This article was first seen on the Huffington Post. For this installment, we are joined by Marlissa Jordan.
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?
I’m 34 years old. A single mom. My full time profession is a corporate tax auditor for the State of California. Additionally, I’m a professional figure athlete. I compete professionally in the IFBB. I’ve also worked as a freelance personal trainer in my free time.
I’ve always been an athletic person since high school. That’s actually when I picked up my first dumbbell. I took up weight training for phys ed. I was never really into team sports. I guess I’ve always been a little independent lol. So weight training was perfect for me.
I continued to have a love for weight training after high school. But I didn’t really get serious and regimented until after I had my daughter.
Where does your motivation come from?
It’s going to sound corny and cliche but my motivation actually comes from the mirror. Seeing the physical changes is what keeps me going. I remember looking a few years ago at women on Instagram and thinking “wow she looks amazing. I wish I could look like that”. And now I see myself and think “wow I remember thinking that I could never look like this.” Seeing the progress is honestly my biggest motivation.
As you decided to make a career out of your passion – what were your biggest stumbling blocks along the way?
Finding a balance between work, family, and pursuing my IFBB pro dreams. That was by far the hardest thing. Prepping for a competition requires almost all of your time. You have to get up early for morning cardio, make sure your meals are prepped, take your supplements on time, go back to the gym in the evening to lift and do more cardio, travel on weekends for posing sessions, etc.
Meanwhile, still tend to your normal duties as a girlfriend, mother, and employee. Oh and let’s not forget about still trying to maintain some sort of social life with your friends that don’t compete and don’t understand why going to the gym is now a priority and not an option. It can be really tough.
What’s your perspective on the importance of self-care?
Nothing is more important than self-care. I think it comes before anything and anyone (including your kids). If I’m not healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually, then I’m no good to anyone else. Always put yourself first.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about women lifting weight?
I think everyone always thinks that if you lift weights you’re gonna end up looking like Ronnie Coleman or Phil Heath. Lol. And it just doesn’t work like that. Women don’t produce enough testosterone to build huge muscles like that.
Even men don’t naturally produce enough testosterone to get that huge. The huge muscles that people are typically scared of requires the use of performance enhancing drugs. So don’t be afraid of the weights ladies. We are not wired to look like bodybuilders.
Many young women who want to lose weight believe that not eating is the way to do it, without realising the consequences of that kind of behavior.
Why do you think this is and what’s your perspective on educating society on healthy nutrition habits?
Unfortunately this perspective comes from social media and sometimes the news media. Social media has made it extremely hard for young women to love their bodies due to the use of things like photoshop. And the news media doesn’t help either. Think about how many times a month you see a new article about a new fad diet or “low carb meals to tighten your tummy” etc.
There are way more outlets spreading those types of messages rather than speaking about a balanced healthy lifestyle.
As far as nutrition education, it is out there but you have to seek it out. I constantly read. That’s actually the part that I enjoy most about fitness. Reading and applying what I’ve learned. It’s extremely rewarding to apply something that I’ve learned and see it actually work.
So I guess my suggestion would be to seek the knowledge yourself. Don’t wait for someone to spoon feed information to you in an article with 6 bullet points that only took 10 minutes to read. Really put that smartphone to use and do research to see what really fits your health/fitness goals. And don’t be afraid to experiment with new foods, new workout routines. That’s the only way you will really know what works for you as an individual.
What are the most unexpected lessons you’ve learned on your health and fitness journey this far?
That help/support can come from the most unexpected places. I’ve learned to be more open and less judgmental.
What do you do to maintain balance in your life?
I try to involve my family in my fitness life. When I go away on trips for shows, I bring my family along when I can. And I also make time for non – fitness related activities to have a sense of “normalcy”.
How do you stay productive?
It’s hard not too lol. But the biggest factor is spending my time with like minded people.
Can you give a breakdown of your current diet, training and supplementation regimen and the thinking behind it?
Cardio: I do 45 minutes of cardio 6 days per week. Broken up into a 25 minute morning session. And a 20 minute evening session after I lift. Both sessions are some form of HIIT cardio.
Training: body part split over 5 days. 2 days of glute/hamstring training, 2 days of shoulder training, 1 day of back and arm training. I also perform calisthenics on a daily basis after morning cardio.
Supplements: fish oil, vitamin C, multivitamin, calcium, BCAA’s (while training), probiotics, and digestive enzymes.
Diet: mostly lean protein and green veggies, a fair amount of fats (nothing too crazy but definitely healthy fats). Carbs are consumed an hour before and after I train. I also drink a high branch chained dextrin (basically carbohydrates) while training to keep my blood sugar and energy levels stable while training.
And I’m currently enjoying a free meal (anything that I want no restrictions) twice a week.
If you could only choose one thing, what would you tell your younger self?
That life is not black and white. There will be lots of gray areas but trust your judgment and everything will eventually fall into place.
What are your goals for 2017?
Well, I qualified for the 2017 Olympia. That was definitely one of my biggest goals after obtaining my pro card. I just didn’t imagine it would happen so fast. I’m extremely anxious to start my prep for the Olympia. Standing on stage with the absolute best figure competitors in the world is mind blowing. It’s shocking to say it out loud lol. I still look at women like Candice Lewis – Carter, Cydney Gillon, and Latorya Watts in amazement. But in a few months I will be competing against them on the same stage. It’s surreal.
Where can people go to learn more about you online?
Stay tuned for the next interview of Real Talk Real Women!