Page 1

Eating tips from Fit Chef Charlene Procope


Magazine Trinidadian




Barbadian Champion Shot Putter TRISTAN WHITEHALL









& Nutritional Therapist

Clair Haynes









Features Guru Fitness


Reshma Razac


Fit Chef


Luke Hernandez takes use through his unique explosive way to get fit

Trinidad’s New WBFF Diva Fitness Pro

Bikini Fitness athlete and chef Charlene Procope gives us the recipe for a healthy lifestyle

Interviews Kara-Lynn Belle

New Barbadian Body Fitness champion


Dwayne Hinds


Nikita Robinson


Tristan Whitehall


Jodi Gomez


IFBB Pro Ramon Dodson


Monica Telxelra & Javon Darrell


MMA Champion Fighter

Barbadian Fitness Champion

Barbadian Shot Put Champion

#BIG2015 CrossFit Women’s Champion


Barbadian Men’s Physique athlete Ramon talks about turning Pro and the business of Fitness

Battle of the sexes. A comparison between Bermudian Body Fitness Champion and Men’s Physique Athlete



Amazing Nutritional Benefits of Fats


The FIT App

39 62


Nutritional Therapist Clair Haynes gives tips on staying fit as a Mum

Gain Muscle by eating before bed


Maximing Fat Loss Pitfalls you want to avoid


Massage for Athletes



Tear Sheets King of Calisthenics




Leg Training with IFBB Pro Ramon Dodson

Yoga movements to help you ease your back pain.

Cooking Fit IFBB Pro Ryall Graber shares some healthy recipes

On the cover Trinidadian WBFF Diva Fitness Pro


Reshma Razac






We meet up with Monica Teixelra and Javon Darrell who talk Bodybuilding from a male and female perspective (pg. 98)


What does it take to be a champion Shot Putter? In this issue we hurl ourselves into conversation with Barbadian record holder and culinary artist Tristan Whitehall (pg.42). No one said success comes easy; sometimes you have to change your course. Kara-Lynn Belle is no stranger to change for the better. Read about her road to success (pg.8).


We meet newly crowned WBFF Diva Fitness Pro Reshma Razac on page 54 and get some cooking tips from Fit Chef Charlene on page 64. We train under the flood lights in Diego Martin with the Guru of Fitness, Luke Hernadez (pg.14) and at the dojo with MMA fighter, Dwayne Hinds (pg.22)




Welcome to another packed issue of RETRO-FIT Magazine. I always tell people how blessed I am to have the opportunity to share the stories and tips of the phenomenal athletes, coaches and therapists that I get to meet during the creation of each of these issues. The Caribbean is saturated with talented, unsung athletes and this issue is no different. We go island-hopping from Barbados with Shot Putter, Tristan Whitehall, and move on to Trinidad to train insane with Mr Guru Fitness, Luke Hernandez and MMA Champion fighter, Dwayne Hinds. Our cover story takes us to Las Vegas via Trinidad with new WBFF Diva Fitness Pro, Reshma Razac and finally over to Bermuda to meet Monica Teixeira and Javon Darrell before we head back to Barbados. I know that we don’t all strive to be pro athletes and, for many of us, the goal is not to attain a competition-ready body but to stay fit. Where better to get tips on training, nutrition and rest and recovery than from those who have made it their life’s work? For a lot of these athletes, fitness is not only a sport but a way of life and, often, their business. Juggling all three is somtimes easy, but usually tricky. Ask Fit Chef, Charlene Procope, WBFF Diva Fitness Pro, Reshma Razac or new IFBB Pro, Ramon (Doddy) Dodson. Doddy talks in depth about managing the challenges of being a Dad, running a Fitness business and trying to compete on the Pro scene with little corporate support. His story echoes the voices of many of the athletes that have been featured in this and past issues of RETRO-FIT. I hope that you will be fully engrossed in this issue of RETRO-FIT and thank you for taking the time to join us on our journey.




Richard Boyce


Koelle Boyce


Koelle Boyce Richard Boyce Ramon Dodson Jeffrey Gay Kerri Gibson Ryall Graber Clair Haynes


Photographflair Teko Photography






by Koelle Boyce

At Strike Force Gym Barbados

We sit down with Barbadian athlete, Kara-Lynn Belle, who recounts her journey from aspiring model to Body Fitness Champion. In May 2015, Kara-Lynn Belle surpassed all other contenders to become Ms Bridgetown Body Fitness. That night, she fulfilled a goal that she had set herself and begun working towards some five years before. True, she’s had her share of divine intervention, but Kara-Lynn’s story is really a lesson in patience, selfawareness and dedication.

A NUDGE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION Rewind to 2011. Kara-Lynn is at the gym as usual. As she explains: “I have always been interested in going to the gym to generally maintain a fit appearance.” She’s long admired fitness athletes, but never given any serious thought to becoming one herself. Rather, in between sets, her stray thoughts are about getting into modelling… Her workout and her thoughts are interrupted by someone who comes over to ask whether she would be interested in competing in


the Miss Powerade Island Fitness Pageant. She remembers: “I gave it plenty thought and decided to try something new.”

I really wanted to do.” So, after the Island Fitness Pageant, she continued to train with her team, hoping to compete in the future.

That encounter at the gym gave her training new focus, but it was another meeting at another gym that really proved life-changing. Kara-Lynn explains: “During the last few weeks of preparing for the Island Fitness Pageant in 2011, I had a break in training due to the closing down of the gym I was attending. That is when I decided to join Strike Force Gym. There, I met my current Management team of Summit Pro Bodies - Summit Trainer, IFBB Pro Lyndon Belgrave; Summit Coach, Carl Moore; Mentor, IFBB Pro Rosalind Vanterpool; and Summit Posing Coach, Matthew Pilgrim - who took me under their wings and assisted in the final stages of preparing for the show.”

Fate intervened again when the Barbados Amateur Body Building & Fitness Federation introduced the Bikini Fitness Class around the same time. The next step would be all Kara’s to take though. She needed to settle on a competition class – Body Fitness or Bikini Fitness. She explains: “The main difference between Bikini Fitness and Body Fitness is the degree of muscle required for both disciplines. Body Fitness athletes are required to have a lean but defined, muscular appearance, whilst Bikini Fitness athletes are required to be more lean, have less muscle but still a toned, curvy body.” Her decision at that point was entirely practical: “I choose Bikini Fitness because I was still new and inexperienced in the sport; and so used it as my starting point for actually preparing for a fitness competition as an athlete should.”

The experience of preparing for the show left Kara-Lynn convinced that “living a healthier and fit life is what


WORK IT OUT... IN YOUR MIND With the support of her family and friends and, in particular, her Summit Pro Bodies family, Kara-Lynn stepped onto the stage as a Bikini Fitness athlete for the first time in 2012. She remembers: “The first time I stepped on stage I was not entirely confident about my physique, but I trusted the advice from my coaches did my best and enjoyed every moment. I have a bold personality and I enjoyed every single moment on that day.” She was hooked, but she knew there was a lot more work to do: “It took me about a year and a half to achieve the Bikini Fitness physique that brought more confidence to the stage.” During that time, she trained her mind as hard as she trained her body. Firstly, she made sure to keep the end result in mind. She says. “I tried to train harder with the way I wanted to look as my main focus.” Then, she had to overcome one particular fear: “Initially, my biggest challenge to getting fit was my fear of becoming injured. I have learnt to trust my coach and trainer and believe that I am stronger than I may think. Training in fear WILL raise the probability of becoming injured, but training with confidence lowers the probability of such a possibility. Overcoming this fear helped me to train harder.” She’s also been learning to be kind to herself: “Achievements do not occur overnight, they take time,” she points out. “My current fitness challenge is remembering to be patient and trust the process. I constantly remind myself to stay focus and always remember where I began and how far I have come. Being impatient tends to create stress and a stressed mind and body eventually stunt progress. With time, I have been able to overcome this challenge and enjoy every small change. Slow progress is still good progress.”




KARA-LYNN’S BACK WORKOUT Exercise 1 - Chins (5 sets, starting with 15 reps, until failure) Exercise 2 - Lat pull downs (5 sets, starting at 30 reps) Exercise 3 - Seated rows (4 sets, starting at 25 reps) Exercise 4 - Close grip pull downs (4 sets, 15 reps)

Before long, Kara-Lynn would have to make another mental leap. For some time, she had favoured Body Fitness over Bikini Fitness because she felt she was more suited to it. She shares: “I thoroughly enjoyed competing in the Bikini Fitness category, but I believe that Body Fitness is a better fit for me as opposed to Bikini Fitness not only because I prefer the posing, but also because of the overall shape of my body. I have a naturally broad back and because of that, posing for Bikini Fitness was a bit more restricted and difficult. Overall I prefer the muscular appearance of Body Fitness athletes as opposed to Bikini athletes.” Still, having ‘grown up’ in Bikini Fitness, it took some time before she was mentally prepared for the change: “I knew I preferred to compete in Body Fitness a while before I actually made the switch but my mind was not ready to make such a change. However, shortly before my last competition in 2014 was when the decision to switch was made. With the advice and guidance from my coaches I worked towards the new goal of trying to attain the complete look of a Body Fitness athlete.” Once she had gotten over the mental hurdle, Kara-Lynn’s new goal called for changes to training and diet.

Exercise 5 - Bent over rows (3 sets, 15 reps)



TRAINING “The training is way more intense since I switched competition classes, but I welcome the challenges that come with the preparation… Some of the changes made to my training after switching from Bikini to Body Fitness were the increase in weight, reps and the frequency of training certain body parts. I now do chins, shoulders and back more often than before and my rep range has moved from 20 to 30 reps for the back, shoulder and leg exercises.” Bikini Fitness Split: Body Fitness Split: Monday Legs and abs Legs and abs Tuesday

Shoulders and triceps

Shoulders and triceps Wednesday

Chest and cardio Chins, chest, bicep

Thursday Legs Legs Friday Back and bicep Back and bicep Saturday Rest Shoulders

DIET “Switching from Bikini to Body Fitness meant pushing more weight and training a lot harder, and so I needed the necessary support to do so. The major difference in my diet was that I had to increase my calorie intake so as to help build more muscle and strength. Ensuring that meals were eaten on time was crucial as well to ensure that enough calories were consumed daily to have adequate energy to train.” Kara-Lynn’s Mean, Lean, Meal Plan Meal 1- Egg whites, Oats Meal 2 - Plain Greek Yoghurt/ Egg whites Meal 3 - Chicken breast/ Tilapia, Sweet potatoes/ Brown rice and veg Meal 4 - Protein shake Meal 5 - Chicken breast/ Tilapia, Veg, Sweet potatoes/ Brown rice

Kara-Lynn’s take on supplementation “I think that supplements are great for providing athletes with the additional support, vitamins and energy necessary to help support strenuous training and recovery and growth. However, although foods may not adequately supply the required amount of vitamins an athlete requires, supplements should never be the replacement for food… I cannot say that I have any favourite supplements, but an increased intake of calcium magnesium (calmag) gives great assistance at moments when my body seems too tired to relax resulting in possible difficulty sleeping at night.”

KEEPING GOING One factor that has not changed, in spite of Kara-Lynn’s switch to Body Fitness, is her drive. She assures us that her passion for competing is just as intense: “Competing is almost like an addiction. When I see the change my body has made and is still making from my first competition to present, it helps me to stay focused. I realise how far I have come and I have envisioned where I want to go.” Giving us a peek at what she has in mind, she reveals: “In 2013 I had an opportunity of travelling with the CAC team to represent Barbados and it was an awesome experience. My ultimate goal is to represent Barbados on the international stage… Being on stage for the playing of our national anthem… that would definitely be breath-taking.”



On the way to making that vision a reality, Kara-Lynn finds inspiration in a ritual that we suspect she’s been practising for quite some time before the switch: “Every time I look at photos of IFBB Body Fitness Pro athletes I get a burst of excitement, believing that one day I will look just like them.” Kara-Lynn counts Candice LewisCarter and Nicole Wilkins among her biggest international influences, while Rosalind Vanterpool and Antoinette Downie inspire her at home in Barbados. “The drive and determination that these women have is amazing,” she says. Apart from aspiring to achieve their physiques and success in the sport, Kara-Lynn hopes to also imitate these athletes’ ability to motivate others. “Knowing that my training and outlook on fitness inspires others to try to live a better lifestyle feels great and motivates me to try to be better; not only for me, but so as to continually inspire others.”



Kara-Lynn Belle Age: 27 Height: 5’9” Off season weight: 160lbs Competition weight: 150 -155 Lbs Competition history: Nationals Body Fitness 2015 ( > 163cm) - 1st Mr & Ms Bridgetown Body Fitness 2015 - 1st Nationals Bikini Fitness 2014 - 2nd

KARA-LYNN’S SHOUTOUTS I’m thankful for the support of my family, boyfriend, friends, David Alleyne (owner of Strike Force Gym) and my entire Summit Pro Bodies Family. Special mention to Matthew Pilgrim, Lyndon Belgrave, Carl Moore and Rosalind Vanterpool. I cannot mention everyone but to my other supporters, thank you.

Mr & Ms Bridgetown Bikini Fitness 2014 - 2nd Nationals Bikini Fitness 2013 - 2nd Nationals Bikini Fitness 2012 - 3rd Mr & Ms Bridgetown Bikini Fitness 2012- 3rd place












GURU FITNESS RETRO-FIT Editor-in-Chief, Richard Boyce, talks to Trinidadian Personal Trainer, Luke Hernandez, about his unique approach to staying in shape.

THE MAKING OF GURU FITNESS RB: What was it that triggered your fitness journey? LH: I initially got started in fitness through national football. I had been playing football for Trinidad and Tobago from 14 years, but when I was 18, I tore my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament – a knee ligament) and had to do a reconstructive knee surgery. After my ACL injury I became injury-prone and that was what triggered my fitness journey. I learned how important functional and core fitness was. It made me want to move beyond the fitness I had developed from playing football.

