What is your fitness background?
I was born and raised in Vermont and was active in sports at an early age. I was never the most gifted athlete, but I was always a very hard worker. I loved playing sports and was introduced to the weight room at the young age of 14. At that point in time I really didn’t know what I was doing, in the gym, as far as what exercises were working what muscle groups, but what I DID know was that I loved how I felt after working out. It helped to build my confidence as a young girl, and it of course helped to improve my sports abilities.
I didn’t realize that the fitness industry was where my passion lay until after graduating from college. I was working an office job at the time and was absolutely miserable. Not being the type who can easily just go through life unhappy, I decided to figure out what I could do all day that would make me truly happy. While working out at the gym bright and early one morning in 2001, I had an epiphany, that THIS was where I loved to be, and this is where I could come every day and be happy.
My journey towards becoming a certified trainer started there. By 2002 I had achieved my first certification and was working on two more, while in the mean time building my personal training business at a fitness club in Park City, Utah. I started reading Oxygen magazine around this time and became completely enthralled with the amazing women, with their amazing physiques whom I saw gracing the pages. I wanted to be one of them.
I covered my bedroom walls with their pictures, and told myself that one day I WOULD be one of them, and girls would post ME on their bedroom walls for inspiration. Even though I knew what I ultimately wanted, I did, as so many of us do, procrastinate. I landed a job on a cruise ship about that time and was whisked away for a year to be one of the fitness directors for Norwegian Cruise Lines. During that time, I was able to travel to some beautiful places including Alaska, Hawaii and numerous spots in the Caribbean, but despite the fact that I was a trainer, was working all these teaching classes, I had NO idea about nutrition.
I didn’t realize that this was the key to making my body do what I wanted it to, and I indulged in far too much cruise ship food. At the end of my year on the ship I had gained a good 30 pounds or more, tipping the scales at around 175, by far the heaviest I had ever weighed in my life. I hated the feeling. I hated what I looked like and I hated that none of my clothes fit.
A couple months after getting off the ship, I finally had an “ah-ha” moment and decided that it was time for a change. I finally decided to stop making excuses and to start training for my first show. I was living in San Antonio, TX at this point so I signed up for my first event, the John Sherman Classic 2005 about 18 weeks out. I had a LONG journey ahead of me, but I wanted it so badly I could taste it. I was so excited to finally be DOING rather than dreaming about it. I dropped over 40 pounds, didn’t cheat on my diet, busted my tail as I had never done so before, and ended up placing first in my division and becoming a National level competitor all in one show.
I was hooked. I knew that I had found my path. I went on to win my next show, and then the next five after that, winning Pro cards in two organizations and two World Champion titles in both Figure and Fitness Model categories. I found my home in the WBFF in 2008, after winning 1st place in Figure at the World Championships and having the most amazing competitive time of my life, I knew I had found the place that I wanted to continue to compete!
Right after that show, I met my fiancé, the love of my life, Micah LaCerte. We were both already on such a similar life path, and both had the same passion to help others change their lives. We started our own personal training business Hitch Fit together, and it is growing and thriving as we work with people in person here in our hometown of Kansas City (where I moved to in 2008). We also now compete together at the WBFF World Championships and absolutely love it!
What I love most about this sport is how challenging it is, and at the same time, how empowering it is. I love stepping on stage on the day of a show, and feeling so confident that I’ve done everything in my power to look the best that I can. I also love that it has enabled me to have a positive influence on the lives of the people around me. The best feeling in the world is to get emails or letters from people that I don’t even know who have lost weight, or made positive healthy choices, because they were inspired by something that I was able to achieve. I also love that competing, which is something I truly enjoy doing, also helps to build and grow our business, allowing us to have a greater reach and platform and ultimately helping even more people take charge of their health and fitness!
What I like least about competing, is of course the diet. But honestly, it’s not all that tough anymore, and since I stay fairly lean year round, it is never too difficult to get to where I need to be for the stage!
What were the major milestones that gave you that "extra" motivation boost?
Winning my first show gave me a big boost. I think every win gave me incentive to work harder. The opportunity to shoot for Oxygen, which came along with my competing with the WBFF was a major milestone, nothing beats seeing a dream like that come to reality. And to BE one of the Oxygen fitness models that I swore I one day would become, is one of the greatest motivators to continue to work hard and make good choices!
What keeps you motivated?
I’m motivated by the fact that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has placed a passion for fitness in my heart on purpose. I’m motivated also by the fact that I like how I look and feel when I make good and healthy choices for myself. And I’m motivated by the fact that people look up to me and use me as a role model for the choices that they make in their lives. That is a great honor for me.
What are your future goals, dreams and plans?
