MAGDA KNOWS HOW TO MEASURE PROGRESS
“Make a habit of recording what you have eaten throughout the day – look at what’s working and what’s not. Every two weeks, check your progress and take photos to measure progress.”
Occupation: Relationship Manager, Financial Services
City/State/Country: Sydney, Australia (originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Type of Competing: Bikini bodybuilding
Q: What was the hardest part of going vegan for you?
Definitely not the food, the food is easy. Vegan food is delicious, nutritious, creative, and fun!
“The hardest part is social acceptance: going out with friends and not being able to choose anything from the menu.”
Food is such a big part of our lives, with family gatherings, celebrations, traditions – it’s huge! I guess I came in at a good time; the vegan movement has grown so much in the last five years. More and more restaurants and other eateries are popping up. I get so excited every time I hear of a new restaurant or festival products reaching Aussie shores, catered for vegans.
Q: How did you become interested in bikini bodybuilding competitions?
I have been big on fitness from an early age. I started going to the gym (on and off) since I was 14. When I go long periods of time without lifting weights, I feel that something is missing and I just don’t feel good about myself.
Becoming interested in bikini competitions came alongside veganism; I was determined to help debunk the myth and popular misconception that you can’t build muscles and lose fat on a vegan diet.
I noticed there were many vegans doing similar things, and I wanted to be part of this choir of strong voices promoting healthy, happy, conscious, and compassionate living.
Q: What exercises seem to get you the best results?
“Although I don’t really like them, lunges give the best result for my lower body and core. It builds stronger legs and glutes.”
All lunges! Walking Lunges, Reverse Lunge, Side lunge, Lunge Jumps, Split (Squat) Lunge, Lunge Oblique Twist – name it!
Another very effective training for me is pre-fatigue sets for the body part you are working on for the day. For example, if I am targeting glutes, I would do four to five heavy sets on the seated leg extension machine so the glutes can play a major role in the lunges and squats.
The purpose of the pre-fatigued training is to go into the compound movement with the primary muscle (in this case, quads) fatigued by the isolation movement (leg extension); however, the trick is not too rest for too long, which otherwise defeats the purpose of using this method.
Q: What did your bikini competition prep meal plan look like?
On Sunday, I would cook a whole bunch of black beans, adzuki, or lentils (about 500g) that would easily last me the whole week (any leftovers I’d keep in the freezer for the following week).
“Beans and lentils were my main staple during bikini prep. They provided complex carbohydrates, protein, iron, fiber, and prebiotics in order to give me energy and support a healthy digestive system.”
Breads, rice, and sugar (including fruits, except berries) were a no-no unfortunately.
Two weeks leading into competition:
- I further decreased my carb intake and had scrambled tofu with two cups of greens (asparagus, broccoli, spinach, zucchini, green beans) for breakfast.
- Breakfast: I’d use rolled oats with a little bit of rice milk, a handful of berries, and 10g almonds or Ezekiel bread (not really a bread, more like a sprouted loaf, in my mind) with hummus or almond butter.
- Lunch: My typical day would consist of 150g of beans or lentils, two cups of greens, and an additional protein on the side (veggie sausage, baked tofu, baked falafel).
- Snack: Hummus was my go-to with celery or cucumber sticks.
- Dinner: I would have a salad with greens, seeds (pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds), avocado, kale, broccoli and tempeh. My favorite salad dressing was made of tahine, tamari sauce, and garlic. I also enjoyed zucchini noodles (or zoodles as they call it!) with lentil tomato sauce or veggie mince san choy bao.
- Sometimes I would treat myself to a low-carb high fiber cracker, protein shakes for post-and pre-workout, green and dandelion teas, and plenty of sleep!
Q: Philosophy on supplements, and which ones you take?
I do take protein shakes and BCAAs during competition prep for extra protein and energy to fuel my workouts. But if you are not preparing for a competition and your diet isn’t as strict, a wholefood diet will provide more than enough required amounts of protein.
Q: What does your training look like for a competition?