RB: After you recovered from your injury, you formulated your own style of training. Can you tell us a bit about it? LH: I initially started off with another fitness business called 24 Fitness and realized that everyone was offering the same style of training. I had my own [back]yard and I used to do my own personal stuff. I would go online and watch calisthenics workouts that were being posted and I wanted to advance them. I would always see people doing videos but the videos they were doing were things that you can walk in the gym and see, or you can go on YouTube and see. So I said let me try and do something a little different that people never saw before. I wanted to show my hard work and unique style of training, seeing that it wasn’t offered anywhere else. Feedback was amazing, inspiring and motivating. (Since I started doing it fitness videos have

become a big thing in Trinidad.) Viewers were inspired. They stared contacting me wanting to train with me and that is how it all got started. I felt confident enough to open Guru Fitness in my free time. With research and also pushing my body, I developed my own style of training.

RB: Where did the name come from? LH: The name came from my girlfriend. I used to do plenty pushups and she started calling me the Guru of Pushups. From there it grew into the Guru Playground and eventually we registered the company as Guru Fitness. My uncle is an artist so I told him that I wanted Guru Playground in a logo and that is where the graffiti came from.

RB: Your gym is quite unique. Tell us about the gym in the Gran’s backyard. LH: We’re located at 47 Pearl Parkway, Diamond Vale, Diego Martin (Trinidad). It’s outdoors and clients never know what to expect… The gym took a little time to develop. We started off with all self-weight equipment, pull up bars, dip bars and we had one or two other weights and plenty TRX. As our clients increased, they used to tell us about things they wanted us to add to the gym. They would tell me the things that they did and didn’t want to use.



Getting to know the Guru Name: Luke Hernandez Age: 23

other. They come up with fun ideas after the workouts and constantly motivate each other.”

Luke in his own words: Determined, energetic and brave

Favourite Exercises:

Luke in his family’s words: Non-stop, full-throttle fitness

Superman pushups, battle ropes and muscle ups – “They require the most energy and core strength.”

His biggest inspiration: “My number one supporters my family and girlfriend.”

Squats – “Because football was my hobby and to keep getting better you need to develop your leg strength.”

His ongoing motivation: “God and my clients. I try to build my clients like a family. They are always challenging each

Pushup – “Mainly because I am very good at it, but it also has plenty core and endurance in it.”



CONFUSED? YOU’RE MAKING PROGRESS RB: What sets Guru Fitness apart from other training styles? LH: My style of fitness is very unique; you won’t find it in any other gym. There are different levels of progression. Besides my unique style of training, I push and motivate my clients every session by developing a different workout which pushes them out of their comfort zone by causing muscle confusion. So, I would start in the middle of the progressions as a test to determine your initial fitness and work out a circuit.

Workout Progression – Pushups

Level 4

Level 1

Using a stack, pushing up and getting both your hands and your feet on the stack, increasing the height of the stack as you progress

50-100 pushups without stopping to ensure that you have enough endurance to get to level 10

Level 5

Level 2

Pushing up on your forearms and moving forwards and backwards

25-50 pushup and clap

Level 6

Level 3

Pushups sideways, forward and backwards

Using a stack, pushing up and getting your hands on the stack, increasing the height of the stack as you progress

Level 7

Pushup with waist-high elevation off the ground, allowing you to jump over object



“TRAIN INSANE OR REMAIN THE SAME.” The Guru’s approach to developing…


Mad Flexibility

Flexibility is increased without using a machine. Clients only use body weight and functional movement. We put markers on the floor to determine how flexible you are - how wide can you do your push ups or can you clap behind your back… We will use resistance bands to ???SOMETHING MISSING HERE

RB: You are known for your crazy physique as much as your training style. How do you [eat to??] maintain your physique while training all day, every day?

LH: My meal plan… Meal 1 – 5:00am

4 egg whites

Meal 2 – 8:00am

Protein shake

Meal 3 – 11:00am

Post-workout shake

Meal 4 – 2:00pm Provision, choice of peas and grilled meat Meal 5 – 5:00pm


Meal 6 – 8:00pm




By applying your core into every workout and movement.

Insane ENDURANCE I develop endurance in my clients by not having only long and steady workouts, but short and intense workouts, which allows clients to adapt to any sport or event.

RB: What is your favourite cheat meal? LH: I don’t have a traditional cheat meal. Every Friday people would come out selling wild meat and I would try something different each time. So, food like yardy (yard fowl), duck and dumpling, octopus …”

RB: What’s in your lunch box? LH: Provision, peas, veg and grilled chicken

LUKE’S SHOUT-OUTS To Trawn, Terry, Garfield, Rejane, Monique, Ravi, Brenda and the list goes on…





MMA Photography by Photographflair

GETTING INTO MIXED MARTIAL ARTS Tips from Trinidadian fighter, Dwayne Hinds.


ixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a sport that combines a range of martial arts disciplines and fighting techniques, including grappling, submission holds, kicking and striking. The use of varied styles in a single bout makes it an exciting spectacle for fans. If you think you would like to get in on the action and step into the ring yourself though, make sure you have what it takes. Trinidadian MMA fighter, Dwayne Hinds, fills us in. Dwayne has been involved in combat fighting for a long time. Now 31, he was introduced to the genre during his teenage years. “I first got involved in combat sports through wrestling in high school in New Jersey USA when I was 14. I excelled at the sport and from there I went into Judo, then eventually MMA, Krav Maga, Boxing, Sambo, Sancho, Brazillian Juijitsu and Muay Thai. It was a very natural progression for me. In all I’ve been competing and training in combat sports for 17 years.”





In that time, he has developed a keen understanding of what it takes to be competitive. Firstly, there’s basic training for strength, endurance and mastery of specific fighting techniques.



compete in so many arts that I’m always in the dojo and the gym training. But my main focus is MMA, so I spend more time in the gym doing weights trying to bulk up… I usually spend 1 hour in the gym doing weights… For strength, I do a lot of Olympic lifts -snatches, clean and press, squats, push press, deadlifts, and weighted pull ups. I also do a lot of complex and combos, like bar attacks and kettle bells work. Over the past two years, I’ve also incorporated a lot of gymnastics movements, like ring work in my training.





or endurance I do a lot of stair work and hill running… My outdoors sessions include a lot of trail running, running hills, and beach sessions. For recovery I take ice baths, an occasional massage, and get in a lot of protein through meals and supplements.



spend another hour or 2 hours working technique when I’m not in fight camp.”



Even when you’re covering the basics, Dwayne points out that you still need to train smart. For instance, it’s important to train to…

Peak at the right time


’ve always been fit for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been an athlete and enjoyed training. For me the biggest challenge is peaking at the right times, because there’s a difference between being fit and

being at your peak. Your training goes in waves with ups and downs. The key is to be at the very top of your peak come match day!!

So it’s finding a balance where you can be long, lean and fast to strike, but still compact and strong enough to grapple. Very delicate line. I get yelled at by my striking coach when

my shoulders burn out during boxing because my traps are too big, but then my traps are only so big because I spend so much time developing them during grappling training.

Achieve balance


incorporates contrasting styles, for example, you want to be lean, long and fast for striking, but for grappling you want to be strong and compact.



Dwayne Hinds Age: 31 Height: 5’11” Off season weight: 183lbs Competition weight: 170lbs MMA, 163lbs Sambo Weight Class: welterweight

Pace yourself

My t

raining program is very intense, but I do a lot less running and sparring during the off season, because your body will break down if you were to go all out,

all year. It can only sustain “the grind” for so long before it’s too much. So it’s usually 8-10 weeks all out for a camp then 4-8 weeks off from hard sparring and long runs.






CALISTHENICS by IFBB Pro Doddy Dodson Photography by Photographflair


It is said that a legendary physique is impossible without leg day. The words ‘leg day’ are in fact intrinsic to the word ‘legendary’. Check out this unforgiving, equipment-free, hassle free leg workout that can be performed anywhere… anytime! Perform 5 rounds of the following circuit. Do as many reps as possible of each exercise, in the allotted time, and flow from one exercise into the next without breaking. When you have completed the final movement, you may rest for 30 seconds before beginning the next round:

Full Squat to Calf Raise (30 secs) Jump Squat (30 secs) Pulse Squat (30 secs)

Full Squat to Calf Raise

Stand tall, with your legs just wider than shoulder width apart, torso erect and hands behind your ears. Take a deep breath in, push your hips back and lower yourself as if taking a seat. Be sure to keep your torso erect and chest high (DO NOT round your back). Sit as low as you can without sacrificing form or distressing the knees.



Alternating Reverse Cross Lunge (30 secs) Dynamic Lunge (30 secs) Pulse Lunge (30 secs) Rest (30 secs) Pause in the bottom of the squat for 1 second and then explode upward until you are standing on tiptoe. The upward portion of the movement should be accompanied with a forceful expulsion of air through the mouth and a conscious contraction of every muscle from the lower back to the calves (lower back, glutes, quads and hamstrings, and calves). Be sure to push the hips forward at the top of the movement to emphasize gluteal and lumbar contraction. This constitutes one rep. Repeat for the recommended duration.

Jump Squat Stand tall, with your legs just wider than shoulder width apart, torso erect and hands behind your ears. Take a deep breath in, push your hips back and lower yourself as if taking a seat. Be sure to keep your torso erect and chest high (DO NOT round your back). Sit as low as you can without sacrificing form or distressing the knees. Pause in the bottom of the squat for 1 second and then spring explosively into the air. The upward portion of the movement should be accompanied by a forceful expulsion of air through the mouth and a conscious contraction of every muscle from the lower back to the calves. Upon landing, soften the knees immediately. This serves to reduce impact on the joints and transition you from the air back into the squat. You are then, essentially, landing in the squat position. Be sure to sit as low as you comfortably can, and then repeat the process. Perform as many repetitions as possible for the recommended duration.

Pulse Squat Stand tall, with your legs just wider than shoulder width apart, torso erect and hands behind your ears. Take a deep breath in, push your hips back and lower yourself as if taking a seat. Be sure to keep your torso erect and chest high (DO NOT round your back). Sit as low as you can without sacrificing form or distressing the knees. Pause in the bottom of the squat for 1 second and then contract your glutes and ascend approximately 1 inch. Pause and lower again. This constitutes one rep. Repeat for the recommended duration.

Alternating Reverse Cross Lnge Stand tall, with your legs shoulder width apart and hands on your hips. Using your right leg, take a big step behind you and across to the left. Take a deep breath in and lower the knee of that right leg as close to the ground as possible without making contact. This should create 90 degree angles at the back of both knees. Pause and then explode out of the lunge and back to the start position (i.e standing tall). Repeat, using the left leg (stepping behind and across to the left) and continue the iteration, alternating legs, for the duration.



Dynamic Lunge Start in the lunge position (legs split, both knees at 90 degrees). Take a deep breath in and spring out of the lunge with a forceful expulsion of air through the mouth. Whilst in the air quickly switch the legs and land immediately in a lunge position. Be sure to cushion your landing by going straight into the lunge on contact with the ground. Repeat for the duration

Pulse Lunge Start in the lunge position (legs split, both knees at 90 degrees). Pause in the bottom of the lunge for 1 second and then ascend approximately 1 inch. Pause and lower again. This constitutes one rep. Perform as many reps as possible in 15 seconds, switch legs and repeat for another 15 seconds.

Ramon “Doddy” Dodson is a Fitness Professional, IFBB professional athlete and the owner of FWD Shape Up Transformation System®



Amazing Nutritional Benefits of Fats Over the years, we have been taught that dietary fats are linked to a variety of health problems such as heart disease and high cholesterol, but this is only part of the story. Fats play an essential role in our health, but if abused, it can contribute to health problems. Similarly, low fat diets can contribute to dry skin, leaky gut and food allergies, to mention a few things. To ensure proper nutrition and optimal health, one’s diet should be properly balanced. There are three types of dietary fats – saturated fats, unsaturated fats and trans fat. Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperatures and are found primarily in animal sources such as cheese, butter, milk, egg yolks and yoghurt. This should be limited to no more than 10% of your total daily calorie intake. Unsaturated fats are typically found in plant food sources such as canola oil, olive oil, avocados, fish, flax seeds, soybeans and almonds. These fats, which are usually liquid at room temperatures, are beneficial to cardiovascular health and regulating healthy cholesterol levels. Trans fat is created when an unsaturated fat is converted to a solid. Use of trans fat should be limited because they increase cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease. Beneficial fats Quality nutritional fats that can be easily supplemented into one’s diet include Kal’s Omega 3-6-9, Nature’s Way’s Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Solaray’s Flax Seed Oil and Nature’s Way’s Mega EFA. All these and more are available at all Fresh Vitamins stores across Barbados.

Benefits of consuming healthy fats Improve Muscular Development Healthy fat intake produces muscle gain with training because it supports hormone balance and recovery from intense exercise. For men, this means great mass gains from training and for ladies, this means stronger, tighter curves. Better Body Composition Your body relies on fat to stay lean. It does this by improving metabolism, balancing hormones and eliminating constant cravings. Easier Fat Loss Eating some fat is necessary for losing fat. Research shows that you can lose just as much body fat eating a high-fat, low carb diet as you can with a low-fat, high-carb diet, but with better metabolic adaptations so that you keep the fat off. Improved Endurance Consuming healthy fat also improves endurance to allow more frequent training without the symptoms associated with over training. It also speeds recovery from exhaustion and training sessions.




NIKITA ROBINSO FITNESS CHAMPION by Koelle Boyce Photography by Photographflair






Early into her interview with RETRO-FIT, Nikita Robinson shares a few juicy tidbits about herself.


irstly, she swears: “I hate make up and I prefer sneakers to heels any day!” By the time she’s told us a bit more about herself, we can understand why. After all, she did grow up with “mostly boys”, which meant that playing sports was a given: “I learned to play everything… football, cricket, you name it!” We can find a way to rationalize her second secret: “I’m a gamer,” she confesses. “We own a PS3, PS4 and a Nintendo Wii.” So, her competitive spirit spills over into her down time too. But it’s the third tidbit that leaves us baffled for a long, long time: “I love to bake,” she says plainly and leaves us to figure out how it would be possible for someone to follow two passions that seem so conflicting.

