The Answer is Simpler Than You Might Expect...
- Keep a clean diet at least 90% of the time. Regardless whether you're a competitor or not, this is crucial to one's overall heath and vitality. I eat clean for health reasons primarily versus vanity and aesthetics. Eating a well-balanced (protein, carbs, fat, water, and other key vitamins and minerals), clean and healthy diet will ensure that you keep your body composition in check (fat vs. lean body mass).
- Make it a Lifestyle. If you're serious about competing or simply obtaining and keeping that bikini body 365 days a year, then you have to keep it consistent. Eat clean and healthy consistently, train consistently, and rest and recover consistently. I see so many people as soon as they leave the stage stuff their faces with pure junk (usually due to starving and too much restriction during prep). Heck, many competitors are advised by their coaches to eat candy, pop tarts, and other high carb, sugary, and usually artificially based treats the day of competition. The carbs and sugar helps to make your muscles 'pop', BUT there are plenty of healthy choices that one doesn't have to resort to putting poison (literally) into you body.
- Don't be obsessive. Yes, I absolutely LOVE fitness and working out, but I do not spend hours upon hours in the gym. I see and hear of so many people spending 3 hours in the gym DAILY in order to try and achieve their ideal physique. The body can only handle this amount of stress for so long before it literally goes into shock and breaks down. This is called OVER-TRAINING, and yes it is a real thing. You need to carefully and strategically cycle through phases of working out. Call on a professional to help you do this. When one over-trains they usually end up pausing their training to recover, which in the end only hinders one from seeing gains. Moreover, it can be hard to get back into the 'groove' once you stop.
- Little things add up. I hear it all the time...'Isha, you must workout ALL the time. I could never do that!!!' First off, yes, I am consistent, but the amount of time needs to be taken into consideration. Currently, I workout for 30-60 minutes at a time. However, one of my main secrets to keeping Bikini Fit 365 days a year is that I am constantly moving throughout the day. Every time I use the restroom I perform a set of 15-50 squats, leg lifts, step-ups, etc. in order to keep my metabolism going. This takes 1-2 minutes, but makes a HUGE difference! I take the stairs, squeeze my glutes while walking, and if watching TV, I perform simple body-weight exercises during commercial breaks! There is nothing I LOVE more than watching 'Real Housewives' (guilty pleasure) and busting out a few hydrants during breaks.
- Daily walks. I try and take a walk 1 or 2 times a day. I also enjoy walking to places if I can get there in 20-30 minutes or less. Not all the time, but at least 50+ percent of the time. Give it a try, and remember to squeeze and activate those glutes!
- Partner up! Training and competing along side a friend, family member, etc makes staying fit and consistent so much more fun and motivating. This is why I started M.E.S.H.E.D. DIVAs. I wanted to help others feel supported and motivated by like-minded, empowering, and motivating women. You're not alone if you're a DIVA!
- Have Fun! Training and competing is a blast! I LOVE it! It keeps me focused and motivated. The gym is my playground. If you're stressed the process will not be enjoyable. This is a mind, body, and if you let it, a spiritual/soul journey. You will learn so much about yourself, and hopefully this will be exciting. Journal your experience and enjoy the process. Love yourself and be proud that you are doing something many want to, but don't have the will, drive, determination, and or guts to do. Have Fun!