on in your life.

What do you have to say to those who deem WLS the “easy way out” or “unhealthy way to do it?”

(Chlaine) Honestly, I don’t experience many people that say this to me. Not to my face at least. But there have been some people that have said off the wall and downright rude things to me. VSG is NOT easy. It’s a mental battle every day. Certain foods that I used to eat now make me sick. Some days I struggle to get in enough calories and protein in. WE MUST WORKOUT JUST LIKE ANYONE ELSE! Please don’t get the impression that we just lose weight by our diets. It does not work like that. Sometimes the scale will not move for weeks and you might feel like a failure, all the while people give you nicknames like “Miss Skinny.” I look at VSG as a tool that some people need to lose weight.

As far as being unhealthy, I tell people that I had to weigh the pros and cons. For example, many people used to ask me, “What if your hair falls out? My friend’s mom’s sister’s cousin uncle had the surgery and he lost all his hair!” I would kindly remind them that Type 2 diabetes can damage my nerves, cause me to have to have limbs amputated, and cause me stroke and heart attack. I’ll take my hair falling out any day over that! (My hair is doing just fine). Also, people used to comment about how many vitamins I would have to take in a day. I would, once more, tell them that they may need to be adding vitamins to their diet themselves. I think that people are under educated on weight loss surgery. If there were more education, I don’t believe it would be in such a bad light.

Click here for more about VSG Chlaine’s experience.

 

What advice do you have for those struggling with motivation to reach their goals or continue with a healthy lifestyle?

(Chlaine) Think about your future! Invest in yourself! You only get one life. Find an accountability partner that will hold you accountable for reaching your goals. Also, don’t be afraid to try new things! You can do it!

 

What is your approach to Diet/Nutrition and the role it plays in reaching your goals?

(Chlaine) Diet and Nutrition are KEY! I look at nutrition facts for everything that I even consider going into my body now. If I have questions, I ask my nutritionist who is EXTREMELY helpful. My diet helps me to reach my goals by keeping me full throughout the day. If I am eating what I am supposed to eat, I will feel satisfied, nourished and less likely to make bad decisions.

 

What is a typical day of eating like for you?

(Chlaine) I have a high protein, low carb diet. I try to get 70+ grams of protein in per day, and less than 30 carbs. (Please check with your doctor before going that low on your carb intake). I generally drink a protein smoothie for breakfast (12 G protein / 6 G carbs), 1 oz. of unsalted nuts for a snack (8 G Protein/ 6 G carbs), I eat a meat and a veggie for lunch and dinner. It’s usually about 3 oz. of chicken (~24 G protein/ 0 G carbs), and about a cup of spinach (0 G protein/ 1 G carb). Finally, I drink one protein shake. (30 G protein/ 5 G carbs).

 

What is your training schedule like?

(Chlaine) I try to do something active 3 days a week, but I am looking to increase it! I like mixing it up between going to the gym and walking on one of the beautiful greenways my city has. An example of a workout I like to do to get my heart pumping is HIIT on the stationary bike. I pedal as fast as I can for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. I do this for about 10 minutes. After that, I do some light lifting with free weights. I’m usually there for around 45 min to an hour.

 

Favorite body part to train?

(Chlaine) My arms. I always hated my arms! But I am getting them where they need to be.

Can we get a sample of your workout playlist?

(Chlaine) I like anything FAST! I usually listen to 21 Savage radio on Tidal. I’m not sure why, but the energy in those types of songs get me going. Other songs I love would be Knuck if You Buck by Crime Mob, Chiraq by Meek Mill, No Lie by 2 Chainz. Goodness, my list is crazy!

 

Do you take any supplements? If so what do you take?

(Chlaine) Where do I start!? Since I do not get a lot of nutrients from my food intake, I take several vitamins each day. 2 multivitamins, 3 hair, skin, and nails vitamins, 3 Iron tablets, 2 calcium + VD3 chews and 2 B12 chews. I notice that I will take my supplements more if they are in the chewable form instead of the pill form.

 

What are your staple fitness products for you?

(Chlaine) Certainly, my at home stationary bike pedals! If I can’t get out of the house due to rain and snow, I have no excuse not to still burn some calories.

 

Favorite food/Cheat meal?

(Chlaine) Halo Top chocolate ice-cream! It’s sooooo good and it has protein!

 

One interesting fact about you?

(Chlaine) I am one of the pickiest eaters you will ever meet!

 

Anything else you would like to share with us?

(Chlaine) Remember that your journey, is your journey. Do not compare yourself and results to anyone else!

