This article was first seen on the Huffington Post. For this installment, we are joined by Breena Martinez.
Let’s start off with a general introduction. How would you describe yourself, what are you all about and how did you get involved in health and fitness?
I am a highly motivated individual who believes that hard work and dedication can help you obtain any fitness goal as long as you have the work ethic and discipline. I became a personal trainer to lead people through their fitness journey.
The sense of accomplishment you feel when a client reaches a goal they once thought was impossible is priceless and addicting. That feeling drives me as a fitness professional and as an athlete.
Where does your motivation come from?
My motivation comes from possibility. The possibility that you could take your physique wherever you want excites me. Growing up, my Dad always told me that being an African- American and Puerto-Rican female meant I was a minority and would have to work harder than everyone else to get whatever I wanted in life. I was never a stranger to hard work and have always had a competitive nature.
I walked-on to the San Jose State University Women’s Basketball team my junior year of college and earned a full ride scholarship my senior year. The harder the journey is, the more motivated I become. Once I turned pro in the IFBB Bikini Division, the goal was to earn a spot at the prestigious Olympia. Now that I am a two time Olympian, the goal is to win one!
As you decided to make a career out of your passion – what were your biggest stumbling blocks along the way?
When I first became a personal trainer, it was hard building a client base. I knew I needed to build credibility and physically look the part. When I first started at the UFC Gym as a trainer, I was thin with close to zero muscle definition. I needed to lead by example and give people a reason to want to be trained by me.
So, I decided to start bikini bodybuilding. I started off by going on a bulk. I put on 20 lbs in about 8 weeks to build muscle mass and cut 22 lbs in 8 weeks to step on stage at my first NPC Bodybuilding show. I ended up winning my class and the overall title of Bikini Champion. After my first show, business has skyrocketed and continues to grow. I am one of the busiest trainers in my gym and have generated well over $200,000 in the last 18 months.
What’s your perspective on the importance of self-care?
When it comes to self-care and stressing its importance, I usually ask the following question. Do you want to save money? By taking control of your health and fitness you are allowing yourself to spend less money on prescriptions, doctor’s visits, etc. Living a healthier lifestyle means you will get to live a longer life and be able to spend more time with your loved ones.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about women lifting weight?
The biggest misconception about women and weightlifting is that lifting weights will make you bulky and appear manly. Weight training helps reduce body fat and burn more calories efficiently by increasing the body’s metabolic rate. It also helps preserve and enhance your muscle mass and bone mass, manage chronic conditions, manage your weight, and improve your mood! It is ultimately the programming, diet, and supplementation that can make a female attain a thicker, muscular, “less feminine” physique.
Many young women who want to lose weight believe that not eating is the way to do it, without realizing the consequences of that kind of behavior.
Why do you think this is and what’s your perspective on educating society on healthy nutrition habits?
I believe all platforms of the media are responsible for this perspective. With social media, very rarely do you get the entire true story. Only the end result is shared with tidbits of info on how it was done. We see heavily edited images on magazines filled with fad diets and little scientific research to credit the validity of these diets. We live in a world of impatience.
People go to extreme measures to achieve weight loss quickly without realizing how unhealthy it is for you. How many times have you heard that carbs are bad for you? Or that you should eat fat free products all the time? Or you should only eat meat and greens?
People need to understand that weight loss can be achieved by having a healthy well balanced diet. Balanced means fats, carbs, and protein are incorporated. When I am assisting clients with their diet, I make sure they know what the recommended amounts are for the general public and for them specifically. I also include how much fiber they are consuming in their meal plan.
It is important to educate and explain the why so people are more inclined to follow. I encourage my clients to log their meals in apps like MyFitnessPal so they can be aware of their daily intake.
What are the most unexpected lessons you’ve learned on your health and fitness journey this far?
I have learned that overtraining is real. I have experienced it personally and try to educate as many as I can on the symptoms of overtraining. It can be hard to identify them when you adopt the philosophy of mind over matter. Some of the signs of overtraining include persistent muscle soreness, elevated resting heart rate, constantly catching colds/flu, increased injuries, irritability, depression, loss of motivation, insomnia, decreased appetite, irregular menstruation in females, performance plateau, and persistent fatigue.
In order to build on our strength and fitness, we must recover. How do we do that? Take off days, making sure not to overwork muscle groups by incorporating split training, daily myofascial release, daily stretching, reducing workload/intensity, deep tissue massages, ice baths, epsom salt baths, making sure you are not in an extreme caloric deficit, and taking the appropriate supplementation. My favorite supplement before bedtime is ZMA-5 from SNAC System.
What do you do to maintain balance in your life?
Honestly, I don’t think I have achieved balance yet. It is a constant work in progress for me. My husband, who also happens to be my manager, is constantly looking out for me. He is a huge support system for me and does so much for me behind the scenes.
I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. He will always be the first to tell me to slow down or you are taking on too much. In an effort to improve balance, my husband and I intend to vacation once a year. This past year we got to experience a vacation in Thailand and we both felt rejuvenated after.
How do you stay productive?
Staying productive has never really been an issue for me. I usually have my hands in a lot of different things. I enjoy being busy. Multi-tasking can be difficult without proper planning so I very rarely do things spontaneously.
Since I look after over 50 clients, I have to stay organized and one step ahead. Everything is planned out on a calendar that my husband and I cross check regularly. There is always something that needs to be done.
Can you give a breakdown of your current diet, training and supplementation regimen and the thinking behind it?
I consume about 1,500 calories a day when I am in season and in the off season I consume 2,500. I typically burn around 2,300 calories. My program changes constantly depending on whether or not I have a competition. I used to lift 5 days a week, but as of late, it is times a week since I am focusing more on cardio.
For supplementation I take the essentials, multivitamin, fish oil, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and B12. I also use products from my sponsors SNAC and Dotfit. From SNAC, I utilize a pre-workout called Xpedite. I take it everyday before my cardio sessions. I also take ZMA-5, a nighttime recovery sleep aid that helps me get a deeper, more restful sleep. From DotFit, I take a BCAA stack, Amino Boost XXL and Muscle Defender.
For joint health from all the running I do, I take JointFlex. When I am cutting weight, I also take the LeanPack 90 which consists of Carb Repel, Weight Loss and Liver Support, and ThermAccl. The three products help me maintain muscle mass and decrease fat mass while giving me sustainable energy. Some other products I use are Immune Complex and Cortisol Complex from Body By O. These two products are used religiously while I am preparing for competition to protect my immune system and regulate my cortisol levels.
If you could only choose one thing, what would you tell your younger self?
I would tell myself to have an open mind. When I was younger I was very close minded. I never took the time to step back and look at the big picture. I would just put my head down and go 100 mph without knowing where I was going. I didn’t have specific, measurable goals. I always worked hard but never with a purpose which often made me stressed and constantly frustrated.
What are your goals for 2017?
Bodybuilding has become a huge part of my life. It really is a lifestyle. Many of my goals for 2017 revolve around my bodybuilding career both as coach and athlete. I would like to make it back to the Olympia stage for a third time. I have three athletes expected to make a national appearance in 2017 and I would love to see them all turn Pro.
Where can people go to learn more about you online?
Stay tuned for the next interview of Real Talk Real Women!