Maya Nassar - Bikini Competitor

Maya: After reaching the heaviest I had ever been a few years ago, I woke up one day and decided it was time to change. After doing lots of research online, I started exercising and eating clean. Within three months I had completely transformed my body and lost all the weight I had gained. I always knew I wanted to take my fitness to the next level and compete in a bikini fitness competition, but unfortunately these competitions do not exist in the Middle East where I live.

It wasn’t until a friend of mine in London told me about a federation called Miami Pro based in the UK that I finally fulfilled my long-term fitness goal of competing. I entered my first show this summer and have plans to compete again next year in May.

I eat the same foods all year long round; however, I simply eat less when it is time to train for a competition. My diet consists of whole grains, healthy fats and lots of lean protein. During the off-season, I incorporate more carbs into my diet to help assist my workouts and lift heavy. This is also essential for muscle building, progress and recovery. When I am trying to get leaner for a competition, I decrease my carb intake and eat more lean protein. I also divide my meals into five smaller meals in order to prevent cravings and keep my energy levels high.

I believe any sufficient diet consisting of well-balanced wholefoods will deliver results. Before training for my competition, I had been in touch with a coach who had prescribed a low-calorie diet of 800 cals a day. Any starvation diet is a red flag and will only deprive you of vital nutrients and damage your metabolism. Another ineffective diet is a nutrition program that cuts out a major food group (ie, carbs). Even if you are dieting down to become super-lean, you should never cut out carbs, protein or healthy fats from your diet.


Maya - before and after

To be honest, I do not believe in weight loss supplements. Before taking on a healthy lifestyle, I previously tried fat-burners and suffered from terrible side effects. No supplement will ever deliver the same results as healthy eating and exercise. The only supplements I ever take consist of protein powder, multivitamins, fish oil or branched chain amino acids (BCAA) for muscle recovery. If someone is looking to lose weight, transform their body or train for a competition, they do not need to take weight loss supplements. They just need to eat clean and train hard! There are many supplements that help with post-workout recovery or muscle building, but that is only a supplement to hard work.

I believe in lifting heavy weights to build muscle and see the best results. Many women are scared of lifting heavy weights for fear of bulking up, however, that is nearly impossible as women do not have as much testosterone in their bodies as men. I am currently lifting weights five times a week and train a different muscle group on each day. I think it is very important to have a trainer or a friend spot you if you are lifting heavy to ensure you push to your limits and avoid injury. Before I started working out with my trainer, I was doing a set of chest press and ended up throwing the dumbbells across the room to avoid dropping them on myself. It makes all the difference to have someone spot you on your last few reps.

I simply balance training with my diet by making sure I prepare my healthy food and take it with me wherever I go. If you are training for a competition or a fitness goal, it is extremely essential to plan meals in advance in order to stick to your diet and reach your goals. Some people find it easier to cook in bulk once a week; others cook the night before or wake up early to prepare their food.

It is also vital to eat enough food to support your training. The harder and more intense you train, the more you should eat to fuel your workouts. Eating a low-calorie diet or cutting out carbs in combination of intensive exercise will only be setting you up for physiological disaster.

My contact details are below:

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