Monica Vela - Physique Competitor

Monica: My fitness journey started in April 2011 when I simply wanted to lose weight. By societyís standard my weight/appearance was acceptable but I didnít like how I looked. About 7 months later, I joined the gym and I was taught the basics of weight training. Shortly after that I was introduced to the sport of bodybuilding and I havenít looked back since. Having the opportunity to build a ďmachineĒ aka my body all on my own and just for me, not to satisfy anyone else, was what drew me to the sport. It was during this time, that I was dealing with some serious personal issues and I needed to get ďreconnectedĒ to my inner spirit or I wouldíve completely lost myself. Weight training/competing taught me that I didnít need anyoneís validation but my own. Itís taught me so many more valuable lessons but I believe the self validation lesson is the most important.

Diet: When Iím on an off season, my protein portions are higher because I want to GROW, GROW, GROWÖ I need to make sure Iím feeding my body the best ďfuelĒ for solid gains. In addition to a lot of chicken breast, I eat lean beef, green veggies, oats, a little fruit and sources of good fats in the forms of avocado, coconut oil, red palm oil and natural crunchy peanut butter. During show prep time, my portion sizes are gradually reduced as I get closer to my show date but not much else changes. One additional detail of my diets is the cheat meal. During off season my coach allows me 2 cheat meals per week. The meals can be whatever I want and I can eat them whenever I want but I only get 2 meals for the week. My coach also suggests I go into my cheat meals with a plan versus just binge eating. For me, the cheat meal does more than satisfy my hunger but it satisfies my mind. After consuming pizza or greasy burgers & fries, I feel reenergized to train hard for another 4-6 weeks. During pre-contest I generally am allowed one cheat meal per week until Iím about 4 weeks out but itís really contingent upon my physique. If Iím on point, then the cheat meal is still allowed but if my conditioning isnít on track, then Iíve had my cheat removed from my plan when Iím 6 weeks out from show time. What diet have you found most effective to lose weight and build muscle (meals, calories) - Iím still very ďgreenĒ to the sport and I have much to learn. Yet, in a short amount of time, Iíve found that baked chicken & lean beef are great sources of protein when looking to make clean gains.

The only failure Iíve ever experienced was not due to a diet but to my inconsistency of following the diet outlined by my coach. I think most, if not all, competitors experience moments when they think they know better than his/her coach but in the end I donít.

I donít utilize any weight loss supplements. I just rely on CONSISTENT HARD WORK, in and out of the gym. Weight loss isnít a result of JUST weight training but itís a result of weight training, clean eating & cardio.

I hit the gym every day and usually twice a day. To me, morning fasted cardio is the only way to start off my day. The morning is the best time to do your cardio because we burn most our fat then and we all have fat to lose. Then, I work my 9-5 job and then Iím back at the gym to lift + more cardio after work. I lift 4-6 times a week and I do 8-10 HIT 45 minute cardio sessions per week. To me, training and diet go hand in hand. To achieve the best & quickest results in my training, I need to be feeding my body what it needs. Preparation is key to success. I do all my food prep on Sundays. All my meals are cooked, weighed, bagged and ready for the taking during the week. The more I set myself up for success, the less likely I will CHOOSE to get off track.

Future plans: I have big dreams and I will work until I make them my reality. I want to become an IFBB Womenís Physique Pro and then I will work until I compete at Olympia.

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Monica Vela

Monica Vela