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

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.