Model Mind Trainer Review (Kerri Baker)

Kerri B (before/after)

Kerri Baker is one of those inspiration people I’ve had the privilege to meet as a fitness blogger.  She dropped over 100 lb. and achieved her dream of competing in a bikini model contest.  The Model Mind Trainer is a program she has developed to help others achieve their weight loss and fitness goals.  I’ll start this review by summarizing what you get when you order this program.

The Quick Start Guide:  Be sure to start with this.  Kerri starts with her own story/testimony of her transformation and also gives some important tips for making the most of this program.

ModelMindProgramReviewModel Mind Trainer 8-Week Program:  This e-book is kind of the “heart” of the whole program.  Kerri explains how she learned to “reprogram” the way she thinks in order to ultimately change her body.  She also emphasizes five components of life (which she calls “legs”) and how you can change or maximize them.  One such “leg,” for example, is overcoming bad habits and addictions.

Model Mind Workbook:  This goes along with the 8-week program.  You start by signing a contract with yourself to finish the course.  From there you will write answers to questions based on the trainer program book.


Bikini 365:  This is a recipe book that with several ideas for cooking healthy meals.

Food Prep Guide:  Kerri teaches you how to plan ahead and stock your refrigerator/kitchen with the right kinds of foods.

Grocery Guide:  As the name implies, this e-book has practical instruction which will help you avoid sabotaging your weight loss goals when you go shopping for food/ingredients.


There are a couple of things that intrigue me about this program.  First and foremost, I appreciate the fat that Kerri Baker has walked the proverbial walk as far as weight loss transformation goes.  Her life journey has given her really good insights that many readers (especially women) can relate to.

I also like the overall concept of changing the mind in order to change the body.  Arnold Schwarzenegger frequently talked about the role of the mind in his training.  You probably aren’t interested in being a bodybuilder, but the principle is the same nonetheless–people who accomplish great things with their bodies have developed a completely different mindset than those who have not.  I think the mental aspect of fitness is severely underestimated and the main reason why so many trainees fail to reach their long-term goals.   I think Kerri is on to something here, and the proof is in what she learned through her own struggles and accomplishments.

I think this program would be best suited for any of the following:

*Trainees who have struggled with “yo-yo” dieting–losing weight only to gain it back.

*People who are looking to make a lifestyle change as it relates to diet.

*Those who struggle with sabotaging their weight loss goals.

These are just a few types of people that I think will benefit from this book, but you get the idea.  Please CLICK HERE if you are interested in ordering the Model Mind program.

You can also check out my recommended programs if you thing something else may more closely match your needs/goals.

Body Transformation: Amanda “MandaFit” Olsen

It’s time for another body transformation interview!  A few days ago I ran across the Facebook profile of Amanda “MandaFit” Olsen.  I contacted her, and she agreed to take time out of her very busy schedule to do an interview.

Amanda struggled with her weight from childhood into her young adult life.  But she became an unstoppable force once she set her mind to losing weight and changing her lifestyle.  Manda transformed from a softbody into an elite soldier–one who has the highest physical training scores in her unit!

Check out this interview and be inspired!


Kevin: Why don’t you tell my readers a little bit about yourself (age, where you live, your profession, etc).

Manda: My name is Manda Olsen, 27 and will be a very wise 28 in November. I currently reside in Orange City, Florida–a small city east of Downtown Orlando. I am the owner of a small Personal Training business and studio gym called Mandatory Fitness, LLC. I started my fitness career after being approached many times in the gyms and asked if I were a personal trainer, or what my diet consisted of. I always considered working as a personal trainer and coach but never thought I had what it took or confidence in myself knowing my flaws.

Kevin: Let’s talk about your “before” body. What was your heaviest weight? What got you to that point (were you always overweight or did you gain a lot of weight as an adult)?

Manda: I grew up not knowing a thing about nutrition or how to properly train in order to start seeing the results. I had ALWAYS been overweight growing as a kid and into my teenage years.