 

To keep up with chlaine and her VSG fitness journey you can visit her website www.thechlainedesiree.com and her IG QueenChlaineVSG

Black Women Bodybuilding Presents: Brianne Gardner

Tell us about yourself

  • Name Brianne Gardner
  • Age 26
  • Height 5’4
  • Weight 136
  • Occupation: Youth Treatment Specialist

Give us a brief backstory on how you got started on your fitness journey/lifestyle.

(Brianne) I have been in the gym consistently since 2012 and began competing in 2016. A few years before competing I was just a regular gym chick going whenever without a definite plan other than to lose a few pounds. I was not aware of my capabilities or my strength; I typically did what was comfortable. One day I was browsing on the internet looking for a program that would keep me occupied. I was struggling with plateaus and had no idea how to get past it. Luckily, I came across a 60 day program that tested every type of strength I did not have. I was able to lose a significant amount of weight, but once I began school again, I hit a roadblock and of course slowly gained the weight back. As time went on I started incorporating lifting into my workouts and I noticed muscle gains I did not see before. After awhile my schedule began to cram and I kind of lost touch of the gym until my last year at school. I needed something to stay focused, I joined an off campus gym near my college, got a trainer and began prepping for my first competition. I guess I can say I’ve always had somewhat of a fitness journey, but now I am aware that I am living the lifestyle.

 

What struggle did you run into getting started or staying motivated to continue towards your goals?

(Brianne) A struggle that stands out for me was time management. I think I was over thinking how much time I did not have, but looking back at it full scope, I had plenty of time. I think my mind was psyching me out of greatness! I don’t think I was prepared to dedicate myself to something else. I was a full time student and worked part time, so placing the gym into the mix was not in my plan. What kept me going were my friends at the time and the gym I joined. Being surrounded by like minded people kept me motivated.

 

What advice do you have for those struggling with motivation to reach their goals or continue with a healthy lifestyle?

(Brianne) Advice I could give to someone to keep motivated is visualize what you would look like. I think visualizing yourself at a stage that you don’t know, yet helps stay motivated because you don’t like the place you’re in now and knowing your vision will come to life gives more than enough reason to continue your journey.

What is your approach to Diet/Nutrition and the role it plays in reaching your goals?

(Brianne) Flexible and experimentation. Of course, knowing your macros is important. Personally, for me I have to follow a plan, but I do have fun with my food while prepping. Keeping my proteins high, carbs low and fats moderate works best for me. Nutrition is the number one factor in obtaining your goals. Food should be fuel before and after working out, to replenish and to help keep you energized.

 

What is a typical day of eating like for you?

(Brianne) My meals range between 5 to 6 meals a day. I eat oats, eggs and fruit every morning. My breakfast has been the same since I can remember. After working out I drink a protein shake and soon after I have lunch, which consist of ground turkey, and a mix of vegetables, I’ll eat a snack like a half of an avocado, for dinner I will have between chicken or fish with any veggies of choice. If I spread my meals out correctly or if I am up late I will have another protein shake, so everyday ends different, but the start remains the same.

 

What is your training schedule like and how do you split your workouts?

(Brianne) My training schedule differs everyday. I don’t have a day designated to a specific muscle group it really depends on how I am feeling and what I lifted last. Some Mondays I begin with legs, other weeks I begin with a back workout. If I haven’t hit shoulders then I will do those. It changes weekly depending on the goal for that week.

 

Favorite body part to train?

(Brianne) I love my calves. I was teased when I was younger due to how big they were, so as I got older I just learned to embrace them and show them off more!

 

Can we get a sample of your workout playlist?

(Brianne) I listen to a variety of music. My playlist consist of Beyonce, of course, Chris Brown, Rae Sremmurd, Miguel, slow jams, rap and hip-hop. Anything with a beat.

Do you take any supplements? If so what do you take?

(Brianne) Yes, I take whey isolate protein, Glutamine, pre workout, BCAA’s, and daily multivitamins

 

What are your staple fitness products for you?

(Brianne) I pretty much try anything before deciding if it will be a staple for me. Definitely use gloves and straps everyday and when I want to cut I use Sweet Sweat for extra burn.

 

Favorite food/Cheat meal?

(Brianne) Anything chocolatey,  sweet, and onion rings.

 

One interesting fact about you?

(Brianne) I dislike working out despite my enjoyment of competing.

 

Anything else you would like to share with us?

