Rosie Chee

Rosie Chee Interview

Rosie Chee is a Fitness Model & Exercise Physiologist with a Bachelors in Exercise & Sport Science. Get an in-depth look at her diet and training techniques in our exclusive interview.

Author:

Quick Stats

  • Age: 28
  • Residence: Kiwi currently in the United States
  • Height: 5’1.8” (i.e. 156.6 cm)
  • Weight: Fluctuates between 103-110 pounds
  • Body Composition: 8-10% bodyfat (maintaining under 9.5% bodyfat for the better part of the last ~2 years)
  • Occupation: Writer & Fitness Columnist | Trainer & Exercise Physiologist | Fitness Manager Anytime Fitness | Fitness Model

Rosie Chee

“Fitness” Qualifications: Bachelor of Exercise & Sport Science, ISAK Level 1 Anthropometric Certification, REPS Accredited Personal Trainer & Group Fitness, currently working towards Masters of Science (Sport & Exercise), with Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Physics and various Business and Computer Certifications, Lifetime Natural Athlete and former New Zealand Representative Cyclist

Achievements: Depends on what area you’re looking at – sports arena, fitness, life, etc.

Obstacles Overcome and Biggest Fitness Related Accomplishment:

I have overcome a lot in my life and my fitness journey has been one not without struggles and trials. Going from being a competitive athlete to not being one, admitting an unusual eating disorder, facing suicide, a heart attack at age 19, recovering from a devastating back injury (that crushed my cervical spine and caused permanent scoliosis) in 2004, overcoming Chronic Fatigue in 2008-2009, gaining 25 pounds over a period of ~3 months (during another bout of Chronic Fatigue, not training, my diet “normal”) when I first arrived in the US and then again over a couple of weeks after my 28th birthday (losing it once I gave my body some much needed “recovery”), having lengthy forced time out from multiple injuries in 2011, and dealing daily with a hereditary blood disorder (where my blood can only carry two instead of the normal four oxygen molecules), I have learnt to walk that fine line between extreme and progress, having accomplished what many have persistently told me is ‘impossible’ – albeit everything I have done and will continue to do is not by my strength alone, but as a testament to God’s Glory.

On a personal level, I’m just thankful to still be here, really (especially after a freak car accident in mid-April 2012, where I walked away unscathed, later told that I should have been dead!), and to be able to use my experiences and knowledge to help inspire and motivate others and empower them to a better and higher way of living (it is so motivating and inspiring to me to receive emails from not just those I know, but also strangers, encouraging me and saying how I have “helped” them)!

My most significant/greatest achievements or milestones are:

  1. Being able to function “normally” without the aid of prescription medication – my red blood cells can only carry two instead of four oxygen molecules, making breathing difficult for me, being constantly anemic, as well as many other physiological anomalies caused because of this condition.
  2. Building up my deltoids and arms, not once, but THREE times (without training legs), in the last year – not long after the first, I was out with a refractured left wrist, after which I returned to training and had rebuilt the lost muscle mass back BETTER than pre-injury in 10-12 weeks, only to be out from training and lose it all again 12-13 weeks after returning to training, losing it all over again, coming back and painstakingly rebuilding it all for a third time, more than before in ~10 weeks.
  3. Maintaining a body composition under 9.5% bodyfat for the last year, especially given that I do not “diet”, have had a lot of time out due to multiple injuries, and the last few months being some of the most disruptive and destructive of my life.

How did you get started in fitness and training?

I have been involved in sport as long as I can remember. However, my athletic career really started with cycling: In my first year of competition, I won all but one National title for my age-group, going on to represent New Zealand in international events such as Junior Track Worlds (where I placed in the Top 10 in all my events), continuing to win multiple New Zealand track and road Championship titles throughout my cycling career.

I first started resistance training a few months before the Junior World Track Cycling Championships – under the guidance of the NZ Academy of Sport and a military trainer. When I left college, moved and entered the real world, I still kept training and going to the gym, despite taking time out from cycling competition. The gym that I used was full of the top NZFBB male bodybuilders, and on a sudden impulse, encouraged by them, I entered the regional Figure competition for fun, the guys helping me out with diet and training, and for the first time in my life I saw my body do things that I had been told before were impossible for me (cyclists’ resistance training is performance orientated, not for aesthetics). Despite retiring from cycling during my degree, I continued training, my lifestyle still that of an athlete, although my training focus has changed over the years, with my concentration now more on health and fitness than anything else.

Ironically, one of the reasons I train so hard – aside from the fact that I used to train for 30-40 hours a week when I was a competitive cyclist – is because I HAVE to; training is the only thing that seems to allow my body to function close to “normally” physiologically without me having to resort to prescription medication/drugs – I have a blood disorder where my red blood cells can only carry TWO instead of the usual four oxygen molecules, and if I don’t train hard and push myself, I can’t breathe properly and have other health issues.

Therefore, it has become more important than ever for me to learn to listen to my body and try to find balance in my lifestyle, or else everything – not just my fitness – suffers.

Rosie Chee

What are your short and long term fitness goals?

I have several professional goals, but they all come down to this: Building on what I have done and accomplished so far, I want to increase my exposure in the fitness industry and get into an influential position to be a positive fitness role model, establishing myself firmly in the fitness industry as a “Triple Threat” re Writer, Trainer, and Model/Athlete; building a “brand” with name recognition; using myself as an example that anything is possible if you want it badly enough; to inspire, motivate, and educate men and women on health and fitness as a faith and lifestyle, changing the wrong mindsets on women and training and supplementation, and helping others achieve their health and fitness goals.