Nikita, of course, at age 25, is already an accomplished Fitness athlete who has represented her homeland of Barbados on the international stage, including at the 34th Central American and Caribbean Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships in Jamaica in 2006 (Short Class Fitness category) and at the IFBB Juniors & Masters World Amateur Bodybuilding, Fitness & Body Fitness Championships in Hungary 2007 and then Poland 2009 For our own peace of mind, we were prepared to tell ourselves that her baking is always meant for others to enjoy (never mind her later admission: “I love food!”) and that she is also the inventor of a device that makes her immune to the enticing scents that sneak out of the oven during the process. By the end of our chat though, it was clear that the explanation was much more simple. For Nikita, fitness is a way of life. That makes it easy to make day-to-day decisions that keep her in shape, even as she continues to follow her other passions. As she insists:

“Make it a lifestyle and you wouldn’t have to ‘make time’ for it; it would just come naturally.”



LIVING FIT So what does a fit lifestyle involve? Getting your mind right For starters, it helps to have and keep a goal in mind. Although Nikita had grown up playing sports, including playing competitive netball at school, her first serious commitment to fitness developed after an almost accidental introduction to the sport of Fitness. She recalls: “Dr. Andrew Forde, the President of the Barbados Amateur Body Building & Fitness Federation (BABBFF), was my cousin’s dermatologist and he introduced her to the sport and told her to bring someone along to try out a junior program, and that was me. That is where it all began, back in 2005. I remember it like it was yesterday.” Under the guidance of Dr. Forde and Shirley Garnes during the program, Nikita was soon focused on preparing for her first set of competitions. During her initial year, she would participate in the Junior Miss Bridgetown/Novice Body Fitness Competition. A 5th place finish at that first outing was a platform for improvement at the National Championships later that year when she copped first place in the Junior Fitness category. A second victory at the Miss Schoolgirl Body Fitness competition followed and since then, her success has continued both at home and abroad. While her competitive ambitions have kept her focused throughout her fitness journey, her motivation to stay in shape goes beyond that. In fact, Nikita sees her sport as a way for just about anyone and everyone - competitors or not - to “better their bodies and mind overall.” That perspective made it easier for her to return to form after the birth of her daughter. She remembers: “My biggest hurdle was getting back into shape after pregnancy. I thought it would have never happened. Every time I looked at my stomach in the mirror, I would say, ‘This has to go!’ I’ve learned to adapt and maintain this way of living after doing it for so many years.” Even if half the battle for healthy living is fought in your mind, the rest takes place in various locations, usually centred around either your plate or your favourite place to work out.



Getting your physique right Nikita is lucky enough to spend most of her waking hours at the gym where she works. She takes us through her typical training: “My routine consists of split sessions of upper and lower body focusing on the weak areas. My program is designed by my coach and for lower body we do a lot of explosive and isolation exercises. He designs the program specifically to cater to my training goal.” Ahead of her last competition, she began a new training program: “I started out with this amazing program at Surfside Wellness Centre called GG30, but my coach tweaked it a bit to suit me. GG30 is a program that gives you a total body transformation in 30 days.” Apart from her core training, her workouts also take her outside of the gym as they are designed to help her develop the flexibility, strength and cardiovascular fitness she needs for her competition routines. Her training includes gymnastics: “I usually do full body stretching daily, but coming around to competition time, I get in a few gymnastics classes to brush up on certain moves and to work on new ones.” During her last competition, she even included a pole fitness routine. She explains: “I wanted to come with something different. I’ve been practising pole for a little over 2 years with Vertical Performance Studios. It’s an awesome workout.”

Competition history: 2015 - Miss Barbados Fitness - 1st 2015 - Miss Bridgetown Novice - 1st 2009 - IFBB Juniors & Masters World Amateur Bodybuilding, Fitness & Body Fitness Championships in Poland 2007 - IFBB Juniors & Masters World Amateur Bodybuilding, Fitness & Body Fitness Championships in Hungary 14th Sportworld Eastern Caribbean Bodybuilding Championship in Trinidad


2006 - 34th Central American Caribbean Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships in Jamaica - 4th 2006 - nominated for Junior Outstanding Sportsperson in Barbados for the year 2006 - Junior Fitness at the National Championships 1st 2006 - Miss Schoolgirl Body Fitness - 1st 2006 - Junior Miss Bridgetown/Novice Body Fitness Competition - 5th


Getting your menu right Nikita’s top 10 foods Chicken Fish Broccoli Potatoes Eggs Brown Rice Plantain Pasta Cereal and… Chocolate!

Nikita’s competitionmode meal plan “6-hour window of intermittent fasting where I consume proteins, carbs and little or no fats. The caloric intake reduces as it gets closer to competition day.”

Nikita’s off-season diet “During the off season I try not to overdo it,” she says, even though she admits to at least one indulgence: “Like every other Barbadian, I love macaroni pie and I know I can’t have it when I am preparing for competition…”)



Passion for Fitness “I absolutely love this sport!” Nikita is passionate about her sport. She fully supports recent developments in bodybuilding: “Men’s Physique and the Bikini Category have been great additions to this sport,” she says. “These categories have encouraged more people to try this sport and that is just fantastic! In my opinion it’s what the organisation needed.” Still, she remains true to her Fitness calling. “I prefer Fitness and that would always be my number one,” she insists. She plans to make her own contribution to the growth of bodybuilding in Barbados: “I would like to complete the IFBB’s Certification to train others to compete in this sport.” And of course, despite all she’s achieved so far on a personal level, Nikita tells us she is far from finished: “At this moment my goal is to become Pro and compete on a Pro level.”

NIKITA’S SHOUT-OUTS First of all, I wish to thank my cousin, Debrina Robinson, may she continue to rest in peace, for dragging me out of the house that Sunday morning to join her in the World Gym to train for the first time. It was the beginning of my journey…If not for Debrina, I would have never have had the start I did or met the people I met. Thanks to both Dr. Forde and Shirley Garnes for taking me under their wings and moulding me into the athlete I am today. Thanks to Rosalind Vanterpool, my biggest inspiration and an incredible source of guidance and help, especially during my early days. Thanks to my first choreographer, Matthew Pilgrim, for the awesome sessions we had. I cherished every moment and remembered every fall! Thanks to my current coach, Mr. George Griffith, for taking the time out to train me and continue to help me to develop my body to the stage required for Pro level. Another thankyou to Amena Highland for standing in, in George’s absence - thank you, thank you, thank you! Finally, I wish to thank my wonderful boyfriend, the father of my daughter, Mr. Dakarai Knight, for the unwavering support he has shown throughout my journey. To all my family, friends, staff of Surfside Wellness Centre and anyone I did not mention, thanks for being there and I hope you all continue to support me.”




The FITApp We live in an age where there is an App for every aspect of our lives and fitness is no exception. So, we thought that it would be interesting to take one of those fitness apps for a spin to see if it could really help with achieving those elusive fitness goals. We were expecting to find quite a few on offer but the actual number was staggering. There were apps for weight training, 7-minute abs apps, as well as running and cycling apps, which made up the majority of what was on offer. To narrow the field down, we settled on a few criteria: 1. There had to be a free version 2. They needed to be versatile in their functionality 3. They had to have an online sync capability to allow for use on multiple devices. The App that we eventually tried was JeFitt. It came highly-rated on a number of sites and had very strong reviews. IIt could be classed as a gym diary but it turned out to be so much more



First impressions There was a serious dose of scepticism before downloading the free version of the App, but after using it for the first time, it was easy to see how it would be useful. The initial download gave us the simple workout pal, a much simpler App that is handy for persons just looking for an electronic gym encyclopaedia. That came with built-in workout programs and a catalogue of movements helpfully categorised by muscle group; but we wanted the full version, which required a further download.

Pros The initial interface was simple to understand and after registering it, it did not take long to get to grips with the controls and options. The app allows for varying levels of workout with beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. You can record personalised workouts, set body goals, create custom exercises, take progress pictures and invite or add friends. There is a catalogue of built-in training programmes from Building your beach body, No equipment at home workout to Kettlebell Ab Workout. Whatever your objective - bulking, toning, losing – it allows you to set your own weekly goals, target weight, waist size or other body measurement.



Cons To get the best of the App requires some exploration of the many workout options that are available. Putting in all of the requested personal information – like height, weight, percentage body fat – can take some time, but is only necessary if you are truly interested in measuring your progress on every front.

Conclusion Initially this App seems like an electronic gym diary, but with the workout timer and extensive library of exercises, it almost guilts… sorry, guides you into doing more of a workout than initially intended. Also, being able to graphically track your progress tends to bring out the natural competitor in you. You’ll always be trying to do that extra rep to beat your last personal best. Put the pen and paper down and pick up your phone. Try it for a week and let us know what you think. If you use any other Apps and you want us to give them a test run message us on our facebok page and let us know.






Tristan Whitehall

Barbadian shot putter, discus thrower, hammer thrower and (last, but not least) chef. by Koelle Boyce Photography by Photographflair


ristan Whitehall, is serving up the secrets to his success on the field. He starts off by carefully laying out three ‘D’s – first, discipline, then, dedication, and finally, determination. We look on as he adds a generous portion of faith, insisting that much of his success has also come from “trusting in God because He always has a plan.” Then, he adds the finishing touches: “Also, part of my success is because of Mrs. Barrow-Smith, who started me off, and Mr. Armstrong, who was able to give me the coaching here (in Barbados) that was needed to get me to this level.” By now, we’re leaning in, ready to dig into his full story. Unable to resist the temptation, we pick up one of the finishing touches first – who exactly is Mrs. Barrow-Smith and what about this Mr. Armstrong? How did they help you to get to ‘this level’ (which turns out to be nothing short of holding the current national senior record in Barbados for the discus (2kg), shot put (7.26kg) and hammer (7.26kg), representing his island at regional games and competing for his university, the University of Louisiana)?

Tristan is kind enough to give us the full recipe, an old one, dating all the way back to his elementary years. “In primary school I did a number of sports,” he explains. “Of course, they didn’t have shot put, but they had running events. Then, while at St. Leonard’s Boys’ Secondary School, my only sport was cricket. I was pretty decent, went for trials for the Barbados under 15s, but didn’t make the team. One day I was fooling around with the older boys throwing the under 20 shot put and threw past most of the guys. My cricket coach, Mr. Franklyn told me, ‘You should come throw for inter-school sports’. My very first year competing in 2009 I threw thirty centimetres short of the Carifta standard and

that inspired me to train because I wanted to represent Barbados. Then I began training with BC Track Club with Mrs. Barrow-Smith and the next year, in 2010, I made my first national team. In 2012, I made a change in clubs and went to Elite Distance program with Mr. Armstrong.” Ahhh, so there we have it. Still not satisfied, now we’re reaching for those three D’s.



DISCIPLINE Tristan is aware of the public misconceptions about shot putters:

“People always think that we are big, fat and lazy or taking some form of steroid”. He’s quick to set them

straight: “That is false in most cases because, just like any other athlete, we get tested and we have to be able to be as explosive as possible to get good distances.” Above all, top throwers need to develop their agility and power. That means putting in the hours of hard work, in and out of season. “My workouts can get very intense based on the time of the season,” he says. “In off season, it’s not half as intense as in season. In season, the amount of repetition gets cut down but a four hour session gets turned into a two hour session.”


DEDICATION As you would expect, becoming a champion shot putter is no easy feat. Tristan describes the many challenges to maintaining his competitive form. The first, believe it or not, is being based in beautiful Barbados. He explains: “Here in Barbados the biggest problem of staying fit for competition is having competitive competition. As an overseas-based athlete, that’s definitely no problem.” Still, being abroad doesn’t make the other difficulties disappear.

“Staying focused and believing in myself is the main challenge,” he insists.

So how does he approach it? “Trusting in myself, that I will show up, and visualizing me hitting that big mark. The hardest part to preparing for a


meet is the mental aspect going into the meet.” Then there is the problem of staying the course when an imminent competition isn’t there to keep you motivated. Tristan relies on his coach for guidance on off-season training, which usually involves lifting four or five days each week, plus conditioning – “running activities like one mile runs and high repetition sets to condition our muscles for the season.” Until those sessions start, though, far from resting, he takes his training into his own hands and into quite a few different spaces – on the basketball court or the cricket pitch, for instance. “As a thrower sometimes I do cross training to maintain my fitness. I would play cricket or shoot basketball just for the fun and do light running.”

DETERMINATION It might be ignited in an unexpected way. “My inspiration comes from the negativity in life and knowing that, if other people can throw far, I can do so also. Being able to convert

the negative energy of life into something positive can take anyone a long way.” It simmers through weeks of preparation. “I usually watch the high end elite throwers to build up a vibe; then it starts with the way I train going into a meet... Filling my mind with positive thoughts, reminding myself daily

why I am here. My mind-set is to do better than I did last meet or at least reach within a metre of my personal best.” Then it boils and bubbles over. Like at the Pan American Junior Championships of 2013. “Even though I didn’t medal, I came out with a personal best. That day I was determined to throw far. After the first round of throws, the rain poured down and I competed in puddles of water. Regardless of that, I threw as if the circle was dry.”



Developing power

Working on speed and agility “Agility is very important. Some days I do skipping, hurdle mobility drills, dynamic drills, plyometrics, speed skips and short sprints… In off season I do twenty meters by two. During the season the distance


gets cut to ten meters by two, with five drills each time. For the hurdle mobility drills, six to ten hurdles are used and with six movements, each done four times.”


“Throwing isn’t so much a strength event, but more a power and technical event. In the gym, the basic lifts are bench press, squats, clean and dead lifts, but there are numerous lifts that I use outside of them. Lifts like snatches, shoulder press, inline press, jerks, jump squats, triceps extensions and calf raises. My power is worked out based on bar speed - being able to move 80% of my max out fast for three or four reps for three sets. Some days I would do 100% for one rep, two sets for explosion, or sometimes I would do 60% at ten reps for four sets for conditioning.”

take part in the actual cooking, it was a great learning experience.” Despite his liberal approach to nutrition, his training as a chef does force him to maintain certain standards. Firstly, he tell us: “I usually don’t eat fast food.” At most, he has curly fries “once in a while”. Secondly, taste always matters, even when he’s faced with the restrictions of being a student at college, having very limited cooking facilities in his dorm. He explains: “I make the best of the cafeteria food. The only bad thing about the cafeteria is that it definitely doesn’t taste like my cooking, but with few additives, it tastes much better.”


