Lifestyle Prior To Change
What was your lifestyle prior to your transformation?
I was extremely active. I hold a BS in exercise science and am an ACSM certified personal trainer as well. I loved to work out, but I also loved to eat. A lot. I had no sense of portion control and before I knew it was eating twice what my body should be handling in one sitting.
When it came to workouts, I focused more on cardio; running, elliptical, spin classes and some boot camp classes as well. All of these are great ways to maintain ones physique and ways to stay active, but for me, I was slowly gaining weight and these workouts day after day with no change was causing my body to get in a rut.
What was your low point or turning point?
I was going through my closet and trying on some summer clothes because I was going on a trip and nothing fit me the way it used to. Everything was snug and tight; not in the way these clothes used to fit me prior to that year.
Were there any unique challenges or circumstances that made your transformation particularly difficult?
It became hard at a time to find balance between spending time with family and friends, and yet still fitting in all of my workouts, prepping my food and maintaining and positive attitude. I had a clear goal in mind and support from so many other girls whom I knew were competition that this made it a bit easier.
I never sacrificed spending time with my family however and always knew beforehand so I would still attend the special events, but just bring my own food so I didn’t avoid it all together.
Tell us about your transformation timeline:
- Transformation Start: I started my Journey back in August 2010. As an ACSM certified personal trainer, holding a BS in Exercise Science, I thought I could control everything about my body and eating habits. It got to the point where I let myself get out of control. I was sad, unfocused and most of all ashamed and frustrated that I let my body get to a point where I truly felt uncomfortable in my own skin.
- Milestone: August 2010, I joined Cathy Savage Fitness in preparation of one of my life long goals: competing in a fitness competition.
- Milestone: Through this program, I learned how to control my portions and also completed changed my way of training in the gym. I focused much more on weight training rather than cardio, and also changed my cardio from more often, lower intensity sessions to less often higher intensity sessions. The HIIT training not only challenged my mentally and physically, but it kept me from boredom and plateauing which I have experienced in the past.
- Milestone: April 30th, 2011, I competed in my first fitness competition in the Bikini Division. The show was the Fitness America/Musclemania Pageant at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.
- Transformation End: I am never done transforming my mind, body and soul. I have my next show planned for September 25th in Boston, MA (Fitness America Pageant as well).
Naomi's Training And Cardio Approach
What was your weight training approach and split during your transformation?
I began weight training 4 days a week and one day was ‘functional’ training which was more bodyweight and plyometric based.
- Monday - Chest and Back supersets
- Tuesday - Glutes and Hamstrings
- Wednesday - Triceps and Shoulders
- Thursday - OFF
- Friday - Quads and Biceps
- Saturday - OFF
- Sunday - OFF
|Monday - Chest and Back Supersets|
|Bench Press (Increasing weight)||3||12, 10, 8|
|Wide Grip Lat Pull Down||3||12, 10, 8|
|Decline Dumbbell Bench Press||3||12, 10, 8|
|Reverse Grip Seated Cable Row||3||12, 10, 8|
|Incline Bench Press||3||12, 10, 8|
|Hyperextension (Holding 10 pound plate)||3||12|
|Tuesday - Glutes and Hamstrings|
|Reverse Barbell Lunge||3||12|
|Smith Machine Split Squat||3||12 each side|
|Glute Bridge on Bench||3||15|
|Sumo Deadlift (I do these lighter)||3||20|
|Plie Jump Squat||3||15|
|Wednesday - Triceps and Shoulders|
|Military Press||3||12, 10, 8, 6|
|Inverted Lateral Raise||3||12|
|Decline Front Raise (Stomach on bench)||3||12|
|Decline Reverse Flye (Stomach on bench)||3||12|
|Skullcrusher||3||12, 10, 8|
|Straight Bar Tricep Extension||3||12, 10, 8|
|Tricep Push Ups||3||12|
|Walk Out, Push Up||3||12|
|Friday - Quads and Biceps|
|Inverted Leg Press||4||12|
|Seated Hip Abduction or DB Plie Squat||4||12|
|Jump Lunges||4||12 Each side|
|Standing Rope Bicep Curl||4||12|
|Barbell Curl||3||12, 10, 8|
|Incline Hammer Curl||3||12|
Please detail your cardio approach during your transformation?
Cardio varied depending on my food intake and how my body was feeling. For the most part, I did cardio 4-5 times a week 30-45 minutes. I really increased the intensity and performed about 2-3 HIIT sessions a week. My favorite cardio workouts are with the stepmill (revolving stairs) incline walking or sprints on the treadmill or stairmaster intervals.
Please list 3 things you learned about exercise, weight training and/or cardio during your transformation that helped you succeed:
- Really push to lift HEAVY while maintaining proper form. It is so important to find that mind/muscle connection while lifting to ensure that you are getting the most bang for your buck during the exercises.
