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Interview with @FitnessChamp


I’m obviously no celebrity athlete or fitness model, but I do get lots of questions around my own eating habits, workout patterns, and which fitness sources have taught me the most. 

This is the only time that I’ll ever “self-interview”, so here you go…

What’s your athletic background?

I was a basketball player growing up, and that’s my first love.  GOD had other plans for my body type and picked up football my freshman year of high school.  I went on to play running back in college, and also ran track for three years, competing in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay.


What are you currently training for?

I ran two half-marathons within a month between October and November 2011, but am done with endurance events for the time being.  I trained hard but realized that endurance sports are just not what I am cut out for, both physically and psychologically. Several friends are avid CrossFitters and have been giving me the hard sales job to get me involved. The competitive-but-positive plus testosterone-fuled vibe keeps drawing me in little by little.


What does an average week’s workout look like?

I don’t get as much time as I’d like to dedicate toward my own workouts, but I do what I can with the time I have.  I try to go for intensity over duration, so I’m usually hitting some form of HIIT intervals or  tabatas on the bike or rowing machine for cardio.  I’m a big fan of Olympic-style lifts, so each week I try to hit some hang cleans, power cleans, push press, and dead lifts.  I’ll mix in some pull ups, heavy rope  work, and box jumps if available.  

As I mentioned,  I have several friends who are CrossFit addicts and have been giving me the hard sales pitch to join them soon, so this workout approach will keep me in close enough shape to hang with the group (hopefully anyways).  Once or twice each week I also add in some typical standard bodybuilding work, as well as some sprint work (100s, 200s, 400’s, court gassers) to maintain my capacity in that area as well.


Describe your fitness classes.

The best way to describe my classes would be 45-55 minutes of multi-faceted intervals and running drills, very similar to what you might see on infomercials for “Insanity” and “P90X”.  I try to model the workouts for a demographic that used to play sports in high school or college, and desire that style of training as adults compared to simply running on the treadmill, lifting weights alone, or logging repetitive sessions on the elliptical. I also try to make sure the playlist is continually up-to-date because if the women in class don’t like the music, they will turn on you quickly.


What does an average day’s eating look like?

It’s not inaccurate to say that I’ve tried almost every nutritional philosophy out there.  Currently (and perhaps for the foreseeable future) I’m sticking fairly close to a Paleo eating style.  Like I said, I work out in the mornings, so it’s either an empty stomach workout, or possibly a scoop of whey protein in water before heading out the door.  I used to down a banana, Gatorade Prime, and/or a gel before hitting the gym but while this was great for my performance, this was surely killing any fat loss goals I was after (due to the over-reliance on Simple Sugars).

Post-workout is usually another scoop of whey in water, then 3-4 scrambled eggs with some spinach, and a couple slices of lean turkey tossed in.  I’ll usually eat that with half a sweet potato (3-4oz).  Mid-morning snack is a protein shake with almonds or sunflower seeds,  then lunch is usually a few turkey meatballs with some green source like asparagus.  Depending on whether or not I have class in the evening, I may eat the second half of the sweet potato here.

Late afternoon might be some turkey jerky and sunflower seeds, with perhaps a tablespoon or two of almond or peanut butter.  If I’m teaching a class in the evening I’ll either repeat lunch, or go with a tuna pack and an apple. 

Dinner lately has been white fish (tilapia, cod) with steamed shredded cabbage (seasoned with oil & vinegar, lemon pepper seasoning, and mustard). “Dessert” is a blended smoothie with carrot juice, acai juice, whey protein, blackberries, almond butter, half an avocado, and 2-3 handfuls of spinach.  Sometimes I'll swap out the avocado for coconut milk as an alternative healthy fat source.


Must-have vitamins and supplements?

Standard: multi-vitamin, fish oil, vitamin B, vitamin D. 

Nice to have: vitamin A, BCAA (Scivation Xtend), chia seeds


What’s your favorite cheat food?

There is a local smoothie shop across the street from where I live, they make a Green Tea Smoothie with non-fat frozen yogurt that is my biggest guilty pleasure. I used to go 5-6 days a week, but chopped that down to once a week on Saturdays in an effort to tighten up my diet for fat loss goals.