Being overweight really takes a toll on everything.  My relationships with my family suffered, and I also felt ugly and uncomfortable all the time. I felt silly working out and  I clung to anyone who showed me attention whether it was with good or bad intentions. That resulted in even worse relationships and friendships that stirred me in the wrong direction. I began going out every night, drinking and partying.  I wasn’t taking care of my health or body.

I always made time to run about 2-3 miles a couple of times a week and thought that was enough (now I realize it wasn’t). So one day I think I had just had enough of being uncomfortable in my own skin. I knew what I had to do if I wanted to reach my goals of being “fit.” I stopped drinking and smoking and made it a priority to wake up at 5am and hit the gym. I didn’t know exactly what I was doing but because I was there, I felt accountable to make a change.

I’ve lost a lot of “friends” along the way because they weren’t into my new lifestyle. But I gained self motivated and positive friendships and they’ve taught me everything I know today!

My heaviest weight was 240lbs and a size 18 pants. I didn’t own shorts till I was 21 and never once went to the beach or the pool with my friends. Changing my lifestyle and prioritizing my life has allowed me to create my own happiness, find out who I really am and my capabilities. I am now 138 and in a size 3. It is still a struggle everyday because I spent 20+ years eating whatever I wanted and my metabolism still needs work. It is something I will be working on for the rest of my life because to me, success is never final.

Kevin: What was the “breaking point” for you—what motivated you to transform your physique?

Manda: I’d say my breaking point was not EVER feeling comfortable. I am 5’3 and at my heaviest, it took my breath away to tie my shoes.  I knew I was an attractive girl but I didn’t feel like it on the inside.  I had no confidence.

Kevin: How long did your transformation take?

Manda: It took me 3-4 years to drop down to the 140’s. Like I said, it’s still an everyday struggle.  But once you see the results, it almost becomes an addiction to be better everyday. It’s an amazing feeling to look back at where you’ve come from and see what is really possible when you put your mind to it.  It has been a learning process of putting in the work day in and day out.  I’ve been drawn to more motivating and inspirational people with goals and they have taught me a lot.  Now I want to teach and share it what I’ve learned.

Kevin: Did you ever hit any plateaus in losing body fat? How did you get through them?

Manda: There were times I felt uncomfortable being “thinner” and it was like an out-of- body experience when my clothes that I had been wearing for so long no longer fit me. All I had known was an overweight body. I was tempted to think I could afford to gain some of the weight back and just lose it again.  This caused setbacks and plateaus but I just turned them into comebacks.

I also learned a lot about training through trial and error.  I started out doing 2-3 hours of cardio a day.  That’s how I lost my first 15-20 lb, but then I hit a plateau.  I eventually realized the importance of lifting weights. I was introduced to weight training and bodybuilding by a good friend and mentor, Joey Diaz.  I developed a new passion for the gym and training and now I understand why women should lift weights.

Kevin: How has your new body affected your confidence?

Manda: I have so much more confidence now that people see me as a fitness enthusiast. I don’t look at my business as my job, but as my passion. I get to motivate and help push other people to reach their goals because I know it’s possible. People are always asking me  where I work out or when I’ll be competing. It feels good to be able to share my story with confidence and not be ashamed.

Kevin: Please give us a general description of your diet and training (how you typically eat and train—number of training days per week, resistance vs cardio, etc).

Manda: My days are GO-GO-GO from 5am-9:30pm. I don’t stop and I’d have it no other way. I wake up a 4:50am pretty much every day–either to do morning cardio or to train a client. I then eat breakfast no later then 7:30. My meals will remain on regimen every 3 hours until my last HumaPro shake at 9:00pm. I weight train 5-6 times a week, depending how busy my work schedule is or how sore I am. I make it a point to sweat EVERY DAY, therefore I run at least 4-5 miles, 7 days a week. My lifting schedule is split up into muscle groups allowing my body to heal properly and go even harder the following week.

As far as my diet, it’s clean 95% of the time. I stay pretty consistent with my meals and prepare them ahead of time every Sunday. I stay anabolic by eating my 1g of protein per pound of body weight daily and eating every 3 hours. If I am busy and cannot eat a meal, then I will supplement with a protein shake or BCAA’s. I ‘cheat’ every Saturday or Sunday, but my ‘cheats’ are not really cheats. I can’t get myself to gorge on food that I know will make me feel like garbage the rest of the day so I opt for sushi or I will eat high carbohydrates.

