This article was first seen on the Huffington Post. For this installment, we are joined by Lauren Brazier.
Let’s start off with a general introduction. How would you describe yourself, what are you all about and how did you get involved in health and fitness?
Oh goodness! I always find it impossible to describe myself, but vaguely I am a single mom, a graphic designer and a bikini competitor/ model. In more detail, I became a first time mother to a wonderful little boy named Jackson just about 22 months ago, and wow that means he’s almost two! Where does the time go! I am fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with him full time, which leaves me to do all of my freelance graphic design work at night when he’s fast asleep. It’s pretty great to be able to take your work just about anywhere!
I began my career into the fitness industry about four years ago after transitioning out of treatment for Anorexia Nervosa, my fourth go at treatment to be exact, a disease I had been struggling with since the young age of eight years old. I needed an outlet that was used in such a negative matter for so long, so I turned to a healthy relationship with fitness and bodybuilding. I have never looked back since, I am able to say I am almost four years in recovery to this day!
Where does your motivation come from?
So many places! If you were to ask me, I would say fitness has saved my life. Bodybuilding and competing in the fitness industry is the main reason I am able to excel within my recovery and that’s enough of a motivation right there!
But I am also motivated to be the best mother to my son, to fulfill my dream of becoming an IFBB Pro, to feel my best, to gain confidence, and to inspire other people. My motivation comes from always beating the person I was yesterday, which means it will never falter.
As you decided to make a career out of your passion – what were your biggest stumbling blocks along the way?
People who didn’t believe in me, who thought my dreams were “unreachable” or “silly.” Coming from the background I did, it seemed quite far fetch that I was going to make fitness into a career or a lifestyle because quite frankly every single doctor told me I was never aloud to step foot in the gym again.
Something to always remember is people are always going to doubt you no matter how far up you climb, there will always be someone below you trying to pull you down. Use that as motivation to push harder, to climb faster, to be better, and I guarantee you those people will be asking you for help down the road. We are capable of so much more than we even know.
What’s your perspective on the importance of self-care?
Can I switch this to “self love?” I believe so strongly that this is something all women need to practice every single day. In the world we live in, self love, respect and patience within yourself is the single most important thing. I believe that because I take care of myself and I take the time in a day to do things for me, I am able to be a better mother to my son, and a better person overall. Self love creates peace within you, which allows you to conquer the day.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about women lifting weight?
Hands down that lifting weights will make you “bulky” or “manly.” I used to believe this. The weight area of the gym used to scare me. I understand that “ripped, muscular and shredded” aren’t what everyone is looking to be. But what women don’t understand is that we are not genetically programmed to be “bulky” so the only thing lifting weights will do for you, is increase the rate in which your body burns calories and fat which will in turn make you lose weight and tone your body.
Many young women who want to lose weight believe that not eating is the way to do it, without realizing the consequences of that kind of behaviour.
Why do you think this is and what’s your perspective on educating society on healthy nutrition habits?
Growing up I believed that wholeheartedly, and now that I think about it I’m not 100% sure where I got that idea from. I knew that food was the thing making me gain weight, so I guess it became “common sense” that if I cut down on my calories I would lose weight and sure enough I did… but what I didn’t realize was a life like that is not only dangerous and extremely unhealthy but it’s in no way attainable.
The reality is a starvation diet will only get you so far, most likely a hospital bed. Young women need to be given the knowledge about how their bodies work and how important it is to fuel them. I think that is just as important of a lesson as eleventh grade geometry if you ask me.
What are the most unexpected lessons you’ve learned on your health and fitness journey this far?
Anything is possible! I never imagined that I would be where I am today. Even just answering these questions for people to read, it still shocks me that people are actually interested in what I have to say! Me! Thats insane! I love that I can inspire other women, and I feel so fortunate that I have been given the opportunity to do so.
What do you do to maintain balance in your life?
I have spent the last sixteen months “prepping” for shows, so the word balance when it comes to food went right out the window! Now that I am in my “improvement season” I am able to live a lot more normally and balance has been introduced slowly which has been nice!
As a single mom most days feel like a juggling act at best, but my son and I seem to be getting the hang of it…or who am I kidding, you can never really get a hang of parenting! But as long as my son is happy and loved then I call it a great day and he was pretty excited to go out for pancakes with his mom after my last show!
How do you stay productive?
My days are pretty jammed packed! I wake up extra early to get my morning cardio done before the day even begins, then I spend all day entertaining my son, come nighttime I am back at the gym for my workout and then freelance work before bed, and you better believe come 9pm I am about ready to hit the sheets!
If you could only choose one thing, what would you tell your younger self?
Breath. Take a deep breath, slow down and just be. When we are younger we are so obsessed with growing up. I only wish I could take a moment a tell my younger self to just enjoy being a kid.
Can you give a breakdown of your current diet, training and supplementation regimen and the thinking behind it?
Currently I am in my “improvement season” which means more food and less cardio. I follow a macro plan right now, which means I am given a certain amount of calories, protein, fat and carbs to hit within a day and I plan my meals accordingly. I weight train six times a week, I try and incorporate cardio about four times per week, and usually take one day for rest.
Supplementation is so important and I am always on top of this! Luckily I am a sponsored athlete of MyProtein and I get monthly supplements from them! My “go to” supplements are protein powder, fish oils, multi vitamins, digestive enzymes, BCAA and 5-htp, these are basic supplements that are great to incorporate into your daily routine!
What are your biggest life goals for the year?
2017 will be the year of growth and achieving my IFBB Pro Card, fingers crossed!
Where can people go to learn more about you online?