Black Women Bodybuilding Presents: Carla Fields

Tell us about yourself

  • Name: Carla Fields
  • Age: 56
  • Height 5’5
  • Weight 135
  • Occupation: Carla fields fitness INC

 

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

(Carla)  I graduated from Tuskegee University BS Accounting 1982, spent 10 years in corporate America until  I met my husband David Fields. I’ve  always  been active, but lacked direction. In comes my husband a Business Hair Salon owner looking to expand into Total Wellness….  Hair , Nails,  Massage and Fitness. He introduced me to his trainer and in 3 months I was competing at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC).

 

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

(Carla)  My struggle was within, and emotional, wanting to be my best and healthy.  I struggled to listen to my body, feed it what it needed. Some days I went too hard too strict. It seemed the workout/nutrition piece was a balance of understanding what my body needed based on exertion, while still being able to enjoy life. I had to Find My FORMULA (FMF).

I  had some emotional problems and working out was my safe haven. It seems to balance my hormones, mood, make me more ZEN, create a calming effect, it’s my drug. I have to have it, even on a bad day when I think I’m not gonna work out…. I do. That’s when I figured it all out, this is my calling. It’s what I’m supposed to do.


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

(Carla)  My advice for those who struggle to reach your goals is to GET HELP! Visualize who you are, and what you want! Put  in place a plan of action, and take the necessary steps to get there. Stay focused, make a personal commitment, get a workout buddy,  think of  the rewards….  more energy, look and feel good, live long, age gracefully, be proactive against the BIG 3: Heart Disease, Diabetes, Cancer.

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

(Carla)  Diet and Nutrition are critical, its 75% of the battle. In order to reach your goal, you must Find Your Formula, and each individual has a unique formula. It took me over 15 years to FMF, but once I found it, everything fell in place… youthful, strong lean body, no mood swings, healthy organs operating optimally, feeling good.

 

What is a typical day of eating like for you?

(Carla) 

Breakfast:

Green smoothie (Kale, Spinach, Carrots, Celery, Banana, Protein powder, Ginger, and Cayenne pepper)

Snack:

Cottage Cheese, and a fruit or Protein bar (Gnld)

Lunch:

Protein: Chicken,

Carb: (1/2 cup), Pasta, Sweet Potato, Quinoa, or Brown Rice, Corn and

Cruciferous Veggies: Kale, Spinach, Broccoli, Green beans, Greens, Cabbage etc.,

Snack:

Veggie cup and a protein 

Dinner:

2-4 Veggies salads/beans and a Protein

Greek Yogurt, Cottage Cheese

 

Favorite body part to train?

(Carla) It used to be legs, but now at age 56 it Core/ Abdominals

 

Can we get a sample of your workout playlist?

(Carla)  My music ranges from Technotronic Radio  to Gospel.

 

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

(Carla)  I take can be found my clicking the GNLD link at the bottom of my webpage www.carlafields.com

 

Favorite food/Cheat meal?

(Carla)  Oreo Cheese Cake, and my Special blend of Trail mix (cashews, almonds, dried pineapple, papaya, cranberries, pistachios, raisins )

 

One interesting fact about you?

(Carla)  I’m Intense, I don’t know how to give up…. even when I try. I have one speed… Go!

 

Anything else you would like to share with us?

(Carla)  Don’t get in shape for an event or an occasion, Stay in Shape for Life!

 

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

Black Women Bodybuilding Presents: Mykal Harris

Tell us about yourself

  • Name Mykal Harris
  • Age 27
  • Height 5’4
  • Weight 160 
  • Occupation: Bartender, Yoga Teacher, Personal Trainer

 

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

(Mykal)  I had always lived an active life growing up. I played basketball and danced. When I quit dancing after my junior year of college, I began to notice a few extra pounds. But things got worse when I moved to Murfreesboro. I was working at a restaurant, stressed from school, and put on 20+ lbs in 6 months. I didn’t even recognize my body anymore. So I changed my diet, hired a personal trainer, began doing hot yoga, and it became a lifestyle.

 

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

(Mykal)  I work in the restaurant industry, so I am always around delicious food. I struggle with anxiety and depression, so eating out of impulse and stress is sometimes a problem. Lastly, it’s possible to burn yourself out on the lifestyle. At one point I was training several people, teaching yoga, teaching group classes, and attempting to train for a competition. I got sick of seeing the inside of the gym, and had to take a step back. Now, that I don’t live in the gym, I look forward to my workouts every day.