Kevin: Are you involved in any fitness competitions?

Manda: Currently I have not competed and it’s the number one question I am always asked. I have intentions to get up on the stage and I know it will happen eventually. But for now my main focus is my career and my clients. I have had the privilege of working and training a pro figure and other aspiring competitors, so I do know what it takes and I will gladly accept that challenge when the timing is right.

Kevin: What made you decide to get involved in personal training?

Manda: I decided to get involved with Personal Training in 2013 when I chose to surround myself with only inspiring, self-motivated people.  I noticed how many people looked up to me and believed in me.  Once I completed basic training for the Army I knew anything was possible, and this gave me that last bit of confidence needed to become a personal trainer.

Kevin: I did notice that you are in the military—God bless you for your service to our country!  What motivated you to join the armed forces? What role does fitness play in your life as a soldier?

Manda: I joined the US Army in Feb 2013. It’s an incredible feeling to know I’m part of an unbreakable force and have done something not everyone can do–earn the privilege of wearing the uniform. Being a soldier is a lifestyle even when you aren’t in uniform. I understand I have values and standards to live by and I’m now inspired to pass them on. I currently hold the highest physical training (PT) scores in my reserve unit and will be attending Master trainer school in the future to be able to instruct PT for my unit. I also have been asked to stand in front of my company and give a Nutritional class and hopefully raise our PT scores as a unit. It’s quite an honor!

Kevin: What do you say to new trainees who are just starting their transformations?

Manda: Don’t stop. Be the force to inspire other people. You will get so much more than what you put into it. Don’t throw in the towel, just use it to wipe the sweat off your face.

Kevin: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview!

Please check out Mandatory Fitness if you are looking for a personal trainer in the Orange City/Orlando area.

The Venus Factor Review

I’ve been give the opportunity to read and review The Venus Factor, an exercise and nutrition programvenus-goddess-of-love that’s been around for some time. This program (formerly called the Venus Index) is named after a goddess, but there is a scientific rationale behind the name. I’ll explain:

There’s a particular formula to having a good body. Scientists have discovered, for example, that men tend to prefer women with a waist-to-hip ration of 0.7. This varies a little according to the cultural context (from 0.6 to 0.8), but it is a fairly consistent preference when studies and surveys are done. Women seeking to transform their bodies may want to get as close to these measurements/ratios as possible. Beauty, of course, is subjective. But sometimes numbers can give us concrete goals to shoot for.

Program Summary (Components)

Now I’ll summarize some of the components you get if you decide to invest in The Venus Factor. Please keep in mind these are all files you would download (e-book files, etc.)—they are not “hard copies.”

1. Diet and Weigh Loss Manual:

This e-book is a basic plan for losing body fat and changing your physique. Once you read it you will understand what the authors had in mind when they created this program. You’ll also see what is necessary to make this system work for you.

I’d highly advise you to thoroughly read the diet/nutrition section of this manual. Some trainees (male and female) but a lot of effort into their training but don’t give much thought to their nutrition plan. You’ll never reach your fat loss goals without changing your diet.

2. 12-week Workout System:

These workouts are designed specifically with female TheVenusFactorWorkoutReviewtrainees in mind. I think you’ll be impressed with the way the exercises are explained, and the video library is a nice touch. You can see exactly how each movement should be done.

You’ll be working out with weights (or maybe just using your own body weight) as one of the primary exercise strategies. Don’t be concerned with getting a masculine or muscular physique—this kind of thing just doesn’t happen with women who train naturally (without steroids). Nothing will transform your body as rapidly as resistance training will, so follow the program as it is designed.

3. The Venus Factor Virtual Nutritionist:

This is a piece of software (application to be more precise) that will help you customize your diet plan. You’ll see how much protein and how many calories you should be eating every day (according to your current measurements). Remember—the diet plan is a crucial component of this program so don’t ignore it.