(Brianne) A huge shout out to my family who has supported me through all of my endeavors so far. They are my team and I would love to continue keeping them around while I tackle this never ending lifestyle. They inspire me more than they know.

To keep up with Brianne follower her on instagram @Naturalbreezy08

Black Women Bodybuilding Presents: Tisha Henry

Tell us about yourself

  • Name Tisha Henry
  • Age 36
  • Height 5’6
  • Weight: 146 
  • Occupation: Personal Trainer

Give us a brief backstory on how you got started on your fitness journey/lifestyle.

(Tisha) It all started when I was a teenager, and I was constantly made fun of because of how skinny I was. There was even a point in time where my mom called me malnourished. I needed to find something that would make me feel better, become healthy as well as put on some size. Then in my mid twenties I was introduced to the fitness lifestyle, had a personal trainer for a few years and I found a new love and passion for fitness as a whole. Then after pushing myself for years, as well as going to school to become a personal trainer myself, I have cultivated a deep passion for health and fitness, as well as helping others achieve their fitness goals.

 

What struggle did you run into getting started or staying motivated to continue towards your goals?

(Tisha) In the beginning I was very intimidated by the weightlifters that have been lifting for much longer than I have. Because of this I was always a bit nervous. Then I said to myself that they are in the gym for the same reason that I am, and I was able to eventually put the nerves along with that whole way of thinking behind me in order to push myself forward towards my goal.

 

What advice do you have for those struggling with motivation to reach their goals or continue with a healthy lifestyle?

(Tisha) Write down your goals, and post them somewhere that you can see them everyday. And constantly remind yourself why it is  you are doing what you are doing.

What is your approach to Diet/Nutrition and the role it plays in reaching your goals?

(Tisha) Diet/Nutrition is very important, because if you don’t eat well while you train you won’t see any physical progress whatsoever. Your diet and your workouts should work hand in hand.

 

What is a typical day of eating like for you?

(Tisha) I typically eat somewhere between 4 and 6 meals a day. Each meal is usually  carb and protein dense.

 

What is your training schedule like?

(Tisha) I train at least 5 days a week, and my split is either two muscle groups together, or an upper body/lower body split.

  • Example of one or more workouts – Example: 1. Bicep curls, seated row, hammer curls, lat pull down. 3 sets of 12 – 15.

Favorite body part to train?

(Tisha) Legs

Can we get a sample of your workout playlist?

(Tisha) I don’t really have a playlist per say, but I am I a soca lover so usually I would just find a soca playlist on Soundcloud and go with that for my workouts.

 

Do you take any supplements? If so what do you take?

(Tisha) I take whey protein, omega chews and BCAA’s.

 

What are your staple fitness products for you?

(Tisha) My Grizzly wrist straps and my TrainRite workout diary.

 

Favorite food/Cheat meal?

(Tisha) Chicken fingers with gravy.

 

One interesting fact about you?

(Tisha) I love to sing, which includes singing in the shower and around the house in general. I tend to turn everyday songs into Broadway musicals.

If you are in the Toronto  you will definitely want to keep up with Tisha and her Instagram @Ms_fitt_fitness as she and a partner will be instructing Saturday morning  boot camps this summer.

Black Women Bodybuilding Presents: Keeli Brown

Tell us about yourself

  • Name Keeli Brown
  • Age 29
  • Height 5’4
  • Weight 125 
  • Occupation: Financial Specialist/Trainer

Give us a brief backstory on how you got started on your fitness journey/lifestyle.

(Keeli) In 2011 my college sweetheart broke up with me. I had gained over 20lbs during college and hadn’t worked out since high school. I was in a bad place. I decided it was time to take care of me – I changed my diet (cooking more and eliminating junk food) and started working out 3-4 days a week (half cardio half weight lifting). I started seeing changes and so did everyone else. In 2015 I got my personal training certification as well as a group fitness certification. I began teaching classes in my apartment complex and eventually started teaching at my work gym. I competed in my first bodybuilding competition in October 2016 and won 2nd place Novice and 1st place Open Class C at the Lee Haney Games in Atlanta, GA. I am currently teaching classes at Evolving Fitness in Mabelton, GA.

 

What struggle did you run into getting started or staying motivated to continue towards your goals?

(Keeli) Training for my first competition was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. I loved working out so it was mostly due to my diet. I had a very strict calorie count and was completely drained after my workouts. I kept reminding myself that I would basically be naked on stage and everything I ate would show. I had an amazing support system of family and friends to keep me on track as well.

 

What advice do you have for those struggling with motivation to reach their goals or continue with a healthy lifestyle?

