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My husband and I’s first cover shoot in California for FitnessX magazine. Obi interviews us on how we prepared for the photo shoot. With only 3 weeks preparation, I started with some carb cycling diets I had used in the past, one being The Deadline Diet that I created.

After only one week, I began to feel weak and had difficulty with energy levels in the gym. I realized quickly that I was already lean enough and didn’t have to go to such extremes with my nutrition.

I decided to add in carbohydrates every day after my workout to start with. Introducing foods that your body is deprived of slowing will prevent the body from bloating. After a couple of days, I added carbohydrates before my workouts also, as I was still lacking energy. Still, I needed more calories so I added a third meal of carbohydrates following my post-workout meal.

Three days before the shoot, I began to carb up on white rice and potatoes, 200 grams a day.  I was so surprised that my body stayed lean with all those carbohydrates in my system. I learned that if you work hard enough, your body will use these carbohydrates for building and repair. As long as you are working hard, you will be able to use these nutrients properly.

What I learned:

1. You don’t need to go on extreme low-calorie diets to lose weight fast. Although these types of diets do work, there is caution that must be followed with low-calorie diets. This is not the best method for weight loss.

2. Carbohydrates are needed to build muscle. I began to look really weak and too skinny. I needed to up my carbohydrates to keep the muscle I had and even wanted to build more muscle after losing a little with the low carb diet. If you are lifting weights, you should have carbohydrates post-workout.

If you feel low in energy, hungry all the time and aren’t seeing any lean muscle growth, you need to add in some more carbohydrates. Play around with times. If you need more energy in the gym, add in some carbs pre-workout, if you have enough energy add another carb meal after your post-workout nutrition. Measure yourself weekly and keep a food journal. This is the ONLY way you will succeed.

3. WORK hard and rest. If you are pushing yourself hard, you will lose weight, but you also have to rest. Taking at least one day off a week is necessary for repair. If you want something bad enough, you have to go out and get it. Nothing is just handed to you, especially your health. Set a deadline, a goal, something measurable and realistic.

Let me know what works for you to keep you motivated and focused. Share your success stories to inspire  each other.

Join the discussion 24 Comments

  • Anna Smith says:

    Thanks Flavia, this is a very informative article. Y’all look amazing in the video! I was one of the winners of the magazine from Vince’s contest and enjoyed reading your interview very much. When you where having 200 carbs, how much fat did you have?

    • Flavia says:

      Congratulations! Not very much. I didn’t measure but grams, but I had an ounce of nuts in the morning with one egg and 4 egg whites, and 1/2 and avocado with 4 oz of sirloin for my last meal.

  • Clea says:


    You really look amazing, and are such an inspriation to me, hopefully a LOT more fitness modelling comes your way as a result of this cover, you and Vince deserve it.

    When you said in your interview that you did a lot of cardio to prepare for the shoot, should I be choosing cardio over weight training to lean down in a short period of time? I am going on holiday in less than three weeks and am looking to lose as much weight as possible?


    • Flavia says:

      I would add it to your weight training, I never replace my weight training, I only add an additional 2 days of HIIT to my 3 or 4 day schedule…about 45 minutes.

  • Anna Smith says:

    what would be the best FBL days to add HIIT to?

  • Lisa West says:

    Great job! You both deserve this opportunity! My husband showed me Flavia’s vids from the Body Weight fitness sight. I was inspired. We live on a tight budget w/ 6 kids. Yep, Flavia! I had them one at a time…
    Needless to say at 37 w/ an 18 yr old and the youngest being 7, I knew I didn’t want to give up on my athletic body. Your online workout was the best investment I’ve made in years!
    Started out slow and dumbfounded, but in 3 mos. I’ve gone from weighing a flabby 175lbs. to a leaner, lifting my rear end at least an inch or more, 160lbs. I can actually see muscle and my quads are becoming amazing!
    I’ve never worked so hard! I’ve never wanted to til now and the passion continues to grow!
    Thank you so very much!

