Nichole Zezima - Physique competitor - Diet and Training

Protein, protein, protein…(I can’t say it enough) is the vital component to anyone trying to build a tighter physique. Whether you are trying to put on mass or just tone, DIET is where it’s at! You may have heard “six-pack abs are made in the kitchen,” this statement holds truth. Due to the fact that everyone has a different body type, I believe that experimentation is key…What works for one individual, probably won’t yield the exact same results for another. Some people’s genetics allow for easier muscle development, whereas others are able to drop fat quicker. I am definitely the first. I have never been a skinny little girl. I was always thick, but athletic. I grew up as a dancer. I love performing on stage and I love the human body. It is truly amazing to watch it morph if you are consistent and patient.

I personally have found over the years through trial and error what my body responds to best in order to reach my goals of gaining/maintaining muscle and losing fat. I believe in eating five to six times a day. I have never been a calorie counter, but do measure portions during contest preparation. Throughout this time, I also consume the majority of my protein naturally through foods and minimize protein drinks.

Nichole Zezima.

I alternate days of carbohydrate intake. On lower carb days, I keep my fat intake higher. I enjoy both peanut butter and almonds. Theses fats supply the energy needed when restricting carbs. Keeping fiber intake high through green veggies and drinking minimum of a gallon of water daily is a must in maintaining your system regularity. So, an average day would be something like…

7a.m. Seven eggs with two yolks and some turkey sausage…coffee
10a.m. Protein drink and spoon of peanut butter or hand full of almonds
12p.m. Chicken breast and broccoli
3p.m. Chicken breast
6p.m. Fish Salad with oil and vinegar

VS high carb day

7a.m. Cream of wheat with protein drink
10a.m. Oatmeal and honey
12p.m. Chicken breast and broccoli
3p.m. Chicken breast with red potato or brown/converted rice
6p.m. Fish Salad with oil and vinegar

During the off season I try to maintain this way of eating and keep my cardio up because once a female has worked to put on the muscle mass, adding too much fat can cause her to loose her femininity and become too “bulky” looking. It is my goal to be able to put on a dress during any time of the year and still look and feel like a lady. Holding a decent shape also makes it much easier to reach your goal when contest time rolls around. But remember, putting on some fat is ok. It allows the female body to return to a normal level hormonally and allots the energy needed to gain muscle. There are also few modifications during this time in my diet which may include a couple more cheat meals during the month. Also, I typically do not measure portion size. I may allow myself small amounts of condiments on food and introduce some yogurts and different fruits back in, just to name a few.

My husband and I do have a favorite recipe for protein pancakes and it is super simple. For the two of us, we use:
(The basics): seventeen eggs with four to five yolks, one and half to two cups oatmeal, half cup milk or water
(Extras for flavor): two tablespoons of vanilla extract, one cup splenda brown sugar, two scoops of favorite flavor protein powder, nuts or bananas.
Stir batter and let set for ten minutes for oats to expand and thicken. Add little oil to pan and cook like regular pancake.

My weight training consists of heavier pyramid stacks during off season when food intake is higher and mass developments need tweaking. Pre contest focuses more on higher reps with lighter weight to maintain and cut. I change things up every four to six weeks regardless to shock the muscle and keep things fresh.

The sport of female bodybuilding has undergone major changes over the years since the “Corey Everson” days. I have been competing as a bodybuilder, but I am very excited for the new division of Physique. The TRUE bodybuilding subculture’s lifestyle is not realistic for the majority of the population. The type of training regiment and diet routine is intense and in my experience, not for the majority of the population. However, with my clients, I am a big proponent of truly listening to their individual goals. I instill Education, Motivation, and finally Inspiration. I believe in teaching what I have learned over many years, sharing my passion to encourage them to stay consistent, and then turning them loose to discover themselves that it can be done! There are always steps we can take to improve our lives. Staying fit has improved not just my physical state, but also my mental and emotional mind sets. When you reach a plateau, remember, something has to change. If your diet is in check…Intensity, frequency, or duration must increase. You have got to make yourself a priority. In order to be your best to others in life, you first have to be your best within.

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