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Meet Ariana Twitchell
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Train Like a Woman!
By Kristin Reisinger, MS RD
I recently moved into a new apartment.... You see, it's really hard to meet women who like the same things as me. I'm not quite sure why... Regardless, one day this diesel chick is walking out of the building with the same EAS shoulder bag as me. It's the one I got from competing at Team Universe last year. So I stopped her and said, "That bag... do you compete?!..." and a new friendship was born. Meet my new neighbor, Ariana Twitchell!
KR: Please tell me a little bit about your background: age, athletic background, childhood, career, etc. Anything you might feel is pertinent to where you are now in terms of fitness and competition.
AT: I'm 25 years old, I grew up in Portland, ME and am now living in Jersey City, New Jersey. Sports were always a big part of my life growing up. I concentrated mostly on soccer and lacrosse, which I continued to play into college. I started lifting weights as a result of a knee injury in high school (ACL tear) and continued to use it as a supplement to my cross training for athletics throughout high school and college. In college, I tore my other ACL and after a long series of surgeries, my collegiate sports days were over and training enabled me to stay in shape once I graduated and begin working for an Investment Bank in NY.
KR: How long have you been involved in fitness and how did you get involved?
AT: I have been competing for a year now. Initially, I was encouraged to compete by my friend Andrea Taggart. We trained together and competed in several NPC figure shows last summer. It was a great introduction to the industry, but I had always been interested in obstacle course competitions. Andrea introduced me to Patti Franklin and Vida Garcia and I began to train for the obstacle course with them. Since then, I have competed in both Fitness Success Challenge and Women's Tri-Fitness this year.
KR: Tell me a little bit about Women's Tri-Fit and why you chose that competition over the standard figure competitions.
AT: Women's Tri Fitness and Fitness Success Challenge are Obstacle Course competitions comprised of various athletic events including an obstacle course, a series of fitness skills, a fitness routine and a physique round. I had a great experience competing in Figure, but missed physically competing against others, as I had competed in some type of team sport since I was three years old. I wanted to compete in an organization that would judge me on my athleticism in addition to my physique. Both FSC and WTF are great organizations and I highly recommend it to people looking for something in addition to training for an athletic physique. What I like best about these shows is that you do not have to compete in all four events. For example, I only compete in Physique, Fitness Skills, and the Obstacle Course, but hope to add a routine in the next year or so.
KR: How do you feel the training is different for obstacle course competition versus figure competition?
AT: Since there are so many components to the Obstacle Course competitions, it is challenging to balance proper preparation for each event. The diet is extremely challenging because not only must you achieve an athletically toned and lean look, but you must also be able to perform on the course, skills and routine. Additionally, it takes a lot of time and focus to balance everyday life with eating clean, lifting, cardio, practicing the obstacle course, fitness skills and routine.
KR: Do you find it difficult to train for obstacle course as well as physique development at the same time since training/diet is varied for both?
AT: Yes. Trying to attain a lean, symmetrical look while simultaneously training for athletic performance is not an easy task. I am still trying to figure out what works for me - in terms of balance, but I am inspired by so many of my fellow competitors and teammates that have been competing for years and continue to do both very well.
KR: What is a typical training week like for you?
AT: Sunday: Legs & Cardio
Monday: Back & Cardio
Tuesday: Shoulders, Sprints and Agility Drills
Thursday: Legs & Cardio
Friday: Chest, Arms, Sprints and Agility Drills
Saturday: Practice on the Course or cross train for Fitness Skills
KR: What is the typical diet for you like pre-contest and how far out do you start?
AT: I try to eat pretty clean most of the time so that I don't have to diet as strict when preparing for a show. But I would say that begin to diet approx 8 weeks out from a show and continue to refine it as I get closer. A typical day looks like this:
Meal 1 - Egg whites & Oatmeal
Meal 2 - Protein Shake w/Fruit
Meal 3 - Chicken, Salad, Sweet Potato
Meal 4 - Tuna, veggies, wild rice
Meal 5 - Protein Shake
Meal 6 - Fish and Veggies
KR: What are your fitness goals for the future?
AT: I have had a great time competing in FSC and WTF and plan to continue to compete in both sanctions for the next few years. As for my personal goals, I would like to continue to improve on my personal records in each of the events and continue to develop into a well- rounded and competitive athlete.
KR: If there were one thing you could tell a woman looking to get into shape, what would it be?
AT: I would recommend that they learn as much as they can about nutrition, training, and about themselves. You need to set reasonable goals and find things that motivate you to attain them. This means finding a training and eating lifestyle that you can stick with because being consistent over time is extremely important. You may not have the time to train six days a week, but without your health, you don't have anything. So find some time for you and make the most of it.
Kristin Reisinger, MS RD, is a New York City-based nutritional consultant, fitness trainer, freelance health + fitness writer and musician. She holds a Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology + Nutrition from Columbia University and is a Registered Dietitian through American Dietetic Association. She is also a competitive figure athlete, former Galaxy competitor, avid snowboarder, rock climber and surfer. She has been competing for over five years and will continue to do so until she is 80. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.