LOAD of Answers~ from BuffMother!

Michelle Berger- Fitness Model – Questionaire

Question #1. What is the best way to get started in the fitness modeling industry? Should I just contact the photographers directly or should I use an agency?

Michelle’s Answer:  The best way to get started is to get some good professional pictures taken, then get on OMP and meet up with photographers who are willing to do TFCD shoots.  Unless you live in LA, FL or NY you shouldn’t expect much from an agency.


Question #2. Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?

Michelle’s Answer: I get up when my alarm clock goes off (my 3 year old coming in an waking me up saying she wants oatmeal) I struggle to get out of bed and then make coffee and get her oatmeal. Then I get my twins up, change them, dress them, and feed them and my older son. Then we start getting ready to go to the gym which takes 30 min to get everyone’s shoes on, coats on, prepare the diaper bag, buckle everyone up, get all 4 kids a snack and a drink finally when we get there and It takes another 20 min to get everyone settled into the childcare and ritualistically bring my 3 year old potty and wash her hands, weigh her and then leave her screaming in the childcare. I spend about 1-2 hours working out depending on how much talking I do. Then I load up the kids and prepare myself for an unpleasant drive home because someone always screams the whole way home. Once we get home it is lunchtime. It is always a very messy meal and then it is naptime for the twins and my 3 year old. My 5 year old usually watches a movie and then I finally get to shower and work a little on housework, bills, answering e-mails Etc. When nap time is over I control chaos for another 4 hours until Daddy comes home and then we have supper put all the kids in bed by 8:00 so that we can go in our room and I can get work done on BuffMother! And I can get a chance to relax a little before bed. It is a very challenging life, but it is much better than it was 2 years ago when my twins were newborns! At least now I can get a full nights sleep.

Question #3. I don’t have that much time during the day to workout, so I really want to burn major calories in a short amount of time. What is the #1 “bang for the buck” cardio exercise I should do to burn serious calories?

Michelle’s Answer:  Running intervals.

Question #4. How much weight (pounds) should I focus on losing every week? What is a safe amount to make sure I keep it off?

Michelle’s Answer: 1-2 pounds all depending on the week.   Shooting for a total of 1-4 pounds a month.   I know that sounds conservative, but if you want lasting results you can’t expect more true fat loss than that.

BuffMother Slick pink

Question #5. What type of food or supplements should I take before and after my workouts to help me see results in gaining lean muscle and losing fat?

Michelle’s Answer:

Workout, Workout, Workout!

Eat, Eat, Eat!

Why workout if you don’t eat right?

Why eat right if you don’t workout?

The importance of both components are vital and honestly doing one right will lead to doing the other right.  The key to being successful in your quest for buffness is learning how to eat pre-workout and post workout and to time your supplements for optimal effectiveness.

Pre-workout eating:

You need to feed your body correctly so that you are not wasting the hour you spend at the gym.  If you don’t eat correctly before your workout you will not be able to workout hard enough to get the results you deserve.  I consider this meal very vital to anyone who truly wants to rebuild a struggling metabolism.  However, if you decided to work out on an empty tank you will most likely feel some if not all of these symptoms during your workout:

  1. working out is painful
  2. you have no energy
  3. you are not be able to focus mentally
  4. you have no physical or mental stamina
  5. you feel sick
  6. you are weak
  7. you are unable to push yourself hard enough to build muscle

The term for all of these symptoms is to “bonk”, which basically means you do not have enough glycogen in your body for it to perform.  It is an exercise in futility!

Post workout eating:

If you don’t eat correctly after your workout there can be all kinds of consequences:

  • You will not feel good.
  • You will not have the energy and nutrients you need to repair your body.
  • Your immune system will become depressed, ultimately causing illness.
  • You will be lifeless for the rest of your daily activities.
  • You will blame your workout for your lack of energy and possibly cause you to miss future workouts.

Timing your Eating is so vital to your success!

Here are some examples of what I eat pre and post workout along with the supplements I often take…

Workout time 10:00 am

Up at 7:30 am: drink water and take 2 BSN Nitrix

Pre-workout meal: 1-1.5 hours before workout

Ultramet meal replacement or 6oz. OJ mixed with Vanilla Whey protein and 2-3 cups of coffee

It is important to note that I am not a big breakfast eater.  Liquid meals work great for me in the morning.  I make sure to have a carbohydrate in my pre-workout meal so that I have glucose in my bloodstream.

Post workout

Immediately take NO2 supplement

Go home and take Creatine punch (carb)

2 cups frozen asparagus stir-fry cooked in the microwave topped with ¼ cup cashews and sweet and sour flavored tuna

Workout time 5:30 pm

Pre-workout meal: 1.5 to hour before workout

Oatmeal and nectar protein shake in water

Or Salmon salad on a 6 whole wheat crackers, 1 cup of mixed veggies

*note if I am running late I make sure to at least have a carb, like a banana or cereal bar

The key here is to eat early enough so your food has digested and you have glucose in your bloodstream so you can lift effectively.