4. The Venus Community:

This members-only forum is a place where you can talk with other members: a place to post questions, get advice, and also share what you are learning on your fitness journey. Only Venus Factor members are a part of this forum, so you don’t have to worry about being embarrassed to ask questions.

5. The Venus Index Podcast:

These are interviews you can download to hear how others have made positive changes in their bodies (and lives). This would be something great to listen to on your iPod when you need some extra motivation.

Additional Products (“Upsells”):

Everything I’ve described so far comes with the basic program. But there are some additional e-books you can order if you choose to. To be clear, you do not have to buy these. But I think they would be worthwhile if you want to add to your fitness library.

Cookbook: some recipes for losing body fat.

The Venus Factor Final Phase: the most advanced level of the program, designed to do after you have completed everything in the basic phases.

Meal Plans: specific plans that help you follow your diet.


Women typically join a gym or start exercising because they want to lose weight and “tone up” (get leaner and firmer). The Venus Factor was created with both of these goals in mind. The nutritional plans will teach you what to eat in order to lose fat and keep (or build) your lean tissue (remember—you don’t want to lose muscle). I think most female trainees would also find the exercise plans to be effective.

I also like the efficiency of this program. In other words, the Venus Factor is a program you could do even if you have a busy schedule and don’t want to spend 24/7 in the gym.

I also appreciate the fact that the author doesn’t promote bogus “fat burner” supplements. Most of the diet pills I see being advertised are a complete waste of money (there are one or two effective products I’ve mentioned here on my blog, but those are the exceptions).

To summarize, I believe the Venus Factor is a reasonably priced program for losing fat and transforming your body. The basic package costs 47$, which is a lot less than you’d pay for a personal trainer. I think this system is a good investment if you want a comprehensive guide to body transformation. Just keep in mind that it will require work and discipline on your part—there are no “magic bullets.”

Please CLICK HERE if you are interested in learning more or ordering this program.

Bikini Body Workouts Review Jen Ferruggia

Bikini Body Workouts
Bikini Body Workouts

I’ve been looking forward to the release of Bikini Body Workouts for quite a while.  I’ve been a big fan of Jason Ferruggia’s workout and diet plans for years so I was glad to see his wife create a product specifically for women.  Let me start the review by explaining what you get when you order this program:

Program Components

Bikini Body Workouts Guide: This document explains how you can safely and effectively build a strong, feminine physique through resistance training.  The workouts utilize non-competing, antagonistic, alternating supersets.   This means you’ll do a exercise, rest for about sixty seconds, then exercise a different muscle group.  This type of training is ideal for burning fat and is a great strategy for female trainees.

This manual also explains how to incorporate cardiovascular training (both high and low intensity) into your schedule.

Another feature I should note is the video library.  Users can access video demonstrations of all the exercises.  The video library is also an easy reference point to see what you’ll be doing on a given workout–the videos are grouped together by training day.

Bikini Body Workouts
Bikini Body Workouts

Bikini Body Nutrition Guide:As I’ve said many times, no fat loss or muscle building program is complete unless you are eating properly.  This guide explains how to set up a nutrition plan from scratch: what type of foods to eat, what to avoid, the best way to time your meals, etc.  I think this would be especially helpful for a beginner who needs to know the basics of fat loss.

Note: Specific brands of supplements are recommended in this manual.  I’m sure the brands they recommend are fine, but I would advise you to shop around and see if their are more cost-effective alternatives (I’ve always been a minimalist when it comes to supplements).

21-Day Booty Blast Manual: This is a specialization program for women who want to focus on training their glutes.  The exercises are designed to be done 10 minutes a day, every day, for twenty one days.  You could, of course, do the program longer if you have not yet achieved the desired result.


This program is what I’ve come to expect from Ferruggia–simple, straightforward, and effective.  I like the way they have set up weight training, cardiovascular training, and nutrition so women will be able to completely transform their bodies.  Let me tell you who I think this program is best suited for:

*Women who are interested in losing fat.

*Women with access to basic gym equipment (fancy equipment is not required, but a gym membership would be ideal).

*Women who are willing to make lifestyle changes (diet, etc.) in order to transform their bodies.

