Dave: In the continued spirit of learning and sharing with other health enthusiasts, I am excited to interview Keri Batura, a friend and long-time fitness and health expert in the field of body building and figure competitions. Keri is a recent graduate from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition who is willing to share her experiences in the health and fitness field and offer some insights that might surprise you.
OK Keri…here’s your first question…
Dave: When did you first get started with body building, figure competition, nutrition, etc?
Keri: My passion for nutrition began 26 years ago while still struggling with an eating disorder. My boyfriend at the time was a competitive bodybuilder who ran the Nutritionalysis program at our gym. He deserves full credit for saving my life and igniting my passion for nutrition. He became my mentor and trainer, and two years later I competed in my first bodybuilding competition..
Dave: Cool. So here we are, 26 years later. I’d imagine your health and fitness journey has changed your health philosophy over the years. Your thoughts?
Keri: I believe in bio-individuality, consistency and sustainability. I don’t agree that there is a magic formula as far as determining calories, protein, carbs and fats that works for everyone across the board. Each person is unique and needs to be treated as such.
I don’t feed into the whole “off-season” theory, whereas competitors pack on a lot of extra weight in the months between competition seasons, with the belief that it makes them that much stronger and able to put on more muscle. I see so many competitors go overboard with this, looking heavy and unhealthy, with very little gains to show for it. I personally feel my strongest and most energetic when I am no more than a few pounds from my stage weight and my diet is clean and balanced.
“I don’t know how you can eat so healthy all the time—I could never do that!” If I had $1 for every time I heard that! I’m not sure what they think I am eating, but rest assured, I am enjoying it. To make this lifestyle (not diet) sustainable, one needs to eat foods that they enjoy and be creative. With the exception of the week before a competition, I use a lot of spices, onion and garlic and, eat a wide variety of veggies. The more color and variety in our diet, the wider array of nutrients we consume.
I believe in listening to my body, giving it the extra calories when it needs it, not force-feeding myself daily. Health and longevity are my main goals.
Dave: Interesting. The individuality, consistency and sustainability aspects certainly resonated with me.
Switching gears a bit, with regards to exercise, many folks seem to believe cardio is more important than resistance training. What do you believe?
Keri: I tell all of my clients, “If you are short on time and must choose, get your resistance training in!” I cannot stress enough how important that is, especially as we get older and naturally begin to lose muscle if we are not doing enough to maintain it. The more muscle we have, the more fat we burn. The less fat we have, the less prone to diabetes and other diseases. Resistance training keeps our bones stronger, lowers our blood pressure, helps manage stress and mood, and improves sleep quality. It is truly the fountain of youth when combined with a healthy diet.
Dave: Great advice. Resistance training burns more calories than people realize and people looking to lose weight tend to believe cardio is more important. But, you and many other experts suggest resistance training first.
So I’d like to ask you as a Health and Wellness Coach & Personal Trainer, what do you feel is the biggest message you wish to offer to your clients?
Keri: You only get one body, treat it right and it will treat you right. Life is a long-distance run, not a sprint, what we do today affects us in the future. Don’t be impatient and take unhealthy shortcuts on the path to your ultimate physique.
Dave: Great message Keri. Thank you for sharing it with us! So if someone needed some guidance with figure competition training, body building, health coaching, etc., could they contact you? Do you work with both men and women?
Keri: I am happy to work with both men and women! I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-819-0197.