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Q&A With Jamie

1. How often do you workout? What does a typical workout look like for you?
I typically workout 3 or 4 days a week (though I worked out 5 or 6 days when I first started out). I am currently training to maintain my upper body tone and to improve my lower body. Therefore, I train legs twice a week with an emphasis on quads and calves one day and glutes and hamstrings on the other. Depending on my schedule, the 3rd day includes all of my upper body or a split of chest, shoulders and abs on one day and back and arms on the other.

2. What are your five favorite “healthy” foods?
My five favorite healthy foods would have to be my homemade protein bars, sweet poatoes, oatmeal, lean ground chicken breast for its versatility and Ezekiel bread. Notice a trend? I love carbs!

3. How did having breast cancer change your outlook on life?
I was very fortunate to catch the breast cancer at an early stage. Health problems were the farthest thing from my mind in my early twenties and I was lucky that the neoplasm was superficial enough to feel during a self breast exam. That experience was the epiphany I needed to realize that I was not invincible and that I was not living a very healthy lifestyle. From that point on, I took a proactive approach to my health and not only do I look and feel better than I ever have before but it has pointed m in the direction of a career that I am truly passionate about.

4. What do you recommend to those having a hard time losing the last 10 pounds?
The last 10 lbs are typically the most stubborn. Many people experience plateaus and overcome them but to get that last little bit of body fat to melt away takes some serious discipline. Our bodies like a little bit of body fat for optimum hormonal function, so it resists letting it go. You must, in a sense, keep your body guessing by varying your routine and incorporating both high intensity and low intensity cardio. The goal should be to maintain muscle mass, which keeps you more metabolic (burning more calories at rest), while shedding that last little bit of fat. I personally like to incorporate plyometrics and sprints. A consistently “clean” diet is imperative to dropping those last 10 lbs, so be real about your dedication. For those looking to preserve as much muscle as possible, it may be necessary to manipulate the ratios of protein, carbs and fat (often referred to as a carb rotation).

5. How much of your look do you think is attributable to genetics?
Genetics certainly play a role in your overall size and shape. Some of us are big boned, some have long limbs and some swear that their Buddha belly is a trait passed down from relative to relative. No matter the size or shape you were blessed or even cursed with, we all have the ability to improve our physiques considerably. It takes a disciplined diet and training regime tailored to address your weaknesses, but it can be done.

6. As disciplined as you are about your diet, what is your mindset at each meal?
My mindset for each meal is that food is fuel for my body. The key is to find healthy and “clean” foods that you actually enjoy eating and to eat on a schedule. Scheduling meals not only keeps you from overeating but helps give you sustained energy, so you are less likely to reach for the bad stuff. I also don’t do cheat meals. There are too many instances in life where eating clean will be out of your control (traveling, dinner parties, weddings, etc.), so I just let those moments in life happen, enjoy them and get right back on track.

7. What are three things you feel people don’t know/misunderstand about weight-loss?
First and foremost, I think that women believe that weight training will give them manly muscles. They may in fact build some muscle but our lack of testosterone makes our propensity to gain size, very difficult. Those women that they see with large, developed muscles spent years of intense training and strict supplementation to attain that look. Another misconception about weight loss is that in order to lose weight we must minimize carbs. Carbs provide energy and support brain function. For many of us the serotonin (feel good hormones) that carbs provide keeps us sane. Who wants to be sluggish, deprived and depressed? Eating clean, unprocessed carbohydrates like oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes and whole grain breads in their proper portions will not hinder weight loss but instead increase energy. The third misconception would have to be that weight loss can be found in a pill. Any product out there is meant to support an already existing training and nutrition program. If they think that simply taking a pill should make them start dropping pounds, they will be sorely disappointed.

8. Have you ever really been out of shape? How would you characterize yourself at that time?
I would say that I have certainly been out of shape cardiovascularly (lazy college days), but as far as physically, I was always chasing those last 10 or 15 lbs. I would have never called myself overweight but I have since learned the term given to those “soft bodies” that lack tone. They are called “skinny fat.” That was me, skinny fat with no muscle tone to speak of and cellulite creeping up on my legs rather quickly.

