With the holiday season upon us we thought we'd catch up with a few athletes and trainers to see what they are up to and how they plan to keep trim for the holidays! 

Janine Haywood, Jess Coate, Susan Baxter, Tarren McCall, Donna Randell and Johanna Mountfort give you some useful tips on how to stay lean in the festive season.

Janine Haywood
NZ rep to NAC Universe, Multi Figure Overall Figure Winner 2012

Am I going to be staying trim over the holidays...
Yes I am going to be staying trim over the holidays, I always do, I just like it that way I feel good and am happy... confident in my job as a trainer that I walk the walk and talk the talk and I am also able to fulfill my physically demanding role as a caregiver to my client who has a crippling disability and is in a wheelchair. I just simply like the way it makes me look and feel... fit and healthy!!!

How am I going to without being too strict on diet...By following the plan!

I do enjoy treats and use sauces and spices to enhance the flavour of my meals, however, my meals are still set to what is needed for me as per the plan to build muscle, with the odd dessert thrown in as well. I am enjoying higher calories for the next couple of months but they are 'clean' calories that help me retain my trim physique while putting that all important muscle on. More frequent eating and more of it. Just eating for the sake of eating and telling myself 'it is okay, you need to eat to build' is not okay with me. Eating heaps makes you bigger... sure does, but eating heaps of the correct fuel builds muscle, that ultimately makes you bigger in the way I want to be bigger.

Don't get me wrong I do enjoy treats but they are not big and not every day, they are just that... treats and I enjoy every single one of them so much more because I look forward to them and I do not take them for granted.

I stay completely away from 'empty junk food' i.e. chips, lollies, brought pizzas, takeaways, fizzy drinks, alcohol (you know the list)! If I want a pizza or hamburger... I make them for myself and that way I enjoy them and do not have the horrible side affects afterwards.

Earlier this year I was given the privilege of being an ambassador for the Zeagold Egg White product and so upon pondering what I miss in the off season it would have to be baking. My youngest daughter loves baking, she always freezers a piece of her baking for me and I have it as a treat when I want and really enjoy it. Then I thought about experimenting with a healthy version that in moderation, it is still 'feeding the machine' so to speak. Hence my baking experiements with the egg white product. I am certainly looking forward to baking some more and enjoying it over the next couple of months.

Over the years it have never been my intention to 'stay trim' I am just happier this way. I like controlling what I eat so that it has a purpose towards my goal. I do not eat for the sake of 'eating food'. While some people may say this is 'obsessive', is not gorging ones self to the point of looking grossly out of shape 'obsessive'!

And training...
My training is focused on building... I have a lot more energy than when I am competing. During training I am thinking about the more food I am eating and the more energy I have... so I tell myself to put it to good use!!! I reduce cardio, sometimes not doing any for a week. This is one difference to when it is competition time, not that I do a lot anyway!

Well that is about it Lisa, not very fancy, no secret recipe and I realise that there are people who will not feel the same way and may read this and judge me for it but I am happy and it works for me and that is all that counts.

  Susan Baxter
NABBA Shape Champion 2012

'Off season' or 'pre season' as I like to call it started once I finished competing at the NABBA NAC Universes in Germany. What an EPIC end to my
first year of competing! Now that competitions are over for this year I am
really excited to get the chance to experiment with different styles of
nutrition and training.
Training wise I am a complete gym junkie, so gymming doesn't stop for me.

What I am trying out, however, is alternative styles of training: like
crossfit and vertical aerial arts. During the silly season Ill be in the beautiful surrounds of central Otago. Ill probably give myself a chance to experience the great outdoors and get creative lakeside (and up the
mountains) with some supersets with anything lying about.

I have been known
to create squat bars with 2 pales of water on each side of a broomstick, and
lift iron bathtubs to incorporate some resistance training. The change in emphasis due to the awkwardness and instability of the objects even challenges me in a different way too!
Nutritionally I am a complete convert to the clean eating style.

That said,
if you try to take my cheat meal away from me, things might get a bit baaaaa


Jess Coate
2nd NAC Universe Shape, 2012

Well I have only been competing for just over a year, and it wasn’t until this year I actually liked the look of myself being lean. I LOVE food and socializing with family and friends, however now that I have been so small and lean I DON’T want to gain too much fat off-season. I am probably sitting about 2.5-3kg heavier than stage weight and want to maintain this until JAN 2013 where I will begin a “clean bulk” diet and training program.
For now I am just going to keep 5-6 HARD weight trainings with moderate cardio and a clean diet(6 meals per day), to ensure I don’t gain over the festive period. Nothing extreme, but keeping up my usual regime as much as possible, instead of going hard with the food and decreasing my exercise like most people do.

While most people are cutting for summer I am just looking at maintaining a semi-lean look. For me it isn’t really lean but to others I suppose it would be ;). Being a trainer I know a lot about training and nutrition and how “not to gain weight” over summer. I am not going to deprive myself of goodies this X-mas as I pretty much spent the whole 2012 year on low calories since I competed so much. With social events I will choose the best food options eg. I went to a wedding in the weekend, packed my lunch as usual and ate that, but 2 hours later everyone else was having a big feast. So to feel “included” I had a small plate of chicken and prawns, and I think mentally that was good as I felt included and didn’t feel the need to indulge in the fry bread, hangi and deserts ;). Plus being a plate of protein obviously that kept me full instead of a plate full or carbs. I then just counted the calories towards my next meal.

