Instagram, @ingridsclay - photo by Ryan Forbes
Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hi there! My name is Ingrid S. Clay. I am 39. I am from a small town Lafayette, LA currently living in Venice Beach California.
I am a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and plant-based chef. In addition, I am a bodybuilder and aspiring triathlete. I’ve been training for over ten years.
I started on the heels of a divorce and I remember saying I just want to get in the best shape I can be in. And fitness and training was like a form of meditation for me as it allowed me to go somewhere else for a minute de-stress and it also helped me get stronger on the inside as well as the outside. I always say fitness brought me back.
Bodybuilding was a different trajectory for me because it challenged me in so many ways I used to run track, so that was a huge challenge and competing for a show forced me to access a discipline I knew was there but hadn’t tapped into for a while.
I work with RYU and 2XU. I’ve also worked as Brand Ambassadors in the past with Puma. I was contacted by all the brands that I have ever partnered with. I think when you are consistent with your message and who you are as a person the right brands reach out to you. I am now very particular about who I partner with and how I partner.
Fitness to me has to be a constant in my life. It’s my meditation, it’s my outlet, it’s the only time in my whole day that’s strictly for me.
Describe a typical day of training
My training philosophy is that there’s no ending to what we are becoming. I love the journey that fitness brings, I love the fact that you can change almost seemingly overnight through just exercise and food.
In body building, my splits are Monday, I train hamstrings and glutes, and Tuesday is shoulders, Wednesday is back, Thursday is arms and also glutes again and on Saturday I do kind of like a Plyo work out with a little bit of chest and abs. Abs and calves are also sprinkled throughout the week as well. Sunday is my rest day.
Currently, my training schedule is Monday, Wednesday 1 to 2 hour bike rides and 10 mile runs. On Friday, I will do longer bike rides or longer runs. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday are my swim days as well as my lifting days.
I train a lot now outside like running outdoors, swimming outdoors and also riding a bike. I train and lift at the Mecca golds gym Venice. Cardio used to only be fasted cardio when I was bodybuilding but now training for a triathlon it’s nonstop cardio so my diet has changed significantly. I have to eat so much more and being plant-based so much more!
Triathlon is another challenge to me. I’ve had some success in bodybuilding I now want to train my body in a different way but also challenge myself in a new way. Nothing grows in a comfort zone.
I usually always train alone because that’s always like my time for myself. But now with training for a triathlon, I am more open to riding with someone or swim with someone. Other than training with my trainer for bodybuilding competitions, I usually lift by myself.
Post training my recovery is pretty gangster. I do ice baths, I get stretched by someone else twice a week, I stretch myself, I also do electric stem where I use the Power dot. It is an electrical stimulation App and equipment you can use for recovery, while training, for massage, injury, or even while flying long distances.
And then lastly, I get my body worked on once a week for about two hours and that’s always before my rest day so that way I can fully rise recover and be ready to go for another week of training.
How are you recover is just as important as hell you left and how you train. I feel that anyone over the age of 30 should be recovering almost at a one to one ratio so for every hour you work out that’s our you need for recovery.
As for measuring tools, I have in my fitness bag LOL I have my Polar Beat monitor. I have my WHOOP on my wrist. I also have swim cap, goggles, bathing suits, running sneaker, lifting sneakers, fresh pair of socks, my headphones of course, change of clothes.
I keep track of all my training. I use WHOOP a lot not only to keep track of my recovery and also my strength for the day and how hard I worked, but I also use the Polar Beat in any exercise so that I can monitor my heart beat.
I like the fact that it has GPS so that when I go on a long ride, our long run, I can use it tomorrow to that as well but also your heartbeat in your heart rate in the middle of a lifting workout is so important. So I keep track of it all!!
The analysis I get from WHOOP lets me know if my training is optimal, if my training was as hard as the previous session as well. So it lets me know how I’m training, when it’s good to push or when I should recover. Helps me train smarter.
Favorite exercise or probably be right now is for shoulders and back. I love working those so my favorite exercises are lat pullovers and reverse grip shoulder presses.
I’m not a big supplement person. So how I prepare for training sessions is really just sleep, rest, sleep, eating the right things and I do meditate and meditate at least 15 minutes a day at the minimum. I also journal a lot.