9. What are some of the major misconceptions about fitness modeling?
I believe a major misconception about fitness modeling is that we go to extremes to look a certain way for a shoot and then fall off the wagon shortly thereafter. Fitness modeling, in my opinion, is about maintaining a lifestyle. There is no yo-yoing. Those models who maintain their physique in a natural and healthy way are the ones who continue to book jobs consistently.

10. Any advice for those who want to get into fitness modeling?
For those that want to get into fitness modeling, take a grass roots approach. Go to events and get involved. More often than not magazines and companies are there scouting for new faces. People naturally prefer to work with people that they like and who genuinely use and read their products. Show them your personality and give them a reason to remember you. Afterwards, follow-up, follow-up, follow-up!

11. How do you deal with people who are unsupportive of your fitness goals?
Sadly, I hear this scenario time and again. It seems that there are always those who see the dedication as extreme or restrictive when in actuality if they tried it themselves, they might find the routine and consistency as comforting as we do. I have found that the best way to disarm them when they are negative is to try and actually recruit them for accountability. I like to say, I have been a procrastinator all my life (which is true) and I am determined to stick to this program until I reach my goal. I want you to be strict with me and make sure I don’t cave in. If that doesn’t work, you might have to soul search to determine how important your goals truly are. When you surround yourself with like-minded people, you are more apt to succeed. Hang around those who won’t support you in your goals and you may find yourself adopting their ways and abandoning your own.

12. How close, day to day, are professional models as lean and toned as they are in pictures? Is it healthy or even possible to be that lean all the time?
Most full-time fitness models aim to stay within a few weeks of being ready for a magazine shoot. That typically means that they are only a few percentages of body fat away from being shoot ready. To tighten up, models will often manipulate their diet and increase the frequency and intensity of cardio. Staying super lean 24/7 is quite difficult with the constant demands of everyday life. Just like everyone else, there are times when we simply can’t stick to our workouts, so the best we can do is maintain a clean diet. Also, water weight and hormones can affect our appearance at different times. It is much easier to plan for the shoots and kick up the training temporarily than to constantly try and stay in tip top shape.

13. What is your biggest challenge when it comes to staying on track to a healthy lifestyle?
My biggest challenge would have to be staying consistent with my workouts. In order to build and maintain my muscle mass, I need to lift with regularity, hitting every muscle group with enough variety and intensity to initiate growth. Missing workouts means that certain muscle groups are not getting the time and attention they need to grow. A clean diet has become a way of life for me, so thankfully, consistently eating clean has helped me maintain, even when my workouts lag, but miss too many and I start to lose tone.

14. There are so many amazing workouts in magazines and online. How do I keep them straight or know when to perform each one to utilize the gym to the fullest?
That is a great question. I think the first thing to do is to determine how many days you can truly commit to working out? If it is five, you would then create a five day workout split, or a workout that consists of training a different body part or group of body parts each one of those days. If you can only commit to three, then you would create a three day split. Next, I would suggest creating a binder with tabs that specify each body part like abs, legs, back, biceps, etc…, and then tear out the workouts in magazines or print them out from sites like bodybuilding.com and file them under their respective tab. As you come across more and more great workouts, continue adding to the binder and you will never run out of options to add variety to your routine and keep it fresh.

15. Do you ever have days when you just plain don’t feel like working out? If so, what do you do to motivate yourself?
I think it is safe to say that we all experience those days. For me, I find that having a friend to work out with that follows the same workout schedule helps to create accountability. When someone else is counting on you, you are more inclined to go. I also find that setting small goals, like not missing a scheduled workout for an entire month or wearing a certain swimsuit or outfit for a special occasion can also give me the incentive I need to stick with it. However, if the day has simply been awful and there is absolutely no way that I will make it to the gym; I will at least try and go on an extra long walk with my husband to unwind and vent.

