This interview is part of the Real Talk Real Women interview series, where we bring you the life-changing, heart-warming and inspirational stories behind the most successful women in health and fitness. Make sure to follow us on Instagram for the latest interviews! For this installment, we are joined by Camile Periat.
Let’s start off with a general introduction. How would you describe yourself, what are you all about and how did you get involved in health and fitness?
I have always been involved with health and fitness. I didn't begin my competitive career until 2013. I am a dental hygienist and a mother, yet wanted something for myself and a goal to work towards. After competing in my first bodybuilding competition, I quickly fell in love with the sport. I won my IFBB pro title on my third show at the 2013 USA's in Las Vegas. Since then, I have competed in 25 pro shows and recently won two shows earning my invite to the 2017 Olympia.
Along with my competitive career, I began coaching others to achieve their goal. I created Team Pulse and now coach men and women across the United States and internationally with my boyfriend, IFBB athlete Chris Ellis. In addition to our coaching, we are starting a new business in our home town of Santa Cruz, California called Santa Cruz Sports Nutrition. We are bringing effective supplementation to all fitness levels, nutritional consulting and meal preps.
Where does your motivation come from?
My motivation comes from within. In order to succeed in this industry, you have to be self driven and determined. It is not an easy sport as we are judged, critiqued and often sacrifice a lot of our personal lives. I love inspiring others to be their best and reach their fitness goals. Beyond the physical transformations we go through, there is a self discovery and internal transformation that is priceless. Having a constant goal to work towards the true reason I love this sport.
As you decided to make a career out of your passion - what were your biggest stumbling blocks along the way?
The biggest hurdle I have faced is finding balance. As time has past, I have learned how to balance my personal life with my fitness career. Making time for family and maintaining the dynamics at home can be challenging for any working mother. I feel lucky that my career is doing something I love and that I can dedicate time around my daughter's schedule.
What’s your perspective on the importance of self-care?
Self care is so important. It really is a reflection of how you feel on the inside. When someone feels good about his or herself, it shines. I often come across women who have gained weight beyond their comfort level and that usually interferes with their self esteem. Leading a healthy and balanced life can bring so much happiness on so many levels. We gain confidence, feel empowered, we are more outgoing, and it brings positivity.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about women lifting weight?
The biggest misconception about women and weightlifting is that they will look masculine or "bulky". In fact, I used to fear the same thing. Many women rely on cardio and dieting to achieve their fitness goals. Often times, they are in this hamster wheel and never get to the point of where they want to be. Lifting weight is healthy for a woman and it takes a lot of time to actually add muscle density.
Many young women who want to lose weight believe that not eating is the way to do it, without realising the consequences of that kind of behavior.
Why do you think this is and what’s your perspective on educating society on healthy nutrition habits?
Our society puts a lot of pressure on men and women to look a certain way. It is the lack of education which leads people to restrict calories or foods to the point where it is unhealthy. I think many fear food because they don't understand the importance of nutrition and or how it can actually benefit them.
Saying that, as we competitor's prep for a contest, we often have to restrict foods to achieve a specific body composition. That form of dieting is not maintainable nor healthy to continue for long periods. We learn to manipulate macro nutrients like protein, carbohydrates and fats to either build or cut.
In order to educate society on healthy nutritional habits, we need to teach children at an early age about proper nutrition and establish healthy habits. The lessons we learn in our youth carry on into our adulthood. When an adult suffers from binge eating or turns to food for emotional comfort, that instinct and triggers were established a long time ago.
What are the most unexpected lessons you’ve learned on your health and fitness journey this far?
In this industry, you have to develop a thick skin. People will judge you and possibly dislike you without knowing you. I have learned that I can't please everyone. I can only continue being true to myself and continue doing what I love.
What do you do to maintain balance in your life?
When I am in prep for a show, I am very focused. I train early and/or while my daughter is in school. We have a routine in the evenings to focus on homework, tutoring or my daughter's gymnastics. In my off season, I don't follow much structure at all and really take the time to reconnect with my family and friends. Having down time is so important because it allows us to have a social life again and makes us ready for our next prep.
How do you stay productive?
I am the type of person that has to be busy all the time. When I have nothing to do, I pace the house and fidget. I prioritize my day and plan ahead. I have the desire to grow which requires me to stay productive.
If you could only choose one thing, what would you tell your younger self?
You can do it! I used to doubt myself a lot which held me back from some things. Today, I don't fear a challenge and welcome them. I wish I fully understood that when I was younger.
Can you give a breakdown of your current diet, training and supplementation regimen and the thinking behind it?
My current diet is pretty much the same daily. I am a creature of habit and like having the same foods ready to go and measured. I eat this way to maintain muscle fullness, allow for some growth, and curb hunger.
- Meal 1: 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup egg whites, 1/2 cup spinach, 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- Meal 2-4: 1/2 cup rice/ 3.5 oz lean pro/ 1/2 cup veggies
- Meal 5: healthy dinner like a stir fry and some halo top ice cream
- Monday: glutes and hamstrings
- Tuesday: shoulders and chest
- Wednesday: biceps and triceps
- Thursday: legs with a focus on quads
- Friday: back
- Saturday: glutes
- During my "on season" I do about 30 mins in the morning and 30 minutes post weight training. I do some plyometrics but mainly low intensity steady state to maintain lean mass and not burn muscle.
- During my “off season” I don't do much cardio at all and primarily focus on heavy lifting. I also incorporate more cheats in my offseason. I love burgers, popcorn and cookies!
Going into 2017, what are your biggest life goals?
My goal for 2017 was to qualify for Olympia. By my surprise, I qualified for Olympia at the end of 2016. While I take time off prepping for Olympia, I will be focusing on growing my two businesses, Team Pulse and Santa Cruz Sports Nutrition. I am focusing on my brand continuing to build my foundation.
Where can people go to learn more about you online?