It varies during the 10-12 weeks of preparation. As we get closer to comp day, the intensity ramps up a bit. Two weeks leading into competition, you will see me in the gym twice a day, six days a week. An ab session in the morning and weight training in the evening.
“Weight training is very intense, circuit-based with lots of sets and reps with minimal rest. Basically, it’s weight training that’s adapted to burn as much fat as possible.”
Q: What advice about fitness in general would you give that you don’t commonly see in magazines?
Keep track and keep it consistent. Something like the MyFitnessPal app.
Make a habit of recording what you have eaten throughout the day – look at what’s working and what’s not.
Every two weeks, check your progress and take photos to measure progress.
I was fortunate to have a fantastic coach and mentor in Ben Handsaker (director and co-founder of AbStacker).
Through a collaborative process, Ben was able to cater a meal plan in line with my vegan requirements while still providing what I needed to get competition ready.
Ben would remind me to trust in the process. From my experience throughout this journey, it has taught me to be patient.
It takes a while to see results and for the body to adapt in order to start seeing visible changes. DON’T GIVE UP!!!
Q: What are some common misconceptions about going plant-based?
Protein, protein, protein! It’s almost an obsession! The whole meat and dairy industry has done a brilliant job getting us protein-obsessed, and for many years, I fell into that scaremongering propaganda. I have thought about vegetarianism and veganism for a very long time since my teenage years.
When I was 14, I attempted to remove red meat from my diet and did so for two years; however, I kept being pressured by family, friends, and my doctor at the time to start eating meat again, as my iron levels were low. Unfortunately, I took that step back and started eating meat again.
I have never been big on meat and taking that step back really upset me, but I didn’t want to fall ill as I was led to believe.
“Years later, I decided to go full vegetarian and this time do my research and take the necessary steps to have a nutritious diet and not be influenced by what other people think.”
They are not qualified dieticians, and yes, you can be in perfect health eating a plant-based diet. And that is why we need more vegans on stage to once and for all remove all those misconceptions about plant-based diets.
Q: What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegetarian?
“My number one advice is to take your time; give your body enough time to adjust to the change in your diet.”
Many people do a full transition from day to night. If that works for you, then great, I salute you. But for me, it took time. I had been a meat eater for years; I first removed red meat, then chicken and fish, and months later, dairy, and a year later, eggs.
In the meantime, I did tons of research looking for dairy and egg alternatives, recipes to try, why some vegans had failed, and mostly importantly, I accepted that I won’t be perfect – I have two cats and I feed them meat (yes, I have read that some cats succeed on a vegan diet, but others don’t, so I prefer not to take the risk; I love my furry friends too much).
Listening to Colleen Patrick-Goudreau podcasts (recommended by a vegan friend) helped me overcome some angry and sad feelings I had at the time.
I wanted it to be perfect, I wanted to have all the answers, especially when you get scrutinized again and again by all sorts of pro-meat arguments.
“Some of them are valid, but most of them are just a load of rubbish, and listening to podcasts, reading, and talking to vegans helped me find my own definition of perfection and be in peace with myself.”
To get more bikini bodybuilding competition tips, watch this video – Bikini Competition Guide – EVERYTHING YOU MUST KNOW
Chris Willitts (creator of V3), is the founder and owner of Vegetarian Bodybuilding.
V3 Vegetarian Bodybuilding System is a mixture of science and author’s advice, providing users with optimal diet and exercise. This system is designed for vegans and vegetarians only.
A lot of research has been put in this program. Furthermore, a lot of professional bodybuilders and athletes tried and tested the program, praising its progressiveness and efficiency.
The program is about taking control of your own body and health according to your potential and needs. And worry not; you’ll get plenty of proteins with this system. It will boost you with energy, and you’ll feel just a strong as any carnivore would (perhaps even stronger, depending on how much you invest in your exercise). It avoids vitamins deficiency and provides you with a lot of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Instead of saying things like “I think a plant-based diet is good for athletes and bodybuilders,” the V3 Vegetarian Bodybuilding System claims “I know a plant-based diet is good for athletes and bodybuilders, and I have results to prove it.”
To find out more, visit the website at V3 Bodybuilding – Bikini Bodybuilding Competition Tips
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