• We talk to 2012 INBA National Champion Natasha McKenzie

Natasha is fresh off winning the Tall Bikini INBA National Title in October, and is training hard to go one step further in 2013. Today she talks to us about what motivated her to start training, her diet and what it's like being tall.

What inspired you to start training?

I wanted to make positive changes in my life, not just physically but also mentally. I used to party, drink alcohol and had a terrible diet and it was all starting to catch up with me. Once I started training and improved my diet it made me feel absolutely fantastic. I'm a much happier and healthier person. Also, I have always admired fitness models and thought that it was a pretty kick ass idea.

What motivates you go to keep going to the gym?

I'm not always motivated. That would be a lie. I'm committed. It's not a choice it's routine and it doesn't matter how tired I'm feeling I put my gym shoes on and I get it done.

How tall does one have to be to compete in the INBA Tall Bikini competition?

You can be any height haha you arrive on the day and they decide whether they are going to split it into height categories based on the amount of competitors. At 176 cm tall you can pretty much guarantee I'm going to be in the tall category every single time. If I was a male bodybuilder I would probably still be in the tallest category.

How often do guys hit on you asking if you play basketball?

Ummmmmmmmm never had that one!! I normally just get "wow you're tall for a chick" and then I thank them for stating the obvious haha

What does your current weekly training routine look like?

Currently a 5 day split: Legs, chest, back, shoulders/tris, bis/calves. Usually lifting as heavy as possible with a lower rep range. Cardio 3-4 times a week which consists of running or spin bike intervals.

What exercises do you love and hate the most?

I love training back. Chin-ups and pull-ups are great, I've just started doing weighted pull-ups. Pretty much anything weight related and I'm happy. Cardio I wouldn't say I hate but I do find it boring sometimes.

Do you follow a specific diet?

I used to be on a fairly strict clean diet and if I'm being honest it didn't work for me. I felt deprived, sad, angry etc. all I could think about was food, it was absolutely mental. So I changed my diet and now I just eat high protein (obviously) and the rest is fairly normal and balanced. If I want chocolate here and there I'll eat it then I usually have an epic cheat meal on the weekend.

What is your favourite cheat meal?

BBQ meat lovers pizza (yes the total sloppy disgusting 10 million calorie crap - not high quality gourmet pizza). Judge me I don't care. Also love a good Italian creamy pasta.

How do you feel is the best way to maintain a social life without hampering your results in the gym?

I just try and make suggestions that don't involve alcohol or I offer to cook for people.

What do you know now that you wish somebody had told you when you first started training?

That there is not one method of doing something. Everyone is different and what works for some may not work for others.

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