Rapid-Fire Q&A With Angelica Teixiera

This two-time Ms. Bikini Olympia and two-time Bikini International champion opens up to Oxygen.

I wish women in the fitness industry didn’t think they have to look perfect. It seems like they are never really satisfied with the way they look, which is a shame. It is important to enjoy the process of getting fit and making sure you do it in a healthy way.

Angelica Teixiera

What’s your favorite bodypart to train?

“My favorite bodypart to train is my glutes, and my favorite exercise is glute kickbacks. In fact, I always bring a Schiek ankle strap with me when I travel so I can do this move in any hotel gym.”

What is your dream vacation?

“Though I have traveled many places as a pro, my dream vacation would be Italy. The people seem to be very warm and friendly — and of course, the food is amazing!”

Is there anything in life you wish to re-do?

“If there was one mistake I could go back and correct in my life, it would be to learn English before moving to the U.S. from Brazil. It would have made things a lot easier.”

To what do you owe your success?

“In order to be successful, you have to employ mental strategies along with the physical work. I visualize achieving my goals every day as if they were really happening. I even feel the chills of the moment of winning when I see it in my mind.”

Who is your fitness inspiration?

“My inspiration when I started in fitness wasn’t a woman — it was Arnold Schwarzenegger. He came from another country and used bodybuilding to become a legend. He is an example that it doesn’t matter where you come from — that everything is possible when you’re willing to work hard for your goals.”

How would you describe your family?

“We are a fit family. My husband Marco works out, as well, and is a black-belt jiu-jitsu instructor. He definitely lifts more than I do! But I do love to lift heavy, and I always use a Schiek lifting belt to protect my back.”

7 Ways to Prevent Calorie-Counting

Use these strategies to kick the calorie-counting habit once and for all.

When it comes to trimming down, counting your calories used to be the go-to plan. Thankfully, a new era of research has been steadily pounding nails into this antiquated calorie-counting coffin. Case in point: A study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found that people who cut back on added sugar, refined grains and highly processed foods while eating more whole foods without worrying about counting calories or limiting portion sizes lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year. And a New England Journal of Medicine investigation showed that people whose diets included more servings of junk food, potato-sweetened drinks and red/processed meats gained weight during four-year intervals while those who ate more vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and yogurt were protected from creeping weight gain — regardless of calorie intake.

This is not to say that calories don’t matter in the battle of the bulge; they do. But those 100 calories from bologna are not the same as 100 calories from broccoli, and the number of calories in a food absolutely does not indicate its healthfulness. “People would be better served by shifting their priorities away from counting calories and toward improving diet quality and eating habits,” says Lisa R. Young, Ph.D., RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim: 30 Days to Permanent Weight Loss One Portion at a Time (Center Street, 2019). “Not only can calorie counting be tedious and inaccurate, it doesn’t give the full picture.”  

Dump those tired calorie-counting apps and instead use these body-benefiting metrics to get your fit on.

1. Focus on Fiber

Your Goal: 25-plus grams per day

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts found that simply focusing on eating a higher-fiber diet is just as effective for weight loss as following a set diet plan. “Fiber is found in foods that are relatively low in calories,” Young says. “It also fills you up, so it’s a weight-loss win-win.”

More reason to rough it: An investigation in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that consuming more fiber improves your microbiome — for example, the levels of beneficial bacteria in your gut — and a robust microbiome has been linked to everything from better digestion to improved mental health. Yet despite these results, dietary surveys show that more than 90 percent of American adults don’t get enough daily fiber.

If you’re among the fiber-fraught, look into some legumes: Just 1 cup of beans offers 15 grams of fiber, which brings you more than halfway toward your daily goal of 25 grams. Other fiber-friendly foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

Focus on chewing your food

2. The Chew

Your Goal: 20 to 30 percent fewer bites

It sounds too simple to be legit, but a Brigham Young University study found that people who counted their daily food bites and sips of non-water liquid and then committed to taking 20 to 30 percent fewer food bites and sips were successful at shedding several pounds over the course of a month — without making any other changes to their diet or exercise routine. “Counting bites slows down your food intake, which helps you eat more mindfully and better notice your body’s satiety signals,” Young notes. In other words, you’re less likely to eat and drink more than you actually need if you monitor how often you bring fork to mouth.

Want to try it? Simply count the number of bites of food or gulps of liquid other than water you take over the period of a week. Take the average and reduce that number by 20 to 30 percent per day to hit your goal. For example, if you average 120 bites/sips a day, you’d reduce that to 100 bites/sips daily.

3. Pumped-Up Protein

Your Goal: 20 to 30 grams per meal

The recommended amount of protein for active women is roughly 1.5 grams for every kilogram of bodyweight to support the repair and creation of muscles while keeping your appetite in check. The latest science also indicates that when you eat it is as important as how much you eat: Instead of consuming your daily protein quota at a single meal, distribute it more evenly throughout the day. A study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics showed that muscle protein synthesis increased when people consumed 30 grams of protein in a meal (about 5 ounces of chicken breast) and that taking in more than that didn’t bring about bigger gains. Remember that additional calories of any kind — protein, fat or carbs — will be stored as body fat.