Post workout

Immediately take NO2 supplement

Go home and take Creatine punch (carb)

Have a protein shake

Then feed the kids

8:00 pm supper

Large spinach and romaine salad with olives, a little cheese, almonds, a few croutons, carrots, real ranch dressing and a grilled chicken breast or steak.

The key to this is pattern what you are eating every day so that you are fueled for your workout.  Your results will be more dramatic and come much faster if you make sure to give your body the fuel it needs to workout hard and recover quickly.  It is also important to note that my supplement use varies depending on my goals.  This represents my current supplement routine for muscle “building”.

Question #6. How do you deal with cravings for junk foods, sweets and salty food? I can stay on a diet for maybe a few weeks but I eventually get really bad cravings and binge on snacks and fast foods.

Michelle’s Answer: My answer is to not be quite so strict.  I allow myself a daily treat to head off future binges.

Question #7. I’m trying to create a healthy shopping list to stick with. What are some of the main foods I should include to maintain a lean and muscular physique?

Michelle’s Answer: Protein and Greens: Eggs, chicken, turkey, hamburger, tuna, salmon, whey protein, beef jerky, romaine lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers, celery, broccoli, asparagus, green beans

Question #8. I’m about 35 pounds over weight. I have never started an exercise program and really don’t know where to start. What tips can you give me to get started on the right track?

Michelle’s Answer: Just start out shooting to build the habit of activity and exercise.  Shoot for doing “something” 3 days a week.  Once you have that a solid habit, increase your frequency and intensity.  Always remember that Challenge=Change.

Question #9. I tend to eat out most of the time and really don’t know what healthy foods to order from the menu. What tips do you recommend for eating out at restaurants to make sure my diet will not suffer?

Michelle’s Answer: Choose meat first…stay away from tons of rice, pasta, sauces etc.  and always have a good green salad first…Also say no to BREAD.

Question #10. What exercises do you recommend for getting a bigger, rounder and fuller butt?

Your Answer: GREAT butts take tons of work.  The main ingredients in a good butt workout are: Squats (tons of them), lunges, Bulgarian squats, walking lunges, dead lifts, and leg curls.  You need to remember to lift heavy.  Shoot for the weight being heavy enough to where you can only do about 6-8 reps before failure.  That will make your booty beautiful.

Question #11. What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?

Your Answer:  Finding the time.  I have a ton on my plate and if working out was not on the top of my list for prorities it would get easily lost in the shuffle.

Question #12. Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat in a typical day to stay in shape?

Michelle’s Answer:

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Mid-Morning Snack: Protein shake

Lunch: Veggies and tuna

Mid-Afternoon Snack:  some nuts and beef jerky

Dinner:  a hunk of meat…chicken, beef or turkey  some type of veggie, like a salad of broccoli

Snack: popcorn or protein bar or herbal tea…all depending on how many calories and carbs I’ve had for the day

Question #13. What type of exercises do you include in your routine to stay in shape?

Michelle’s Answer:

Strength Training Exercises:  6 days a week

Cardio Exercises: intervals 3-4 sessions/week

Additional Training: Abs 6 days a week and Housework Fitness J

Question #14. What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for developing toned and defined arms?

Michelle’s Answer:

1.  Lifting with your back- pull-ups, lat pulls and rows

2.  Lifting with your chest- bench press, flys and dips

3.  Lifting with your shoulders- shoulder press and lateral raises

4.  Diet- higher protein and tons of water

5.  Intervals- be intense paired with recovery for 20 min post lifting workout

Question #15. What are your top 5 tips for losing unwanted body fat?

Michelle’s Answer:

1.  Lift often and heavy

2.  Lift with you legs

3.  Drink tons of water

4.  Eat a diet high in protein

5.  Eat a diet high in green veggies

Question #16. What are your top 5 tips for gaining lean muscle mass?

Michelle’s Answer:

1.  Lift with your BIG muscles: legs, back and chest

2.  Lift often- 6 times a week

3.  Lift heavy- shoot for lower reps aim for the 6 rep range

4.  Skip the cardio for a while

5.  EAT!!  EAT a ton J

Question #17. What are the top 5 tips you recommend for staying motivated on a fitness plan and truly making a healthy lifestyle change:

Michelle’s Answer:

1. “The Key to your Motivation is to ENCOURAGE others!

2.  Find more measurements of your success than the scale

3.  Envision your success- BELIEVE!

4.  Find a great support group of like minded people

5.  Don’t ever let yourself be satisfied…be hungry for more success and new challenges

Question #18. What is your training routine like? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)

Michelle’s Answer:

Sun- back, shoulders
Monday-Run hard hills/Chest/tri
Tuesday- butt/legs
Friday- legs, sprint drills

Monday: So here is the BEST workout I have had in about 2 weeks…
First let’s not forget my run at 2pm of 3.2 miles

Tonight at 6:30 pm:
R-Bike warm up 5 min- my hammies are so sore!
95×6 directly went to next set
125×5 (no spotter, very scared I wasn’t going to get the 5th)
I was very strong on bench tonight…my creatine is really kicking in!!