If this describes you then I think Bikini Body Workouts would be a worthwhile investment–you get a lot of quality training/nutrition information at a very reasonable cost.  Just CLICK HERE to get this program–it will costs much less than what a personal trainer would charge .


All-Belly Pregnancy Workout Review (Flavia Del Monte)

Flavia Del Monte’s All-Belly Pregnancy

I remember a few months ago when Vince and Flavia announced that they were expecting a baby.  I was really happy for them because I respect them both as business partners and fitness professionals.  Flavia’s Curvalicious Program for women has been a top seller and I know it has helped many women transform their bodies.

As you can see in the picture above, Flavia is having a healthy, “all-belly” pregnancy, meaning she has avoided excessive weight gain.  The All-Belly Program teaches other women how to do the same.  Let’s first talk about what you get if you decide to buy it:

1. How To Exercise When Expecting workout videos. One thing that has always stood AllBellyPregnancyWorkoutReviewout to me with Del Monte fitness products is their high quality training videos.  I believe it is the best way to see how an exercise is done, and I also find it more motivational.  This video series will guide you how to safely exercise through each trimester.  These workouts can be done at home with minimal equipment.

2. The Workout Guide is the pdf version of the exercise guide.  It is fully illustrated and has some extra information that you’ll find helpful.

3.  Printable Workout Sheets you can take with you to the gym and record your workouts.

4. What to Eat When Expecting:  As you know, eating the right foods is a huge part of maintaining a healthy weight and body fat level.  This e-book teaches you how to make wise food choices for yourself and your baby.

5. How to Supplement When Expecting this is the suggested vitamins, etc. to consider taking while pregnant.

6. LIFETIME Access To The Flavilicious Membership Forum:  this members-only forum will allow you to interact with other women and get encouragement and advice for your fitness journey.

Available Up-sells:  these are additional products you can buy with the program.  They are optional and you do not have to buy them, but you can purchase any (or all) of them if you think they would meet your individual needs.

*Yoga for Pregnancy:  these prenatal yoga workouts show you another way of training in order to stay physically flexible and mentally relaxed.

*Full-Body-Licious:  This would be a fantastic program to follow after your pregnancy to get back into “pre-baby” shape (just keep in mind this is for after you have given birth).  Full-Body-Licious has been one of my best-sellers for women, and buying it as part of this package is very cost-effective.

*Bodyweight Bella & Advanced Amazing Ab Workouts: These are also programs you could do after you give birth to get back into shape.


Let me say this before I go any further: be sure to talk to your Obstetrician/Gynecologist before doing any exercise program.  Be sure your doctor gives you clearance to train.  I would also encourage you to check with your doctor about what prenatal vitamins you should take.

I know one of the biggest issues women face as far as health/fitness is having a healthy pregnancy–eating well and gaining the right amount of weight.  I’m glad Flavia has addressed this issue and created a program that is easily accessible via internet.

All-belly pregnancy seems well-suited for healthy women going through a normal (low-risk) pregnancy.  I think it would be beneficial for those who are interested in doing safe, appropriate exercises, eating well, and having an overall healthy pregnancy.  I especially appreciate the fact that the workouts in the program change with each trimester.

Just click here if you are interested in purchasing or learning more about this program.  Please use my links if this review has been helpful.

Alternate Programs:

I would recommend Flavia’s Curvalicious Workout as a general program for women who are not pregnant and trying to get in shape (lose body fat, etc.)


Body Transformation: Kim Sanders (Kimpossible Fitness)

It’s time for another inspirational body transformation interview–Kim Sanders.  This mother of two went from being overweight and out of shape to being a fitness competitor and personal trainer.  I was really stunned with her before/after pictures and I wanted to hear her story.

Body Transformation: Kim Sanders
Body Transformation: Kim Sanders

Kevin: Kim, I’d first like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Why don’t you tell my readers a little bit about your everyday life (family, work, location, etc).

Kim: My life is VERY hectic! Most days I don’t know how I manage to get everything done.  I wake up every morning, see my kids sleeping and think to myself, “Oh my god they are still alive!” (laughs).

