FFFC: Please introduce yourself to our readers (i.e. your name, occupation, hobbies, etc.).
VD: Hello! My name is Venique Dial! I am a program assistant at a preventive service, a Nike brand ambassador, and a full time college student.
FFFC: What sparked your weight-loss transformation journey?
VD: One day in early September 2014, I was sitting at my desk at work and thought to myself “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”! I’ve always wanted to gain weight, tone up, and grow my booty, and at that moment, on that day, I decided to start my weight gain journey.
Unfortunately, I started the unhealthy way. I rushed to the supermarket during my lunch break and purchased highly processed fatty foods such as cakes, cookies, chips, Nutriment energy drinks etc. I started buying french toast with bacon drenched in buttermilk syrup every single morning, and had fatty foods (Chinese food, Thai food, pizza, burgers, french fries etc) for lunch and dinner. I got a membership at Blink fitness and started doing workouts I found on Instagram, using no weights, barely getting a sweat during my workouts. I was eating this way and working out for three months and only noticed the weight gain on my stomach.
Another day at work in early January 2015, I thought to myself again, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!” I started researching everything about nutrition, fitness, and health from credible online sources. Everything from macro nutrients, micro nutrients, calorie surplus/deficit, upper body exercises, lower body exercises, carb cycling, insulin resistance, water retention etc. I started meal planning, counting my calories and macro nutrients, I went to another gym, got a personal trainer and began working out my upper body, core and lower body with weights.
FFFC: What was your beginning and current weight or measurements?
VD: When I started in September 2014, I was 108. When I started heavy lifting in January 2015, I was 111 lbs. Now In September 2016, I am 126 lbs.
FFFC: How long did it take for your weight-loss transformation from beginning to end?
VD: A year and 9 months of healthy meal planning and heavy lifting.
FFFC: Which physical activities did you participate in during your journey?
VD: My physical activities includes weighted lunges, hip thrusts, donkey kicks, leg press, squats, calf raises, etc during my leg days twice a week. Bench press, dips, push ups, pull ups, lat pull downs, one arm rows, dead lifts etc. on my upper body days. I also do about 1.5- 2 hours of cardio a week, consisting of assorted exercises (burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, knee ups etc.)
FFFC: How did your eating habits change?
VD: Before I started meal planing, I would have three fatty meals every day. Now I have three meals and two snacks consisting of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, fruits, and healthy fats. Adjusting to eating the same healthy meals every day for the week was surprisingly easy for me. At first I thought that I would get tired from eating the same thing everyday, but because I knew exactly how many calories, macronutrients, and ingredients I was putting into my body, eating the same thing didn’t bother me at all.
FFFC: What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner?
VD: Every day for breakfast, I have a turkey bacon, egg sandwich. I use two slices of Ezekiel bread, one egg white, one whole egg, two slices of turkey bacon, 1oz of lite shredded mozzarella cheese, one teaspoon of coconut oil, mushrooms, and spinach.
My snacks are usually, fat free Greek yogurt, with banana slices, and granola, an orange, an almond butter banana sandwich etc.
My lunches are usually a grilled chicken salad consisting of veggies topped with a little balsamic vinegar.
My dinners are usually a baked sweet potato, or brown rice with beans, with a lean protein (ground turkey, fish, chicken etc) with vegetables.
FFFC: What is your favorite fitness activity?
VD: My favorite fitness activity is pull ups! When I first started lifting I couldn’t do a pull up to save my life! Now I can do 4 sets of 10! Whenever I do my pull ups, I feel super powerful like a superhero! Its a wonderful feeling!!
FFFC: What do you do now to maintain your physique?
VD: To maintain my physique, I am still weightlifting and meal planning. I am currently maintaining with my caloric intake at 1800 calories and will start bulking in early October.
FFFC: How did you develop and sustain the willpower to avoid the bad stuff (i.e. junk food, bad drinks, lack of activity, etc.)?
VD: Keeping healthy snacks available at home and on the go, drinking a lot of water, and also keeping my fitness goal in mind has definitely helped me to avoid bad foods and sustain my willpower. I also practice little acts of self-discipline like monitoring my sugar intake, the amount of money I spend on food, and also deep breathing to boost my overall willpower level.
FFFC: What advice do you have for someone looking to get started with their fitness journey but not sure where to begin?
VD: Find what works for you and stay consistent and dedicated at it! It could be dancing, calisthenics, weightlifting, Pilates etc, stop thinking about doing/ trying it and get moving! Try to learn more and more about fitness and nutrition along your journey! Learn the different types of healthy foods and the positive affects it can do for your body. Planning is key! Build a workout plan and a meal plan according to your schedule, body type, and fitness goals etc. Yes there are times when I feel really lazy, and don’t feel like cooking, but I then I think about how disorganized I would feel during the week if I don’t prepare myself. Make that extra time for yourself and the results will be all worth it!!!
FFFC: What do you think is the biggest misconception about this journey?
VD: Definitely that heavy lifting will make a woman look “manly” or “bulky”. I have had girls tell me that they want to grow their glutes and legs but don’t want to do heavy lifting because they’re scared that they will start to look manly. I say, that is definitely not the case! Through my research and experience, I’ve learned that heavy lifting does not make a woman look bulky, but having an excessive amount of body fat can. The more muscle you gain, the more you should monitor your body fat percentage and try to stay lean to avoid the “bulky” look. It is also very hard for a woman to get big and bulky considering men have a higher testosterone level than women, and it can be hard for them to look bulky! Bottom line, don’t be afraid to lift heavy, heavy weights are your friends!
FFFC: Do you have any fitness inspirations? Who are they?
FFFC: How can readers learn more about your transformation and journey online (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)?
VD: Instagram: Venique_