To cover the spread, look over your weekly meal plan and include a protein with each and every meal and snack. Chicken, fish, Greek yogurt, legumes and eggs are all great options.

4. Don’t Dine Out

Your Goal: 3 or fewer meals per away from home per week

An American Journal of Preventive Medicine study found that adults who ate out more frequently consumed less nutritious diets and had higher food expenses, and a Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study showed that women who ate lunch out at least once a week lost an average of 5 fewer pounds over the course of a year than those who brown-bagged it more often. Furthermore, women who consume lots of fast food may be more likely to experience infertility than women who rarely, if ever, eat fast-food meals, suggest researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia.

“While it’s hard to eat healthy if you’re always eating out, it’s also difficult to eat poorly if you’re cooking for yourself using mostly whole-food ingredients,” Young explains.

To reduce your weekly dining-out habit, plan a week’s worth of healthy meals and snacks, and then carve out some time to batch-cook your fare. Takeout is way less tempting when you’ve got a tasty homemade meal to nosh.

Cooking with vegetables

5. Volumize Your Vegetables

Your Goal: 3 cups daily

Most nutrition maxims come and go, but the push to eat more veggies will never wane. Beyond reducing the risk for nearly every disease under the sun, a large review of studies published in the journal Nutrients showed that women who eat more daily servings of vegetables tend to have slimmer waistlines and do a better job at staving off weight creep.

“When you eat more veggies, it tends to crowd out other higher-calorie foods in your diet to help with weight management,” says Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, author of Essential Sports Nutrition: A Guide to Optimal Performance for Every Active Person (Rockridge Press, 2018). “And their added fiber will slow down digestion, which promotes satiety to help put the brakes on overeating.” Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, only 1 in 10 Americans are eating the daily recommended 2 to 3 cups of vegetables.

Infuse all your meals and snacks with veggies to ensure you hit your optimal intake: Add shredded carrots to your morning oatmeal, dig into a big green salad for lunch and toss around a veggie-laden stir-fry for dinner. Frozen vegetables are a convenient and budget-friendly way to work more into everything from soups to smoothies.

6. Slash Added Sugar

Your Goal: Less than 40 grams (10 teaspoons) daily

Studies show that people who eat too much added sugar (extra sweet stuff added in as opposed to that naturally present) face an increased risk for conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease — not to mention unwanted belly flab — and those sugar spikes and crashes can leave you feeling haggard. “There’s a very different reaction in the body when foods with naturally occurring sugar are consumed like fruit and dairy as compared to foods such as cookies that are heavily processed with added sugar,” Sumbal says.

Chances are you’re overloading on sugar without even knowing it; various sugar aliases are pumped into nearly everything, from ketchup to salad dressing to almond butter. And so-called “natural sugars” such as added honey and coconut sugar do not get a free pass: They too count toward your daily added sugar allotment.

Thankfully, a new nutrition label calls out the grams of added sugar, making it way easier to keep tabs on your intake of the sweet stuff. Limit your intake to less than 6 to 12 teaspoons (24 to 48 grams) per day. Swap out products that list higher amounts of added sugar like flavored yogurt and granola with low- to no-sugar-added alternatives, such as plain yogurt and unsweetened muesli.

Opt for a healthier cocktai

7. Beware of the Booze

Your Goal: Fewer than 3 drinks per week

The research against alcohol is bulletproof: A 2018 study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing found that people who abstained from alcohol were more successful at dropping pounds during a four-year lifestyle intervention program. And a report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that women who drink heavily when they’re younger have a higher risk of becoming overweight as they age. What’s more, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that consuming one to two alcoholic drinks more than three times a week raises the risk for dying earlier — especially from cancer — by about 20 percent because alcohol is broken down in the body into the carcinogenic compound acetaldehyde.

“When you drink, the liver is forced to metabolize the alcohol instead of fat, which may increase fat accumulation around the midsection,” Sumbal says. She adds that people often overlook the calories in booze (and sweet mixers), which can really add up over the course of a week. Factor in the lowered inhibitions when you get your buzz on, which make you more likely to mindlessly munch, and you could be in deep doo-doo.

You don’t have to totally swear off cheering in the weekend with your gal pals, but be smarter about imbibing: Trim a drink or two from your weekly routine, pour yourself smaller servings, and order cocktails made with soda water and wedges of whole fruit.

Career-Driven Mother Transforms Through Training

Once working mom Sarah Grant made herself a priority, she lost 57 pounds.

Sarah Grant grew up poor, but once she got her first job, she quickly discovered the joys of a disposable income — and decadent food. Grant became a fine-dining foodie who reveled in eating for pleasure and didn’t really notice that a few extra pounds had begun to stick. But once she had kids, she also stopped being active and the weight became an issue. “Unfortunately, exercise is one of the self-care things moms tend to take off the schedule when life is busy and we prioritize other things,” she says.