Because I work as a personal trainer my daily schedule changes constantly. Clients call and cancel, reschedule, kids throw tantrums etc. Each day, regardless of what struggles head my way, I have to complete 45 minutes of cardio, train myself, train clients, spend quality time with my kids, cook, clean, do laundry, write online client’s programs etc. Pretty soon I will be starting school as well, so I don’t have a free moment to waste!

My children can be very difficult. My oldest son can be VERY emotional at times…which is always fun! My youngest has special needs and everyday proves to be a new challenge. I love them dearly and its because I love them that I cannot give up on my goals. I want them to see how hard I work to make my dream come true.  That way they will have have big dreams and be prepared to fight just as hard!

Kevin: Let’s talk about the “before” picture. What events and/or choices led you there?

Kim: Growing up my family ate fast food constantly–sometimes I tell people my family kept Taco Bell in business. Soda replaced water and the only veggies we seemed to eat were every color except green! Because we were low income my sisters and I could not play sports or get into most of the activities kids get to do.  I was actually a skinny kid growing up, but the bad habits eventually caught up with me.

All through both pregnancies I ate 4-5 items off the Taco Bell menu EVERYDAY! In addition to not being active my health got worse and worse. I became deathly ill and even temporarily lost my ability to walk due to illness.  All these factors lead to me looking like that “before” picture.  It wasn’t until I had completely destroyed my gallbladder and had to have emergency surgery that I was able to push myself to change.

Kevin: What was it that made you decide to transform your figure?

I couldn’t stand seeing so many fit people around me who were so much happier and healthier. I would get out of breath walking to my car!! I missed the energy I had a teenager. I picked up Oxygen Magazine and instantly was inspired by the stories inside about women who had lost weight and went on to be fitness models. I knew if they could do it…I could do it.

Kevin: Did you hit any weight loss plateaus along the way? What adjustments did you have to make?

Kim: It took me about 2 and a half years to get into competition shape. It felt like forever! I had tons of set backs and most days I didn’t think I would ever make it. I kept pushing on because I knew if I stopped Id regret it for the rest of my life.

Overall I lost 106 lbs. Obviously I have put some of it back on and have gained more muscle. I am always working to improve!

Kevin: What was the most challenging part of your transformation?

Kim: Learning to balance kids, work, school, and training. Its very difficult trying to excel in every aspect of my life.  Some days I don’t do well, but I never stop trying and I figure that is what truly matters.

Kevin: Did you hit any plateaus along the way? How did you handle it?

Kim: Oh heck ya I did! Heck, I’m in one now (laughs)! I’ve learned that plateaus are caused by a number of things. I always look to change my diet first. If that doesn’t seem to work I will change up my workouts as well. I also add or reduce cardio, depending on what kind of results I’m getting.

In my current plateau I have explored all of those options and am now looking to have my blood checked to make sure my last contest prep didn’t mess anything up. We shall see.

Kevin: Can you give us general idea of what your training and diet look like?

Kim: I train 7 days a week at the moment. I only take a rest day when I feel my body is asking for one.  Two days a week I focus on HIIT. The other 5 days I focus on low intensity or interval cardio with weights. I keep my rep ranges between 8 and 12 on all compound movements and 15-30 on other exercises.

My diet consists of lean proteins (chicken, fish, bison), green veggies (green beans, asparagus), and complex carbohydrates (sweet potato, rice).

Kevin: How different is your competition shape to your day-to-day shape?

Roughly I plan to be 20 lbs less when contest ready. I intend to get down to 10-12% body fat.

Kevin: When is your next competition?

August 23rd!!! Las Vegas! Wooohooo! Wish me luck!

Kevin: What advice do you have for moms who want to get back in shape?

Kim: Don’t allow kids, and crazy schedules to get in the way! Get creative and find ways to involve your kids in your fitness! Most of all…DONT STOP!!

Kevin: Thanks again, Kim, and I wish you great success on your future competitions (especially this next one).

Note:  Ladies who are interested in their own transformations may want to check out my recommended programs and find one that matches your situation and goals.

Please stop by Kimpossible Fitness Training (Kim’s Facebook page).  Those of you living in the Phoenix Arizona area may want to contact her regarding personal training.