Micah and I have so many wonderful goals, dreams and plans for the future! First is to continue to build and grow Hitch Fit. We have become known as a Gym of Transformations, our niche has become helping people literally transform their lives by taking charge of their nutrition and exercise choices. We plan to continue to grow our wall of transformations, we helped our clients lose over 2000 pounds in 2010, and we will more than double that in 2011. Our ultimate plan is for Hitch Fit to be one of the most well known names in the fitness industry for being a healthy lifestyle change and transformation, it’s not just about weight loss for us.
I will still compete with the WBFF, as will Micah, but we are also becoming more involved in working with the other aspects of the shows. We are hosting one of the first WBFF events in the United States here in Kansas City in May 2011. We both love having the ability to train the athletes as they start their fitness journeys just as we did several years ago. We will also be more involved with the judging side of things and we are now even sponsoring our fellow athletes, we just signed WBFF Bikini Diva model Jenna Webb for a one year Hitch Fit contract, so we are trying to pay it forward to these athletes as much as possible!
On a more personal side of things. Micah and I are getting married in July 2011, so we are thrilled about making that lifetime commitment to each other. There hasn’t been a doubt in my mind since the day that we met that he was my soul mate, so the plan is to have a healthy, happy and successful future together as we follow in God’s path for us!
We have loads of other big dreams and plans. We are expanding Hitch Fit worldwide as far as physical locations beginning in 2011. There will be Hitch Fit franchises, our online training program (which has already been voted #1 worldwide in a blind study) will continue to grow, we plan to be in 200 countries by the end of 2012. You’ll be seeing a lot more of Hitch Fit, we have way too much fun building our “baby” and letting our entrepreneurial spirits run wild!
How often do you perform cardio?
When it comes to cardio I believe that diversity is key to keeping your body from adapting, and also to keep things interesting. I do “on season” cardio, and then I have “off season” cardio. During off season, I do cardio 2-4 days per week, and usually for only 20-30 minutes maximum. This gives my body a great rest, and is sufficient to keep me where I like to be body fat and weight wise (around 130-133 pounds and about 13% body fat). Some days I do steady state for 30 minutes, other days I will do full out tabata intervals (8-10 cycles of 20 minutes hard as I can go with 10 seconds “active rest”), that actually kicks my butt in only 10-15 minutes, so if I’m in a hurry that’s always the best option.
On season is a different story. I usually get things back into gear about 8 weeks prior to a competition. I typically do early morning pre breakfast cardio when I’m in training. I’ve found that my body responds well to this. I start out with anywhere from 30-40 minutes and bump myself up little by little leading into a show. Every week I might add 5-10 minutes on to my times, just depending on where my body is at. I do cardio usually 6 days a week, and take one full day off to rest and recover.
I use a wide variety of cardio methods. I get bored easily, and I don’t want my body to hit plateaus, so I change things up frequently. I love to run outside when the weather is nice, and have a great park with loads of stairs that is my preferred cardio method during training. I supplement that with hill sprints, stair climbers and elliptical at the gym. I’m not a huge fan of biking, but I’ll throw it in there on occasion just mix things up.
What are your thoughts on fasted cardio?
I personally believe that fasted cardio does give a little extra edge when it comes to fat loss. I find that it works for me personally, and I usually start my day off with fasted cardio when I’m in training for a competition. I don’t ALWAYS do fasted cardio, only when I’m in contest prep. The trick with fasted cardio is that you have to get up and go immediately to do it, if you hang around and wait for an hour or so and then try to go, you are going to find that you fade out pretty quickly. You should be beginning that cardio within about 30 minute of getting out of bed, otherwise you’d better eat a little something first.
What are some of your best training tips for someone who just wants to look good and ripped, but doesn’t want to compete?
For someone who just wants to look like a competitor, but doesn’t necessarily want to BE a competitor, they have to understand that it is still a lot of hard work and discipline, regardless of if they plan to step on a stage. I would recommend that to get to where they want to be that they go through a “transformation” phase as we refer to it. Once they have achieved the leanness that they were after, they can focus on maintaining that leanness through proper nutrition mainly, and by still training, but not to the intensity and duration that they were during maintenance. If they want to get lean and stay lean for life, then the key is going to lie in their nutrition. Once they are lean, they can typically maintain that body by eating clean about 80% of the time, leaving some room for fun treats and cheats.
Do you have any gym, muscle building or fitness pet peeves?
I think my biggest pet peeve is when we encounter people who think that their training style is the best and only training style out there. There are SO many different ways that you can train, and many of them are highly effective. I think it’s important in this industry to have an open mind and look at training as a constant and never ending learning process.
What are your best tips for getting ripped and shredded abs?
