What is your athletic background, and how did you get involved with your weight training and fitness?
Growing up I did gymnastics and I really think that helped set me up for where I am today! In March of 2006 my now husband proposed to me and we made a pact to get in the gym and get in shape for our wedding. I was skinny fat and my husband was just fat (sorry honey!).
We worked out at the local YMCA. We had somewhat of a plan but really had no direction. About a year later we joined a Crossfit gym. It was there that I learned the basis for all the lifts and got to do a few gymnastics moves that I remembered.
After 2 years at Crossfit I decided I wanted to get stronger and joined a powerlifting gym. I LOVE everything about powerlifting! I LOVE being 105lbs and being able to lift more than a lot of men! I LOVE showing women that you can be sexy and strong! Even though I am only 105lbs I have quite a bit of muscle!
After getting into powerlifting I noticed my body changing (for the better) and my husband convinced me to compete in a local NPC show. It was so much fun, but powerlifting still has my heart. I hate pretty much any type of cardio, especially running; but when you put me in a race, I couldn't be happier!
I am really trying to get in to fitness modeling and have done a photo shoot and have a few more lined up! P.S. - My husband has now lost almost 100lbs and has enlisted in the Air Force Special Forces! Way to go!
What does your current training and split look like, and what do you like most about it?
I follow Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 for powerlifting.
- Monday - Military Press
- Tuesday - Deadlift
- Wednesday - Conditioning day
- Thursday - Bench Press
- Friday - Squat
- Saturday - Either a long hike or trail run
- Sunday - Rest day or hike
I like 5/3/1 because it allows you to train without always going to your one rep max. In a cycle the first week you do 3x3, second week, 3x5, third week 1x5, 1x3, 1x1, and the 4th week is a light deload week at a light 5x5. You go off percentages of your 1 rep max, each cycle (month) you just add either 5-10lbs to your training max.
Other than the deload week your last set you can go for a max rep and each cycle you can try to beat your last one. I stay motivated when I see improvement and following this cycle you can make small victories everyday and that keeps me focused!
What are your future goals, dreams and plans?
I'd love to qualify for an elite level powerlifter. Also I'd love to go pro in bikini and also become a professional fitness model!
What are your thoughts on fasted cardio?
As much as I hate cardio, I know how good it is for you! Getting ready for a bikini show, fasted cardio is key! I get up at 4:30am and hit the treadmill for some hill sprints or I do some tabata intervals. I believe it works wonders!
Which do you prefer, and why...steady state cardio or HIIT?
I am a firm believer in HIIT! I use tabata intervals, prowler pushes, hill sprints! Why workout for hours when you can get the same effect in a couple minutes!
Do you have any gym, muscle building or fitness pet peeves?
I hate it when people don't put up weights when they are finished and don't wipe the sweat off of the bench when they are done.
What does your post workout nutrition and supplementation look like?
What are your favorite cheat meals and foods?
Anything sweet! I've been on an ice cream kick right now!
What are your thoughts of niche diet approaches like the paleo diet, Adkins diet, keto runs, the Warrior Diet, intermittent fasting, etc.?
I think that people should do the research before following blindly into something. I think you should find out what works best for you! I follow a modified Paleo diet. I try to avoid dairy, grain, gluten, fruit. I usually just eat meat (usually beef), vegetables, and fat (avocado, coconut oil, nuts, etc).
If I want to eat some ice cream though, I do it! You have to allow yourself some leeway, If I did an awesome time at the gym and did some extra cardio I am likely to reward myself, I just wont go crazy with it!
How important is nutrient timing for performance and/or building muscle?
I usually take in some carbs before/during/after a workout. I really feel that helps with performance. I also take in protein during/after a work out to help build muscle. I also eat dinner about an hour after working out.
Workout music - what's on your MP3 player?
MP3 player! I have a variety - Linkin Park, Kesha, Mickey Avalon, Little Wayne, Kanye West, Deftones, T.I, etc.
If someone wants to connect with you, where can you be found?
I have a Facebook page: Amber Hayes- powerlifter and NPC competitor.
Which college or professional sports teams do your root for?
College football - Florida Gators. Professional football - Carolina Panthers.