Body Transformation: Suzanne Adonis Lanting

Suzanne's remarkable transformation
Suzanne’s remarkable transformation

Today’s post is the start of something new here at  my first body transformation interview.  This is an opportunity for people to share their journey of changing their bodies and lives.  Today’s interview is with Suzanne Adonis Lanting, a 37-year-old mom who has lost 70 lb. since giving birth.

Kevin: Suzanne, I’d first like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Why don’t you tell my readers a little bit of basic information about yourself (where you live, what you do, etc.).

Suzanne: Thank you for your interest in my health & fitness journey. I truly enjoy sharing my story and hope to motivate others. I’m  Suzanne Adonis Lanting, 37yrs old, of Honolulu Hawaii. I was born in the Philippines, but raised in Hawaii since I was 5.  I’m the 10th out of 10 brothers and sisters: 7 girls and 3 boys (all in HI).  I have a younger half brother still living in the mainland.  I have three children: Taylor, my 18-year-old daughter; Sevin, my 15-year-old stepson; and Siene Rayne, my 17-month-old daughter.

Professionally speaking I’m in real estate sales, an independent consultant for Rodan + Fields Dermatologists, sales manager/business development, a certified fitness trainer, and my husband owns Hardcore 808 Nutrition Co (a supplement/nutrition store).

Kevin: How would you describe your level of fitness before your pregnancy? Good? Average?

Suzanne: My fitness level was good. I was always into fitness…gym, weight training, hiking, running, etc. But I was definitely not at the top level of fitness compared to where I am currently.

Kevin: Was your pregnancy healthy in terms of the amount of weight you gained?

Suzanne: I gained 57 lb. during this pregnancy, so that’s not considered healthy. I even worked out, hiked and ate clean most times (with the exception of the typical pregnancy cravings).  But I have seem to have a tendency to gain a lot when I’m pregnant–this happened during my first pregnancy.

Kevin: What made you decide to do this remarkable transformation and how did you get started?

Suzanne: First of all, I developed problems with my feet due to the excess weight I carried. I had to go physical therapy for it, was not able to wear heels, and had to wear corrective inserts in my shoes. I felt so insecure and unhappy with my body, my clothes didn’t fit the same, and I refused to buy bigger sizes. My energy levels were  horrible and I didn’t want to live my life like that. So I set a goal and was determined to achieve it. That’s where it all began!

Kevin: It looks like your fat loss was slow and steady. Did you ever get impatient?

Absolutely! I breastfed for 7 months, so I didn’t go on any crazy diets–my baby needed all the nutrition she could get! As much as I wanted to get fit fast, my baby’s nutrition came first.  I had to be patient and rely mainly on healthy eating and squeezing in whatever workouts I could get.  I worked out at home when baby was asleep, in between household chores and even at work since I am self employed. I also waited for my husband to come home from work just so that I could go to the gym.

Kevin: Give us a summary of how you set up your diet/exercise (just the basics).

Suzanne: I ate every 2-3 hours.  I always included a lot of vegetables because I love them and can’t eat anything without them.  I had lean protein in every meal and fresh fruits early in the day.  I also tried to stick complex carbs.

It was a slow start for me because I wasn’t in great shape when I started.   I started working out at home with whatever weights I had and the pull-up bars.  I did a lot of circuit training with minimal rest in between sets. I did this whenever my baby napped. I made sure I got some kind of workout in, even if it was just a short one. I would drive to the gym to do cardio after my husband came home in the evenings when I was able.

Kevin: It looks like you’ve done some competing. How did that turn out? Do you plan to do more of it?

Suzanne: I had no intention of competing when I first started this journey.  But I was excited by the results I was seeing, so I set another goal.  I decided to compete at a local show, and even joined another one the following week.  I didn’t place in the top five, but I was just proud of myself for having the courage to do it.  I was proud of all the hard work I had done and I wanted to show others they could do the same.  It just takes dedication and hard work–no “secrets” or magical pills.  It all comes down to healthy eating and the right workouts!

I will be competing for Mrs. Hawaii United States 2013 this April. I still intend to enter other shows as well.   My heart is still in it and I have another goal: to earn my pro card some day.

