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Monica Brant Female Fitness Model Best Diet Secrets

Now that we're all thinking about beaches, boardwalks and bathing suits, dieting is on the forefront of everyone's minds. We thought we'd take five minutes and ask someone who looks great all year round "Monica Brant" about her summer dieting secrets. For those people like Monica living in a warm climate, dieting is a constant concern. Let's see what Monica has to reveal about her diet and how she maintains her superb physique.

On Diets
I've been competing for about eight years now and during that time, I've tried many approaches to dieting. Especially during the past year, I've learned a very important lesson: different diets work differently for different people. There's no such thing as a "one size fits all" diet. I know what works for me not for anyone else. And this is true for everyone. One of the most important things you can learn is to know your body, understand what works for you as an individual. It's basically a process of trial and error. Personally, it took many years of experimenting before I found the right diet, which I put to use at last year's Fitness Olympia. During the competition season, I follow a modified 40:30:30 diet [protein:carbs:fat] with more protein than carbs. Everyday, these ratios changed slightly. I don't like to follow a certain ratio too rigidly. By keeping my diet variable, my body doesn't have a chance to adjust. Understanding my genetic limits, I know what I can get by with what I can eat and what I can't.

On Diet Plans
There's nothing wrong with trying out different diet plans. Just because one diet doesn't work for you doesn't mean you should quit trying to lose weight altogether. If nothing else, dieting teaches you discipline. Whenever you start a new diet plan, you should pay attention to how it makes you feel. Try to write everything down in a log book. For example, try the Zone Diet for 6 weeks to see if it works. Then, try the Atkins Diet for six weeks and see how it compares. The main thing you need to remember is discipline and consistency. You've got to stay with a program for a minimum of six weeks. Two or three weeks is not enough for your body to adjust to a new diet. You have to train your body to stay at a lower bodyfat level, especially if it's a new level that it hasn't been accustomed to before.

On Bingeing
I know what my body craves sugars and starch. I also know that these things keep me chunky. Once again, the real trick is consistency. I eat "clean" about 75% of the time. Since this can be really tough, I give myself little breaks here and there. For instance, I treated myself to a rich dessert yesterday at a restaurant. Don't be afraid to splurge once a week, maybe on the weekend, and eat something sinful. It will help keep you honest for the rest of the week. Not only that, it will help prevent your body from falling into a regular pattern.

On Protein
I try to eat protein with every meal, whether it's chicken, turkey, tuna or a protein shake. If you're like me and travel a lot, there are a couple ways to make sure you're never without protein. For example, I always pack some canned chicken/tuna in water. It's really convenient. Whey protein is also really easy to take. My favorite is Universal's Orange Creamsicle Super Whey Pro. Instead of taking the whole bottle, what I do is spoon out measured amounts of protein into little plastic baggies and take them with me wherever I go. That way, I can be sure to get a lot of protein. I usually want at least 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight. When I'm training intensely, I take about 1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight up to 200g per day. The reason why women need more protein is because without adequate amounts, their bodies will eat away lean mass, especially when they diet. And with less lean mass, your metabolism slows down.

On Exercising
Everyone knows cardiovascular exercise is important during dieting. I try to work out every day, even when I don't have access to a gym (for example, doing sprints on the beach or running up the stairs at a hotel). Running is definitely a good idea if your knees can handle it. I enjoy interval training. According to conventional wisdom, you should aim for a target heart rate of 138-148 when you're performing cardiovascular exercise. I personally prefer 145-160 instead. When I'm interval training, my heart rate can hit the 180s. And during my routines, my rate is 180 the entire time. That's why conditioning is so important. If you're trying to lose weight, you need to exercise for at least 20-30 minutes, minimum. What can you do in ten minutes except warm up your muscles. If I'm training legs, I'll get on stationary bike and do interval sprints. Whatever you do, the best time to exercise is in the morning before breakfast or at night after your last meal. I'd also recommend weight training for all women. Twice a week would be awesome. Resistance training definitely makes you feel better and lean mass burns more calories than fat. Besides, weight training is the only way you're going to get that toned look.

On Water
Water is a must. Proper hydration is critical for staying in top shape. Personally speaking, I drink at least a gallon of water per day. No matter where I am, I have water handy I keep it next to my bed so that I can drink from it in the middle of the night. I have a bottle in the car, and another one in my gym bag. Wherever I am, I have water.

On Supplements
Supplements can definitely make a big difference. I would strongly suggest it for people who are serious about sticking to a weight-loss program. Go with what you feel comfortable with. Because Ripped Fast 2 is so powerful, I'll only take one capsule at a time. Universal also has an effective formula called Herbal ThermoStack E/C/A which works better for women because it doesn't have ephedra in it. Remember, stick to a program for at least six weeks. Do the cardio. Hit the weights. By doing so, fat burners will work even faster. In addition to these fat burners, I also use plenty of whey protein and a good multivitamin. Women's Fitness Pak is about as complete as you're going to find. In terms of snacks, my favorite is the Muscle Bar. This little bar packs a lot of nutrition with protein, a little carbs, and a little fat. For women who want a little more lean mass, I'd recommend Creatine Chews. It's got plenty of creatine and it even tastes like Sweet Tarts.

On Hunger
Contrary to popular myths, the key to dieting is to eat something when you're hungry. Of course, this doesn't mean you should be snacking on Doritos all day long or a Snickers bar. Instead, pick up a nutrition bar or mix a protein shake. If you just can't avoid something sugary, at least have it with a meal to blunt your body's insulin response. It's important to keep your blood sugar levels even. Eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day will help you achieve this. And always stay within your means. As I mentioned earlier, everyone's means will vary from individual to individual.

On Rest
Rest is definitely important. If I'm tired and feeling run down, I want to eat sweets. On the other hand, if I'm well rested and exercise regularly, my desire for these foods are greatly diminished. Try it and see for yourself!

Reprinted from Universal Matters Magazine, Volume 3 Issue 3

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