  • Kimberly says:

    You both look great! I have enjoyed your workouts ( dropped 30 lbs.). Keep up the good work.
    Dr. Gordacan

  • Debbies21 says:

    You look wonderful. But I do have an off topic question. I’m on vacay with a sore throat and raging cold. All I want to eat are carbs, toast, soft pretzels, soup, tea etc. I’m afraid I’m going to undue all the hard work I’ve done when I’m just starting to see the beginning of a four pack.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks Debbie

    • Flavia says:

      Make sure you eat protein. That is very important. Protein helps to regulate blood sugars. Always eat foods that have some nutritional value. It does not take long to undo what your achieved but remember that you can always undo your undo…ha.

  • Monica Mullett says:

    A great Cover Shoot & two beautiful bodies. I got the impression that your husband was a little shy & quite glad when it was over! However, good luck to you both, you deserve success after all your hard work.


  • Rosa Maria Barboza says:

    Thanks Flavia, you and Vince are very inspiring, indeed. You irradiate sympathy and bring us much confidence. Much success for both of you!

  • Lee Morgan says:

    Hi Flavia,

    Great to see all the informative feedback about carbs. I think they get a lot of negative press–people hear the word and just RUN in the other direction. What people don’t realize is, as you mention, that carbs actually have their role to play in losing weight and building muscle. However, I can see how it can be difficult to understand due to the flurry of varying advice out there. Minimize this, maximize that…hard to know what’s the most effective, short of personal experience!

    Your experience upping your carb intake while still maintaining a sleek form is really interesting. I’ve been experimenting a little bit myself with the starchy carbs and have actually noticed similar results–that it’s harder to maintain muscle tone and stuff. I’m a butt girl, and that’s the LAST thing I want to see disappear!

    I’m assuming 200 grams of carbs per day is on the “high” end of the spectrum, or is this what you’d typically recommend in combination with intense exercise? I find that, once you clean up your diet altogether–i.e. eliminate the processed stuff and keep a lid on added sugars, fats, and such–getting cut comes down to the nitty-gritty of nutrition; you need to be looking to recalibrate the balance of this versus that that in your diet, especially if you’re in that “last 5 lbs” range.

    What’s your take on the “type” of carbs you ingest, say brown rice for example versus bread? Are there any complex carbs you’d consider to be “optimal”? I’ve been told to keep an eye on the amount of bread (whole grain or otherwise) that you ingest, not sure what you make of this.

    Thanks for the great content! Looking forward to participating in the next discussion.



    • Flavia says:

      200 grams was my “carb up” phase. Presently I am eating around 120 grams of carbs and not gaining any fat. I do up it when my body is telling me I need to (such as when I have an amazing workout). I suggest complex carbohydrates. This that are found in nature-no processing. White potatoes are found in nature but are quick to digest so I would reccomend to have them post-workout and not too often. Breads I stay away from because they are not a single ingredient and not found in nature!

      • Lee Morgan says:

        Hi Flavia,

        Thanks for the quick feedback. I’m a brown rice girl myself–just finished cooking some up as a matter of fact. Bread I find “feels heavy,” but beans and lentils are a nice alternative with added protein to boot.

        Presently, I’m trying to fine-tune a system for myself that works most of the time. To return to what you said earlier, sometimes it’s trial and error with documentation. The nutrition journal, in conjunction with a workout journal, is a great idea. Obviously, everyone’s body is different, so pinpointing the best volumes of each food comes down to keeping track of what “hits the mark.” Cheers!

        Talk to you soon,


  • Anna says:

    Hey Flavia, I was thinking in a couple of weeks I would do another at home photo shoot to document my progress, I”m around 15 – 16% bf so I was thinking I would do the deadline diet for 2 weeks, FBL 5 days a week with some added cardio. I’ve never carbed up before. It would be great if maybe you could do an article on it or tell me how many carbs I should have to really make my muscles stand out. Any other advice? Thanks so much for all your help!

    • Flavia says:

      This one is a tough one because everyone’s body responds differently. I would start carbing up 24 hours before the photo shoot. Rotate sweet potatoes and white rice every 3 hours, 4oz each time. That is what did but again, everyone responds differently. If you begin to get bloated cut back, have a fat meal then go back to the carbs.

  • Anna says:

    ok, thanks so much! I’ll e-mail you the pictures once I get them, it will be another 3 weeks or so.

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