If I am REALLY, legitimately cheating, I love French fries, pizza, and burritos. The funny thing however, is that once your diet really gets in-tune, these foods stop being as fun once you see them as set-backs from ultimately having the body you want.  You can eat almost anything once or twice a week, but the saying is true – nothing tastes as good as being lean feels.


Who are your favorite fitness follows on Twitter?

@JadeTeta, @JillFit, @RobRiches, @cutandjacked, @SPNetwork

Who are your other fitness inspirations?

The Rock (obviously), Greg Plitt (#1 male fitness model in the world), Mario Lopez, Georges St. Pierre, Pauline Nordin (creator of “Fighter Diet”, her dietary discipline is a tremendous motivator) and “normal” people like my friends Demi, Philip, Brendan, and Lyndsey.


What’s your biggest motivation?

Aside from the standard stuff like wanting to fit well in my clothes and like what I see in the mirror, long term health is very important.  I had a close relative battling colon cancer several years ago, and a few others with high blood pressure issues.  My eating habits were terrible in graduate school during my early 20’s, and I spend every day trying to undo the fat, unhealthy condition I was creating for myself.


What’s the one thing you wish you could share with others at the gym?

I'd tell them that More isn’t necessarily better

I see so many people (often the same faces) logging away hour after hour on the stairmaster or elliptical every week and their bodies never change.  People training for specific  events like a half-marathon or 5K certainly need to get their mileage in, but others wanting to shed pounds, or look good for the beach really need to learn that you can meet your goals in less time, by working smarter. 

For fat loss goals, intensity trumps time spent.  The body is not like a calculator, fat loss is more complex than eating 500 fewer calories and burning 500 calories more per day.  Things like stress hormones and insulin manipulation play a big role in whether or not one’s body will give up stubborn fat.  This is usually sad to see, because I see lots of effort and “want to” from people in the gym (or even jogging down the street), they just don’t have the proper tools and information to accomplish what they are working so hard to achieve.

Will you ever grant yourself another interview like this?

No way. This was an obnoxious thing to do and I'm ready to go back to interviewing other people.


Fitness Spotlight: Demi Goodman

For this edition of the Women's Fitness Spotlight, I wanted to highlight one of the butt-kicking instructors from the Charlotte YMCA system - Demi Goodman.  Not only does Demi put together dynamite fitness classes, but as you'll see, she is also currently in-training to earn her pro card as a Figure Competitor. 


After fielding so many of my endless questions about her diet and training, she was generous enough to take time out for a quick interview:


What event/contest are you currently preparing for?

Currently I’m getting ready to compete for a Pro Card in the NPC National Masters Figure in Pittsburgh
this July. Figure competitions highlight a conditioned physique, with fuller muscles. Yes it is similar to

bodybuilding, but not as vascular or lean, and slightly more feminine with competitors wearing high
heels, jewelry, hair, make- up, the works.


In what events have you competed in the past?

Track and Field, Junior High and High School
2001- Galaxy Nova (military obstacle course)
2001- NPC Mountaineer, 2nd Place Figure
2002- NPC Metrolina, 3rd Place Figure
2004- North Carolina State Bodybuilding, Figure and Fitness, 6th Place figure
2010- Elite Muscle Bodybuilding, Figure, and Fitness, 1st Place figure


What’s your athletic background?

I’ve always been athletic and played all kind of sports but concentrated mainly on Track and Field. I was
on the track team in Junior High and High School and qualified for State Finals during my high school
years. I ran mainly short sprint events, 4X 100 m relay, 200 m, 100 m, as well as the Long Jump.


What sort of classes are you currently teaching?

I’m currently teaching Athletic Conditioning, Total Strength, Core, and ROC IT circuit at DOWD, Childress
Klein and the Ballantyne Village YMCA. I’m also certified to teach spin, but I haven’t had enough time in
my schedule to get started yet. I’ve also been a personal trainer for about 12 years with the Childress
Klein YMCA and recently started training at the Ballantyne Village YMCA. Between the two Y’s as well as
a few home clients, I’m staying very, very busy with personal training.


What’s does a typical day look like for you?

Whew, my days are usually pretty busy, at least for the first half of the day. Generally I get up about
4:30 a.m., to get ready to teach a class and/or train clients. After that, I head off to yet another gym
to get my own work out in. I usually hit weights for about 45 minutes, and then proceed to do a round
of cardio for 30-45 minutes.