(Keeli) Having a specific end goal makes a world of difference in a weight loss/fitness journey. Most people are not passionate about fitness. You need a real goal to hit in order to keep going.

What is your approach to Diet/Nutrition and the role it plays in reaching your goals?

(Keeli) During my competition prep I had a meal plan but could be flexible and count macros at well.

 

What is a typical day of eating like for you?

(Keeli) My typical day of eating is as follows:

Breakfast: Oatfit Oatmeal and 3 egg whites

Snack after workout: two rice cakes with PB and protein shake (and banana in offseason)

Lunch: protein/spinach (carb in offseason)

Second lunch: protein/spinach

Dinner: Protein/spinach/carb (off season I can eat what I want)

Snack: Protein cookie

 

What is your training schedule like and how do you split your workouts?

(Keeli) I usually train 4-6 days a week with at least 3 leg days. Not much cardio in the off season if any.

Example workout:

Warm up

Walking lunges 2 minutes

Set A 4 sets

Leg Press (feet wide) 20 reps

Calf Raises 20 reps

Set B 4 sets

Hip Thrust 20 reps

Bulgarian Split Squat 15 reps/leg

Set C

Plie Squat 20 reps

Jump Squat 20 jumps

 

Favorite body part to train?

(Keeli) Glutes!

 

Can we get a sample of your workout playlist?

(Keeli) Beyonce, Rihanna, and Nicki are all staples in my mix and sprinkle in some Drake for good measure.

Do you take any supplements? If so what do you take?

(Keeli)  Yes – Vegan Protein Powder, BCAAs, and Glutamine.

 

What are your staple fitness products for you?

(Keeli) Resistance bands are clutch especially when traveling or I can’t make it to the gym.

 

Favorite food/Cheat meal?

(Keeli) Peanut Butter.

 

One interesting fact about you?

(Keeli) I sang at Philips Arena for an engagement hosted by Grant Hill in 2015,

 

Anything else you would like to share with us?

(Keeli) My goal is inspire women to take charge of their life and bodies – you can look and feel as amazing as you want!

For information on whats new with Keeli check out her website www.workoutsbykeeli.com or her IG page @workoutsbykeeli

What are macros?

Macronutrients known as macros are by definition a substance required in relatively large amounts by living organisms. In the human diet this refers to types of food (e.g., fat, protein, carbohydrate). Micronutrients are what we know as vitamins and minerals and are needed for the body to function properly, just in a much smaller amount then macros. Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats all play apart in the growth, development, and functionality of the body and none of them can be removed from consumption permanently or long term without side effects. To help better understand the role each of these play in the function of the body we will spend some time to briefly define them and what they do in the body.

Protein

Proteins, termed the building blocks of the body, are large molecules composed of amino acids. Proteins are responsible for many functions of the body some of these are; acting as enzymes, hormones and antibodies in the body along with building, maintaining, and repairing cells, tissues and organs of the body. The body needs twenty amino acids and can create eleven of these by itself. The nine that the body cannot create are what are called “essential amino acids” and must be acquired through food. These essential amino acids are: Tryptophan, Threonine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Valine, and Histidine. Meat and eggs contain all 9 essential amino acids but those following a plant based diet still have plenty of options to get all of their essential amino acids in. This can be most easily done through the pairing of legumes and grains like rice and beans or peanut butter and whole wheat bread.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates can be classified as any of a large group of organic compounds occurring in foods and living tissue including sugars, starch, and cellulose. They contain hydrogen and oxygen and can be broken down to release energy(glucose) in the Human body. Glucose is used as the primary source of energy for the brain, muscles and other parts of the body.

There are two types of Carbohydrates, Simple and Complex. Simple carbohydrates are sugars with a molecular construction of one or two parts. Simple carbs are digested in the body quickly and are a quick source of energy for the body. Complex carbohydrates are sugars with a molecular structure of three or more parts. The process to digest these carbohydrates takes longer and are usually more apt to satiate hunger than simple carbs. Complex carbohydrates also contain necessary vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Fats