Instagram, @ingridsclay - photo by John Taylor
How do you keep going and push harder?
It’s really weird I don’t know how to make myself go to the gym LOL but there’s something inside of you that says I know that once I get up and do this I’m going to feel so much better for it, and that this is only temporary, this tiredness or low motivation will disappear.
As soon as I get in a gym, or as soon as I get on the bike, or on the treadmill, I’m going to be good like it’s going to come so quickly and is going to go by so quickly. So I give myself a pep talk get in there and get it done.
The desire to improve and change and challenge myself is why I still train! How can I improve this or that or take this up a notch! Always living outside the comfort zone.
I scheduled my training just like I was scheduled client so that way my training is always just as important as any other work commitment that I have, and that I take the time and really do it. And make time for me. It’s almost a form of self-care.
I think improving the gym is improving your mindset is improving your thoughts about yourself about your body because that translates into anything you do especially in what you do in the gym and to keep pushing myself.
I just push myself a little bit every day like when I started swimming, I could only do one lap, the next day I could do two laps nonstop, the next day three, the next day four. Before you know it, you’re 20 laps in!
So to improve each day or how to keep the training going for so long is honestly to sit back and enjoy the journey because the journey is everything, it’s the only thing that matters. Stay present and enjoy the journey.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
My training is going very well and I am enjoying the journey. My future goal is to complete some iron mans. It’s a challenge physically and mentally and it’s a change of pace definitely. Pulling me outside my comfort zone gives me that nervous excitement, which I haven’t experienced in a while.
To reach this goal, I set up a schedule and stick to it, I have a plan and I have people in my corner to help me execute this plan. Trust the journey and kill it.
I also would like to generate more private chef business, and eventually have a family of my own
and learn Spanish.
Instagram, @ingridsclay - photo by Ryan Forbes
How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
Training Smart. Giving myself time to recover and always practicing the proper form. Also, taking care of the body, stretching, getting body work.
Luckily, I haven’t had any major injuries. I’ve sprains here and there and I get them looked at immediately and create a plan of action on how to work around it if possible or rehab it.
Ice is my best friend and works well with inflammation. I also stretch and use a soft ball (gets deeper into hip areas more) instead of a foam roller nightly.
My sleep varies but I shoot for seven to eight hours.
As for traveling and changes to my schedule, I always try to prepare but sometimes things happen. I roll with them. My schedule is crazy but I always make time for me. Traveling can be tricky. Sometimes there isn’t a gym nearby but I can always work with what I have.
Bodyweight exercises are also an option. Meal prepping and traveling is hard. I usually bring my food for the travel day and an extra meal just in case. But I can usually find a whole foods so I can meal prep myself for the remainder of time I am there.
For recovery, I use POWER DOT, ICE, I get stretched twice a week, and get body work done once a week.
How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
I do follow specific diets depending on my goals. I follow a plant-based diet. I eat six meals a day. All macro focused and geared towards my bodybuilding goals whether leaning out or putting on mass.
I don’t really focus on counting calories per se everything is measured, and focused on macros and based on my “strain” or exertion, bodybuilding pre season requires something totally different than let’s say training for a triathlon.
I have a plan for myself just like I create for my clients. I don’t use anything to track macros (protein, carbs, fats), I measure things but now I can eyeball most things.
In season, I tend to be much much more strict with measuring everything. Even when going out, I just know how to order and when in doubt, I bring my meal prep. I once brought my meal prep to my best friend’s wedding LMAO!
I don’t really believe heavily in supplements. Supplements are making up for things you don’t get! A plant-based diet gives me everything I need. In heavy training modes, I may take Body By O Cortisol supplement especially when I’m training three times a day, I’ll occasionally do a protein shake especially when the “diet takes over” and I’m hungry immediately after eating a meal.
As for cheat days, I don’t like to call them that because what am I cheating on? Sounds like I’m doing something wrong. Off season, I eat what I feel. My number one favorite treat is Popcorn or Vegan Donuts from Donut Friend in LA.
It’s good to have some fluctuation, I’m mostly lean all year but I do little clean bulks here and there to put on more mass in certain areas! When I’m cutting I avoid sugars including fruit.
