Meriza Deguzman: IFBB Figure Pro and Man Sports Sponosred Athlete Talks With Intense Fitness
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started with training?
I first joined a gym to get in shape following the birth of my daughter. I learned how powerful exercise was, and I was hooked! Within two years, I did my first contest – it was actually a local bodybuilding contest – and guess what? I won! I trained at the time with IFBB Pro, Masai Tagami, who was an early mentor for me. I still see her from time to time at the shows here in Southern California.
What is your training philosophy?
Train hard, train smart.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge that those seeking a body transformation have to overcome?
Whether it is fat loss or muscle building? The biggest challenge I see people struggle with is compliance with the program, and consistency. A good body transformation program is most likely not unbelievably hard or impossible , but the challenge for most people is being able to make the necessary changes in their lifestyle.
What does your current diet look like? How does this differ from contest prep to of-season?
As I answer these questions, I’m currently dieting for the 2011 Border States. Here’s my current meal plan:
Meal 1: 1.5 scoops whey isolate, pre-cardio
Meal 2: 3 oz steak, 4 egg whites, ¼ cup white or jasmine rice
Meal 3: 1.5 scoops whey isolate
Meal 4: 6 oz tilapia, ¼ cup white or jasmine rice
Meal 5: 6 oz tilapia, ¼ cup white or jasmine rice
Meal 6: 1.5 scoops whey isolate
Meal 7: 6 oz tilapia. I’ll often prepare this with a vegetable broth for my last meal of the day.
On Saturday’s, I’ll increase my carb intake by having 1/3 cup of rice with every meal except meal 1; and I’ll add an apple to my day.
What changes do you make to your diet from off- season to contest prep?
Off season, I’m careful to get all of my protein in, but I’ll typically eat more carbs and I allow myself to eat more “normal” foods, and occasional cheats. The most important principle in the off-season is “portion control”…as long as you’re doing some activity, eating “clean” most of the time, an occasional cheat in a small serving will help keep your cravings away, satisfy your sweet tooth, without harming your fit, lean look.
A lot of competitors in the bodybuilding/ fitness scene really allow their weight to fluctuate from on-season to off-season. Do you believe this is the best way to handle things or will you maintain a more strict weight range year round?
Dieting is hard…but, if you make this a way of life, you can maintain your weight closer to your competitive weight (I try to keep to within 10lbs of my competition weight all year round) …I keep my weight close to my competition weight because I don’t like dieting! So, by eating fairly clean year-round, I don’t have to suffer through 16-20 week diets and ridiculous amounts of hard cardio. Plus, as a trainer and a pro, I feel it’s important to lead by example for my clients and fans.
Do you feel that being married to competitive bodybuilder makes it easier to stay on track with your training and diet or do you think it makes harder?
We both compete, but we haven’t really dieted together, so it doesn’t impact my compliance that much. For example, now I’m dieting hard, and Pete just got done competing in two big shows, so he’s relaxing his diet a bit. But, overall, we live a very similar lifestyle and he understands what I’m going through when I’m really low carb and struggling…so we can support each other.
What do you feel are the three most important things that someone needs to do right with their nutrition?
1. Start with a solid meal plan or program, high in lean proteins and low in refined or simple carbs. 2. Eat small, frequent meals at regular intervals. 3. consistency and portion control – these are the 3 secrets that will bring success to any weight loss / fat loss program!
What does your current training routine look like? How does this differ from contest prep to of-season?
I train with the same training split all year long, but I increase cardio as I prepare for show time. Currently, I split up my training like this:
Monday: Shoulders, light Triceps
Tuesday: Legs (focus mainly on hamstrings and glutes)
Wednesday: Back, light Chest
Thursday: Abs, Calves
Friday: Shoulders, light Triceps
Sunday: Rest (closer to a contest, I may get into cardio 7 times per week, but rest is always a priority)
How often do you change your routine up so your muscles do not adapt to one style of training?
My training session is slightly different. It keeps my muscles guessing, and it keeps it fun!