 

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

(Mykal)  Never stop looking for motivation. Get on Pinterest or Instagram, scroll photos, and save inspiring images or quotes. Find a workout partner or someone to hold you accountable. Get into a routine, but make it enjoyable, and try new things.  Celebrate your progress, and remember how you felt before you began. I was miserable when my diet slipped and I stopped being active. I was more exhausted, I didn’t like the way my body looked and felt. Remember what made you get started.

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

(Mykal)  Nutrition is everything. I often tell people who ask me for advice to start there. If you changing your whole life seems to overwhelming, start with trying to eat better. I cannot achieve the body I want or feel like I want, while eating trash. I like to keep my meat intake down and eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies. I strive to drink a gallon of water every day, and I opt for seafood over chicken. Beef and pork are rare. Eating this way gives me the energy to execute my busy lifestyle and my workouts.

 

What is a typical day of eating like for you?

(Mykal)   Ideally,

Breakfast: Oatmeal or fruit (apples/bananas)

Snack: Protein shake after a workout

Lunch: Black beans or 6oz fish/chicken and steamed veggies with brown rice, vegan chili,

Snack: Raw fruits/veggies  and yogurt, or a smoothie, sometimes another shake

Dinner: 6oz protein (preferably salmon!), steamed/roasted veggies or a big salad

Snack (if necessary): Grapes or yogurt and granola

 

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

(Mykal)   When training for competition, I do a different body part each day. During the off-season, I enjoy full body workouts and mixing cardio and weights.

Example:

Warm Up: 10 minutes of cardio on the stairs, the elliptical or running

4×10-12 Back squats

4×10-12 Glute kickbacks

4×10-12 Lying leg curls

3×20 Abductor/Adductor

5-10 minutes Walking Lunges

3×20 Hanging leg raise

 

 

Favorite body part to train?

(Mykal)  Legs! Legs! Legs! Glutes, hammies, quads. I could do legs every day!

 

Can we get a sample of your workout playlist?

(Mykal)  I don’t have one. I subscribe to Pandora One. If I’m lifting, I like Young Money, Future, or Rick Ross Radio. Anything to make me feel like a badass. If I’m doing cardio, I like pop music like Ke$ha or Katy Perry.

 

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

(Mykal)  I sometimes take a fat burner called TNT for energy, because I can’t take pre-workout. Otherwise, I just use vegan protein powder. My coaches will be giving me supplement regimen during competition training. This will include a multivitamin, probiotic, omega 3,6,9, and the fat burner.

 

What are your staple fitness products for you?

(Mykal)  Headphones, arm band, and gloves. I don’t like a lot of extra stuff, I’ll lose it!

 

Favorite food/Cheat meal?

(Mykal)  Definitely pizza or sushi

 

One interesting fact about you?

(Mykal)  I study foreign languages for fun.I have a B.A. Spanish, studied Portuguese for a year, and took a semester of Japanese and Italian for elective credit, and spent most of high school devoted to Latin.

 

Anything else you would like to share with us?

(Mykal)  Never give up. My health and fitness journey has not been a straight shot. I have regressed and had setbacks. It happens. Someone once told me never compare your private life to someone else’s public life. So while social media is a great place to find inspiration, it only tells the story a person wants you to see. So if you fall off the wagon, get back on. If your diet slips, pick it back up. If you don’t know your ultimate goal, just keep moving and you will find it. All the pieces eventually fall into place, if you keep working.

 

To keep up with Mykal and learn more about her upcoming Vlog/Blog called MelaYoga follow her on instagram @themelayogi 

 

Carla Fields Fitness

Carla Fields is an accomplished certified personal fitness expert with more than 20 years of practical and competitive experience. She started helping people achieve their fitness goals in 1991 as a fitness instructor for the YMCA™, Main Event Fitness, and Australian Body Works. Carla currently has her own facility, Carla Fields Fitness, Inc., located in Lithonia, Georgia. She emphasizes lifestyle changes through strength training and cardiovascular conditioning along with weight management by proper nutrition planning. She specializes in body sculpting, fat loss, and increasing energy. What sets Carla apart from other trainers is that she gets results. She works from both a psychological and physical standpoint to encourage you to stick with the program. To keep up with Carla and set appointments with her at Carlafields.com.

Black Women Bodybuilding Presents: Nicole “Nikki” Griggs

Tell us about yourself

  • Name Nicole “Nikki” Griggs
  • Age 36
  • Height 5’4
  • Weight In Contest Season approx. 115 lbs; Off Season approx. 135-140 lbs
  • Occupation: Analyst at a BioPharma Company and Certified Personal Trainer & Fitness Nutrition Specialist

 

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

(Nikki)  In 2007 I lost the love of my life suddenly to cardiac arrest, he was 27 years old. While grieving I felt that I had lost all control of my life. I was drinking, smoking and neglecting my health.  In 2010, with the support of family and friends, I decided I needed to start caring about myself again. I realized that I needed to start living again, not just existing. I decided to focus on exercising with the goal of losing excess weight in the fall of 2010, I decided to change my eating habits for good in the spring of 2011. I was 30 years old at the time. My first major fitness goal was to complete a 5K so in addition to strength training I used the Couch to 5K program to help build endurance to run. After doing really well in 5K and 10K races for 2 years, I decided to set a new goal/challenge for myself and began competing in bodybuilding competitions in 2013.