Balancing speed and power “What my coaches have done in the gym is mix up the variety of percentages of my maximum onerep lift. In the gym I would do 60% for speed or 100% for strength. Along with that, we do upper body and lower body plyometric drills with the resistant bands.”

POWER EATING If it seems like there is no real let-up where training is concerned, at least Tristan can be far less strict with himself when it comes to his eating. Without apology, he lets us know, “When it comes to food, I eat anything whenever I want regardless of the high calories or protein intake.” He reasons, “Mass moves mass.” Whether we’re totally convinced or not, we’re prepared to let him have his cake and eat it too. In fact, we’re trying to get

him to bake the thing (bake anything!) and offer us a slice first. Tristan is not just a chef. In fact, he is as prolific in the kitchen as he is on the field. Coming from a family of professional chefs, he has not only followed in their footsteps, but proven himself good enough to win local chef competitions and, as he has done as an athlete, represent Barbados at regional events. “Growing up with people in my family pursuing the chef profession I wanted to do the same also. My chef dream was inspired by my neighbor, Quincy Rouse, when he was in the Barbados Junior Duelling Challenge. He didn’t win the year he did it, but I told myself one day I have to win the show. This was long before I knew how to handle a chef knife, around when I was 10 years old. Going to St. Leonard’s Boys’ Secondary School made the difference when Mr. Sargeant, the Guidance Counsellor brought me to the Food and Nutrition room and trained me day after day, teaching me some of the culinary skills. My first year in 2010 I entered the Barbados Junior Duelling Challenge. I didn’t win but I was determined the next year to do so.” And so he did. That win led to his selection for the Barbados culinary team in 2011, competing against and amongst “some the best chefs in the Caribbean.” He remembers, “Even though I didn’t

We’re about to wrap things up, but not before we try a bit of the centrepiece on Tristan’s spread – his faith that God always has a plan for him. As we’re digesting all we’ve heard before – his being born into a culinary family; going to St. Leonard’s and meeting coaches and counsellors who were insightful enough to spot his talents and dedicated enough to help him hone them; being led to his new clubs and being trained by coaches who helped him to excel - we recognize this plan as a potent ingredient. Where will it lead next? As far as Tristan can see for now, that should be to this year’s meets: “In 2015, more than likely I will be competing in shot put, discus and, possibly, hammer. Hammer so I can improve my national record.” A little beyond that, hopefully bigger and better things: “In five years I see myself continuing to open new chapters in my life, training and becoming Barbados’ first field event Olympian.” Success at that level should certainly help fill in an even broader picture. Reflecting on the shot put, Tristan tells us, “The event is a very under-rated event, like most other field events. Track and field is one sport but sometimes you get the impression that the field events are hidden on the back burner and the track events are always at the front.” Maybe this thrower-chef is just the right person to help move it to the front of the stove? He’s certainly been thinking about what it will take. “What I would like to see in the making is throwers in Barbados rising up to the levels of international competition. Also, programs that will help bring out the talented youth in Barbados and I believe it should start in schools rather than just clubs.” We’re already making our reservation to check in with him in the not-too-distantfuture.



Tristan Whitehall Age: 21 Height: 6’ 3” Off season weight: 260lb Competition weight: 270lb Competition history: National junior record holder in shot put with the 6kg - 17.64m Former junior discus national record holder Current senior national record holder in the discus (2kg), shot put (7.26kg) and hammer (7.26kg) with distances of 54.06m, 17.45m and 44.32m, respectively.

TRISTAN’S SHOUT-OUTS: First and foremost, shout-out to my family; current local coach, Mr. Armstrong; my local training partners; the Mason family; Chalise Jordan; and my other supporters who I haven’t mentioned.





You have worked hard to get into shape and you deserve a reward for all that hard work. Let your hair down, assume the persona of your favourite fitness model and treat yourself to a magazine-style photoshoot.


Put your exquisite eye for fashion to work and add that to your hard-earned physique. Top that off with some heels and stylish accessories.



We know that being fit is sexy. So, show it off! Make those glistening muscles speak for themselves and make jaws drop when they see your shots. We will be keeping it sassy and super classy.


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Take it to the gym or move it outdoors - you choose. Let’s see what you’re made of.



STRETCHING by Kerri Gibson Photography by Photographflair

Do you suffer from back pain and stiffness? Then try these yoga poses for a little relief.

Cat & Cow •

Get down on your hands and knees, aligning your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.

Starting from your tailbone, exhale and round your spine toward the sky, releasing your head last and looking toward your thighs.

Inhale and reverse direction, pressing your belly button toward the floor, lifting your head and looking forward.

Repeat for eight breaths.




Strengthens abs, upper and lower back

Stretches abs, chest, upper and lower back

Bridge Pose •

Lying on your back, bring the soles of your feet to the floor, about hip width apart.

Pressing through your heels, lift your hips up toward the sky.

Engage the inner thighs to keep your knees in line with your hips (try not to let your knees fall open).

Hold for 5 breaths, then lower.

Benefits •

Strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, lower back and hip abductors. Stretches the chest, shoulders, abs and hip flexors.

Locust Pose •

Lie face down on your belly and draw your navel to your spine, engaging the core.

Extend your arms either alongside the body or extend them overhead (depending on intended intensity of the pose).

Draw your shoulder blades together, engage the leg muscles and lift your chest and legs away from the floor.

Hold for 2-3 breaths.

Benefits •

Strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, lower back and hip abductors.

Stretches the chest, shoulders, abs and hip flexors.



Seated Spinal Twist •

Sit with your legs extended, abdominals engaged and back tall.

Bend your left knee and tuck your foot in toward your butt. Bend your right knee and place your right foot on the outside of your left thigh.

Lift your left arm overhead, rotate your torso to the right, and lower your left elbow to outside of your right thigh.

Place your right palm on mat behind you.

Lifting tall through your spine and drawing your navel in, gently twist and look behind you.

Hold for 5 breaths.

Slowly return to start position and switch sides.



Strengthens obliques.



Stretches lower and upper back, obliques and shoulders.



Seated Eagle Pose •

Start seated, with your right leg crossed over the left, knees one on top the other, in a straight line in front of your body.

Sitting with a straight spine, cross your left arm over the right and wind the forearms around each other, placing your palms together in prayer position.

Rotate your thumbs in front of your face and lift your arms toward the sky, feeling the stretch across the shoulders.

Hold for 5 breaths.

Repeat on the other side.

Benefits •

Stretches the upper arms, upper back, and shoulder






Trinidad and Tobago WBFF Diva Fitness Pro

by Koelle Boyce Photography by Photographflair


ne hot, July morning in bustling St. James, Trinidad, we sit down for a chat with Trinidadian WBFF Diva Fitness Model, Reshma Razac. We’re all set with our list of questions… only 30 or so. Reshma is unfazed. With her bubbly personality, she is happy to share her story. In any case, she has already answered some of the biggest questions of her life.






5’ 2”

Off-season weight: 108lbs Competition weight: 115lbs Competition history: WBFF Worlds 2015 Diva Fitness Model Short Class - 3rd and Pro Card



“Will you marry me?” Reshma is one-half of Trinidad’s self-styled ‘fit couple’, Reshma and Imran Razac (#fitcoupletrinidad). Together, the Razacs run a successful chain of supplement stores, operating under the name, BODYBYIMRAN. Reshma is the face and, we daresay, body of the brand, while her husband lends his name to the business. But she credits him with helping her to develop a physique that’s good enough to stand for BODYBYIMRAN. As she explains, “My fitness journey started when I met my husband. I was never into any sports… Yes, I was ‘gyming’, but not persistent. It’s been 9 years since I started lifting and living this healthy, fit lifestyle. I still can’t believe how time goes by.” It’s no surprise that she has lost track as, in that time, they’ve been busy building the business together. Starting off at a single location in Chaguanas, in Central Trinidad, the Razacs now count five stores distributed across the island. “My future goals are all about my business, BODYBYIMRAN,” Reshma tells us. “Expanding to more BODYBYIMRAN stores, providing the cheapest prices guaranteed and top line supplements... Just to keep doing what we’re doing because it’s working.” Thanks in no small part to Imran, it’s clear that her passion for both fitness and their business now defines her.

“Do you compete?” Maybe it’s because work has kept her so busy, but despite training hard and living fit for nearly a decade, it wasn’t until last year that Reshma gave any thought to getting into competition. Attending the Mr. Olympia in Nevada in September 2014, she met many athletes, including quite a few who asked if she was a fitness competitor. When she replied, ‘No,’ they were adamant. “They were like, ‘No, you have to enter a competition’,” she remembers. “I guess they saw potential in me.” By the end of the same month, she had convinced herself that she had what it took. “I was so motivated, thinking that I can show my fans, followers and supporters that hard work does pay off.” If deciding whether or not to become a competitive athlete called for some persuasion from total strangers, the choice of a competition federation and class came easily. Some five years back, Reshma had been introduced to the World Beauty Fitness & Fashion Inc. (WBFF) by “another fit couple” based several time zones away in the UK. “I found out about the WBFF while following my mentor Andreia Brazier, WBFF three-time Diva Fitness Model Pro and Tom Brazier, UK #1 coach, over Facebook.” She goes on: “While following, I would always comment on pictures of Andreia’s journey. She sometimes replied to my comments, and also Tom. Pretty motivating couple.”



Reshma was immediately drawn to Diva Fitness: “I decided to choose WBFF and choose the Diva Fitness Model category because I am all about aesthetics, conditioning, image, hair and beauty… the glitz, glamour, looking like a Victoria’s Secret angel all in one...” So, even though she appreciates the fact that her federation caters to many by offering several different fitness categories (6 to date, with plans for a new

“Wasn’t that difficult?” Luckily for Reshma, changing her answer from ‘No’ to ‘Yes, yes, yes!’ has been a fairly easy transition: “Now that I have decided to compete for the first time after nine years of training, a lot of people ask me if it was a hard step… My response is, ‘No,’ because I have been living everyday likeI compete. I eat and train and everything like an athlete.” Still, there have been a few tweaks here and there…

Training “My training routine hasn’t changed a lot, except that now I’ve added fasted cardio at 5:00 on mornings so that I can burn calories. So I only do LISS (low intensity steady state).”

Reshma’s weekly training split Fasted cardio every morning at 5:00am. “I eat, sleep and hit weights around 2:00 pm.” Monday – Leg quads, glutes and abs Tuesday – Back, hamstrings and calves Wednesday – Biceps and triceps ‘Transformation’ division well underway), she sees Diva Fitness as a perfect match for her. She goes on to explain that, for her class, judges award points for “hair, glutes, makeup, conditioning and how confidently I walk and pose” and that judging takes place during two rounds, with competitors appearing in both bikinis and costumes.

Thursday – Shoulders and glutes Friday – Legs, calves and abs Saturday – Back and triceps Sunday – Fasted cardio for 60 mins and work on areas I wish to work more on.



Nutrition “I eat clean and healthy everyday so there weren’t major changes. Eating is the easy part of my lifestyle. My nutrition went from 2800 cal when I was massing/gaining weight to as low as 1400 cal at 3 weeks out [of an upcoming competition].”

Eating for cutting Meal 1 – 7:00 am Post-workout shake, breakfast - 100g chicken breast, 4 portions grilled asparagus, 1 boiled egg, 15 roasted almonds. Meal 2 – 9:00 am 100g chicken breast, 80g sweet potato, 100g broccoli, 8g coconut oil Meal 3 – 11:00 am 100g lean bokchoi




Meal 4 - 1:00 pm 50g oats Meal 5 - 4:00 pm 120g tilapia, 100g cauliflower



Reshma’s SUPPLEMENT STACK IsoBolic Whey Protein Isolate Anabolic State Amino Acids ISO-100 hydrolyzed Whey NutraHouse L-Carnitine NutraHouse Fish Oil NutraHouse PhytoFood Greens Vitamins, including vitamin C



“You know you can have one, right?” Reshma has long been committed to maintaining her healthy lifestyle and is now absolutely focused on competing. By now, she has developed a level of self-awareness that sometimes sees her coaching her coaches, UK-based Tom Brazier and Imran. Talking about the changes to her level of fitness since she began weight training, for instance, she insists: “I have a lot more muscle now and I am also a lot leaner so my body fat is lower than 6%. It’s easier to move my weight, my body is more conditioned now, my fitness is very good… But, as I always say, push me harder! That’s the only way I will know if I am at my highest. Change my training up, try a new workout plan to make me complete and the fittest of them all!” Coaches are coaches for a reason though. So, as focused and self-aware as Reshma is (she religiously takes her progress picture and measures every Sunday, then works on her problem areas), it took the prompting of Tom Brazier to remind her that, on her journey, she should still enjoy the little things that she loves… like doughnuts. “I am not the person to have cheat meals,” she explains, “because, in my mind, I have worked so hard to get my body to look the way I want it to look, so it’s all a mind thing to me. But my coach asked me to have one every so often.” Then we get the real deal: “If I do, I have Chinese… Love, love, love that food! Dessert? Doughnuts are my best friend!” she laughs. “How many doughnuts can I eat or have I had already?” (Now, she starts asking the questions.) “I had over 100 doughnuts in a week once!” Hey, with all of her passion and commitment, we’re sure Reshma is going to be on her Fitness journey for a while. In fact, since meeting us, she has not only entered her first competition - the WBFF Worlds 2015 in Las Vegas - but placed third in the Diva Fitness Model Short class and won her Pro Card! A girl has to keep her energy up.



RESHMA’S SHOUT-OUTS Special thanks to RETRO-FIT for believing in me and giving me this opportunity and to Long Circular Health and Wellness Gym. Special shout-out to my husband, always standing next to me; my family; coach Tom; posing coaches, Alex and Toby; Tribe Carnival/Bliss; Dean Ackin; Gail Cabral; Chris Rama; Mua; my sponsors, NutraBolics, NutraHouse multivitamins, Spring Fresh Farm. To all my supplement company family and team, fans followers and supporters. If I forgot anyone, please forgive me.




