Bikini Competitor And Fitness Model Stacey Naito Talks To Muscle & Strength

Tell us about your contest history. How many times have you competed?

Stacey Naito

NPC contests

  • NPC Team Universe, Traneck, NJ, July 2011 – 1st place Masters Bikini 45+, 8th place Open Bikini class D, 11th place Masters Bikini 35+
  • 2010 Nationals – 6th Place in Bikini D
  • 2010 North Americans – 1st Place in Masters Bikini C & 3rd Place in Bikini C
  • 2010 Junior USA – 6th Place in Bikini D
  • 2010 USA – 6th Place in Bikini D
  • 2010 Team Universe – 13th Place in Bikini D
  • 2010 Emerald Cup – 2nd Place in Bikini Medium
  • 2009 Excalibur – 3rd Place in Bikini Medium
  • 2009 Nationals – 16th Place in Bikini C
  • 2009 Border States – 1st Place in Masters Bikini & 4th Place in Bikini Medium
  • 2009 Tournament of Champions – 1st Place in Masters Bikini & 2nd Place in Bikini Medium
  • 2009 Los Angeles – 3rd Place in Masters Bikini & 6th Place in Bikini Medium

What is your athletic background, and how did you get involved with fitness and bikini?

As a child I was involved in gymnastics and gravitated towards activities which lent themselves to increased body-consciousness.  Team sports weren’t so much my thing as I was a year younger than my classmates and intimidated by their larger stature.  As an adult I became more interested in dance and took modern dance and salsa.  Then I started weight training in college and fell in love with its ability to constantly challenge me.  From that point on weight training became an integral part of my life.

I obtained my Bachelor of Arts degree in Exercise Science from Occidental College and shortly thereafter began working as a fitness trainer, first at the Spectrum Club in Agoura and subsequently on an independent basis with clients.  I still work as a personal trainer as well as a contest prep coach for bikini and figure competitors.

Over the years I would find myself at bodybuilding shows and never ceased to be amazed by the figure and fitness competitors.  I felt that one day I would like to compete in one of those arenas.  Then in 2009, the National Physique Committee launched the Bikini Division.  I was persuaded to enter a contest and innocently thought I would only compete in that single contest as a “bucket list” item.  Boy, was I wrong!  I competed in five shows in 2009 and six in 2010.  My best show out of the five national shows I did in 2010 was the IFBB North American, where I took a third place finish in Open Bikini C and first place in Masters Bikini C.

Stacey Naito

What I love most about competing is being up on stage, celebrating all my hard work and being surrounded by like-minded individuals.  What I dislike is the political bent which is a necessary evil in the sport.

I am blessed to have had a resurrection of my lifelong modeling career as a result of competing.  I have done more fitness, bikini and lingerie modeling in the past two years than I ever did prior to that.  I truly do enjoy being in front of the camera lens, creating images which hopefully inspire people to get in the best shape of their lives.

Stacey NaitoWhat were the major milestones that gave you that “extra” motivation boost?

The first major milestone I had as an NPC Bikini competitor was a first place finish in Master’s Bikini at the Tournament of Champions in 2009, followed by another first place finish in Master’s Bikini at Border States the same year.

Then in April of 2010 I hit another milestone when I took a second place finish at Emerald Cup.  This fueled me to compete on the national stage for five shows.  When I made it into the top ten at NPC USA, I was thrilled, as I was with the next three shows which put me in the top ten as well.

Probably the most motivating milestone, as well as a disappointment, was when I competed at the IFBB North American, where I took a third place finish in Open Bikini C and first place in Masters Bikini C.  I did not take the overall win, which meant I was edged out of becoming an IFBB pro at that show.  That show was certainly bittersweet for me!

What are your future goals, dreams and plans?

To have my own action hero (fully jointed of course!)… On a more serious note, I hope to merge my background as a physician with my experience as a personal trainer, model and competitor and hit the television and Internet world with my presence.

In addition, I would love to have my own supplement line and would also love to launch a skin care and cosmetics line eventually.

Do you have any gym, muscle building or fitness pet peeves?

I have a number of gym pet peeves which include the following: people who attempt to talk to me when I am in the middle of a set, people who come to the gym without having bathed for a couple of days…

Stacey Naito

What advanced training techniques work well for you?

I incorporate a lot of supersets, slow negatives and partial reps in my workout regimen and find that I respond well to them all.  I have tried giant sets but find that I get so wiped out that this style disrupts my energy for the remainder of the workout.

How do you prepare meals? Do you cook daily or cook for the week?

I usually cook close to a week’s worth of food at a time, consisting of broiled or grilled chicken breast, ground turkey loaf, baked tilapia, brown rice, roasted sweet potatoes, and hard-boiled eggs.  To be honest I have been completely burnt out lately on my meals but I realize how great I feel when I am consistent with my meals.

Stacey NaitoWhat are your favorite cheat meals and foods?

My favorite cheat foods are sushi, red wine, vegan banana bread (my secret recipe), and burgers.

What are some of your best diet, nutrition and supplementation tips for someone who just wants to look good and ripped, but doesn’t want to compete?

I find that many people don’t know how to feed their bodies properly, so I give them some general guidelines to follow.  The first rule is to cut out processed foods such as refined sugar, white flour, glutinous white rice, and processed and cured meats.  The second rule is to eat smaller, more frequent meals and to include protein in each meal.  The third guideline is to cut out all complex carbs after 6 pm.  For supplementation, I recommend conjugated linoleic acid, flax seed oil, and fish oil.  Generally, I keep my advice fairly basic for those who are not accustomed to clean eating.

Workout music – Don’t care, or MP3 player?

I have to have my MP3 player with me while working out!  It’s a great pest deterrent, and I need my pump up music to keep the momentum up.  The tunes I tend to crank up while at the gym are hip-hop, R&B, and some rap.  A couple of my favorite songs to work out to currently are “Born This Way”  by Lady Gaga and “Champagne Life” by Ne-Yo.

If someone wants to connect with you, where can you be found?

I can be found under my name, Stacey Naito, on Facebook.  People can also visit my website at

Do you have any tips for someone who is looking to compete in your sport?

Make sure to choose a show for your debut that gives you a reasonable amount of time to prep.  Every detail, such as suit color and cut, hairstyle, tanning product, accessories, makeup, and posing is critical for displaying yourself optimally onstage.  Most importantly, have fun during the process and enjoy your time onstage!  Competitions can be very stressful so it is crucial to stay centered and avoid sweating the small stuff!

Stacey Naito

Photo Credits:

  • Image #1 (White bikini)  Leigh Hagen, LHGFX
  • Image #2 (Tiger) Harry Grigsby III, LHGFX
  • Image #3 (Black) Casian Photography
  • Image #4 (Blue) Jeff Binns
  • Image #5 (Guns) Second Focus Photography
  • Image #6 (Silver) Dennis Dennis
  • Image #7 (Light blue) Dan Ray

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