 

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

(Nikki)  In the beginning I got discouraged because I was running and working out but not seeing much change on the scale. This was because I had not yet changed what I was eating. After doing some research, I began to understand the importance of nutrition and how the foods we eat play a major part in what we look like. That’s when I began seeing results. This motivated me to keep going and also motivated me to become a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist.

 

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

(Nikki)  Don’t give up even if progress is slow. Slow progress is still progress and quitting won’t speed anything up. Keep your “why” at the forefront of your mind. Revisit your reason for why you wanted to embark on the fitness journey in the first place. There will be times when you don’t feel like eating clean or working out but that has nothing to do with your “why”. If we only did things when we felt like doing them we wouldn’t get much done.

 

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

(Nikki)  I believe the key to achieving any fitness goal lies in nutrition. Whether your goal is to lose fat or gain muscle or combination of both; what we eat makes all the difference. Personally I believe eating more whole, unprocessed foods is ideal for overall health. A tip I share is to focus on the food located along the perimeter of the grocery store, not the aisles. Along the perimeter you will find fresh veggies, fruit and protein sources. Keep it simple.

 

What is a typical day of eating like for you?

(Nikki)  I eat between 5 and 6 meals a day, a typical day looks something this:

Meal 1 – Omelet and Plain Oatmeal

Meal 2 – Baked Cod & Veggies

Meal 3 – Grilled Chicken, Sweet Potato & Veggies

Meal 4 – Grilled Salmon, Brown Rice & Veggies

Meal 5 – Baked Cod & Veggies

Meal 6 – Casein Protein Shake or repeat of Meal 3 or 5

 

 

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

(Nikki)  I’m in the gym 6 days a week for approximately 1.5-2hrs. In addition to lifting I also do cardio 4-5 days a week.

Day 1 – Chest

Day 2 – Legs (Quad focus)

Day 3 – Rest

Day 4 – Back

Day 5 – Legs (Hamstring focus)

Day 6 – Shoulders

Day 7 – Biceps + Triceps

 

Favorite body part to train?

(Nikki)  This is a tie between Back and Legs, I love both equally! My favorite back exercises are Pullups and T-Bar Rows. My favorite leg exercises are Squats and Glute Bridges as well as Deadlifts which hit legs and lower back.

 

Can we get a sample of your workout playlist?

(Nikki)  My playlist is very eclectic and contains rock, r&b, pop, hip hop, electronic, jazz and more. Lately I have had Bruno Mars’ latest album, 24K Magic on repeat.

 

 

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

(Nikki)  I do take some basic supplements like Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Probiotics, Multi Vitamin and Fish Oil. I also use BCAAs during workouts and occasionally have protein shakes.

 

What are your staple fitness products for you?

(Nikki)  In the gym, I always have my notepad and pen, lifting gloves (www.g-loves.com)  and fanny pack to hold my iPhone so I can listen to music. I also love my isolator fitness gallon jug carrying case. (https://isolatorfitness.com/the-jug).

 

Favorite food/Cheat meal?

(Nikki)  I am a potato connoisseur! My favorite cheat meals most definitely include potatoes in some form; french fries are my favorite.

 

One interesting fact about you?

(Nikki)  I am introverted and shy. My shyness used to cause me great anxiety but competing has helped me cope and has even helped be a better leader at work. While I’ll likely always be an introvert, sharing my story or talking about fitness in the hopes that it may help someone, is energizing to me.

 

Anything else you would like to share with us?

(Nikki)  You have the power to do and be whatever you want. Set goals, believe in yourself, get to work, stay consistent, don’t make excuses and never quit! Be a #goaldigger

 

To keep up with Nikki check out her website www.fitgirlnikki.com , twitter , instagram , and her Facebook page here

 

Black Women Bodybuilding Presents: Tracie Roberts

Tell us about yourself

  • Name Tracie Roberts
  • Age 33
  • Height 5’3
  • Weight 197 
  • Occupation: Corporate Customer Advocate

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

(Tracie) My story goes back to 2007 when I was first diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety, although looking back there were signs way before then. I struggled for years with medications, therapy, and alternative treatment methods. Due to my illness, my weight became out of control. In 2010 I got up to 269lbs and decided I had to change. I began working out and found this not only helped my mental status but I was able to drop 100lbs in a year as well.  Unfortunately, by the end of 2011 I spiraled out of control and gained all the weight back and then some tipping the scale at 286lbs. I stopped working out, was unable to find the right combination of medications and I was getting worse.

