India Paulino may stand only 5’2″, but she casts a long shadow as a top IFBB Professional League bikini competitor. Her secret to staying in peak form? “I’m always on a plan, even if I’m not competing,” says Paulino. “I go to the gym every day. I’m dedicated to both my fitness and my diet.” Steal some of her fat-loss secrets to reach your own better-body goals.
- Read labels carefully. “I don’t usually eat foods or have drinks made with artificial sweeteners because they make you retain water,” says Paulino. Ditto foods that are high in sodium. “I use sea salt sometimes when I’m cooking, but since I’m the one who’s in control, I know exactly how much is going in,” she adds.
- Choose carbs wisely. “I go for the slow-burning kind, like oatmeal or sweet potatoes. And I eat lots of greens, like kale and spinach, which have a ton of important nutrients.”
- Indulge where you can. “One of my favorite foods is peanut butter. It helps me stay in control, plus it’s loaded with protein,” she says. Healthy fat sources, like avocado and olive oil, are also important. “To lose fat, you need to incorporate some fat into your diet.”
- Load up on protein. Paulino’s standard diet typically includes fish, grilled chicken, steak, and egg whites.
Paulino may be a regular at the gym, but she’s constantly mixing up her workouts. Her favorite go-to fat blaster? A combo of weights and plyometrics that keeps her heart rate soaring while working all of her major muscle groups (see “Amp Up Your Fat Loss,” below). For longer cardio, she sticks with intervals using several different machines, such as 30 minutes on the stairclimber (one-minute intervals with a 20-second recovery) followed by a similar routine on a stationary bike or treadmill.