MUMFIT By Nutritional Therapist

Clair Haynes

Low income shopping As it stands now, I make simple meals that both my son and I can eat using wholesome foods as minimally processed as possible. Chicken, fish, brown rice, oats, eggs, sweet potato, beans, broccoli, spinach, apples, bananas are some of our staples. If you have to use tinned foods aim for the low salt varieties with beans and veggies and with fruit, chose ones in their own juice not heavy syrup. And lest I forget, if you have no choice but to shop when hungry, buy a snack first before heading down the aisle like a granola bar, a piece of fruit or a pack of nuts. Low blood sugar will impair your decision making process!

Starting the day Breakfast especially can be a tight juggling act. Do not underestimate the power of blending and juicing. I would be lost without my Nutribullet! You start with simple 3-4 ingredient recipes and eventually you will work out what taste and textures work for you. It’s an efficient means to pack in maximum nutrients that are easier to digest


aintaining a healthy lifestyle as a parent living in one of the most expensive islands in the world is not a mission for the weak-hearted. I’m a mum of an active four year old son and even with a BSc in Nutritional Therapy, sticking to a healthy food and fitness plan can seem almost impossible. Between dealing with temper tantrums and picky eating, lack of sleep, limited babysitting options, working and studying 9-9 whilst supermarket shopping with champagne taste and a mauby pocket, I totally empathise when another woman says to me ‘I can’t do this.’ Having personally had to face many of the same challenges and still maintain a BMI in the ‘fitness’ range under 24 for the last two years, it’s become a mission of mine to be able to tell and show other women that they can. Here are a few tips and lessons I’ve learnt along the way



Picky eaters

No extra hands

You may want to reduce the number of dishes to cook by synchronizing what you eat with the rest of the family who are not on board. Remember first off that this is your journey not theirs so they aren’t obligated to like what you like. Fussy toddlers who don’t like veggies, and even adults, may have to be presented with the new food 15 times and up before they try. Soups and tomato-based casseroles are an easy place to start. Aim to keep limited junk in the house during the week negotiating what is allowed on weekends and special occasions.

Children have extra energy to burn well burn it for them! Put on the sneakers and take them outside. Have a 15 min interval training style race in the garden. Challenge yourself to 50 squats a day with a 40lb live weight sitting on your shoulders. Alternatively, I take my son to some of my workout sessions. It was hard at first when he would cry for my attention, but everyone in the class pitched in and took turns entertaining him. Now he is one of my biggest cheerleaders in and around the house!

Making yourself sweat daily is a big piece of the health puzzle. Women have a complex set of reasons why they don’t take their fitness as seriously as they need to.

Decide on a BMF

Scheduling NNMT Women, especially mums, struggle taking guilt-free ‘me time’ catering to the needs of everyone else leaving themselves last. I remember watching a financial guru on Youtube, Marie Forlio, who said every woman needs Non-Negotioable Me Time. Decide in advance what time of day, then length of time and stick to it. I remember when I made 5:30am my time to work out and my son went from 7:00am to 5:00am wake up calls. I put him right back to bed until he got the point! I can fight one excuse in the morning - ‘I’m tired.’ In the evening, I can’t fight 10 valid excuses.

Majority of the times women think keeping fit and eating healthy is all about losing weight and creating a body image decided by someone else’s cultural norms. Having been a chubby girl throughout my childhood and into my teenage years, I understand that breaking this thought process is hard and painful. On deciding your biggest motivating factor (BMF), if you make this your number one goal, it will more likely demotivate you when the physical results don’t manifest in the time you expect. What about your energy levels? Or being able to think clearly? Or simply being able to live longer to enjoy life with your family? Not every woman is a parent, so answers will vary but it is vital to know. For me, I want to teach my son that the best investment one can make with guaranteed returns is one’s health. Just like my mum and gran taught me in other facets of life, I want him to know that if I can, he can.






TRINIDADIAN BIKINI FITNESS ATHLETE by Koelle Boyce Photography by Photographflair



Putting the perfect recipe together. Those TV cook-off competitions are always interesting to watch. Even if you’re not a foodie, something about the ability to whip up something delicious (usually) and visually appealing by putting together 5 or 6 random ingredients, while working against the clock, is impressive. True, half of the time, the reality of these reality shows is questionable. But we think we’ve found a real, real-life practitioner of the art in Charlene Procope. Not only can she skilfully work her way around a kitchen, she also shows us how to combine multiple talents into a recipe for a fulfilling and successful life. Let’s tune in…



She’s no novice to fitness. “I have always been training,” she assures us. “I teach spin, love to workout, play sports etc. I started lifting weights about 2 years ago seriously and fell in love with it.” She also has a longtime passion for food. “I have always been cooking/ catering,” she adds, though she’s quick to admit, “But not heathy options.” Her catering company, Char’s Local Cuisine, serves up tasty dishes for events including company functions, weddings and birthday parties.



In the last few years, Charlene has been lucky enough to have a few great opportunities come her way. If we listed them, they might look something like: •

1 gym in need of another instructor that it can add to its roster

Several clients who want to get fit for Carnival

More-than-a-handful of clients who just want to eat more healthy food

1 bodybuilding show that you and a friend attend

(The last one turned out to be a real flavour-changer for Charlene. Get the lowdown below.)




CLOCK Add those opportunities to Charlene’s passion for food and fitness and we end up with a schedule that is as hectic as it is enjoyable. “Yes,” she acknowledges, “I am always at work and I love it. Everything I do, I love. So, I found a way to make money doing it. Teaching spin is work as well as getting my cardio in, plus I get paid… I also work at a gym on evenings as a parttime gym instructor and it’s great helping others plus I get to use all the gyms free that I train at or work... Sometimes my schedule is a lot but I make it work. The only time where my schedule is crazy is Carnival time when I’m catering fetes etc …but the rush is amazing, so it’s fine.” And exhale…

Charlene’s tips for healthy eating Mind the seasoning! One mistake that a lot of people make is adding too much seasoning and salt. They use healthy ingredients but it’s the preparation and the amount of extra flavours they want to add to the pot… That’s where they go wrong. Just let the natural flavours do their work. Embrace it! Roasted squash with a dash of cinnamon is amazing! Just bake for 20 minutes - you won’t believe how delicious that vegetable is.

Juice… not so much Juice is not healthy. I know it tastes great with your food but it’s loaded with sugar. Stay away. Dink water instead.

Mix it up You don’t have to live on brown rice or sweet potato and broccoli (although when it’s cutting time for athletes we practically live on that!). You can research and change it up. I try to keep my menu exciting.

Remember, you want this!



All of this comes together beautifully in something of an expansion of Charlene’s catering business and her personal re-branding as Trinidad’s Fit Chef. She owes the idea to her clients. “When I started to compete a lot of people started asking if I cook healthy foods and that’s where it began and I must say it has been going great.” Her company now caters for the health-conscious: “I cook healthy meals 3 days a week for customers plus myself and I absolutely love it, because I get the opportunity to read on the benefits of what I’m preparing to give people the best service for their goals”. She herself provides the evidence that those meals are worth digging into. “I have to look the part and live the lifestyle,” she says. “Plus, it motivates me into staying in shape.”

LET THE JUDGES SAMPLE Having early demand from her clients made it easier to reposition the business. “It was not difficult to start. Everyone knew I was a chef already,” she recalls. “Getting people to change their lifestyle and getting them use to healthy food? That was different story. The people who were already into fitness knew what it took but the ones who were now starting found it hard to change from eating regular to eating something that they initially considered bland or that had no taste.” In fact, she’s convinced that the biggest misconception about healthy eating is “that it tastes bad and it’s boring.” While she readily admits that “it’s true most of the time...” she is definitely doing her part to counter the trend by spicing things up a bit: “I do a lot of different foods. I try to introduce different things like quinoa, cous cous, gluten-free pasta and squid ink pasta just to show people that there is variety when eating healthy.”


Fit Chef Meals Nutrition Facts Serving Size 1 Cup Servings Per Packet 1 Amount Per Serving Calories < 600

Each serving contains: A healthy carb Protein Vegetables Salad (sometimes)

A lot of people are not consistent but eventually they would realize that being consistent is key. It’s a lifestyle…. You get used to it [the taste of healthy food], honestly, when you start seeing results. It’s either you want it or you don’t.



LEAN DIET Meal 1 Wake up, drink water, take my amino pills, drink some black coffee, then head to the gym for fasted cardio Meal 2 6 egg whites, green tea Meal 3 Brown rice with ground beef  Meal 4 Chicken breast and veggies Meal 5 Eggs again or tuna salad - all small portions, with a lot of water to drink.



TRAINING SPLIT Monday Legs quads /calves

Tuesday Biceps/triceps/chest

Wednesday Shoulders and back (as well as teaching spin)

Thursday Legs hamstring/glutes/calves

PLUS - 3-4 days a week: Cardio on mornings with core and abs for about 1 hour.

WORKOUT - LEGS QUADS: 2 sets walking lunges superset with 2 x 15 reps Jump squats 15lb dumbbells 3 x 20,15,10 reps Leg extensions 3 x15 reps Leg press superset with wall squats 30-45 sec Superset 2 x 20 reps inner with 2 x 20 reps outer thighs


HAMSTRINGS & BUTT: Lying leg curls 3 x15 reps superset with 3 x 15 reps stiff leg deadlift Seated leg curls 3 x15 reps

CALVES: Plated seated calf raises 3 x15 reps Single leg standing calf raises holding dumbbell or kettlebell 3 x15 reps

Hip thrust on floor with 25lb plate 3 x 15 reps Machine glute kickbacks 3 x15 reps




I went to my first competition with a friend and decided that I wanted to try it and I did and that’s where my obsession began with this journey. Just seeing some of the other competitors on stage inspired me to do the same plus I wanted to challenge myself to take another step where fitness was concerned.

[When I was preparing for my first competition in 2014] I didn’t have a trainer. I just worked out on my own. My diet was crap. I mean I ate clean but competition dieting is way different, like cutting out fruits and sodium and carb cycling. It was a lot. (Hmm……. probably that’s why I came 4th!) But I’ve learnt a lot from then to now and I’m still learning.

WHY? I love the feeling of seeing the changes your body and mind can go through, because this sport is both mental and physical.

WHAT? I love me some supplements. They helped a lot on this journey. Who would have thought muscles were this hard to grow and maintain? I get all from my sponsors. Thanks to them for supplying me. I am also a brand ambassador for Cellucor so I mainly use their line of products.


Competition weight:

Charlene in 3 words:

Height: 5’ 8”

140-145 lbs


Competition Class:

Competition history:


Bikini Fitness athlete/ Tall class

Trinidad & Tobago Junior Nationals 2014 - 4th


Off season weight: 155-160 lbs

Sportworld Classic 2014 - 4th Trinidad & Tobago Seniors Nationals 2014 - 4th

In her gym bag: Jump rope, gloves, waist trimmer belt and a protein bar.



Charlene answers the hard questions How difficult is it for you to maintain your diet, being around food all day? It’s so hardddddd! Well, at first it was. I love, love cake… But, the food doesn’t bother me. I feel like I ate so much stuff already, [when I was] working in different hotels and restaurants. But now I eat protein bars to substitute for the cake that I’m missing, so it doesn’t bother me anymore. What is your competition diet like, compared to your off season diet? Competition diet is crazy. I always eat clean, off or on season, but when competition time is around things get serious. No more protein bar; I have to cut out certain veg because it’s sweet.. Geez! What’s your favourite cheat meal? My favourite cheat meals are sushi, cake and cookies. Not big on fast food since I cook but I like me some snacks as well - Cheetos, Oreos and the list goes on! Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I honestly see myself being Trinidad and Tobago’s top fitness chef. Hey, who’s stopping me?

SHOUT-OUTS Just to thank God for helping me on this journey; my family and friends for putting up with my mood when dieting for shows; and my trainer and sponsors of course for their help and support. Much love guys! And thanks to RETROFIT for this opportunity.





One of the biggest myths about nutrition is that if you have meal within a few hours of going to bed it goes directly to body fat stores. Your total calorie intake, not the time you eat, determines whether you lose or gain weight. So, if you know you’ll be tempted to tend to snack late in the day, make an allowance for the extra calories earlier in the day to meet your target calorie count. Research has shown that your body is primed to build muscle right after your workout and during deep sleep. The body releases its biggest surge of growth hormone during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, the correct nutrition will take full advantage of these spikes to make greater muscle gains and can get you growing while you’re dozing.1

Examples include: Chicken or turkey They are both ideal. Alternatively you can use a low-fat cottage cheese with pineapple chunks and almonds for healthy fats to help slow digestion further.

Casein proteins A shake made with casein, a slow-release protein, will also do the trick. Consider mixing in five grams each of creatine, BCAAs and glutamine. Most casein shakes are low in fat. To overcome this, add fats by stirring in a tablespoon of coconut oil, which provides heart-healthy medium-chain triglycerides.3

Cottage cheese This is an alternative to a casein shake and is ideal before bed because it includes lots of casein protein. The addition of natural peanut butter to this snack increases digestion time, enhancing the snack’s ability to control hunger.3

Salmon Is a perfect pre-bed food source because it’s high in protein content and also contains healthy omega fats.3

Greek yoghurt Is another option that is high in protein and packs a calcium punch. Flaxseed can be added to boost the healthy fat content.3

Canned tuna Canned tuna packed in water is fat free, so it’s important to add healthy fats to boost the staying power overnight. Add a little olive oil and serve on a bed of spinach for an ironpacked snack.3 1 2 3

That said, what should you eat to maximise these gains? What you need is a slow-digesting form of protein that will last throughout your resting hours.




Fat loss

It’s summer time. So what does that mean?

Time to squeeze into skimpy beach wear and revealing carnival costumes; it is also a time for many to hit the gym hard in the quest for those six pack abs. But how to do it? Spend hours doing cardio? Starvation through the elimination of carbohydrates? Or maybe pop some fat burners and just watch the fat melt away. When it comes to losing fat, there are many pitfalls you should avoid. Don’t be confused by the tidbits of information gleaned from the Internet or the advice, both solicited and unsolicited, that you have received from fellow gym members. We’ll demystify the art of cutting bodyfat and also tell you how to practise it whilst maintaining some semblance of sanity.

