Posted 17 March 2011 by Interview:

Fitness Model Heather Leff

How and when did you start training?

People are always surprised to find out that I didn’t grow up playing sports. The extent of my athletic career was joining the track team in high school. I thought I was pretty fast. Then I ran in one meet, and realized that being 5'2" and having to go up against a heat of 6'2" Amazon girls in sick shape didn’t look so promising for me.
A few years later, I was dating a total gym freak, and that’s what got me into it. But it wasn’t until my mid-20s that I began moving serious weight. I knew I was doing something right when the boys started to stare and approach me with, “You know, you work out like a guy.” To this day, I’ve yet to get a better compliment.

You entered’s Bodyspace spokesmodel contest. Tell us about your experience?

This was the first fitness-type contest I ever entered, and I debated whether or not to even do it. But at the last minute, I decided to give it a go and submitted a few iPhone pics.
After seeing the other women, I realized the competition was serious. So I updated my profile with better shots and got tons of positive feedback...and I ended up being voted into 2nd place in the top 20 semifinals! Then things went into the hands of the people behind the contest and, even though I wasn’t picked for top 5, I was proud to make it as far as I did. The support alone was overwhelming and made it all worth it. As for the next one? Hmmm…guess you’ll have to stay tuned!

How long do you spend in the gym
during a typical workout?

Between 1½ to 2½ hours.

How do you manage to stay motivated?

I’ve made the gym a scheduled, routine part of my life, to the point where it’s not really a choice. I’m up at 4:30 a.m. each morning to get to the gym before 5. It’s hard, but it works. And I think about how bad I’ll feel if I don’t go. That’s enough to keep me motivated. Getting it out of the way early means I don’t have any excuses not to go later. Some see it as sacrifice; I just see it as commitment.

What’s your training routine like?

I train six days a week, hitting two body parts per workout. I only know the “on season” and go hard and heavy year-round. Currently my schedule is:

  • Monday/Thursday: Chest/Tris
  • Tuesday/Friday: Back/Bis/Traps
  • Wednesday/Saturday: Legs/Delts

I do abs and cardio each session, with the length of my cardio varying. As for my style, I like to run circuits with compound sets and supersets. For example, on chest/tri day, I’ll do three sets of chest, and finish with a set of abs. Then I’ll go into two sets of chest, a set of tris and a set of abs. Then three sets of tris and a set of abs. I’m constantly moving. A lot of people think my training is super-intense, but I like to be a beast on that gym floor.

What does your diet consist of?

I’ve always enjoyed eating clean. I do lots of fresh fruit, veggies, sweet potatoes, brown rice and natural protein. I stopped eating red meat in my early teens, so I stick with chicken, fish, turkey, tofu and egg whites.

How do you deal with cravings for junk foods,
sweets and salty food?

Everything in moderation. If I have a craving, I’ll have a little bit of something. Generally, though, I’ll opt for healthier alternatives, like baked chips or low-sugar treats. I also love coffee, and think flavored blends make a great substitute for sweets. (Fun HL fact: I love me some Skittles and gummy bears. They’re definitely the way to my heart!)

If you had one superpower, what would
you choose and why?

Aside from being a monstrous She-Hulk with super-human lifting power, I’d have to say flying. I’d love to experience what it feels like to be that free.

What are your top three exercises and why?

  1. Squats. I can’t think of a more comprehensive exercise for quads and glutes.
  2. Seated Arnolds. I love working my delts, and the press with the twist totally exhausts them.
  3. Dumbbell Shrugs. I’m all about having some meat on my traps. Plus, I feel like a warrior because I can do them so heavy.

What’s your best body part?

My delts and bis. I get the most compliments and training questions on my arms…from both men and women. I’ve also gotten a lot of props for my hamstring definition.

…and your best body part in a man?

His heart.

KIDDING! I like big, strong quads on a guy. Not a requirement, but if you’re askin’…

What 3 tips would you give to women wanting a feminine, CutAndJacked physique like yours?

  1. Don’t be afraid to go heavier. You won’t turn into a man. Even if you only go up five pounds, it’s how you’ll get more defined, lean muscle mass. You have to challenge your muscles, or they’re not gonna grow. That said, keep an eye on your form. If you’re rocking, swaying or arching, you’re not working what you’re targeting, so lift a manageable amount of weight until you can get the movement right.
  2. Be consistent. If you want to change how you look, you have to be committed to putting in the work. Don’t be one of those “resolutioners” who vows every January 1st to start going to the gym, and then quits after two weeks. Set realistic goals and build the gym into your lifestyle. Find the days and times that’ll work for you, so you’re not setting yourself up for a cycle of failure.
  3. Have a game plan. Know what you’re working before you get to the gym and have exercises prepared. That way, you won’t waste time thinking about what to do. With all the great resources out there, like this site, it’s easy to always have a plan in your back pocket, ready to go.

What’s the number one philosophy you live by?

I believe regret is the worst thing in life. I try to stay true to myself, trust my gut and focus on doing what makes me happy. I go to the gym for me and no one else. I don’t try to look good for anyone else, please anyone else, live up to anyone else’s expectations. Because at the end of the day, the only one who can make you happy is you.

For more of Heather Checkout:

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