Fats are organic compounds that are made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen and they are a source of energy for the body. Fats are essential to the diet just like protein and carbs as they help you absorb the micronutrients vitamins A, D, E, K otherwise known as the fat-soluble vitamins. The fats we get from food also give our body the essential fatty acids called linoleic and linolenic acid. Fats also play a vital role in body functions like blood clotting (vitamin K) and developing of the brain (vitamin D) just to name a few. Similar to essential amino acids these fats are essential because the body cannot produce them. The three main types of fats in relation to nutrition are Unsaturated fats, Saturated fats, and Trans fats. There are two types of fats most would consider good/healthy one is Monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. The other is Polyunsaturated fats found in sunflower oil, walnuts, flax seeds/flaxseed oil, and fish to name a few. Saturated fats while found mostly in animal products and byproducts can also be found from natural sources like coconut and coconut oil. Trans fat occur naturally in some meat and dairy products but most of the trans fats that the general population consumes are created by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil (hydrogenation) making it take a more solid form. Trans fats should be avoided as much as possible as currently there is little research out here to list any positive health benefits from them unlike the other two fat types listed.

How to calculate macros?

To calculate macros you have to understand how to break them down. This is done by a simple equation of energy(calories) per gram. Protein and carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram. Fat contains 9 calories per gram. So 10 grams of protein and carbs equals 40 calories, but 10 grams of fat equals 90 calories.

Example:

10(grams of carbs/protein) multiplied by 4(calories) = 40 calories

10(grams of fat) multiplied by 9(calories) = 90 calories

Being able to calculate macronutrients is essential when using a meal plan that breaks down your calories into macro percentages. For example, if you have person who consumes 1800 calories and has their macros broken into a 35/35/30 or 35% carbohydrates, 35% Protein, and 30% fat plan then the grams required of each macronutrient would be as follows:

1800 x .35(35%) = 630 calories   630/ 4 = 157.5g protein & carbohydrates

1800 x .30(30%) = 540 calories   540/ 9 = 60g fats

If you would like to skip doing the math on your own then you can use a macronutrient calculator like here.

Black Women Bodybuilding Presents: Adriene Williams

Tell us about yourself

  • Name Adriene Williams
  • Age 29
  • Height 5’6
  • Weight 184 
  • Occupation: Hospital Appointment Coordinator

Give us a brief backstory on how you got started on your fitness journey/lifestyle.

(Adriene) I was going through a divorce about 7 years ago and I decided to talk to a recruiter about enlisting in the military.  The recruiter came to my house and weighed me and told me that if I wanted to join the service I would have to lose 80lbs.  At that time I had no idea I weighed 235lbs.  I never owned a scale and only used it once a year when I was going to the doctor.  I couldn’t believe I was that big.  He then went into my kitchen and looked at the food in the refrigerator and empty alcohol bottles that I saved for display and stated that I would have to change my diet and add exercise.  He told me no pork, beef, breads, sweets, sodas, pastas, fried foods etc., and said that I would have to work out for at least 1 hour a day.  He followed up with me for about two weeks and then I never heard anything else from him again.I stuck with the plan because I noticed how making those changes caused me to feel different.  I felt lighter and I had a ton of energy.  Working out became a part of my every day routine.  I would not miss a day.  It helped with relieving stress and tension.  I loved my new lifestyle.  I now feel incomplete if I am not able to work out and I have a completely new outlook on food as well.  I have a hunger to learn more and push myself to newer levels in this journey.  I was able to lose 75lbs naturally.

 

What struggle did you run into getting started or staying motivated to continue towards your goals?

(Adriene) In the beginning of my journey I honestly didn’t have any struggles that I can remember. I knew I had to do something.  Once I made it a routine, it became second nature.  I looked forward to being able to wake up the next day to work out or after I got off work.  It became my therapy and I was in love with my results.

 

What advice do you have for those struggling with motivation to reach their goals or continue with a healthy lifestyle?

(Adriene) Never give up.  I know this sounds so cliché but it is the truth.  We all fall off the wagon and we all have things in life that we go through, but never give up or lose sight as to why you started.  It can also be very overwhelming with all the new quick fix products that are offered nowadays.  Stay away from them!!! Always remember that “nothing works but WORK”.

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What is your approach to Diet/Nutrition and the role it plays in reaching your goals?

(Adriene) I think nutrition is the biggest hurdle for reaching my goals.  Anyone can work out and be active, but if your diet is not on point then it doesn’t matter.  Me personally, I have a difficult time with nutrition because I work in a sedentary environment with other people who love to indulge in foods that I know are not beneficial to my growth and will hinder me.

 

What is a typical day of eating like for you?

(Adriene) On a good day I eat very low amounts carbohydrates (less than 25g), vegetables, protein and moderate healthy fat.  Since I practice Ketogenic dieting I’m able to eat higher amounts of fat and protein and low carbs.

 

What is your training schedule like and how do you split your workouts?