Pitfall #1

Incorrect nutrition There is a hierarchy when it comes to fat loss. Actions should be followed in a certain order to achieve optimal fat loss. When it come to fat loss, following the right nutrition protocol is king. Heck, it’s the emperor. It’s the all seeing, omnipresent, master of the universe power. You get the point, it’s pretty damn important. Hence, pitfall number one is not having the correct nutritional plan. In this case, it may mean consuming too many calories but usually the inverse is quite common: undereating or consuming less food than is needed. You can’t out-train a poor diet and even though a

caloric deficit may have been created, it is still vital to consume enough protein and fats to maintain one’s muscle mass. Looking at it simply, we do need to burn more calories than we consume but certain considerations must be taken into account before we just go slashing calories like nutritional samurai. A simple rule of thumb I like to follow is to inversely consume fats to carbs. Meaning, once you’ve worked out your total amount of calories to consume which will place you in a deficit, eat a sufficient and consistent amount of protein, then adjust your carbs and fats to lose weight. If your meal contains a higer amount of carbs, then keep the fats relatively low and vice versa. Since both carbs and fats are easily used by the body for energy (protein may be as well but the body would prefer not to), it makes little to no sense to consume meals loaded with these two high energy providing macro nutrients if fat loss is the aim. That’s why low carb, high fat diets work for fat loss. Similarly, so do higher carb, low fat diets. But no where does a high carb and high fat diet work. You’ll just get fatter. Period. Not consuming enough sends the body into a starvation mode which causes the body to store fat instead of using it for energy. This is caused by slowing down one’s metabolism. Achieving an optimal metabolism is of the utmost importance and this can be achieved via a few simple steps: - Breaking meals into smaller portions throughout the day




- -

Meal timing, especially of carbohydrates, which should be consumed between your breakfast pre and post resistance training. . Consuming adequate amounts of protein to help our body spare muscle which in turn helps us to maintain our muscle mass. . Taking in adequate amounts of dietary fats.

Pitfall #2

Inefficient training The second pitfall is that of inefficient training. Too often have I been asked by individuals if, since they’re cutting now, they should increase their rep ranges, usually to 15 or 20 reps but using lighter weights. Or they look to add a plethora of isolation exercises to their programme. Yes, I’m talking about

you. The guy who is on his 5th biceps exercise. I’m always perplexed by that question. You’ve built your chest for example using 100 pound dumbells, for 10 reps. Your muscles are used to pushing 100 pounds. Now all of a sudden you need to do 20 reps but the weight drops down to 75 pounds. Those muscles were built and maintained using a particular weight. Drastically dropping the weight used, in the misguided idea that you’ll sweat more hence burn more fat can be quite detrimental to your fat loss efforts. Some strength loss will be expected since a caloric deficit equates at times to feelings of tiredness and not having enough energy. But purposely lifting like a wuss is not the answer. Focus on implementing those harder exercises, you know the ones where many muscle groups and joints are involved. Circuits and supersetting are a good way too of ramping up intensity.

Pitfall #3

Excessive cardio Yes, when it comes to burning fat, cardiovascular exercise is necessary. But there’s no need to be doing 1 and 2 hours of cardio daily, unless you’re training for a marathon or something. Cardio is used to ensure the body remains in a caloric deficit, which would have been created through the diet. So if I’m following a diet plan, which places me in 300 calorie deficit, I’m strength training intensely the same way as before, then there should be no need for me to be doing any more than 45 minutes of cardio a couple times a week. Endless cardio is not a good idea because you risk the possibility of overtraining, prevalent in many people who see fat everywhere in their quest for that 6 pack. Too much training can diminish your muscle tissue and this is something we want to avoid.

Pitfall #4

The use of fat burners Fat burners can be effective diet aids when used properly, the problem is they hardly ever are used correctly. I once read the following in an article: “Think of fat burners like a scope on a sniper rifle, only you’re trying to shrink fat cells. Diet is the gun, the heavy artillery; exercise is the firepower; and fat burners may help you aim a bit better and kill fat more efficiently.” -Shannon Clark Fat burners work in a variety of ways: boosting energy levels, curbing appetitie, increasing metabolism even promoting fat to be used as energy in the body. However, if you take a fat burner then go and stuff loads of junk down your throat , you won’t be ripped any time soon. Diet is still key. It’s essential to note too that more is not always better. Manufacturers provide a guideline of the recommended dosages. Always start at the lowest. Some caffeine is good for you but too much can be detrimental. Caffeine is the main ingredient in many fat burners. A simple rule to follow is: once you’ve got your diet and training schedules down, then you can experiment with fat burners. But if you can’t control yourself at the buffet table, you need to go back to the foundation- fix your diet.

Pitfall #5

Not being prepared Lastly, the pitfall that many overlook altogether - not being prepared. This may seem inconsequential but is quite important. In tying it altogether we need to set a plan, with realistic goals and sensible timelines. Having meals prepared ahead of time reduces the likelihood of you binging on junk. Having a training programme already established in your head or written before hitting the gym goes a long way as well. Avoiding fad diets where you lose fat in the short term but the fat loss cannot be maintained over a longer period. All this means being prepared to work hard and consistently. Fatloss is a marathon, not a sprint and it is necessary to arm yourself with a sound plan, and to be consistent. Staying committed is crucial and by avoiding the pitfalls mentioned as well as taking things one step at a time, we can achieve the physique we each desire.







by Koelle Boyce Photography by Photographflair Winner of the 2015 #BIG CrossFit Games, Jodi Gomez, journeyed from Trinidad, where we first met her, to Barbados to claim her spot ahead of some of the region’s fittest in May. In between sets at her local CrossFit box, CrossFit 12-12-12, and again at the Games, we got to know her a little better. “I got back into fitness when all my friends started getting married and having kids and I became bored” Jodi has been into sports and fitness for most of her life. As a child growing up in Aberdeen, Scotland and during her early teenage years in Trinidad, she swam competitively. A hiatus that lasted until she graduated from university followed but when she did get back on the bandwagon, she not only resumed her training but “started competing again as an adult in multiple sports”. Anyone who knows her family would not be the least bit surprised by her enthusiasm. As she explains: “My dad, uncles and grandfather were national sportsmen for Trinidad and the West Indies in football, swimming, tennis and cricket so I guess it was always in my blood.” She doesn’t discount the role her mother played either: “My mom dedicated many hours to taking me to and from swimming training and meets,” she remembers. But really, it was other people’s growing families that re-ignited her interest in fitness. She confesses: “As an adult I got back into fitness when all my friends started getting married and having kids and I became bored with the


nightclub/bar life. I set goals and trained toward them and enjoyed keeping busy doing things I had a passion for.” Keeping busy indeed… Jodi dabbled in quite a few things - “spinning, running, kickboxing, step classes, circuits, body pump etc…” Mostly, she tells us, she was “looking for something different to increase my fitness and provide a more interesting method of training”. She had resumed her swimming training, but was finding it boring. One day, while training at Rodney’s Revolution, where she did her spin classes, she says she “stumbled upon CrossFit accidentally.” She goes on: “I had no idea how huge it was all over the world. I started taking a few classes… I was actually using CrossFit to complement my swimming.” The first thing she realized was that she was nowhere near as fit as she thought. “CrossFit actually made me realise how unfit I was. Due to the numerous different functional movements and sports incorporated into CrossFit, you constantly realize the weaknesses you need to work on and flaws in your training. The ideology is not to specialize in any one discipline or area but to be good at all. So that made me realize that I was not well rounded at all!” In


particular, it made her see that, though her cardiovascular fitness was fairly high, her strength was not. She says, “I was always very weak, having never done any form of weight training.” She credits CrossFit with making the difference. “My fitness has increased dramatically since implementing CrossFit into my training regimen.” “You constantly realize the weaknesses you need to work on”



Firstly, there are the injuries: “I feel like I am often battling injuries due to running,” Jodi says. “I’ve struggled with shin splints, groin injuries, and sprained/rolled ankles, all due to running.” While all of her past injuries have one cause in common, she knows that CrossFit could take its toll as well. “I am well aware of the controversy that surrounds CrossFit,” she assures us. “CrossFit athletes just become more susceptible to injuries because of the variety and number of different sports incorporated into CrossFit as a single sport.” No doubt, it’s her insistence on form as well as frequency that serves her well. “Unfortunately what most of the world knows about CrossFit is what they see on ESPN in the CrossFit Games. In training, any good coach will ALWAYS stress on good form and technique in any movement. In the Games, form and technique may suffer in the attempt to win an event and priority is placed on speed. But this is not the norm in good CrossFit boxes nor is it advocated in training.” “Any good coach will always stress on good form and technique in any movement.”

At about the same time, she was drawn to yet another sport. She explains: “There is no real outlet for CrossFit competition here in Trinidad as CrossFit 12-12-12 (her local box) is the only CrossFit affiliate in the country. So I just keep trying new sports to keep busy and have goals to train toward.” She began to train for the triathlon. As she was already a seasoned swimmer, she needed to work especially on the other two events – running and cycling. Here, CrossFit gave her an advantage. “For a while, CrossFit helped me in triathlons as transitioning from one movement to another is common in CrossFit and that benefitted me in changing from the swim to the ride to the run in triathlons. The strength I built in my legs and shoulders increased my speed in riding, running and swimming.”


Even better, she found that her triathlon training made her better at CrossFit: “The endurance/cardio I build from swimming, riding and running helps me during CrossFit because I can maintain the work capacity without breaking/resting as often.” Both sports became and are still part of her daily routine: “Every morning I get up at 4:00 am and get in my triathlon training (swimming, riding, or running, depending on the day). After that I’d usually head to the gym and work on some strength or gymnastic movements until it’s time for work. Then in the afternoon I head back to the box and do a CrossFit class. I think training twice a day makes doing multiple events on the same day possible as my body has gotten used to fast recovery.” Still, managing her sporting lifestyle is sometimes tricky.


Then, there is the food. Apparently, her brother has taken to calling her “the Justifier” and she admits that he’s right in thinking that “because I train so hard, I feel as though I can justify eating junk”. She doesn’t mind telling it plainly: “I am really bad when it comes to having discipline with proper nutrition.” It’s not that she doesn’t try (“especially during the week”). She explains her strategy: “Usually I eat three meals a day, trying to keep my complex carbs to breakfast and lunch and lighter meals at night. But if I know I have a long training session in the morning, I allow myself to eat carbs at night too.” (Hmmm…. tricky, tricky… See our article on Gaining muscle before bed on page 67.) Apart from dealing with injuries and diet, Jodi is finding that, although they complimented each other perfectly at first, now that she’s been doing both CrossFit and triathlons for a while, they’re becoming “more of a battle”. She explains: “The more muscle I put on in CrossFit, the more load I have to carry through the water, on the bike and while running, which is not easy, particularly compared to lighter athletes in triathlon. Likewise, the more I break down my body in triathlon training, it makes it harder to gain strength and build muscle in CrossFit. So it’s a bit conflicting now.”

For now though, Jodi isn’t about to change anything. She’s adamant: “Once I’m healthy, fitness is just part of my regular routine and I don’t feel as though any part of it is a challenge. I do it for the love of it.” That kind of passion has also been fuelled by the camaraderie she experiences both during CrossFit competitions and at triathlon events with her Rainbow Warriors teammates, which sits in sharp contrast to her former days as a swimmer. “Swimming has always been a lonely sport so I really enjoy competing in races or competitions with my CrossFit 12-12-12 or Rainbow Warriors teammates,” she tells us. “This year’s Barbados IslandFit Games was probably the most fun and exciting experience I’ve had to date…. The community and the atmosphere are probably my two favourite things [about CrossFit]. It’s just amazing to have your fellow competitors on the floor with you, cheering you on, giving advice, encouraging and motivating you. The thrill of pushing yourself to the limit against people who you train with, admire and know are amazing athletes is just phenomenal.” “I do it for the love of it” If anything, she wishes there were more opportunities for more people to have that simple thrill. “I would just like if there were other CrossFit boxes in Trinidad and throughout the Caribbean that we could compete against in throwdowns. I’m not interested in trying to make it to Regionals or the Games as I’m definitely not dedicated enough to give up my life to CrossFit, but it would be nice to have competition to train toward and measure yourself against besides the girls I train with on a daily basis.” Until then, Jodi is counting on two of her CrossFit 12-12-12 mates, Lyndsay and Martine, to keep her going. “They continue to push me every day to train hard and keep striving to get better,” she says. Further away from home, she admires Rebecca Voigt. “Rebeccca Voigt has inspired me because she is the ONLY human being (man or woman) to qualify and make it to the CrossFit Games 8 consecutive times, since its inception in 2008 despite the competition getting tougher. Likewise, she’s one of the older athletes so even while there are young and upcoming girls who have been training in CrossFit since they were children/teenagers, she is still able to compete against them.”

Thinking about trying CrossFit? Jodi says.... Everything is scalable and adaptable to everyone’s abilities. No one walks into CrossFit knowing how to do all the movements or excelling in the sport. It’s a learning experience and the coaches and other athletes will gladly assist you in any way. We have senior citizens, pregnant women, teenagers, elite athletes, overweight people, mothers, working professionals etc all who participate in CrossFit simultaneously and the benefits to all are evident.



We do a lot of Olympic lifting in our program at CrossFit 12-12-12. We focus on clean and jerks, snatches, deadlifts, overhead squats, push jerks, push presses and front and back squats. However, as a supplement, some of us also do programmes outside of the usual CrossFit classes that include traditional strength training like strict presses, weighted pull ups and dips, bench presses etc. The Olympic lifting and body weight components of CrossFit have contributed significantly to my strength. The endurance aspect comes from having to move weight and your own body weight at high intensities, quickly and transition from one movement to another within the shortest amount of time possible. A CrossFit WoD (workout of the day) varies both by the movements incorporated as well as the programming (i.e number of reps, weights, rounds, time etc.) A typical workout using strength movements may look something like this: 5 rounds for time (as fast as possible): 100m sled push 2 tire flips 30 wall balls 20 kettle bell swings 5 push jerks (weight would vary based on ability of the athletes but regardless, all movements must be completed based on correct standards.)

Tire flips â&#x20AC;&#x201C; CrossFit prepares athletes for the unknown. Tire flips test not only your strength, but your ability to move the weight of oddly shaped objects. Atlas stones also help build that skill.



