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Q: So tell us a little bit about you. How did you get into training and bodybuilding? What motivates you to keep it up?
I have been working in the fitness industry since I was 16 years old; everything from desk staff to personal trainer, group exercise instructor and coordinator, and I have always wanted to train, teach and educate others about fitness. After graduating from Wake Forest University with a BS in Exercise Science, I decided to enter my first figure competition, peaking my interest in nutrition. Since then, I have competed in many shows, received my MS in Nutrition and launched my Online Fat-loss and Physique Prep business JillFit Physiques.
What motivates me most is seeing the results that my clients have achieved over the years. Nothing is more rewarding than getting a new client up on stage or being able to inspire others to adopt the fat-loss lifestyle, it is so powerful! I feel incredibly lucky that I get to do what I love every day.
Q:What are you 3 favorite body parts to train and why? Give us a training trick or tip for each.
I love training legs, shoulders and back. They tend to be my weak points, and I have a hard time building upper body volume while keeping my legs lean or even losing a little muscle from my inherited “Coleman Thighs”! Here is how I train each:
Legs – I tend to almost over-train my legs to the point where I am burning fat, and even a little muscle to create the desired look. It takes time and attention, as well as tight diet. I use high-rep sets of walking lunges, leg presses (all stances), leg curls, deadlifts and single-leg lunges, as well as tons of plyometrics to reach failure frequently. I train legs at least 3x/week and sometimes even up to 6x/week! This regimen gets me catabolic, which of course is not ideal for my upper body since I am trying to build so I make sure to supplement heavily with BCAAs and L-glutamine.
Shoulders & Back – Since I am trying to build a little mass in these areas, I train heavy in the range of 6-10 reps. My favorite workout for back is a tri-circuit using the following exercises (choose a 10 rep max on each): Pull-ups (10 reps), Low Pulley Row (10 reps), Dumbbell Bent-over Row (10 reps), rest 30-60 seconds and repeat to complete 4 sets. This routine absolutely crushes my back and biceps. On shoulders, I love Seated Shoulder Presses under the Smith Machine bar—totally isolates the anterior and lateral delts—I superset them with heavy dips to failure and then perform a drop set on my last set.
I have a short attention span in the weight room and never lift for longer than 30 minutes, ever, and usually only incorporate 5-6 exercises per body part, per workout.
Q:What has been the most frustrating area for you to train? How have you approached it to bust through your plateau?
Definitely getting my legs lean enough, while maintaining upper body mass. I have some junk in my trunk so I need to make sure I stay tight on my diet and give my glutes and thighs the attention they need via weights and cardio or else I store fat in these places like crazy. For me, success has come through being consistent with training and diet. I change up my training and rotate through periods where I train heavier with lower reps, and other times where I will literally do hundreds of bodyweight lunges, for me it is about keeping things fresh and responsive.
Q:What does a daily diet look like for you and do it change throughout the year?
For the most part, I eat the same way all year long. Though I have done the up-and-down thing in the past and though at times I have needed to gain weight in order to put on muscle, I would rather stay smaller/leaner year-round, while making gains slower. I do not compete anymore so building and cutting is no longer necessary. I appreciate being able to indulge a little here and there, not ever having to be on a strict contest diet, but I never open the flood gates and eat everything I want either. I eat 90% clean all of the time and tend to do well on a lower-carb diet and don’t crave bready/starchy carbs at all. I cheat every Sunday night with something that I really miss or love, like chocolate or peanut butter (or both!)
Here is what a typical day of eating looks like for me:
Meal #1: 8-12 oz black coffee, 1 scoop whey protein powder & 5g L-glutamine mixed with 8 oz unsweetened almond milk, 1 tsp L-carnitine
Meal #2: 6 egg white omelet with 3-4 cups chopped spinach, 1/2 cup chopped peppers/onions, ¼ cup low-sodium salsa (<100mg/serving), ½ cup frozen blueberries, 2 grams fish oil
Meal #3: 2 small grilled chicken breasts atop a large mixed greens salad, 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Meal #4: 1 Think Thin bar (usually I scarf this down between clients) or an apple plus 30 raw almonds if I have time to eat
Meal #5: Shell-less Taco Salad: 1/3 lb ground bison, 4 cups mixed chopped greens, 2/3 cup chopped peppers and onions, 1/4 cup hot salsa, 2 grams fish oil
After dinner: Unsweetened cocoa drink: Mix 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa with hot water, add xylitol to sweeten and a splash of unsweetened almond milk
Q:How has your physique improvement changed how your social life is?
I have always had a very athletic build, though the leanness and muscularity has ebbed and flowed over the years. I surround myself with people who support a healthy, fit lifestyle and my best friends and husband are all into fitness and nutrition. It makes my social life somewhat boring, but I made the choice a long time ago that waking up rearing and ready for a good workout on a Saturday morning is more important to me than going out on the town. Luckily, my husband and I are both introverted homebodies so it works. Though on those rare occasions that I make it out, I tend to get a lot of stares—I think muscles on a woman is an acquired taste and to many, especially here in the suburban south of North Carolina, it still looks pretty out of place. I’m pretty sure some men think I might beat them up! I guess you never know, maybe I might! J
Q:Where can we find out more information out about you?