Incline flys
40’sx6x3 (a new recent high)

Cable Flys one arm at a time

Tricep extensions*
bar+20 x15
bar+30 x10x3
*paired with
Bicep curls(I threw these in cuz my biceps need some love)
bar+20x 21’s

Bench dips-one set
kick backs
15x8x2…My “pump” was unreal, I could hardly straighten out my arm!!

Tricep push downs

Roman chair knee ups
3 sets of 40
Bench knee ups
3 sets ’till failure or boredom…not sure which one?

During my workout I had a power aid…very good

Tuesday: So here is the slightly different workout I did today
10 min warm up on elliptical focus on booty
Smith lunges
50x12x4 sets
100x10x2 sets
120x8x6 sets
100x10x2 sets

Butt Squats

Donkey calf

Seated calf
205 x 8 x5 sets

Bulgarian Squats

Froggy leg curls (my hammies are so sore from sun and running yesterday)

Walking lunges
65#on back x15 big steps

back extensions with butt thrusts 25 reps
decline bench sit ups full motion

Wednesday: Warm up r-bike 5 min

Assisted pull ups over hand wide grip
25# help x10,8,8
one normal set of 10

T-bar rows

Seated rows

Dorsi Flex Lat row machine

Military/shoulder press machine

One arm cable lat row
80#x4 together x 8singles
80#x4 together x 8singles + 8 together
80# x 10 singles

Smith Military

Arnolds both arms at the same time
25’s x 8 followed by 5 alt hammer curls x 3 sets

Bent over lateral raises

one set rotator cuff exercises 12#x5 reps
Bench knee ups focused on sides

Thursday: Here is my workout
8 min r-bike with intervals
12 min elliptical with intervals, some 1 min ones and then 4-45sec ones on 2 on level 11 and 2 on level 12 with recovery at 8. AWESOME!!-snuck that in while waiting for my DH.

push ups 25
*the last couple of each set with slight assist from my spotter
!!! I was very happy with these weights!!! considering I weigh 129 right now!!!

Incline smith press

Hammer flat bench

Tricep extensions
25# db overhead x10
40#+ezbarx6x3*slight help on last 2 reps by spotter, new wt for me!!

bench dips paired with bench knee ups x 3 sets

Friday: Legs

Warm up 15min on r-bike and elliptical (I have ADHD so I can’t spend more than 10 min on any given piece of cardio, lol)

135×8 (butt focus)

Seated Calf raises

Leg Extensions
195x15x3 (this machine is weird, It doesn’t matter how heavy I do it I still have to do at least 15 reps to exhaust myself)

Walking lunges

Leg Curls

Dead lifts

no abs Sad -I will make up for this tomorrow. I am bloated at the moment from just starting to take Creatine again; just the thought of doing abs makes me sick Sticking out tongue

Saturday: off

Sunday: warm up on r-bike for 10 min
one set of pull-ups 8 plus 2 negatives

Lat pulls with v grip
130×6 barley followed up by 100×6

Shoulder press machine, sat backwards on the machine


one arm cable rows

Question #19. What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for losing fat around the stomach and developing a toned and defined midsection?

Michelle’s Answer:

1.  Lift with you legs, make sure to get at least 1-2 great leg workouts done weekly

2.  Suck it in…focus on your posture.

3.  Do your abs frequently and slowly

4.  Eat a diet high in fiber and protein

5.  Drink tons of water

Question #20. What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for toning the thighs, hips and butt?

Michelle’s Answer:

1.  Do Squats- heavy, your leg muscles are very strong so challenge those muscles

2.  Do lunges- nothing better for the booty J

3.  Do intervals, not just steady cardio

4.  Eat protein shoot for your goal body weight in grams daily

5.  Drink tons of water shoot for your body weight in oz. at least

(this interview was done in 2006)



8 Replies to “LOAD of Answers~ from BuffMother!

  1. Thanx a lot for this very detailed interview Michelle! It really helped me to Re-focus on my goals. I learned a lot! You are the best 🙂 Take care

  2. Have been on vacation, Michelle, but after reading this reallllllly realizing how awesome you are!!! Love your daily “routine” with the family – it makes me realize that I shouldn’t let anything get in my way! You’re the best!

  3. Michelle, I notice that the weights you use for lifting are very very heavy. I do my workouts at home and the highest set of dumbbells that I have are 20lbs. I can’t imagine lifting the weight that you show in your workouts.
    The 20 lb dumbbells are hard on my wrists. So the idea of going heavier than that in a dumbbell doesn’t seem possible.
    Does this mean that I cannot get as good of results as you have using free weights at home?
    Thanks for your help!

  4. the key thing to remember is that Challenge= Change- If you are not contiually pushing your body you won’t see any more changes. I lift heavy because that’s what challenges me. Back when I started the weights I use now seemed CRAZY!

    You can get a home gym- squat rack/bench press and use a barbell instead of dumbells. the one I have is under $200 a “Gold’s Gym” brand from Wal-mart.
    Or join the gym 🙂 Your heath is worth it!

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