Kevin: If you could go through this process all over again would you do anything differently?

Suzanne: There’s absolutely nothing I’d want to change since this entire experience brought me to this point and made me the person that I am today. I’m amazed that I was able to make something I wanted so bad come true. It gives me pleasure and touches my heart to be able to be part of someone’s inspiration and motivation.

Kevin: I’m sure many women find it challenging to get back in shape after their pregnancy. What advice/encouragement would you give to them?

Suzanne: It’s definitely challenging, but worth the end results! Going out of your comfort zone to achieve something you desire is there for you to take! There may be moments when you feel like giving up, but think about what made you start in the first place. This doesn’t happen overnight…a lot of patience, hard work, discipline and motivation is key!

Don’t stop once you start seeing results.  Keep going and you will amaze yourself at the things you can accomplish. If I can do it being a busy mom, entrepreneur, and everything in between, you can too!

Kevin: Thanks again for taking the time to inspire us!

Suzanne: Always my pleasure!

Note: Please contact me if you would like to share your story.  Just email me, add me over at my Google+ profile, or follow/contact me through my Facebook page.


Cardio and Weights

Most trainees should integrate some kind of cardio in with weight training.* This will keep your heart healthy and help you burn additional calories. As I’ve mentioned before, resistance training and cardio is a winning combination for fat loss (see: Weight Training and Weight Loss).

I’ll divide cardiovascular training into two basic categories for the sake of simplicity:

1. Steady-state Training—going the same speed on a treadmill, exercise bike, etc. This type of training is usually more moderate (aerobic) in intensity—the trainee would not be huffing and puffing.

2. Interval Training—Hill sprints, burpees, jumping rope, etc. These kinds of exercises can be done for short periods (usually around 30 seconds to 1 minute), followed by periods of rest (usually 1-3 minutes).

Steady-state training has the advantage of being low-risk (in terms of injury) and “easy” compared with other forms of training.

Interval training has some serious advantages to consider: 1). Time efficient—burning more calories in less time 2). More practical for most athletes—almost all sports are anaerobic in nature (soccer, basketball, MMA, and the list goes on). 3). More interesting than running/walking on a treadmill.

Interval training and weight training are both efficient ways to lower glycogen (glucose stored in the muscle and liver).

The simplest way to integrate cardio is to do it on a day you don’t train with weights. But time constraints may not allow this, or you may just prefer the convenience of doing everything while you are at the gym.

I’d highly recommend you do your cardio training after your resistance training if you want to do both in the same day/session. It just makes sense to lift weights when your energy and glycogen levels are still high. Warming up on the treadmill for a few minutes is OK, but lifting weights when you are already tired seems like a setup for injury.

Interval training after you lift could be used as a “finisher” to your workout—a way to improve your overall conditioning and increase the calorie deficit created by your workout (Renegade Cardio would work very well here).

Steady-state cardio can burn fat by taking advantage of low glycogen levels created during resistance training (another reason I suggest doing weights first).

Either strategy could be used help you reach your goal of fat loss and better overall health. But I’ll remind you again: fat loss only happens when you have created a negative calorie balance through diet.

I’d highly recommend you check out Visual Impact Cardio if you’d like a more detailed look at what I’ve written about in this post.  This resource has been very helpful to me.

*About the only exception I can think of here is super-skinny types who are struggling to put on mass. They may want to avoid cardio for their first few months of training. But even they should eventually consider adding it in some form eventually.

Fat Loss and Muscle Gain: weight can be deceptive

Here’s a replica of 5 lb. of fat and muscle.  As you can see, the muscle tissue is more dense than the fat.

Fat vs Muscle (5 lb.)

This is one reason I tell trainees (especially women) not to get too obsessed with weight–it can be deceiving. Adding some muscle is a good thing, but it may mean a less drastic change in one’s weight (especially in the first few weeks of training).  In other words, gaining a few pounds of muscle and losing a few pounds of fat is progress, even when the number on the scale hasn’t changed very much.

A good program will include resistance training to build the muscle and help you lose fat (see: Weight Training and Weight Loss).  Both goals are very important for transforming your body.