In the News Interview with Fitness Model Elina Shaffy Interview with Fitness Model Elina Shaffy

Elina Shaffy - Fitness Model Questions & Answers


How did you get started in the fitness field?


I struggled with my weight as a kid.


What is the #1 thing you like best about being into fitness?


The way I look and feel. There is nothing more sexy than a person who exudes true confidence.


What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field?


My biggest fitness accomplishment has been the ability to inspire and motivate others through my dedication, hard work and journey. I look at myself as a leader, a trendsetter and a true visionary.


What is the best way to get started in the fitness modeling industry? Should I just contact the photographers directly or should I use an agency?


Both are good but you will need professional pictures for most agencies to begin promoting yourself.


Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?

My fitness routine starts with at least 30-50 minutes of cardio (I love the way I feel after a good run) and at least 30-50 minutes of weight training. It is so rewarding after finishing a great workout.


I don't have that much time during the day to workout, so I really want to burn major calories in a short amount of time. What is the #1 "bang for the buck" cardio exercise I should do to burn serious calories?


Well the #1 "bang for the buck" exercise for cardio, are broken up into two types of training to burn major calories. These include circuit and interval training:

Circuit Training - training program of a sequence of 7-15 exercises perform continuously without any rest.

Interval Training - training program performed through periods of intense exercise between rest and light exertion.


How much weight (pounds) should I focus on losing every week? What is a safe amount to make sure I keep it off?


I would target 2-3 pounds per week. You will see results as early as your first week but be patient! Keep up the good work! Don't cheat! Know you are on the road to success!


What type of food or supplements should I take before and after my workouts to help me see results in gaining lean muscle and losing fat?


Whey protein is a great protein source for improved sports performance because it reduces stress and lowers cortisol levels (stress hormone that destroys muscle). Improve immunity by increasing glutathione, which is a water soluble antioxidant found in the body which reduces blood pressure and helps reduce overtraining.

In addition, whey proteins are highly digestible and have a better amino acid profile than egg whites. So in other words, whey protein has the highest biological value of any protein.


How do you deal with cravings for junk foods, sweets and salty food? I can stay on a diet for maybe a few weeks but I eventually get really bad cravings and binge on snacks and fast foods?


Drink a lot of water each day. The average adult should consume approximately 8-10 cups of water daily or more. Being dehydrated can cause you to feel hungry, irritable and tired which will all trigger bad food cravings. Exercise regularly, which helps curb your appetite and soothes your emotions.


I'm trying to create a healthy shopping list to stick with. What are some of the main foods I should include to maintain a lean and muscular physique?


Complex carbohydrates - Oatmeal, sweet potatoes and brown rice, quinoa, barley, basmati rice and oats (steel cut is best).

Lean proteins – I only eat fish and organic eggs as animal protein. I love wild-caught salmon (grilled or blackened then baked in the oven), albacore tuna in a can, tofu dogs (one of my favorites), veggie cheese, organic eggs and nonfat plain yogurt.

Veggies – I love spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and red cabbage are all high in antioxidants and are considered to be a superfood because of their cancer fighting agents.

Fruits - Watermelon, pomegranate, papaya and tomato are on top of my favorite list and all considered to be a superfood because of their cancer fighting agents. Legumes - Garbanzo beans, red lentils, green lentils, black beans, pinto beans and navy beans.

Milk - Organic nonfat milk, soy milk & hemp milk (unsweetened).

Snacks - Almonds, cashews, dried cranberries, raisins, peanut butter and almond butter.

Sweeteners - Agave nectar, maple syrup, Stevia, Splenda and Truvia.

Condiments - I use sea salt, black pepper, ground white pepper, fresh onions, fresh garlic and fresh Serrano peppers, fresh ginger root (highest form of antioxidant), fresh basil, fresh cilantro, scallions, chives and organic turmeric, herbamare and fresh tomato to season most of my foods. I am an amazing cook and I'm currently working on my first cookbook which will be out by the end of 2012.



I'm about 35 pounds over weight. I have never started an exercise program and really don't know where to start. What tips can you give me to get started on the right track?


Remember there are a few key factors to overcome your obstacles and it begins with dedication, determination, patience and to:

1. See yourself thin!
2. Keep a food log of everything you eat - caloric consumption!
3. Start a fitness journal.
4. Hire a trainer or find a gym buddy.
5. Do 45-60 minutes of cardio, 5 times a week.
6. Download an iPhone or Blackberry app like Livestrong or Loseit to help you with the weight loss process.
7. Drink 12-16 cups of water everyday!
8. Watch food portions.
9. Eat several times a day to help speed up your metabolism.
10. Never feel full from any meal!