(Adriene) Typically I train 3-4x a week. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and some Sunday’s.  Since I am a full time single mother, work full time, and I’m enrolled in school full time I am not able to work out every day.  When I do workout I make it count.  I believe in working your entire body instead of focusing on splitting days for different parts of your body. Full body to me means using your entire body to do an exercise.  I.e. squats, deadlifts, push-ups, jumping jacks, jump rope planks etc.

 

Favorite body part to train?

(Adriene) Since I have naturally big legs I enjoy training my legs.  I also like training my oblique’s and arms as well.

 

Can we get a sample of your workout playlist?

(Adriene) My playlist right now consist of artist like: Joey-badass, Kevin Gates, Vybz-Kartel, Rae Sremmurd, Fat Joe, Future, Tory Lanez, Meek Mill, Drake etc.

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Do you take any supplements? If so what do you take?

(Adriene) I am not really big on supplements.  I prefer real foods.  I am a firm believer that if you nourish your body with proper foods you will not need to supplement as much.  I do however consume protein shakes as snacks every so often.  My protein of choice is Premier Protein because it is very low in carbs, high in protein (1 shake = 30g), and taste amazing.  I also take Juice+ Plus capsules which is just an added bonus to my diet.

 

What are your staple fitness products for you?

(Adriene) My “McDavid” waist band, along with my Bose noise canceling headphones.

 

Favorite food/Cheat meal?

(Adriene) Fried chicken with regular flour or fried rice.

 

One interesting fact about you?

(Adriene) I get overly excited about healthy foods and learning about the benefits of what we eat.  Another fact about me is that I get really depressed after a few days without exercise.

 

Anything else you would like to share with us?

(Adriene) One thing I noticed about the fitness industry is that everyone feels that their way is the right way or how they do one thing should be the same way everyone does it.  I think that is the main reason as to why people get discouraged and give up so quickly.  There are multiple ways to accomplish the same results.  No one way works for everyone.  Find what way works best for you and stick with that!

To keep up with Adriene and learn more about her fitness Blog Flawed Body Fitness go follow her IG page Flawedfitchick and website www.flawedbodyfitness.com

 

Black Women Bodybuilding Presents: Dawn Wallace

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Tell us about yourself

  • Name Dawn Wallace
  • Age 34
  • Height 5’3
  • Weight 158
  • Occupation: School Bus Driver and Certified Personal Trainer

Give us a brief backstory on how you got started on your fitness journey/lifestyle.

(Dawn) I got started on my fitness journey/lifestyle after having my first child 12 years ago, Of course I started off with the goal of losing my baby weight and getting back into my pre-baby jeans. I mainly started off doing cardio and focused on a healthy diet. Once I become curious with weights and strength training my passion spiked and I noticed better results. Fast forward to two more kids later, and the passion for fitness increased and it was a feeling that wouldn’t go away. For about 3 years I considered becoming certified as a trainer because I found myself constantly giving advice and tips to family and friends and other members that I would talk to in the gym. I realized that this was my passion it was that thing that excited me and the drive to get out of bed every morning. Fitness changes so much more than the physical it strengthens the mind also. Fitness creates a positive healthy mental and creates so much clarity. So, I finally convinced myself to study and become certified. And that’s exactly what I did, I am a certified trainer through NASM.

 

What struggle did you run into getting started or staying motivated to continue towards your goals?

(Dawn) The main struggle that I encountered during my journey was that i found it hard for me to stay motivated and focused being that I am a single mother of 3 children. My days start at 4:30 am and I’m usually not in bed until 10-10:30 pm, with nonstop errands and life in between. It was a challenge studying, working, and being an active mom of 3. Not only was I physically tired but mentally exhausted as well. The irony is that my 3 children are also what kept me motivated and pushing through the challenges. I want them to know that it is possible to go after your passion and not give up just because it gets hard. We all deserve to live the life that brings us happiness and excitement, the life that we are destined to live. I want my kids to always chase better and be greater. I want my children to see me happy, that truly is what keeps me going. Me being happy with my lifestyle and excited about my career and creating that environment for my kids.

 

What advice do you have for those struggling with motivation to reach their goals or continue with a healthy lifestyle?

