A:I was actually born and raised in Southern California. I consider Long Beach my home on the Mainland.
Q:Best place to eat in Hawaii?
A:The best place? It depends who you ask! Honestly, if I had one last cheat meal on Earth, I would probably ask to be taken to Cinnamon's in Kailua, which is on O`ahu's east side. I am in love with breakfast food. They have the best red velvet and guava chiffon pancakes. I can't forget to mention their kalua pig eggs benedict. As for healthy/clean eats, the lunch buffet at Indigo in Downtown Honolulu is fabulous. It is Eurasian fusion cuisine and the spread consists of fresh, locally grown produce. I'm salivating just thinking about it!
Q:If I ever make it there, on much needed vacation, what's the one place I can't miss checking out?
A:Well, I would suggest going to another island, (Hawai`i Island, a.k.a The Big Island), and take a day to explore Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Seeing the lava landscape is a sight to behold. You can also experience native plants and animals, archaeological sites, caves, and sacred stories of the area. There is so much to learn, explore and absorb. There are also camping and hiking adventures for the outdoorsy folk. A must see, for sure.
Q:When did your fitness career begin?
A:I have dabbled off and on in fitness since 2004, but have completely submitted myself to the lifestyle just recently in 2012. I never thought I would be so committed to fitness, but the commitment has done wonders for me, not just for my physical well-being, but also for my mental and emotional well-being.
In 2011, I had a really rough year. In my personal life, the close-knit relationships I invested into for years were not what I thought they were. Betrayal is not the best thing to have to deal with. The activities, work and purpose I immersed myself into and sacrificed so much for became questionable and doubtful. All the disappointment put me in a very negative space. I suffered from anxiety and depression. It not only affected me, but was starting to affect my two children. I was on medication and completely lost myself in food. I knew I had to do something.....dive into something positive and get back on track to find myself, to find purpose and get my inner fire burning again. Fitness became that outlet. It literally "saved me" from that rough patch. The training, intensity, focus and discipline needed to push transformation blew all the negativity off to the side and eventually far behind me.
Q:The power of fitness. How did you become affiliated with the NPC?
A:I decided to train for my first contest, which was, believe it or not, in April 2012. This was the Stingrey Classic, held in Waikiki. This was the one thing I could focus on that would help me get back on track physically and mentally.
In late 2011, when the idea of competing crossed my mind, I consulted with a friend of mine, Erik Mara, who is a Men's Physique competitor and also an NPC judge. I've known Erik for so long. We used to chop it up about all-things fitness during the early 2000's when we were both getting into our bodies. Initially, I wanted to compete late 2012 at the Paradise Cup, but Erik insisted that I do an earlier show and assured me I had enough time to get into shape. Feeling so underwhelmed with myself, I didn't think it was possible. However, Erik planted the seed in my head and I ended up watering it. He introduced me to many people in the fitness industry/community and they served as inspirations, mentors and confidants. I sought the help of a local trainer and started the training process mid-January. I stepped onto the stage for the first time in April. I knew, from that point forward, that I found "my thing"....not so much just to compete as a bikini athlete, but to live the lifestyle. I loved training hard, the structure of eating, and the people that were becoming part of my life. Everything became positive again. I found my happy place.
I even started a competition spray tanning company with my friend, Betancourt Nutrition sponsored athlete, Matt Mendrun, called HI Performance Tanning. We've been blessed to service the NPC contests on the island.
I'll be starting my 2013 season late. I'm doing two Jon Lindsay shows in August, (10th and 17th).
Q:What's your pre contest diet like?
A:For pre-contest, I will eat 6-7 small meals per day. My proteins will consist of carefully measured eggwhites, chicken breast, tilapia and tuna. For veggies, I will have asparagus, broccoli, spinach and cucumbers. I stay away from salt and only use Mrs. Dash seasonings, ground red pepper and lemon/lime juice. To take care of my fats, I'll eat natural, unsalted almonds. My carbs consist of oats and sweet potato. I'll drink 1-1/2 to 2 gallons of water daily. I also love black coffee and tea.
I have a totally different cutting diet 3 weeks out, then a drying out diet the week of the show. Those I will keep secret because they are not mine to share. I know you understand. :)
For supplements, I'll take creatine monohydrate, fish oil, BCAA, glutamine, whey protein isolate, casein, women's daily vitamin, a pre-workout drink for intense training days, intra-workout amino drink and natural thermogenics. I cut the whey and casein 3 weeks out and the creatine 2 weeks out.
Q:What's your off season diet like?
A:When I'm not prepping for a show, I'll eat clean about 85% of the time. It's too easy to gain all your weight back and then some if you're not careful. Out of habit, I'll continue to eat chicken breast and fish, but will indulge in beef and other seafood as well. I stay away from salt or seasonings high in sodium. We're so fruit-deprived during competition season, so I'll enjoy a variety of fruit. My favorite are bananas. I can go through one bunch in a few days. I'll have more carbs than usual, like doubling up the amount of oatmeal I would usually have or having a huge bowl of dry cereal with almond milk. I fancy warm wheat bagels or toast with peanut butter or almond butter pre or post workout.
For my "naughty treats", I gravitate towards muffins or scones, frozen yogurt, chocolate chip cookies, pita chips and a malasada or two (Portuguese donut).
Q:Favorite cheat meal?
A:Pancakes and waffles. I love breakfast food! I love carbs. Who doesn't?
Q:In an alternate life, you would be...
A:An interior designer. I love revamping interiors. I'm super-creative, inventive and crafty. I'm a beast when it comes to tools. When I purchased my house 2 years ago, I did 90% of the renovations myself. I'm not talking about simply painting a wall...I'm talking demolition, laying down new flooring on top and ground floors, changing out light fixtures, baseboards and tile work, installing new bath vanities and plumbing, among many other things. I just laid down sod in my backyard a few weeks ago, FYI. Fun, fun, fun!
Q:Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A:In five years, I hope to still be working in the nonprofit philanthropic sector, which is what I do full-time. I also see my online coaching and personal training career having a steady flow of great clients. To help and inspire people to reach their goals is huge to me. I hope to get my IFBB Pro Card and land some great sponsorship deals and fitness gigs. My kids will be in college and I will need to embark on some new adventures and travel a lot more!
Q:Can you give us your Twitter,Facebook,Instagram,Pinterest,blog and website handles?
Interview done by Elliot Rivera for HealtHaven LLC