- Change up your workouts ever 4-6 weeks to keep your body from plateauing. Simple things such as changing grips of the cable attachments, changing your body position (bent over vs standing vs seated) or changing the angle of the bench can really shock your body!
- Plan ahead. Always know what you are going to accomplish before stepping foot in the gym. Plan on Sunday for the week. This way your workouts will be efficient, effective and you can psych yourself up knowing what to expect!
How are you currently training, and has your training changed since the completion of your transformation?
During the last few weeks before my show, I was really focusing on lifting HEAVY for my upper body and right now I am playing around to see how my body responds to different exercises, reps, and sets. I love experimenting in the gym and seeing how my body responds! I have discovered that my legs gained more definition by splitting them up into 2 days rather than 1. Now, I have a glute/hamstring focused day and a quad focused day.
Naomi's Diet And Nutrition Approach
What was your diet and nutrition approach during your transformation?
I always eat clean, whole meals and always prefer real food over processed junk. I eat about every 2.5 hours to ensure that my blood sugar levels stay stable and I am constantly burning throughout the day. My body definitely responds better with smaller meals, more often so I tend to have about 6 smaller meals throughout the day.
- Breakfast (pre workout as well): ¼ C oatmeal, 3-4 egg whites, ¼ C strawberries or blueberries, ½ T coconut oil, coffee with skim milk + Stevia.
- Meal 2: 6oz plain Greek yogurt, ½ C cooked quinoa, ½ T flax oil, 1 C green beans, ¼ C chopped apple.
- Meal 3: Big salad with 3oz lean ground beef, chicken or turkey, sprinkling of sunflower seeds, 4oz sweet potato.
- Meal 4: (post lift) 1 scoop pea or whey protein mixed with ice, water in the blender, ¼ C raw oats (tossed into the shake) ¼ C pineapple or mango.
- Meal 5: 2 C green veggies, 3oz lean protein (fish, chicken, beef , turkey etc).
- Meal 6 (before bed) 1 scoop casein protein, 1 T healthy fats such as almond butter, flax oil or coconut oil.
Did you allow yourself cheat meals?
Always listen to your body. I find that my body responds better with certain proteins, carbs and fat, but the key is to be aware.
Please list 3 things you learned about diet and nutrition during your transformation?
- Think of it as a game. Try different foods at different times and see what works best for YOU. Just because something works for a friend of yours does not mean your body will respond the same way. Do not get frustrated!
- If you slip up one day, do not beat yourself up. So you had an ice cream cone? So what! Just get over it and the next day get right back on track!
- One thing my mom once said to me is that “food will always be there” there is no need to overeat in one sitting just because something is ‘just so good’ Food will ALWAYS be there. Eat until you feel satisfied, and move onto the next activity of the day! You can always go back for more because it will always be there.
What supplements did you use during your transformation?
Did you allow yourself cheat meals?
I did, but only until 4 weeks out from show. I find that the cheats HELP to keep you on track. If you deprive yourself so much, this can lead to unhealthy binges. I allowed myself one cheat a week when I first began my transformation and this really did help me to stick to my goals! Of course my cheats were somewhat ‘healthy cheats’ such as whole wheat pizza with low fat cheese or whole wheat Panini sandwich with pesto and grilled chicken!
Advice For Others
What are your best tips for someone looking to make their own transformation?
- Do NOT give up. It takes work…a lot of hard work and determination. Just visualize yourself everyday reaching your goal and make sure to engage your loved ones. Support is so important during your transformation process.
- Do not let anyone try to bring you down during this time! You may find that some people in your life will feel threatened by your determination and will power, and try to bring you down or make you feel bad. Use it to FUEL you to work even hard and focus even stronger. You want this goal? GET IT.
- Ask for support. I loved training through CSF because of the support system I had. We were all there for each other on days we didn’t feel motivated or didn’t want to cook that chicken sitting in the fridge. I always knew I could call or text a friend and she would help me get through it and keep my eyes on the prize. Along the same lines, engage your family! If they know how important this transformation is to you, they will for sure be rooting for you and help to keep you on track.
How do you stay motivated? What advice would you give to someone who’s having trouble staying on track?
POSITIVITY! Always be optimistic and try to surround yourself with positive energy. I found that I had some toxic people in my life that weren’t doing anything but bringing me down. Its important to not let these people get in the way of your success.
I also found it helpful to always change up my workout music! Music truly can turn a workout from “OKAY” to “Amazing.”
More From Naomi Rotstein
What is your life like now that you’ve made a transformation?
I have a whole lot more confidence and feel so comfortable in my own skin. I finally feel like “this is who I am meant to be” I could not be happier.
What motivates you currently to keep improving yourself?
I love having a goal at hand to keep me on track! There is no better feeling than having a goal in mind, achieving it and then wanting even MORE. I love experimenting and seeing what's out there for me to tackle next! The world is your oyster so GO AFTER IT!
Anything else you would like to share?
Thank you Muscle & Strength for allowing me this opportunity to share my story!
How can people contact you?