Push jerks are whole body, quick concentric lifts that target fast twitch muscles. This helps build upper body strength but at the same time your core and legs are engaged as you get under the weight fast to stabilize the lift.

Wall balls with squats â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Wall ball shots are a real gasser. Your lungs and your quads feel this the most. It definitely helps build endurance and develops glute, hamstring and quad muscles from squats and shoulder muscles from throwing the weighted ball. Depending on what weight you use, you can make it harder or easier to do multiple reps.



Sled push â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Similar to the tire flips and atlas stones, pushing a sled forces you to battle against a heavy, odd object with the added difficulty of friction. CrossFit teaches you to find the most efficient way to move and function in your environment, regardless of the task.



JODIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S SHOUT-OUTS My most loyal supporters have always been my coaches, Jamie, Rodney, and Jason, who are not only coaches but good friends too. They continuously support all my athletic endeavours and encourage me to continue to strive to be the best athlete I can in whatever I do. My sponsors, my family, and my girl Caro, who always keeps track of my events from across the world and never fails to be supportive and understanding regarding my training and competition.

Kettlebell swings â&#x20AC;&#x201C; There are various exercises you can do with a kettle bell, but the traditional swing works the muscles in the hips, glutes, hamstrings, lats, abs, shoulders, and pecs. This helps build endurance and strength but also works on grip strength which is important for the gymnastics element of CrossFit in particular.




IFBB Pro, Ramon “Doddy” Dodson, speaks to Editor-in-Chief, Richard Boyce, about becoming a Pro athlete and the business of Fitness.

Turning Pro

RB: I remember speaking to you backstage at a show in Barbados a little while ago. You were preparing an athlete for the show, but not competing yourself. You went from that to earning your Pro Card at the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games (CACs) just about a year later - a big turnaround! How did it feel winning that Pro card? RDD: Becoming an IFBB Pro came with a remarkable feeling of accomplishment. The decision to begin competing as a Men’s Physique athlete had been heavily hinged on the desire to earn a Pro card. Mission accomplished! RB: Since then, you’ve competed in your first Pro show. Let’s talk about that a little. Did you do anything different in your preparation for your Pro debut that you had not done as an amateur? RDD: Yes, I made some changes to my offseason training and nutrition,


which took me to my heaviest weight ever at 215lbs. (My previous heaviest had been 202lbs). My contest prep, nutrition and training also comprised new protocols. This paved the way for me to step on stage with more muscle density and quality, and enabled me to compete almost 20lbs heavier than I had been at the CAC games, where I earned my Pro card. The major changes in my training approach came via the incorporation of power lifting movements, occlusion training and HST (Hypertrophy-Specific Training) variants. RB: So, what was it like to step onto the big stage for the first time?


RDD: The protocols aren’t vastly different. The most significant differences relate to posing and the accepted levels of muscularity. At the Pro level, posing is very fast and to the point... but the judges are more liberal with what they will allow as it relates to body positioning and showmanship. Additionally, Men’s Physique athletes are allowed to compete a fair measure larger than what is acceptable at the amateur level. RB: What was the first thing that struck you at the show? RDD: I went expecting to find mass monsters, to be honest... but most of the guys were around my size, which was a shock... and a relief. RB: What was the biggest difference? RDD: The top 3 guys had very notable shoulders.

A day in the life of Doddy RB: Off the stage, you’re balancing duties as a Daddy of two (soon to be three) kids and you run your own Fitness company. How do you find the time to get it all done? RDD: Things can get a bit crazy sometimes... but with the help of family, calculated scheduling and prioritising... and a little prayer, somehow I get through each day. Each day is a new adventure, but they usually go something like… 6:00 – 8:00 am: Breakfast and morning clients 8:30 am: See kids off to school 9:00 am: Prep and consume meal 2 9:30 am – 1:00 pm: Errands, business transactions, leisurely activities, nap, guitar/ song writing. Meal 3 tends to fall somewhere in here 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Answer business emails, update social media, update databases etc.; Have meal 4 3:00 pm: Collect kids from school 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm: Family time; prep for Shape Up class; Meal 5 5:30 – 6: 30pm: Teaching Shape Up 7:00 pm – 11:30 pm: Evening clients; my own training; Meals 6 and 7 12:00 midnight – 3:00 am: Family time, work on Nutrition Plans, Exercise Plans, Research etc.; Meals 8 and 9



RB: Looking back at the show, what do you think was your biggest rookie mistake? RDD: There are no mistakes.... only opportunities to learn, which we must embrace. The biggest lesson I learned might perhaps be that a rookie Pro ought not to debut at an inaugural competition!

create sponsorship opportunities for oneself. The competition is fierce in this environment but with patience and bit of fortune an athlete can land a deal. Two months ago I was fortunate enough to land a small-scale sponsorship deal with the supplement company, “Ultrashake” a small but significant victory... The quest for financial support continues...

RB: Has life changed since you got your Pro card?

RB: Did your Pro show experience give you new insight into getting sponsored?

RDD: There is a certain level of respect and admiration that comes with Pro status. I have been able to generate a little more interest in myself as an athlete, and my brand, as a result.

RDD: One thing is clear, the most direct and effective way to get noticed as an athlete is to compete regularly. Competing regularly is particularly difficult for a Pro who lives in the Caribbean as a vast majority of the Pro shows take place in North America (the rest scattered across the globe as far as New Zealand). When one factors in the everyday expenses (food, supplements, gym fees, to name a few) required to compete at the highest level, the idea of competing regularly or travelling to meet sponsors becomes inconceivable. As such, the most feasible resource available to an athlete, if national support is lacking, is the internet, and more specifically, social media.

RB: Following your Pro debut, what do you plan to work on for your next show? RDD: Definitely some more sponsorship... Competing as a Pro Men’s Physique athlete is very financially demanding. One can never have too much exposure either. Having a strong social media presence and following has been known to create many opportunities for athletes. As it relates to my physique, there is ALWAYS work to be done...and I plan to improve in every conceivable aspect and in every conceivable way!

Financially Fit

RB: I’m glad you mentioned sponsorship. In all professional sports, athletes seek that elusive sponsorship package that is going to give them not only the financial flexibility to achieve their goals but also the knowledge and exposure to compete on the world stage. What has your experience been like trying to get sponsorship? RDD: Seeking sponsorship in Barbados has been quite challenging. Organisations seem a bit reluctant to aid athletes in the sport of Bodybuilding. There aren’t many Pros in the island and the few who competed this year all highlighted similar struggles when I spoke with them. It is quite disheartening, really. I am thankful to the Barbados Public Worker’s Cooperative Credit Union, the Strike Force Gym and the UWI Academy of Sport for their support (financial or otherwise) in my short career thus far. On the flip side, the existence of the internet renders the world accessible, and through social media and other online platforms, one can


Fitness as a profession

RB: Let’s talk a bit more about your business, Fitness With Doddy (FWD). Winning shows is one way that a lot of professional athletes monetise their skills on stage but to be truly successful in the Fitness industry you have to do more off stage than on. You can’t really live on show earnings. How did you go about creating your brand? RDD: The brand, FWD or Fitness With Doddy, was birthed out of the marriage of two career paths – my journey as an athlete, coupled with my profession as a Wellness Consultant. The two realms overlap and function cohesively together. I live what I try to instil in my clients.

RB: Have you found that doing the shows has improved the visibility of your brand? RDD: That is difficult to measure at this stage. My career as a Pro Men’s Physique athlete is still in its infancy... but I envision that my success as an athlete will carry over to my career as a Wellness Consultant.


LEAN DIET Meal 1: 6-8 eggs scrambled Meal 2: 2 cans of tuna with an assortment of vegetables Meal 3: English potato and a lean steak with salad Meal 4: Brown rice and steak fish with salad Meal 5: Intra workout blend of Powerade/ Gatorade and whey protein Meal 6: Post workout shake with oats Meal 7: Sweet potato and chicken breast Meal 8: Casein



Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s next for Doddy?

As an athlete, I shall endeavour to keep working on my package and aim to do some shows in 2016/2017. As a wellness professional, I continue to expand my business, charged with the mission of improving the quality of life of thousands worldwide.



IFBB Pro Ramon “Doddy” Dodson Age: 29 Height: 6’ Off season weight: 215lbs Competition weight: 195lbs Competition History: Darcy Beckles Classic 2013 SportWorld Classic 2014 Barbados Nationals 2014 CAC Games 2014 Puerto Rico Pro 2015

Photography by Photographflair




t Quinoa

with IFBB Pro Ryall Graber Breakfast Quinoa Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened almond milk p unsweetened almond milk 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed

up quinoa, Stevia orrinsed Truvia and cinnamon to taste 1tbsp flax seed or chia seed

a or Truvia and cinnamon to taste Directions

Bring milk boil in aseed small saucepan. Add quinoa, and p flax seed orto achia return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until three-quarters of the almond milk has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.

ato Soufflé

Stir in sugar, chia and cinnamon. Cook, covered, until almost all the milk has been absorbed, about 8 minutes. Stir in blueberries, and cook for 30 seconds.

You could also try to prepare in the microwave with frequent stirring although stovetop tastes better

a boil in6-Pack a small saucepan. Add quinoa, and return to a boil. Reduce Sweet Potato Soufflé until three-quarters of the almond milk has nd simmer, covered, Makes 2.5 cups ed, about 15 minutes. Ingredients

3 large sweet potatoes chia and cinnamon. Cook, covered, until almost all the milk has 3/4 cup almond milk ed, about 8 minutes. Stir in blueberries, and cook for 30 seconds. 3 tbsp honey

tbsp I can’t believe its not butter o try to2 prepare in the microwave with frequent stirring - although butter 3 egg whites es better 1/4 tsp cinnamon 5 packets of stevia or truvia Dash of nutmeg Dash of chili powder (more if you want it spicy)

Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Dash of crushed red pepper flakes (more if you want it spicy)

2. Cook sweet potatoes in microwave until soft (about 15 min).

1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

3. Remove skin and put in pot on medium heat.

you want it spicy) flakes (more if you want it spicy) walnuts up (optional) 1/8 cup sugar free maple syrup (optional)


4. Add butter, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, chili powder, red pepper flakes and maple syrup (optional).


5. Mash this mixture into creamy consistency. 6. In separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form and gently fold into potato mixture. 7. Transfer to casserole dish, sprinkle with nuts and make for 20-25 minutes (until egg is set).

Nutritional Info: Serving size: 1/2 cup

Carbohydrates: 27g

Calories: 152

Protein: 6.3g

Fat: 4.8g

Sugar: 11g






â&#x20AC;&#x153;My favorite preservative-free, fresh marinades created by


Combine herbs as outlined with extra-virgin, organic Olive or Coconut oil,blend in powerful blender (700 watts or more) and pour onto fresh meat.

Healthy Lifestyle Chef Elan Goodmanâ&#x20AC;? Ryall

Ingredients Protein ~ Chicken

Coriander Protein ~ Fish Dill Coriander

Marinade over night or freeze with fresh meats.




Parsley Onion

with extra-virgin, organic Olive or Coconut oil,

700 watts or more) and pour onto fresh meat.

ze with fresh meats.

Breakfast Quinoa Ingredients



1 cup unsweetened almond milk 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed

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By Jeffrey Gay

Massage therapy is usually seen as a service used only on special occasions or as a last resort when pain becomes unbearable. Even though awareness is increasing about the service itself many people still seem to have reservations about having a treatment done... If only they experienced the magnificent results firsthand!

While it is a common reason for most people to book a massage treatment, relaxation is not the only benefit massage therapy offers. Especially if you’re an athlete, massage can be a great addition to your recovery and recuperation tool box. Training intensely day in and day out takes a toll on the body, particularly on the skeletal, muscular and nervous systems. Over time, athletes’ vigorous training regimens can cause their muscles to become tensed, which, when left untreated, can eventually cause skeletal problems as well. Muscles attach to bone in order to produce movement, therefore, if the muscles are constantly tensed, this can cause skeletal misalignment, which will result in suboptimal movement patterns and decreased range of motion and can also result in injury. Massage helps to decrease these effects by helping the muscles to relax, break down scar tissue, remove lactic acid and improve circulation, all of which will improve both recovery and performance.

Improves recovery Massage helps to improve recovery and recuperation by improving circulation. The techniques used during a massage treatment help to increase blood flow around the body, thereby allowing it to remove waste products like built up lactic acid. At the same time, the rate at which oxygenated blood and nutrients reach the body’s various systems is increased.


had first-hand experience with this. After having muscle soreness from my workouts and then receiving a massage within a few hours, the soreness dissipated at a much quicker rate. So, for athletes training intensely and often, such as during the competitive phase of a training program, I usually recommend that they also increase their focus on their recovery by increasing the frequency of their treatments, engaging in more regular stretching, increasing their water intake and trying to take regular naps along with getting a good night’s rest.



Stretches soft tissue Most of the restriction in the flexibility of a muscle occurs because of the connective tissue that surrounds the muscles and the muscle fibres. Massage, through the use of the hands, helps to stretch the connective tissue and separate parallel muscle fibres. This manual stimulation helps to lengthen the muscles and increases blood flow to the area, aiding in recovery and helping to increase range of motion. A sports massage, for example, utilizes a variety of stretches.

Pain relief When in pain, most persons will instinctively rub the affected area in an attempt to soothe it. They are, in essence, performing self-massage. Pain can be debilitating and can cause decreased performance in training and the sporting activity itself and can even halt or reverse progress.


had persons come to me unable to walk upright or sleep comfortably because of pain they have left unresolved. By first figuring out the source of the problem – whether it is a tight muscle or pain caused by trauma – a massage can be targeted to the area and can cause almost immediate relief. This is, of course, dependent on the severity of the injury and how long it was left untreated; the longer an ailment has been untreated, the more likely the requirement for successive treatments. If the problem is a skeletal problem like a misalignment or weak muscles which need exercise, I can always refer the client to the appropriate professional, like a chiropractor or personal trainer.

Promotes healing An injury usually decreases a person’s mobility, which causes the healing process to become even slower. A massage helps to improve the processes associated with healing by aiding in warming the tissues, dilating the blood vessels and increasing blood flow, allowing the capillary walls to become more permeable. This increased circulatory response allows waste products to be removed and elements like oxygen and various nutrients necessary for enhancing recovery to enter more easily.