I am not much of a drinker these days, and we all know that alcohol is a KILLER with extra calorie consumption and promoting the storage of body fat. I suppose I am a little paranoid about adding extra fat to my body, but also I would MUCH RATHER eat my calories than drink them! So I won’t be drinking much, if anything this summer, and I will allow the calories to come from food, mainly clean food so that I can eat more BECAUSE I LOVE FOOD ;).

Christmas day is a hard one for most, so once again I will try and choose the cleaner cut meats, load up on salads and limit the carbohydrates. I will definitely have some desert ;) but use this as my “cheat meal”, and change around my carb and calorie intake before Christmas dinner so I am not doubling my daily calorie intake. I suppose for most people they won’t know how to do this, so I suggest sticking to the lean meats, salads and a small plate of desert ;). Lots and lots of water to keep hydrated in this heat and to help flush out all the bad stuff ;)

I definitely will not be 100% strict as I am not a professional in this sport and 2012 was a strict year for me. Instead I will choose the best food options when socializing and keep as consistent as I can with my training and a clean diet. I never really set goals for competitions, but come January my goal is big preparing towards the NAC World Champs in Greece in June and so I want to minimize damage over the “weight gaining season”. Christmas and New year’s is an “excuse” for many not to exercise and to eat bad food. However in the bodybuilding world we know that clean eating is our lifestyle, we live and love it. It will only make things harder come January to get rid of the damage and so I have set myself boundaries and goals to be able to enjoy summer, but still maintain my physique.


Tarren McCall
Multi titled National Athlete and Champion Nutritionist

Well my I will be having xmas day off my normal clean eating and training,so i can relax and spend time with family and friends without making a big deal about it,but as we eat a pretty clean diet anyway most of the food on xmas day is based around chicken and vegs done on the BBQ and lots of salads ect and if I am going to have alcholol it would be vodka and soda.

I always go for a walk with my daughters on xmas morning anyway as it a bit of a ritual in our household. The rest of the holidays will involve lots of bush walks and walking with clients ect,and we tend to use the BBQ a lot for cooking so we would eat fairly clean anyway.

But if I am catching up with friends or dining out I will eat what I feel like and not worry about it too much. Everything in moderation,and keep up the cardio. Also I like to have a week off traing with weights to give my body a rest.



Donna Randell
NABBA National Senior Figure and NABBA North Harbour Champ 2012

I always stay trim over the holidays as we spend a lot of time up at the Kaiwi Lakes swimming and skiing It’s never really hard as this way of living has just become the norm for me.

I usually only do 1/2 cardio everyday to keep fit! not so much for fat loss but it does help in the long run. I also keep up with my workouts in the gym 4 – 5 days per week.


I spend a lot of time searching for healthy recipes and trying them out which keeps the variety in my diet and the boredom of food out. If i keep my food bland I tend to deviate to the wrong food choices. I have always tried to eat clean 6 days a week and save my treats for the 7th day or a special occasion.

With Christmas coming up those 1 day treats can become 2 or 3 in one week, so where alcohol is concerned, if I have gone over my quota for the week or getting close! I will mix diet sprite to white wine or diet coke to red wine. That helps to keep the calories down and the temptation to eat bad foods if I was to have just the wine lol.

If I’m asked to take a plate I will always take healthy option snacks, then atleast I know I have something good to eat. Usually its cottage cheese dips with raw veggies or a yummy fruit platter with cottage cheese made into whipped cream using stevia and vanilla essence.

I’m also a really organised person and those who know me extremely well will say too organised - this works in my favour though, when it comes to my meals they are already planned out and sometimes pre prepared, no excuses to get takeaways then!!!!! We all know if you don’t get something out it easy just to grab something quick. If it is quick that I have to do then it will be yummy omelettes or cooked chicken from countdown skinned or smoked salmon with salad.

Another way I manage to keep slim over summer is to keep busy - never be idle – always look for things to do.

Johanna Mountfort
NABBA and NABBA WFF National Overall Figure Champ 2012

I tend to allow myself to rest and enjoy over the holiday period. The competition season is harsh and I have a huge workload on my plate getting clients ready for their shows. My own training and dieting (if you can call it that....because its 2,200 calories!) gets squeezed into a very full workday along with being a mum morning and evening.

When the off season comes along I really love it. I tend to eat a diet fairly similar to my competition diet during the week while im training but at the weekends I like to relax and enjoy some different foods, (still healthy mostly but just a break from the routine) and i do love to be able to socialise and have some nice wine too. I think it's important to give myself this flexibility in the off season as it then enables me to stay very consistent once i'm preparing for shows again.

So, over the holiday period I will be taking two weeks off training and I will be thoroughly enjoying some nice food, wine and company of good friends and also spending some quality time with my husband and daughters, eating icecream, BBQ's and swimming in the surf!
Come January 7th when I'm back at work I will be recovered and amped for the new season when it kicks off again as I have some big goals planned for it!


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