Your personal relationship with food can either make you – help you lose those last 10lbs – or break you – help you gain those extra 10lbs. Understanding how our bodies react to food is imperative to reaching any type of fitness goal.
Alyson Boyd, this week’s inspiring woman, has overcome a ‘topsy turvy relationship with food’ in order to win both her Figure and Fitness class at one show. Combining her positive relationship with food and dedication to the gym, while working towards her MBA in Sports Business and Marketing – Alyson is an expert in time management and making sure that no matter the circumstance – nothing gets in the way of her and reaching her goals.
Find out more about Alyson and just how she balances her hectic lifestyle.
Womens Ab Workout: Tell us more about yourself. Who are you? How long have you been training and what are your goals and aspirations in the fitness industry?
Alyson Boyd: Hi! Iâ€™m Alyson Boyd. Iâ€™m currently finishing up my MBA at Arizona State University, specializing in Sports Business and Marketing. I graduated from Berkeley in 2006 with a BA in Public Health, and worked coordinating womenâ€™s health research projects for a couple years at Johns Hopkins University. I did gymnastics for 12 years, and retired when I got to college.
After 5 years of little to no physical activity of any sort, I joined a gym and discovered that I really enjoy weight lifting and fitness classes (especially kickboxing and spin). March 2009, I signed up with a trainer, set a goal and committed myself to compete in a Fitness competition. In November 2009, I competed in my first two shows: Fitness America and NPC Western Regionals. Fitness America was a wonderful learning experience where I met a ton of amazing & inspiring people. The next weekend I competed at the Western Regional and won both Fitness and my Figure class.
WAW: You mention on your blog that you have had a â€˜topsy turvy relationship with foodâ€™. How have you overcome this rollercoaster relationship with food in order to compete in a fitness competition and maintain a healthy weight for your figure? What advice can you offer to other women who have this similar â€˜food battleâ€™?
AB: Fitness played a huge role in me developing a positive relationship with food & nutrition. Instead of looking at food as something that was bad/negative (make me fat, items I â€œshouldnâ€™tâ€ eat, etc), I learned to look at foods along a range of what could make me healthier and stronger. It became not about what I could and couldnâ€™t eat, but instead about what I should eat to make me the best I could be. I also started to explore the â€˜whyâ€™ behind some of the foods I was eating.
Cravings mean something, so you should listen to your body while using your mind. Wanting to eat a carton of ice cream late at night is your body telling you something, and itâ€™s up to you to determine what that is. Chances are you might actually just be thirsty, need more protein in your diet, or maybe it has nothing to do with food at all. Perhaps youâ€™re bored or lonely and what you really want is company & entertainment. Donâ€™t get me wrong, Iâ€™m certainly still learning myself, but the first step is being present & mindful of your nutrition choices, even when you slip up– that way you are constantly learning, and can improve slowly but surely over time.
WAW: You competed in your first figure competition this past year â€“ to do all those flips and twists your training must be pretty particular. How did your training have to change to get into contest ready shape? What type of training did you do â€“ body part? Split? Everyday?
AB: I worked out casually for about a year before I decided to commit to competing. And immediately before making that choice, my workouts were sporadic at best (during my first trimester of grad school). So although my split and amount & type of cardio were tweaked a bit over the eight months I trained, there wasnâ€™t a major change. The entire time I stuck with a five day split which involved a Power Upper & Power Lower day, then a mix of Arms, Chest, Back and Shoulders. I also did cardio five days a week with 2 HIIT days, 2 Steady State days and 2 Spin classes. Around 12 weeks out from competition my cardio sessions were increased to 45 minutes. In addition to regular workouts, I would practice my fitness routine a few days a week for an hour or so.
WAW: Everybody loves a good meal â€“ especially while trying to lose weight. Unfortunately many of us sacrifice flavor in our meals in order to reach those fitness goals. What are three of your favorite flat stomach recipes â€“ which you eat â€“ to help you get into competition shape?
AB: I always eat pretty clean, so the difference between on & off season are little changes with regards to macro levels. During cutting-phase my favorite recipes are Protein Pancakes (esp. Pumpkin), Wild Salmon with Spinach and Protein Oatmeal. (http://nourishedfitness.com/food/fitness-recipes/)
WAW: What are your four favorite sweat drenching workout moves â€“ that every woman trying to get a flat stomach should be doing?
AB: What every woman should be doing is HIIT, but I canâ€™t say thatâ€™s my personal favorite :p I get bored on a treadmill, so I like to mix it up as much as possible. One of my favorite classes is Spin because you are in control of the intensity of your workout. When it comes to lifting, you CANâ€™T be afraid to go heavy if you ever want to see real changes. My favorite lifts are Squats (use a Smith Machine if youâ€™re by yourself and worried about safety), Leg Presses, Push-Presses, and any and all Ab work (planks, leg lifts, reverse crunches, etc).
WAW: You are a grad school student plus a fitness competitor â€“ which can lead to a very hectic and busy schedule. We all have those days where we just donâ€™t REALLY want to go to the gym. What pushes you through those moments and what advice can you offer other busy women to get through those tough mental blocks?
First, schedule it and make that time sacred! Donâ€™t think about it as an option, think about it as today Iâ€™ll eat, brush my teeth, go to the gym, etc.
Second, you have to want it bad enough. When I donâ€™t feel like going, I often remind myself of how much better Iâ€™ll feel afterwards. Because no matter what else is going on in my life, after a good workout Iâ€™m more energetic and my mind is more clear & sharp to attack the task at hand.
WAW:Â Whatâ€™s next for you in 2010?
AB: Iâ€™m training to compete nationally. Right now my goal is Jr. USAâ€™s in Texas in August.. but who knows.. Iâ€™ll keep you posted J
WAW:Â Where can we find more information out about you?
Need MORE Inspiration? Check Out One of These Ladies
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