In 2013 I hit rock bottom and overdosed on a bottle of sleeping pills just trying to ease the physical and mental pain I was going through. After 2 days in the hospital and loss of some motor skills I was released but not to go home, I was committed to in-patient treatment at a mental health hospital in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. I thought my life was over at this point but it ended up being a God send. I was able to be properly diagnosed with Bipolar Depression and began the process of finding the correct medication and methods to treat it. After six months, I was on meds that were working, completed a day program and developed skills that were helping me become Tracie again. At this time I decided to again start exercising again.

 

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

(Tracie) Other than my struggles with my mental health I had the same problem I believe many of us have, starting and stopping. I would get emotional and mess up on my “diet” and quit. I am an emotional eater so I would yoyo between eating sensibly then eating everything in sight literally until it hurt.

 

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

(Tracie) Your goal has to be bigger than just losing weight. I believe when you are specific and focused on this goal daily or even hourly you have a better chance of success. People talk about obsession as if it is a bad thing but obsessing over a healthy goal is a game changer.

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

(Tracie) As stated before diet has been one of my biggest obstacles. I Went from eating healthy during the day and being out of control at night to managing my cravings and eating a more balanced diet. I began by cutting portions then making healthier choices. I can honestly say now though the thing that has helped take me to the next level has been intermittent fasting. I currently eat foe 8 hours a day and fast for 16 This is a fairly recent change for me but bas completely transformed my relationship with food. I had to build up to the 8 hours but now that my body has adapted it is easy. I eat anywhere from 1500 to 1800 calories a day depending on my workouts. Now that I have more control over food when I do crave something I am able to have to without going overboard. I do not deny myself anything but at the same time I don’t crave junk very much anymore.

 

What is a typical day of eating like for you?

(Tracie) I drink water all throughout the day. I try to do a gallon a day but honestly only get there half the time. Other than that I start my day with a preworkout, then coffee or tea later in the morning. By noon it is time to break my fast and I try to do that with fruit. I love oatmeal with any fruit in it, tuna salad made with nonfat cottage cheese, fish, and chicken. My green obsession at the moment is french cut green beans. I have salad occasionally but they get boring to me. I love trying new foods or finding healthy yet tasty alternatives to my favorite meals. I don’t eat certain things for certain meals. It is typical for me to have oatmeal with dinner.

 

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

(Tracie) I train early in the morning. I’ve never been able to eat before working out so training fasted is the norm for me. I lift 4 to 5 days a week and do strict cardio about 3 days a week but I do burpees in some form daily. A typical workout for me may be back squats, deadlifts, good mornings , and monster walks. I switch up the actually workouts I do for each body part weekly so my body doesn’t adjust.

 

Favorite body part to train?

(Tracie) I guess my sample workout was a give away because I love training legs and glutes.

 

Can we get a sample of your workout playlist?

(Tracie) Honestly I could just have all Beyoncé and I would be fine but I also like 90’s southern music. Some inspirational or empowering slower songs like I Rise by Andra Day or anything from India Arie

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

(Tracie) I take a pre-workout, multi vitamin and iron. I also make protein shakes when my protein is lower during the day.

 

What are your staple fitness products for you?

(Tracie) All I really need is a mat and my bodyweight. Everything else is a bonus

 

Favorite food/Cheat meal?

(Tracie) My favorite cheat meals would have to be anything carbs and sugar;  from pasta and pizza to cake, pie, lemon bars or really any baked goods.

 

One interesting fact about you?

(Tracie) I have 5 kids and 2 grandchildren.

 

To keep up with Tracie you can follower her on instagram @traciestakeover

 

TIERTIME FITNESS

TIERTIME Fitness is the brain child of the Los Angeles, CA native, Tier Elera. With her signature phrase, “We Pickin’ Up!”, Elera encourages her class participants to leave their shame, judgments, and limits at the door.  The class was designed to tone muscles, develop core strength and increase balance for participants within all fitness levels. With power-driven original routines, participants reap the body shaping benefits of the sport of dance while enjoying the latest moves and tunes of the Urban, Hip-Hop, Latin and Pop genres.

Check out The woman behind TIERTIME

For more information on TIERTIME Fitness contact them at

Phone: (615) 568-1578

Facebook: TIER TIME FITNESS

Instagram/Twitter: @Tiertimefitness

Email: Tiertimefitness@gmail.com

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