When you’re trying to bring up a lagging muscle group, what do you do differently with your routine?
I’ll often schedule an extra training session during the week, or adjust the specific exercises I do to target a lagging body part.
What advice would you give someone who’s just thinking about breaking into bodybuilding?
It’s a lot of work, and it’s very challenging, but it’s also so much fun! The girls are mostly very friendly and supportive. I’d say, be sure to focus on balance in your life. The intense nature of our sport can be overwhelming and consuming…be sure to keep things in their place, and your life will be fit, happy and healthy!
What do you feel is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made to be in this sport/ industry?
Time away from family, and my daughter. It’s very hard to spend time away from our daughter when we travel to shows. That’s why I try to spend as much time home, mommy-daughter time, as possible, when we’re not traveling, competing or making an appearance.
How do you stay motivated?
My clients and my daughter provide me with motivation. I always want to show my clients and my daughter that it is possible to change your body, and it’s important to set goals and then stick to them. This is how to be successful in life, too, not just Figure or Bikini. I also love the challenge of trying to be the best I can possibly be. These things keep me motivated.
Do you feel supplements are necessary to take your body to the next level and if so, which ones?
I’ve always used supplements, but it wasn’t until I started competing at the national or pro level that I started being religious with them. I currently use the full array of MAN Sports products – Figure Fuel and Body Octane are my favorites – they actually formulated Figure Fuel for ME and my girls!
Figure Fuel is a powerful fatigue fighter that you’ll really feel! When I was working with Kim Oddo, he stared me on L-Carnitine, prior to cardio and exercise. It helps mobilize fatty acids, allowing them to be pulled from the storage areas – the fat cells – to be burned for energy. That’s why there’s a full 1,000mg of it in Figure Fuel. And the BCAAs in Figure Fuel – 6 grams – help protect my muscle. But the biggest thing I feel from the Figure Fuel is the FATIGUE FIGHTING. I couldn’t do my two cardio sessions right now, without the combination of Figure Fuel and Body Octane – not with the low carb meal plan I’m following!
I’m also using MAN Sports Reveal the Steel Stack to help dig into my deep fat stores – Scorch, Vaporize and Yohimbine HCL. This stack really gives me the energy I need, and helps keep my metabolism burning fat for fuel.
How do you address post-training nutrition? What do you do following your workouts to begin the muscle re-building process?
On-season, BCAA’s like those in Figure Fuel, and then hi-protein in the first 30 minutes or so post training, will protect muscle, fuel fat burning, and help recharge you. When not dieting for a contest, I’ll usually have an apple or piece of fruit with my Whey Isolate.
Let’s talk about down-time. How often do you take a complete break from the gym during a training year?
I love to train. Usually after a show, I’ll rest and recover for a few days, but I’m soon back to my cardio and weights. It’s really a way of life for us…around the holidays, I’ll take a few extra days off, to rest, and recharge and spend time with my family.
When you are not training or doing photo shoots, what do you in your down time?
When I’m not at work, training my clients, I’m spending time with my daughter. We go shopping, to the movies, get our nails done together or get a facial – you know, girlie things! and one thing we all love is sushi! We’ll meet up w/ my husband for sushi most weekend evenings, after he’s done at the gym or the 619 MUSCLE store, for a family dinner.
What are your future plans or goals in the sport/ industry?
Of course, I’d still like to get back on that Olympia stage…and I haven’t yet won a pro show, so…;)
But, other than that, I love what I’m doing now, with my day-to-day, working with my clients as they all improve…Peter and I are working on a book / video project now, so that we can share what we’ve learned along this journey with others who are just getting started. Even though competitive bodybuilding and Figure can be negatively perceived by many in the mainstream, there is so much good and positive that comes from our sport and lifestyle, I want to share that with others!
What is your favorite motivational quote?
“In order to change your life, you’ve got to change your lifestyle.”
If some wants to connect with you, where can you be found?
Thank you for taking the time to sit down and do this interview and good luck with all your future plans!