Wendy Fortino - IFBB Pro Figure Athlete & Miss Figure USA 2011
Wendy: I never imagined myself competing in this sport until the summer of 2008 when I needed something to focus on after getting injured in my original sport: Track. Unfortunately, I missed out on competing in the Olympic Trials in 2008 due to my injury, but my (now) husband came to the rescue when he suggested I train and compete for a figure competition. So I did! And I won the overall figure title in my first show! That was the start of my new chapter!
I am always eating for nutrition regardless of whether I am getting ready for a contest or not. When I'm not preparing for a show, I am focused on giving my body plenty of nutrient-dense foods, lots of "bulk", lots of protein, and a lot of variety. My goal is to feel my best and perform optimally from day to day. Junk foods taste good to me once in a while, but always make me feel terrible, and after going so long being fit and healthy, I really feel it when I eat too much junk food.
When I am preparing for a contest, food becomes a tool for me. It is not about following a plan that I can maintain all of the time; I look at food much like I would look at lacing track spikes to have an edge in a track sprint. I wouldn't expect a recreational runner to run around in track spikes - they are an "edge" for a serious competitor. The strategy of the foods that I eat is very similar. There is not a lot of variety, and I utilize a few basic proteins, fats, and carbs very strategically to achieve a specific look. The ratios are very precise and accurate, and the more focused I stay, the better that my end results are. For example, if I try to "dress things up" with too much gunk like sugar-free condiments, etc., things just don't come together the same. This may not seem like a good approach for some people, and some may argue it is not necessary to be so meticulous, but I am aiming to be a top competitor, and willing to make the sacrifice and commitment to get there. We all have to simply match our commitment with our expectations. For the level that I achieve both with muscle development and conditioning, specific nutrition has, and will continue to be necessary.
I haven't "tried" any diet plans that weren't effective. I came in to this sport with a graduate degree in Exercise Physiology, so I have been very educated about nutrition since day one; however, with that said, the only thing that hasn't been effective for me is a series of "bad" food choices. Once you "pop" you can't "stop" as they say… If you start falling off and eating bad foods, it is difficult to get back on track, and that has been the only thing that has affected me in the past. I just have to keep reminding myself of not only how important it is for me to achieve success, but how much better I feel eating nutritious foods. I am sure that there are many athletes who turn to someone to help them prepare for a competition, and blindly follow something that is "standard" like eating protein and veggies five times per day - only to starve down and form a resentment toward the sport, and a hatred toward their coach; but the level that I am at with being educated about nutrition and training is much different. My husband and I own our own business (www.cyberbodyshop.com), and we aim to educate our clients on the what, how, and why when it comes to contest, and non-contest nutrition.
I honestly do not take any weight loss supplements. However, if you would consider drinking a "Redline" every morning before doing cardio a weight loss supplement - that is the "go-to" for me. Supplementation, for me, is a combination of ideal nutrition, paired with supplements that enable my body's natural mechanisms to perform optimally. I have a pre-cardio regimen that consists of supplements that facilitate conversion of fat to energy (L-Carnitine & COQ-10), as well as vasodilators to allow me to facilitate blood flow, and shuttle more oxygen to my muscles (Yohimbie).
When it comes to weight training, I am always switching it up because my body adapts very quickly to things from being an athlete my whole life. Depending on my current goals, my training is always evolutionary. For example, last season, I was trying to shave off as much muscle as I could to get "smaller", and this season, I have been focused in training harder and heavier. It all depends. I treat my body like a canvas; and consider myself to be an artist of the human body.
I plan to continue succeeding as much as possible in this sport while my husband and I are working on our business (www.cyberbodyshop.com). Being current and active in this sport allows me to help people -both competitors and non-competitors- on a whole different level. I am sure that my time will eventually be up, but I am laying my foundation for our business in the meantime. "Placing" at the Olympia would be the ultimate finish to my figure career before hanging my heels ;)
You can find more about Wendy Fortino at the links below:
Athlete page - www.facebook.com/wendyfortinousa
Instagram - @wendyfortino
Wendy Fortino - Contest Gallery, Rx Muscle
Tips from the trainer, Stanford University