Depending on the client’s complexion, I can actually see the increased circulation to the area being worked; the skin becomes ‘flushed’, or shows redness beneath the surface and the area becomes warm. That’s how I know the treatment is having a positive effect, apart from feedback given during and after the treatment.



Promotes confidence

Improves performance

Massage also helps to increase confidence. It enhances feelings of overall wellbeing and mental clarity by encouraging relaxation. Also, by removing tension from the muscles of the body, it helps to improve body posture, relaxing the shoulders and muscles of the upper back, resulting in a more upright and relaxed demeanour.

The one thing all athletes are after is the best performance they can give! Massage helps to improve performance through all of the benefits I listed previously. Their bodies have recovered optimally; their muscles are relaxed and their joints are free to move through a full range of motion; their posture is correct, making their movement patterns that much more smooth; and their nervous system has had a chance to recover so they don’t feel burnt out!

“I remember one particular client –

an elderly lady who had a bad case of sciatica, which results in tightness in the lower back and a sharp shooting pain down the leg – telling me how it was affecting her outlook on life. The only thing she could focus on was the pain and how it was taking away from her retirement. However, after regular treatments for about a month, along with a lot of stretching focusing on a variety of muscles, she was able to resume a normal life. This was after living with this pain for years; she simply did not know that she just needed to get treatment.

The day that it really hit home for me just how much massage therapy benefits both the everyday person and the competitive athlete was while I was working at the Barbados Secondary Schools Athletic Championships this year with fellow therapists. Athlete after athlete came in with injuries or pains and to watch them go out after receiving their treatments and outperform their opponents was a satisfying feeling. Many actually went on to win their events and came back to thank our team of therapists. It was really motivating to see the benefits of our work in action.





We profile two of Bermuda’s top Fitness athletes, who help us to shed some light on their sport from both a male and female perspective. From inspiration to training to cheat meals, we discover quite a few things that seem to apply equally to both sexes.


Monica Teixeira

Figure Fitness Athlete Age: 23 Height: 5’ 1” Off season weight: 125-130 lbs Competition weight: 110-115 lbs Competition history: Bermuda Night of Champions (NOC) 2013 & 2014 Bermuda Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation Fitness Extravaganza 2015 - 1st place Bermuda NOC 2015 Women’s Figure Fitness (A) – 1st place



& JAVON Javon Darrell

Men’s Physique Athlete Age: 37 Height: 5’ 8” Off season weight: 210 lbs Competition weight: 175 lbs Competition history: Bermuda Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation Fitness Extravaganza 2015 - 2nd place Bermuda Night of Champions 2015 Men’s Physique (A) – 3rd place



Finding inspiration Don’t underestimate the power of friends & family What triggered your fitness journey? MT: I was never athletic or into sports as a kid. In fact I lived a pretty sedentary lifestyle up until university. There I met some super fit college friends who dragged my lazy bum to the gym one day. At first I could only complete 6 1/2 minutes on the recumbent bike! I wasn’t very fit at all!!! But I was determined to get there, and I have been training in the gym ever since.

What inspired your decision to compete? MT: When I returned to Bermuda from university I started training at Seaview gym. There I met Ross Caesar, who encouraged me to try competing and give my training a goal to work towards.

What drives you to keep fit? MT: I can’t keep my butt still (almost to a fault). When I don’t train I feel weird and out of place. So I can’t stay out of the gym for more than three days before I start feeling antsy. I do have workouts which are more motivated/ productive than others. But I’ve never felt so unmotivated that I haven’t been able to train for an extended period of time.

Who are the competitors that you look up internationally and locally? MT: Locally: Sabrina Burgess, 4x Miss Bermuda Figure. Internationally: Nicole Wilkins, Dana Lynn Bailey, and Tycie Coppet. I’m also a huge fan of some newer faces – Tina Nyugen (@tinang13) and Shanique Grant (@finessbeauty) who are redefining the shape of Figure fitness in the bodybuilding world.



What triggered your fitness journey? JD: I have been training for over 10 years. That all started from my fiancée, who was in the gym. I decided to join her and got hooked.

What inspired your decision to compete? JD: It was [just] a goal of mine to compete one day, until my daughter, Nova, was born, and then I strived to make it a reality. Initially I was interested in bodybuilding and then I heard of the Physique class. I realized I was a better build for Men’s Physique.

What drives you to keep fit? JD: My motivation is my family and friends who are also into weight training. So I’m in a circle of people who also train. Also, my Body on Fire team are very positive, motivating and inspiring.

Who are the competitors that you look up internationally and locally? JD: Locally, I look up to Tyrone “Hafid” James, Dion Brangman, Bernard Opoku and Pro Muhsin Nasir because, in my opinion, they are the top 4 Men’s Physique athletes in Bermuda. And also my coach, IFBB Pro Bryan Carmichael, because, in my opinion, he is the best coach on the island. Internationally, I’m a big fan of Phil Heath, Sadik Hadzovic and Branch Warren.



Do you enjoy training or is it just something that you had to do to be competitive that has become a habit? MT: Honestly I just love the training. If anything I compete just so I have a goal to orient my training towards.

When you first got into this, what was the biggest challenge to your fitness? MT: Knowledge. Knowing how to meal prep, stay organized, carb cycle, lift with correct form, etc. Once I had a greater knowledge base the diet/training was a lot less frustrating. And having an amazing coach like Carmichael Bryan to teach and guide me further has made the journey even easier (though I swear my stubbornness sometimes has given the poor man a few grey hairs. Sorry, coach!)

How do you maintain your fitness during the off season? MT: I continue training all year round. There is no “off” season per se. Just a growing season and prep season. My training/diet may change for each season but it never stops. In the growing season, I’ll add more carbs and healthy fats to my diet. For training, I’ll ease back on the cardio and really focus on heavy lifts, but keeping the intensity high during my weight sessions.


Staying on course Do what you love; then love what you do Do you enjoy training or is it just something that you had to do to be competitive that has become a habit? JD: I very much enjoy training. I can lift weights all alone and go just as hard. I don’t need music or company or training partners; I can just train; I’m happy. I would continue to lift regularly, even if I didn’t compete.

When you first got into this, what was the biggest challenge to your fitness? JD: My biggest fitness challenge was managing my family life with my gym life, trying to find a balance in family and still give 100% to my training. I overcame it by acknowledging that my family was very understanding and supportive in my pursuit and goals where they stood by me throughout the journey. My current challenge is staying and remaining disciplined on a diet for a long duration.

How do you maintain your fitness during the off season? JD: I basically weight lift and play soccer, socially. I also try different types of training like CrossFit workouts or power lifting just to keep it fresh.



Getting results Train like you mean it How often do you lift weights? MT: As a Figure Fitness athlete I lift weights 5-6 times a week. I rarely train outside of a gym unless it’s running.

How do you split up your training sessions? MT: My coach is in charge of the routine/ days and he’s always switching it up based on how my body is looking. But, for the most part, I have separate days for back, shoulders, legs and chest/arms.

What kind of cardio do you like best? MT: I love the stepper because It’s such a versatile machine. I can crank out a quick HIIT session if I’m low on time, throw in intervals, adjust the speed/ resistance, or even turn around and step in reverse. There are so many ways to switch it up and it keeps the cardio fun and interesting.

Top 3 favourite exercises and why? MT: #1 Side laterals – I love the shoulder burnout these give me. #2 Bent over row – I really enjoy any type of row, but these are my favourite because I really feel it working my lower lats. #3 Reverse hack squat – It’s a fun variation of the classic squat with a little extra focus on hams and glutes.


How often do you lift weights? JD: I train Monday to Sunday. I think that, as Men’s Physique athletes, we train just as hard as body builders, CrossFitters, any others that weight lift.

How do you split up your training sessions? JD:

Monday - shoulders and chest

Tuesday - back Wednesday - chest and shoulders Thursday - arms Friday - legs

What kind of cardio do you like best? JD: I enjoy road running. I find it to be the most challenging yet relaxing while giving me an avenue outside of the gym setting.

Top 3 favourite exercises and why? JD: #1 Side laterals – I love my shoulders so I like to see the pump from doing this exercise. #2 One-arm dumbbell rows – I like the contraction I get from this exercise. #3 Squats – It’s the ultimate leg exercise.



What’s in your lunch box? MT: I’m usually always carrying at least one chicken and rice meal around with me. But I also carry an emergency protein scoop in case I get stuck somewhere.

How do you feel about supplements? MT: I’m pretty basic - BCAAs, glutamine, and glucosamine for my joints. While supplements can help build and preserve muscle I don’t think they are necessary, nor do they replace a sound nutrition/ training regime.

What does your competition diet look like? MT: Meal 1: 1/2 cup oats, scoop of protein and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter Meal 2: 1/2 cup rice, 4oz chicken breast, vegetables Meal 3: 1/2 cup rice, 4oz chicken breast, vegetables Meal 4: 1/2 cup rice, 4oz chicken breast, vegetables Meal 5: 4oz extra lean beef, vegetables Meal 6: 1/2 scoop of casein, 2 spoonfuls of cottage cheese, 1 tbsp of peanut butter.

Top 5 foods we would find in your kitchen when you are trying to stay lean? MT: Chicken breasts Rice Egg whites Brussel sprouts Etra lean beef.

What is your favourite cheat meal? MT: Give me some ice cream or cheesecake smothered in peanut butter and I’ll be your best friend forever.


Eating for winning Clean and lean (if you don’t count the cheat meals!) What’s in your lunch box? JD: Food containers, supplements and almonds.

How do you feel about supplements? JD: I do use supplements. I think they play a role in assisting with you looking your best. I don’t go overboard with using tons of supplements though, as I am strong believer in nutrition and exercise in assisting with reaching your goals. But I do use them for my contest prep and in the off season.

What does your competition diet look like? JD: Meal 1: egg whites, oatmeal Meal 2: tilapia, green vegetables Meal 3: chicken breast, brown rice, green vegetables Meal 4: tilapia, green vegetables Meal 5: tilapia, green vegetables Meal 6: steak, green vegetables

Top 5 foods we would find in your kitchen when you are trying to stay lean? JD: Eggs Spinach Chicken Tilapia Almonds

What is your favourite cheat meal? JD: Bacon hamburgers, fries and ice cream.


It’s really all about... the stage Do you remember your first show? What was it like to step onto the stage for the first time?

MT: Yes! And I was TERRIFIED! I was a really shy/ reserved person up until I started competing. So standing on stage in front of an auditorium full of people in a itty bitty Figure suit had me shaking like a leaf. I practically ran off stage once my t-walk was done.

What is your current take on your sport? And what changes would you like to see, if any? MT: I feel that, as a sport, bodybuilding is underappreciated and we aren’t always viewed as true ‘athletes’. But with the addition of Bikini, Men’s/ Women’s Physique and the power of social media (INSTA!!!), the sport is gaining more exposure. People are getting new insight into a bodybuilder’s journey to the stage and how much work it takes to be competitive. Unfortunately the stigma that bodybuilding is just a steroid freak show still lingers but the overall perception of bodybuilding in society is changing in a more positive direction; and I love that. For the future I would like to see a greater emphasis on health. I feel like some athletes still use desperate measures to get that last edge over their competition, but the after-effects aren’t worth it. I’ve seen a lot of girls get serious health problems and develop metabolic damage post-show. No show is worth risking your health, so I would love to see federations stepping in to promote healthy guidelines and providing more information for their athletes. Especially for newbies or those who don’t have coaches.


Do you remember your first show? What was it

like to step onto the stage for the first time?

JD: I do remember my first show. It was April 18, 2015. I was excited, not nervous, ready to get it on. The hardest part in preparing for the show was my diet, but cardio and training were easy for me. As it got closer to the show though, training got so intense that it was very draining and consuming but I still enjoyed pushing myself. I also liked the intensity that my coach dedicated toward the training. I felt good about the result – me placing 2nd out of about 12 competitors. The feedback from the judges was very positive. I was proud of myself for finally stepping on stage.

the future of the sport

What is your current take on your sport? And what changes would you like to see, if any?

JD: I think the sport has grown tremendously. The added divisions of Men’s Physique and Bikini have gotten bigger so I feel like bodybuilding will return to the mainstream. As far as changes, I don’t think any need to be made. I think it’s being run well and is organized. I think the sport has a bright future.



each athlete’s own grow MONICA’S shout-outs First and foremost I owe everything to my mom, who’s been my rock through every season. I also have to give my utmost respect to my coach, Carmichael Bryan; Sergio White; and all the other coaches/staff who support us crazy athletes (I don’t know how you do it). And lastly, to my fellow teammates new and old and the entire bodybuilding/fitness family, I am so blessed to know you. This sport has given me goals, purpose, and most importantly introduced me to all of you guys. You have made this and every journey to the stage worthwhile.


What are your goals for your fitness career? MT: My goal right now is to continue competing for as long as it makes me happy. After this year’s Bermuda Night of Champions, it’s back to the drawing board to grow and improve!

wth and development What are your goals for your fitness career? JD: My goals changed after my first and only show because I didn’t intend to continue competing but the support and encouragement to continue was very inspiring. My most recent goal has been to do the best that I could at the Night of Champions… From there, my major goal is to work on becoming one of the top Men’s Physique athletes in Bermuda and to encourage others. I eventually want to become a certified personal trainer.

JAVON’S shout-outs Shout out to my coach, Carmichael Bryan, for his dedication and attention and also to the entire Body On Fire Family. Also, to the Seaview team who have been very supportive. And last but not least, Team Javon Darrell, which includes my friends, family and most of all my beautiful fiancée Tiara – I could have not have competed without her dedication, support and patience, to say the least.



Profile for RETRO-FIT Online Magazine

RETRO-FIT Magazine Issue 09  

RETRO-FIT Magazine celebrates Caribbean passion for sport and living fit. In each quarterly issue, we interview and profile athletes and pro...

RETRO-FIT Magazine Issue 09  

RETRO-FIT Magazine celebrates Caribbean passion for sport and living fit. In each quarterly issue, we interview and profile athletes and pro...

Profile for retro-fit