Fabulous Fitness Model Melanie Tillbrook Talks To Muscle & Strength
What is your athletic background, how did you get involved with fitness modeling?
My athletic background from my youth was playing volleyball for 7 years, basketball, and cheerleading. I got involved with competing in fitness when I started modeling with a fitness supplement company. I was motivated by seeing the other competitors at The Arnold Classic and the Mr. Olympia.
What do you love most about fitness and competing?
I love that this sport motivates others in my life. It’s an awesome thing to change and effect other’s lives and health.
What were the major milestones that gave you that “extra” motivation boost?
I think that my career in modeling is a constant motivator to diet down and do well. I also had lost 20lbs my first year of college when I learned how to cook for myself and how to work out, this drove me to get in the best shape of my life.
What keeps you motivated?
I’m motivated by other competitors, seeing my very own results and by those healthy friends I have that are always staying on the ball.
Who were your heroes growing up and how did they help inspire you to get involved with fitness and bikini?
My hero is my mom. I know she went through so much in her life and I know there’s no obstacle too big to take on. As far as in my sport Monica Brant is such an inspiration. I worked with her for years and her humble sweet manner is why she’s one of the best in the biz.
Do you supplement your weight training and cardio with any other physical activities?
I supplement my training with spinning, running on the beach, TRX band workouts, a class at my gym called Hardcore Cuts, and sweatshop. I also love boxing and beach volleyball.
Which do you prefer, and why…steady state cardio or HIIT?
I prefer a combo of both steady state and HIIT. I do HIIT 2 days a week and steady state 5 days a week. I like both, but think you need a blend of the two. Treadmill sprints kill me.
What are some of your best training tips for someone who wants to look good and ripped?
I think that a great thing to do is to try circuit training with different reps working both the upper and lower body. And trying to keep your heart rate up while lifting will get you more ripped than if you are just doing cardio for long periods.
What are some of the most common mistakes made when someone is trying to build muscle and/or get ripped?
The most common mistakes are not utilizing weight training and not eating carbs. Weights will change the form of your body cardio will not do that as efficiently. And those who eat no carbs will just flatten out and once they start eating carbs again will quickly gain the weight back. They fuel your body for a good workout.
What are your favorite 5 muscle building exercises and why?
My favorite 5 are squats because I love nice glutes. Shoulders because they give you the hourglass look and abs so you have a nice tummy. Also I like to work rear delts and lower back. I don’t think we hit those areas enough.
What are some of the biggest training mistakes you’ve made?
I used to train the same body part days in a row when I was in college then I learned to hit my body parts once or twice a week.
Melanie Tillbrook Photoshoot South Beach
Do you have any gym, muscle building or fitness pet peeves?
My gym pet peeve is guys trying to talk to me in the gym. I literally treat the gym as my job because it is such an important part of my daily routine. And men that approach me are just slowing me down in there. And I hate when they try and give me tips, “I didn’t ask you, thank you very much!”
What are your best tips for getting ripped and shredded abs?
My tip for abs are that they are really made in the kitchen with a clean diet and cutting salt and water in the end. It’s all about diet diet diet, and also I love planks and core workouts.
What advanced training techniques work well for you?
I implement slow negatives when I train legs sometimes to hit them harder, and I frequently superset body parts to keep my heart rate pumped and my circuits going.
What does your post-workout nutrition and supplementation look like?
Right after I train I make a protein shake, lately been trying Vega protein while breaking from my normal whey protein. I also use coconut water to replace the simple sugar. I also love throwing ice, strawberries and my protein in the blender. Its my fav shake.
What does your cutting (eating) plan look like?
When I cut I only cheat once a week and I take out most all of my salt a few weeks before contest time. I cut my carbs out first then I cut my water. And I carb load the last few days before the show.
How do you prepare meals? Do you cook daily or cook for the week?
I cook twice a week once in the beginning and once in the middle of my week and I use a lot of Tupperware and Ziploc bags. I also have a rolling cooler for when I travel.
How important is carb cycling when trying to cut fat and retain muscle?
My nutritionist has me carb cycling one day high carb and one day low carb on and off, and it has helped me while dieting. I think it speeds my fat burning.
What are your favorite meals and foods?
I love sweet potatoes. I made them healthy dessert by putting some cinnamon and a little coconut oil on them.
How important is nutrient timing for performance and/or building muscle?
Nutrient timing is everything! It’s so very important for building and shedding, If I don’t eat for a while during the day, I get headaches and feel terrible. When my diet is on point I know I can get my body in the form it needs to be in. Diet is 80% and working out Is 20% of your result.
Workout music – Don’t care, or MP3 player?
I have to use my IPOD for a killer workout I love it and I download new songs a lot. I like house music for cardio and hip hop. To cool down I have R&B on my playlist too.
If someone wants to connect with you, where can you be found?
If someone wants to connect follow me at www.MsMelanie.com, www.twitter.com/MsMelanieT, or add me on Facebook.
Do you have any tips for someone who is looking to compete in your sport?
Do it, it’s fun and will make you appreciate other aspects of your life. It will discipline your lifestyle.
Favorite activities and hobbies you enjoy when away from the gym?
I love to dance, shop, and hang with friends by the pool here in Miami. Sunday Funday is my favorite.
Movies and TV shows you’ve enjoyed recently?
I appeared on an episode of “The Glades” on A&E last season and I like that show. Jersey Shore is hilarious. I also watch Sex in the City re-runs and True Blood.
Which college or professional sports teams do you root for?
I’m an FSU alumni so GO NOLES!!
A quick shoutout to my nutritionist Adele Fridman for all her help with my diet and training at www.metabody.ca, my trainer Marc Megna for killing me in the gym and all his help and guidance www.marcmegna.com, and to Lisa Gaylord for her intense classes.