I tend to eat out most of the time and really don't know what healthy foods to order from the menu. What tips do you recommend for eating out at restaurants to make sure my diet will not suffer?


The Eating Bible: Always order grilled fish or chicken breast with green leafy vegetables like steamed or lightly sautéed broccoli or spinach served with half a lemon.

When ordering, be sure to request:
Low-fat dressing on the side (if fat contents are unknown, stick to oil & vinegar or lemon & oil).
Skip the appetizers (unless it's your meal!).
Skip bread!

Avoid desserts! But if you can't resist, try these alternatives:
Fresh berries with sorbet.
Frozen yogurt (non-fat only) with fresh fruit.
Share with your friend.

Beverage Bible:
Water, tea or coffee (no sodas, even diet sodas!)

Cocktail Bible:
Never exceed 2 alcoholic drinks per meal!
Steer clear of Pina Coladas, Daiquiris or anything that taste too good!
NEVER order anything that remotely resembles a fish-bowl!


What exercises do you recommend for getting a bigger, rounder and fuller butt?


I like step-ups, sumo squats, deadlifts and lunges to build a rounder butt.



What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?


I always watch what I eat therefore i don't realize too much change accept with my training regimen. It's 80% diet and 20% exercise.


Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat in a typical day to stay in shape?

Coffee with nonfat milk and balance bar or muscle milk shake
Egg white omelette with tomato and mushrooms

Mid-Morning Snack:
Fresh fruit of my choice and oatmeal
Chocolate Almond Butter protein shake

Tuna salad wrap
2 egg white omelet with tomato, mushroom and fresh avocado (I love this with ketchup & Tabasco)

Mid-Afternoon Snack:
Two tablespoon of reduced fat peanut butter
1 cup of nonfat plain yogurt, granola & fresh berries

I always eat grilled fish with green leafy vegetables like steamed or lightly sautéed kale, broccoli or spinach with half a lemon and Tabasco. I never finish my meals!

When I can't resist, which is often I choose Weight watchers or Skinny Cow Reduced fat ice cream.


What type of exercises do you include in your routine to stay in shape?


Monday - Cardio, Back & shoulders

Tuesday - Chest, side planks, superman

Wednesday - Cardio, legs, butt & abs

Thursday - Triceps, biceps & abs

Friday - Plyometrics or kettlebell training

Saturday - Circuit training

Sunday - Rest

Cardio Exercises: Running, sprinting, jogging, elliptical or biking

Additional Exercises: Kettlebell training or Plyometrics


What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for developing toned and defined arms?


1. Warm-up your arms on cable machines for 3 sets of 20 or more repetitions with light weight. Standing cable curls work great for biceps. Rope pulldowns are great for warming up your triceps.

2. Focus on the muscle you're working! Do 12-15 repetitions per set.

3. Bench press

4. Shoulder press

5. Bent-over rows


What are your top 5 tips for losing unwanted body fat?


1. See yourself thin!

2. Keep a food log!

3. Eat several times a day to speed up your metabolism.

4. You should keep your portions reasonable.

5. Drink at least 12 cups of water a day.


What are your top 5 tips for gaining lean muscle mass?


1. Lift heavy with low reps.

2. Eat an adequate amount of protein throughout the day.

3. Rest.

4. Stay hydrated.

5. Eat clean.



What are the top 5 tips you recommend for staying motivated on a fitness plan and truly making a healthy lifestyle change?


1. Start a food journal.

2. Get a trainer or workout buddy.

3. Take pictures to see your progress.

4. Keep a fitness journal.

5. Be patient.


What is your training routine like? (Please include a few details - training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)?


Monday - Cardio either on treadmill or bike. Legs and glutes.

Tuesday - Back and biceps

Wednesday - Plyometrics

Thursday - Run, spring or jog, chest, shoulders and triceps

Friday - Sprints or run. Calves and legs.

Saturday - Tennis, biking or running

Sunday - Rest


What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for losing fat around the stomach and developing a toned and defined midsection?


1. Watch your diet.

2. Do at least 40-60 minutes of cardio per day.

3. Train abs with weight resistance.

4. Get rid of any junk food in your house so there is no temptation.

5. Do at least 15 minutes of crunches every other day.


What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for toning the thighs, hips and butt?


1. Eat clean!

2. Weighted squats

3. Weighted lunges

4. Lying leg curls

5. Sumo squats


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