(Dawn) For those that struggle with motivation to reach their goals or continue to live a healthy lifestyle, I would say JUST KEEP GOING. Look at the old you and the current you, compare! Not just physically but mentally. How has your mindset changed, how much more energy do you have, how confident and proud are you now versus the old you before you started this journey. Your mental is going to be what makes you and breaks you in this lifestyle. It’s up to you to either go forward or backwards. Honestly, we all have times we feel discouraged or defeated, we lose our motivation and can’t find the drive sometimes. We question if we will ever get to that goal or is it even worth it. We all find ourselves eating junk food a bit too much, and guess what…IT’S OK!!!! There’s not a fitness professional out here that has not gone through this more than once and will continue with this battle, we’re all human. It just gets easier as you go along and you’re able to control your mindset and have your junk food and moderation. You’ll be able to know when enough chips are enough chips, lol. Just get back in the race and don’t be hard on yourself, celebrate your accomplishments and be proud of every step every day!!! This is a hard lifestyle and the fact that you are in it, whether you’re at the beginning, middle, or been in here for years, whether you’ve fallen off one time or 100 times, be proud that you stepped up and are here. Remember to set realistic goals that can be accomplished in a realistic time, and everything will fall into place

dawn2

What is your approach to Diet/Nutrition and the role it plays in reaching your goals?

(Dawn) Diet and Nutrition play a huge role in my fitness journey. You can spend hours at the gym, do cardio two times a day, its nothing without a healthy diet. Food is fuel for the body, it’s what keeps us going. Diet and healthy eating are very very important. That’s a peeve of mine is when I see people eating poorly and they think that the gym will make up for it. Don’t get me wrong I have my cheat meals or sometimes I lose to temptation, so I’m not perfect. But I understand how important it is to reaching my goals and staying healthy.

 

What’s a typical day of eating like for you?

(Dawn) My typical day of eating is starting off with breakfast, I NEVER SKIP BREAKFAST!!!! I will have oatmeal (old fashioned oats) with peanut butter and an apple. A few hours later I’ll have a snack, usually a fiber bar or almonds. For my lunch and dinner, I will have whatever I meal prepped. I meal prep on Sundays for the upcoming week. I will have the heavier portion at lunch because I’m still up active and running around like a chicken with my head chopped off lol. And for dinner I have the lighter portion because my day is coming to an end and I’m starting to slow down, so I don’t want too much food in my stomach. I have snack in between my meals. My snacks range from apples, boiled eggs, almonds, yogurt, banana, fiber bars, peanut butter, carrots, tuna fish, kale chips…its so many healthy snacks out there to choose from. And water is VERY important. Get your water in, drink drink drink and drink water.

 

What is your training schedule like and how do you split your workouts? 

(Dawn) My training schedule changes depending on my goals. I train at the same time 85% of the time to keep my body on a schedule. I do cardio about 3 times a week, and strength training 5-6 times a week. I usually focus on two muscle groups at each training session for myself. I will perform 4-5 exercises for each muscle groups with 3 or 4 sets with high reps of 12-15. I love intense training, I don’t stop until I’m exhausted. And once I’m exhausted I will do a burnout exercise just to finish off that tired muscle. a. Leg day may consist of jumping squats, barbell squats, deadlifts, cable kickbacks, abductor exercises, weighted lunges and the burnout could be a kettlebell swing or a pulse squat holding a heavy kettlebell for 25 secs, and I’ll do the burnout for 3 rounds.

 

Favorite body part to train?

(Dawn) My favorite body part to train would be legs. It’s the largest muscle in our body and it can be intense. And the best part about strength training is that after your workout is completed your body is still burning calories throughout the day, even if you’re sitting on the couch doing nothing. Whereas with cardio, once you are finished you immediately stop burning calories. So, training legs always gives me that burn that I’m looking for.

 

Can we get a sample of your workout playlist?

(Dawn) My playlist can range depending on my mood. I can be playing Fantasia one minute and the next minute I’ll be playing some good old Bone Thugs-n-Harmony lol. So, for me it depends on my mood. I don’t always need that good heavy bass beat with a good flow to get to get me motivated. Sometimes I need to slow quiet soulful sound to get my head right and get me focused. My playlist includes Mary J. Blige, The Game, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Bone Thugs-nHarmony, Erykah Badu, Boyz 2 Men, Jay-Z, Mary Mary, Tamela Mann, Nicki Minaj, R.Kelly, Hezekiah Walker, Otis Redding, Yolonda Adams, the list goes on!

dawn1

Do you take any supplements? If so what do you take?

(Dawn) I do post workout protein shakes. I like to use these to quickly get protein to my muscles after an intense session. I use the powder ones and make a shake using vanilla whey protein powder, apples, spinach, peanut butter, soy milk, and ice. Sometimes I will add greek yogurt or dark chocolate chips to satisfy my sweet tooth.