Unlike most bodybuilders, carbs don’t come completely out of my diet when cutting, we found that I need a minimal amount to maintain my “look” otherwise the drastic cut affects my body negatively.
I lower them but I don’t CUT them. The best way to handle lack of energy is rest! The body recovers through rest your body in rest naturally produces glutamine.
I don’t do pre-workouts or coffee anymore so sleep/naps I rely on to recharge. WHOOP is amazing in predicting recovery based on the days “strain” vs sleep.
Tracks my activities and based on heart rate assigns a strain to it, it monitors heart rate, gives detailed information on sleep runs analysis on your training if your training at optimal levels, it also does the same analysis for your sleep.
I wish it was also able to measure dehydration! Maybe WHOOP2.0 WILL LOL. BUT IT’S AMAZING! I don’t drink anymore either I rather EAT MY CALORIES LOL.
Seriously when drinking it takes your body too long to recover from it. It dehydrates your muscles. And as an athlete and as someone who speaks about health and wellness I don’t feel like drinking and training work.
What has inspired and motivated you?
I get inspiration from everywhere. My clients at Barry’s Bootcamp as well as my one-on-one continually inspire me. Seeing where they started and how far they have come makes me continually want to push. I believe fitness is a journey that’s honestly never-ending.
One book that is really inspiring to me is “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay. I think the title says it all! I also love the “Book of Secrets” by Deepak Chopra, I think our bodies are connected to our minds and especially our souls everything should be in alignment.
I listen to tons of Abraham Hicks and Dwayne Dyer especially when doing fasted cardio that’s my mediation moment. I listen to music sometimes in the gym when lifting but other times I like silence.
Although, I have my earbuds in so as not to be interrupted. I’ve received a lot of advice throughout the years. But the one that encompasses all is LEAD, THINK, DO THROUGH LOVE. Anything outside of LOVE IS FEAR. So to always operate in love, through love, through the positive, you’ll never go wrong for “there is no ending to what we are becoming” (that ones mine).
Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
starting anything for the first time…Research research research. Talk to experts. I surrounded myself with the best of the best in bodybuilding people who trained Mr and Mrs Olympians and Arnold!
People who have been in the industry for 30-40++years!! Joe Blow on Instagram with a million followers who just started four years ago wasn’t my go to. Find who you you are inspired by and reach out to them about their diet study…there is no failure just ok that worked or that didn’t. But give yourself time when trying something.
Lots of time people jump to one thing and another without fully giving a diet or fitness regimen a chance. It takes your body two weeks to get used to a diet and I’d say a month to see changes in muscle endurance and strength on any particular program.
Got something that’s working, great! Just remember mixing in lifting lighter (detail work) is just as important as putting on mass. Have someone look at you weekly so you can “etch” out those smaller muscle groups that will really make your body pop!
Also, for bodybuilders incorporating yoga (I know, but listen) is wise. 1. You get a stretch 2. Your job is to stand on stage in an uncomfortable position and make it look comfortable — that’s yoga! My posing really improved when I did that. Just like Arnold doing ballet yoga creates length to the mass you are putting on.
Strangest thing I’ve seen in the gym is poor form. I’m a stickler for form. It’s important to not only build but also to protect the body. The other thing that’s wrong is thinking you need to spend so much time in the gym. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY.
I’m looking to combine bodybuilding for a triathlon. But I think muscular strength goes hand in hand with any sport.
My best hack outside the gym is REST. You train hard so you have to give your body a day or two to recover. Besides we look better and our bodies look better when we rest (my coach Chuck Norman always said that).
Are you taking on clients right now?
Yes, I am currently taking on new clients (limited availability). I think I’m very different, my background is crazy. LOL I studied electrical engineering and physics, I am a bodybuilder, personal trainer, group fitness instructor and chef.
I take a very science related view to the body with regards to diet and fitness. I don’t believe in just training you, I consider myself a sculptor. Taking what you have to create what you desire.
Clients get what they put in just like in life. Changes depend on the client, the work they put in their diets, etc. Everyone is different, some people two weeks, some six to eight. I train both in person or virtual.
Where can we learn more about you?
Ready to get really fit and inspired?
I’m Mads Phikamphon, founder of Bulk Hackers.
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