Well I get this question all the time. Usually it comes in the form of “What ab routine do you do” or “What pill do you take”. People are still hooked on the myth that there is some magical exercise that they can do, or some miracle potion they can swallow and wake up with shredded abs. One of my favorite sayings is “Abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym!” This is hands down the truth.
A six pack is not easy to come by, and if you don’t eat right and do sufficient cardio to remove the fat layer that is covering your abdominal muscles then you will NEVER visually see them. Everyone HAS ab muscles, everyone has a six pack, it’s just that the majority of people’s mid section is covered with layer (or multiple layers!) of fat. I don’t care how many crunches you do, or how many pills you pop, the only way to visually see those abs is by eating right and get your body fat low enough!
Do you believe recomping is possible (gaining muscle while losing fat), and if so, is it as difficult as most people think it is?
I know that the magazines love to promote the idea that people can gain massive amounts of muscle and get super shredded at the same time. But honestly, it’s not possible to do both simultaneously. Now I DO believe that during a transformation time period if you are leaning down, you CAN put on SOME muscle during the process, but it’s not going to be a lot, and the main focus during leaning down is preserving as much muscle as possible while shedding as much fat as possible.
In the beginning phases, I’ve seen beginners who have put on some muscle initially as a result of changing their eating and training habits, but to those who are looking to add several pounds of muscle and get shredded for a show at the same time, they have to realize that those are two separate goals, for two separate time periods. During a leaning phase, you are in a caloric deficit, during a building phase you would be in a caloric surplus. When you are leaning you need to be watching your body fat to make sure your lean body mass is not dropping but that your fat IS dropping, whereas during a building phase you need to be watching that lean body mass is going up while keeping fat increases to a minimum.
Which athletes do you admire any why?
The athletes who have inspired me throughout my journey are the amazing WBFF Figure World Champion 2010 Monica Brant. It was her pictures that I had pasted on my workout binder for my first competition, and I had the pleasure of attending her FEM camp when I was just starting out and learned a lot from her. She is beautiful inside and out and what I admire most is her love for God and her boldness about her faith. She is the one who inspired me to be very vocal about what my beliefs were and to never compromise myself or my personal values.
Maggie Diubaldo was also an inspiration to me. I remember when I first saw one of her Oxygen covers with her amazing abs, I wanted to follow in her footsteps!
What are some of your favorite motivational quotes?
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams…Live the life you’ve imagined.” - Thoreau
If someone wants to connect with you, where can you be found?
I’m very active on the social networks, and if people have questions I do my best to answer them in as timely a fashion as possible! You can find more information on my personal website at www.DianaChaloux.com and you can also find information on our online training programs, (as well as multitude of before and after photos of our clients!) which are available worldwide at www.hitchfit.com.
I’m also on Facebook, we have a Hitch Fit Fan Page at http://www.facebook.com/HitchFit and I also have a personal Fan Page which can be found by clicking here. You can also find me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DianaChaloux. We have a hashtag community started where Hitch Fit current past or future clients can communicate with one another at #ruhitchfit and #iamhitchfit.
Do you have any tips for someone who is looking to compete in your sport?
Go for it! You will learn so much about yourself by going through the process, besides getting in the best shape of your life. Not everyone is going to be first place, or be a top fitness model, but EVERYONE is going to be an inspiration to someone, whether it is their family members, or people who see them on stage, or people who see their story in a magazine or on a website. If you are thinking of competing, and it’s a dream in your heart, then I say go for it.
You never know what the future may hold for you, and the last thing you want is for it to be 20 years down the line and wonder “What if?” Competing changed the course of my life. When I finally stopped making excuses and started making changes, I found my passion and purpose, I learned so much about myself throughout the journey, and I think that is the truth for every person who puts their heart and mind into achieving this goal.
What attracts you to the natural side of sports and competition?
For me personally, being and staying natural was really the only way I ever wanted to go. I don’t pass judgment on people who have decided to take an alternate route, but that just wasn’t the way for me. Personally, the main thing that attracted me to the natural side of the sport was the ability to completely maintain my femininity.
My outlook has always been that I will do the best with the body that I was given, and find shows that are a good fit for MY body as opposed to trying to compete in situations where I wasn’t a good fit for what the judges were looking for. I’m really happy with the decisions I’ve made in this sport, and I’m really happy with where I’m at physically, so for me, I know I’ve made the best choices.
Favorite activities and hobbies you enjoy when away from the gym?
Well, when Micah and I aren’t at the gym, we love watching movies. I also love to spend time with my family when the opportunity arises (they are all pretty far away). I love to read, if I have no work to do I love to just sit down with a good book. My other favorite pass time is playing with our awesome Bengal kitty (well he’s quickly becoming a cat!) Frankie Dux. We’ve got some pretty hilarious videos of him and his antics on Youtube as well. He keeps us entertained!