 

 Favorite food/Cheat meal?

(Dawn) My favorite food/cheat meal would have to be pizza or a good greasy steak and cheese with extra everything!!!

 

One interesting fact about you?

(Dawn) I love nature. I love nature trails, waterfalls, mountains, volcanos, deserts, rainforests. I love being outside after the rain. The way it feels and smells somehow relaxes me. I love the sound of rain. I like watching the sunset and love looking at the moon.

 

Anything else you would like to share with us?

(Dawn) I love to share my journey and my motivation and just hope that I can help to inspire others and help change a life!!

If you would like to keep up with Fit mom Dawn follow her on IG @queen_fit_mama

 

Black Women Bodybuilding Presents: Letimicia Fears

 Meci front

Tell us about yourself

  • Name Letimicia Fears
  • Age 27
  • Height 5’4
  • Weight 135
  • Occupation: Graduate student/teacher

Give us a brief backstory on how you got started on your fitness journey/lifestyle.

(Letimicia) I played sports in high school but definitely fell off in college. I didn’t start going to the college rec at all until my senior year of college when I got the wild hair up my butt to run a half-marathon lol I didn’t know what I was doing at all, just running on the treadmill until I began experiencing knee pain.  I slacked off a lot but started incorporating weightlifting into my workouts in 2013 because I decided I wanted to build my glutes and get stronger.  In 2014, I began following Marcus Jennings, better known as @Superhumanyogi on IG and began taking his power yoga classes, as well as working out with weights.  This lead to me meeting and practicing with S. Renee Watkins, b.k.a. @IAmReneeWatkins and practicing hot yoga.  During this time, I was transitioning to vegan diet and yoga really helped with that process. As of now, I am a member of M.A.D.E. Fitness, where I’m able to attend boot camps, power lifting classes and participate in running challenges. I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in my life!

 

What struggle did you run into getting started or staying motivated to continue towards your goals?

 (Letimicia) I did not know what I was doing at all! So I wasn’t really seeing any results so I wasn’t motivated.

 

What advice do you have for those struggling with motivation to reach their goals or continue with a healthy lifestyle?

(Letimicia) My advice would be to switch it up and keep yourself interested.  Try some different classes, join a running group or try a vegan diet for a week.  I think keeping yourself challenged is important as it will keep you mentally engaged and you can see how your body reacts to different workouts.

Yoga pose

What is your approach to Diet/Nutrition and the role it plays in reaching your goals?

(Letimicia) I have been vegetarian/vegan for the last two years, that’s proven to be diet enough. I do not count calories or anything like that but I do eat to match my activity level for the day. My metabolism is pretty fast so I eat a lot and I make sure to have at least one fruit smoothie with plant based protein every day.

 

What is a typical day of eating like for you?

(Letimicia) I have at least one fruit smoothie with protein a day.  Besides being a vegan, my diet is healthy but not very strict. My breakfast is usually fresh fruit and cereal. I don’t eat fast food at all. I cook a few times a week and eat that for lunch and dinner.  I make sure to include a protein like beans, quinoa and soy-free meat alternatives or grain meats and I have at least one kind of vegetable, sometimes two.  And If I want dessert, I have dessert.

 

What is your training schedule like and how do you split your workouts?

(Letimicia) I workout 6 days a week. I run twice a week, boot camp/power lifting 3 days a week and yoga at least once.

 

Favorite body part to train?

(Letimicia) Lower body is my favorite to train! I love seeing how much more I can squat as I get stronger.

 

Can we get a sample of your workout playlist?

(Letimicia) I’ve been listening to a lot of Chance the Rapper lately, he’s awesome to run to! But usually I listen to a lot of girl power R&B: Erykah Badu, Ledisi, Solange, Missy Elliott, TLC. If I’m lifting heavy, I like gangsta rap lol Tupac can power you through anything!

rock climb

Do you take any supplements? If so what do you take?

(Letimicia) I take Double X by Nutrilite regularly as well as their Joint Health Twist Tubes for knee support.

 

What are your staple fitness products for you?

(Letimicia) I always make sure to have my XS Intense Pre-Workout Boost and XS Energy Bars! They get me through tough workout and long days!

 

Favorite food/Cheat meal?

(Letimicia) My favorite food is chocolate so decadent desserts are my weakness! I tell myself that I’m balancing it out with the water and fruit lol

For more information on the supplements that Letimecia takes visit her site at www.amway.com/CMIe