Q&A With Michael

1. Do you have a CD or any music on iTunes?
I’m working on 2 projects; one is an acoustic cd and the other, a full-length album. Writing songs has always been my biggest challenge so I’m currently working on developing those skills.

2. What type of guitar do you play?
My favorite guitar is a McPherson but it’s currently out of commission due to an accident at summer youth camp. Instead, I play my Taylor 714ce or a custom Larrivee guitar, which I’m borrowing until my McPherson is repaired. I’ve also started playing an electric Telecaster now and then, which has proved to be challenging but fun.

3. How long have you been singing?
My mom encouraged singing in our house right from the start. Both my brother and sister sing as well. As kids, we all sang in the church choir. When I got to high school I loved Boyz II Men and probably sang in the shower every night practicing my “soul” singing.

4. Do you travel outside of Houston to play?
I travel all over the country and have lead at many different churches (all various denominations) as a guest worship leader or special guest musician. Traveling and meeting new people is one of the best aspects of my career.

5. What other instruments do you play?
Believe it or not, my first instrument was the cello. In addition to an acoustic guitar, I also play the trumpet, electric guitar, bass and piano.

6. How did you become a worship leader?
It all started when I volunteered to play acoustic guitar and sing for my High School church youth group. Then, in college at LSU, I was fortunate enough to get hired as a youth leader, which sort of morphed into an interim worship leader for a local church. On campus, I also volunteered and led worship for the Baptist Collegiate Ministries. Those opportunities allowed me to grow both musically and spiritually, which eventually opened the doors for more opportunities to come.

In 2003, I took a huge leap of faith and moved all on my own to Houston, TX with the hope of landing a staff position at Second Baptist Church, one of the largest Baptist churches in the world. The only job available at the time was on maintenance in the facilities department, so I took it but volunteered every chance that I got to lead music for various junior high, high school and college ministries. Those volunteer opportunities quickly resulted in an intern position as a worship leader where I could start earning pay doing what I truly loved. It took about 3 years but by 2006 I was a full-time worship leader for student ministry, playing all of the big events including the summer Beach Retreats for 3,200 students. By 2008 I was promoted to the position of lead worship pastor for the Cypress Campus, one of Second Baptist’s satellite campuses, while still playing the 11:11 service, Logos, Access, student retreats and chapel services at the main campus. It was a busy season of life but I wouldn’t change it for the world because it has paved the way for a life-long career of ministry and music, where I feel prepared to handle anything that comes my way.

7. Is there a difference between a worship leader and a worship pastor?
Yes, the most notable difference is the level of education and ordination but responsibilities vary as well. I’ve attempted below to differentiate the two but please know that requirements and responsibilities can vary from church to church, so this list may not be complete.

WORSHIP LEADER:
• Plans the music for the service
• Schedules musicians- enlists team members
• Coordinate plans with the tech staff
• Communicate inputs with the audio team
• Schedules rehearsal times
• Open communication with pastoral staff for themes and scripture references.
• Strong vocal leading ability

WORSHIP PASTOR:
• Education- Bachelor degree is recommended
• Ordination- denomination specific
• Long term and short term calendar planning
• Church events on campus and in the community.
• Evaluate the past and future participation.
• Set vision for the music ministry consistent with the churches overall vision and goals.
• Enlist, equip and train team members (vocalists, musicians and volunteers)
• Supervise the musicians and worships leaders.
• Manage volunteer team and paid staff, part time and fulltime, in the music ministry
• Oversee music materials, supplies, instruments and other equipment for the churches worship and music ministry.
• Make sure the room is ready for worship.
• Prepare and administer the worship ministry budget.

8. What are you doing right now?
Currently I’m on staff at The Woodlands United Methodist Church as an artist in residence where I rotate leading weekends with other worship leaders. I also travel around the country leading worship for weekend services, midweek events, special events, retreats and summer camps for various denominations. Meanwhile, at home I continue to work on song writing and recording, while preparing to welcome our first baby boy into the world in late July, early August. Prayers appreciated!