Sarah Grant

In 2005, Grant had a lot of changes in her life: She went back to work full time, her son was diagnosed with high-functioning autism and her daughter was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. “Food was my coping mechanism for the grief and guilt you go through as a parent when your child received a tough medical diagnosis,” Grant says. And though her coping mechanism meant continual weight gain, Grant still did not see her health as being important. “I felt like it would be selfish or vain to prioritize myself when I had a family and a career that needed attention,” she says. 

Shedding the Guilt

A few years later, a friend got into strength training and Grant saw a transformation in her that was inspiring. She sat down with her friend and learned about macronutrients, energy expenditure and basic strength-training splits. Because she was not confident enough to join a gym, Grant bought her own barbells, weights and equipment and built a home gym in her garage. She started with very basic lifting and began eating a well-balanced, whole-food diet of lean protein, healthy carbs and healthy fats.

Slowly but surely, Grant whittled away at the layers of stress and grief, and a little over a year later, she emerged 57 pounds lighter. “A whole new world of possibilities opened up at that point,” she says. “I got down to 118 pounds and went from over 40 percent body fat to around 20 percent.”

Unexpected Gains

Though she didn’t think it would, Grant discovered that taking care of herself by getting healthy and fit has been one of the best things she’s done for her family. These days, she trains six days a week and is still working on adding lean muscle to her frame.

However, muscle isn’t the only thing she has gained from her experience. “One of the really remarkable things about the strength-training community is the sense of family and friendship,” she says. “Everyone welcomes you with open arms, and it’s very special in today’s world to see that kind of connection and community. My lifting family is by far one of the best ‘gains’ to come out of this experience.”

Stats

Sarah Grant/Jupiter, Florida
Age: 42
Old weight: 175+ lb
Current weight: 118 lb
Occupation: Chief financial officer

Sarah Says:

  • Get started with what you can do right now. Make a commitment to yourself that no matter how long it takes, you will get up every day and work toward your goal.
  • There are no shortcuts, no quick fixes, no easy answers to weight loss. You simply have to make it happen every single day — especially on the days you don’t feel like it.
  • Having the support of others is crucial. I would not have been able to weather the tough days without the support of the amazing women I have met in my journey. They gave me a place to cry, celebrate, and share the ups and downs of this process.

Nicole Stout: A Fighting Spirit

Judoka Nicole Stout ignored her father’s directive and followed her martial arts dreams — to the benefit of the world.

Growing up in a household of athletes, it was only natural that Nicole Stout began competing in sports by the age of 3. While her father and brother practiced judo under Olympian Patrick Burris, Stout chose to focus on gymnastics and ballet. By age 12, she was competing as a rhythmic gymnast on an international level. However, she quickly burned out.

Nicole Stout

“Between being bullied by my teammates and struggling with the negative body image ideals my coaches forced upon me, I knew I had to quit,” Stout says. “I’d always wanted to make an Olympic team, so quitting was very hard for me.”

Redirection

Burris suggested she try her hand at judo, and against her father’s wishes, Stout accepted the challenge. Her father was concerned for his little girl’s safety in such a physical sport, but proving to him that she could be just as good as her brother became Stout’s driving force.

After working hard for a year to build her judo essentials, including strength, flexibility, balance, power, endurance, speed and agility, Stout finally won her first match and was hooked. She did sustain a couple of potentially career-ending injuries on the mat, including a broken foot and a torn ACL, which she incurred during the Judo National Championships, but Stout pushed on. She trained under some of the biggest names in the sport, including Japanese national champion Shinjiro Sasaki and four-time Olympian Jason Morris, and she earned her way onto various championship teams around the world. Currently, she’s a 2020 and 2024 USA Judo Olympic hopeful.

Fueling Her Fire

Stout practices judo twice a day, hits the weights daily and squeezes in twice-weekly cardio sessions — a grueling schedule that relies on proper nutrition and supplementation. “I eat a lot of fish such as salmon and tuna because they have so much protein and fantastic vitamins,” she says. The CarnoSyn-sponsored athlete also makes sure to include a carb and a vegetable to ensure a complete meal.

Stout is no stranger to pursuing goals and drawing inspiration from successful people in her inner circle — her parents hold multiple doctorates, and she works closely with Olympians on a daily basis — and has big goals for her future.

“This is going to be my most ambitious year yet,” says Stout, who is currently pursuing a degree in computer science at Harvard. “I’m competing every month and attempting to qualify for the World University Games, where I would represent Harvard and the United States in a tournament second only to the Olympics.”

Where does her father stand on her decision now? “He is proud that I am a fighter like he is,” Stout says. “He is excited to see what I will accomplish as I continue on my judo journey.”

For more information, go to team.carnosyn.com.