I will do a second round of cardio later in the evening (around 7:00ish) for
another 30-45 minutes or so. I don’t do two rounds of cardio every day in the offseason, but when I’m
getting ready for a show, this becomes a daily ritual.

 For fun, I play flag football every Tuesday night on a co-ed team with my husband. I’m the quarterback blitzer as well as a receiver and periodically the quarterback as well. Because I’m on the field for the entire game sprinting, I get an easy hour of cardio in! As well as I get to let off a little steam!



What is your diet like most days?

My diet stays pretty healthy all year round. I eat around 6 meals a day which look a lot like this:

Meal #1 - 5 egg whites, 1/3 cup of plain oatmeal
Meal #2- Low carb protein shake, with 1 tbsp. of omega peanut butter

Meal #3- 4 ounces of lean chicken, fish or red meat, with either potato, rice or quinoa, coupled with a nice, small salad

Meal #4- Low carb protein shake
Meal #5- Chicken, fish, or turkey, with some type of vegetable (no starches here)
Meal #6- Protein shake (good to do before bed, helps the body from getting catabolic)

For competition, I eat A LOT of fish throughout the day for the first half of the week, and then switch it
up to chicken on other days. It is so boring and bland, but it really helps the body burn off any kind of
extra fat you may have while maintaining lean muscle. During my offseason, my coach has pity on me
and allows me to have 2 cheat meals (not days) on the weekend. I generally don’t go too nuts, but it
does help keep me sane. However, when it gets about 2
½ months out from competition, those cheat
meals are taken away. It’s time to get really serious!!!!

Are you a fan of cycling your carbs or keeping them low in general?

I like how I look when I keep the carbs low, but my energy level is so much better when the carbs are

Are you a fan of “empty stomach morning cardio” or not? Why?

For me, no, I have a pretty tough tummy and usually can get down a low carb protein shake since
it absorbs pretty quickly. I need to eat in order to have enough energy to power through the more
strenuous cardio I have to do while prepping for a show. And I do not believe in fat burners. Yes they
give you energy, but they can really mess up your adrenal glands. However, because of my class and
client schedule, I don’t usually do cardio (outside of classes that I teach) before I train with clients so
unless it’s the weekend, I usually don’t have time to do cardio first thing in the morning.


What’s the one cheat food you can’t live without?    

Ooh, that’s a tough one. I have a sweet tooth, so instead of narrowing it down to a specific food, I will
just say, I have to have a sweet treat on my cheat days. It could be a couple chocolate chip cookies, or a slice of really good cheesecake. Whatever it is, I enjoy it since I only get to cheat twice a week.


What’s your favorite exercise/activity?  What’s your least favorite?

I LOVE to lift heavy! I have made some of the best, most significant changes to my body by lifting with
heavier weight. As far as a favorite weight exercise, I’m going to say pull ups. Again, by consistently
doing these over the years, my body has developed good, solid strength and nice muscle. My arms,
back, shoulders, and core really have benefited greatly from this movement. As for a cardio activity,
I love, love, love to jump rope. I can go for a straight hour especially when I have some good music to
listen to.

My least favorite would be running long distances. I have such respect for folks who can get
out there and just run, but I’ve never been good at it.

If you could send a message to women out there about eating right, being afraid of weight training, etc. what would it be?

1.) Women need to be weight training period! Yes, cardio is very important, but I see so many “skinny fat” girls (really thin, but high body fat) because they do not participate in any kind of weight training, it drives me nuts. I just want to tell these girls, step away from the elliptical and pick up some iron!!!!

2.)  Another thing I would share is when you hit your 30’s, keep an eye on your hormone levels. If your hormones get even a little out of “whack”, it can totally effect how you look and feel. I have seen so many women struggle with their weight even though they were eating well and exercised consistently. But because something was off in their system, they were not reaping the rewards of their hard work, at least not visually. So, if you are in your mid 30’s and beyond, and have begun to notice you are actually back sliding ( start to gain weight even though you’ve been eating right and exercising hard), it may be time to see your doctor and inquire about testing your hormone levels as a possible culprit.

3.) Last bit of advice, take time off from the gym! Don’t over train! Doing high intensity athletic conditioning classes, for example, every day of the week is overtraining. If you don’t allow at least one day away, your body will never have a chance to recovery thus setting you back. Trust me, a day of rest will do absolute wonders for your body and your mind!