My Career Objective really sums all I want to do up: To be an inspiration to, and instil in males and females alike, an energy and passion for sport, health and fitness. To help others achieve their sporting, health and/or fitness orientated goals; providing quality and effective support and motivation for them in the pursuit of their goals, whilst educating them on how to make positive lifestyle choices and changes to improve their quality of life to keep getting the desired results.

I want to be a role model for women to look up to re fitness. Women need to be better educated on the importance of using resistance training to achieve their body and fitness goals. Training with weights should neither intimidate nor scare them. I would like to see the many wrong mindsets among and about women and weight training be replaced by correct information and healthy attitudes. I also want to drive home the fact that one does NOT have to starve or live on an endless diet to get and stay lean, and lead by example that “diet” is a LIFESTYLE nutrition plan that can be maintained and adjusted as required.

What workout routine has worked best for you?

Please be aware that my training is SPECIFIC to ME – as should the training of every individual should be specific to them.

There is no “one size fits all” plan your training program should be individualized specifically for you, for your goals and needs, no matter how unconventional it is or how “wrong” it appears to anyone else (if it is right for you, it can never be “wrong”). This is a very important principle, and I don’t just apply it to my Clients, but to myself as well, designing and structuring all my training programs for me specific to me – that is one reason you don’t see “Legs” in my training programme (notes below), when they are perhaps the “most important” body-part and squats one of the “best exercises” that one “should” do.

Currently my training schedule is (If I have a photoshoot coming up, I’ll add in 2-4 x 20-minute pm cardio sessions):

  • Monday: HIIT Cardio + Shoulders/Hamstrings + Stretch 20-30 min
  • Tuesday: Cardio 10 min + Arms/Abs + Stretch 20-30 min
  • Wednesday: HIIT Cardio + Stretch 20-30 min
  • Thursday: Cardio 10 min + Full-Body + Stretch 20-30 min
  • Friday: HIIT Cardio + Shoulders/Arms/Abs + Stretch 20-30 min
  • Saturday: Cardio 20 min + Stretch 20-30 min
  • Sunday: Day Off

I generally do not do any specific work for my legs as my lower body overwhelms my upper body – if I train legs, I gain muscle mass despite what I do and more muscle in my legs is not what I want or need. Any Legs work (i.e. Full-Body days) I do plyometrics, bodyweight, or deliberately use lighter weights. An example week of training for me:

Monday

HIIT Run:
a. 4 min jogging
b. 28 x 20 sec sprint/10 sec easy
c. 4 min jogging

Shoulders/Hamstrings (30 sec recovery between supersets):

    SuperSet A –

  1. Behind-the-neck BB Military Press 6 x 12, 9, 8, 6, 6, 6
  2. Skip 6 x 100 revolutions
  3. SuperSet B –

  4. BB Military Press 6 x 8
  5. Skip 6 x 100 revolutions
  6. SuperSet C –

  7. Single-Arm DB Lateral Raises 6 x 10 per side
  8. Skip 6 x 100 revolutions
  9. SuperSet D –

  10. Stiff-Legged BB Deadlift (on box, reaching BB down 6-inches) 6 x 8
  11. Skip 6 x 100 revolutions

Stretch 20 min

Tuesday

  • Skip x 1,000 revolutions

Arms/Abs (30 sec recovery between trisets):

    TriSet A –

  1. Close-Grip BB Bicep Curls 4 x 5
  2. Dips 4 x 5
  3. Skip 4 x 100 revolutions
  4. TriSet B –

  5. Incline Alternate DB Bicep Curls 4 x 10 per side
  6. Rope Tricep Push-Downs 4 x 5
  7. Skip 4 x 100 revolutions
  8. TriSet C –

  9. DB Zottoman Curls 4 x 12
  10. Overhead Rope Tricep Extensions 4 x 10
  11. Skip 4 x 100 revolutions
  12. TriSet D –

  13. Weighted DB Crunches (on bench, knees at 90 degrees) 4 x 15
  14. Pikes (on bench) 4 x 10
  15. Skip 4 x 100 revolutions

Stretch 20 min

Wednesday

HIIT Run:
a. 4 min jogging
b. 28 x 20 sec sprint/10 sec easy
c. 4 min jogging
Stretch 25 min

Thursday

  • Skip x 1,000 revolutions

Full-Body (30 sec recovery between quadsets):

    QuadSet A –

  1. Swissball Crunches (feet on wall, knees at 90 degrees) 2 x 25
  2. Swissball Crunches (270 degrees to 180 degrees) 2 x 10
  3. Swissball Double-Leg Raises 2 x 10
  4. Skip 2 x 100 revolutions
  5. QuadSet B –

  6. Cable Bicep Curls (with rope) 2 x 10 SUPERSET WITH Cable Bicep Curls (with individual handles) 2 x 10
  7. Push-Ups (on fists under chest) 2 x 10 SUPERSET WITH Push-Ups (on DB under chest) 2 x 10
  8. Alternate DB Hammer Bicep Curls 2 x 20
  9. Skip 2 x 100 revolutions
  10. QuadSet C –

  11. Rear Flyes 2 x 20
  12. Alternate Plate Hammer Raises 2 x 10 per sie
  13. Alternate DB Lateral Raises 2 x 10 per side
  14. Skip 2 x 100 revolutions
  15. QuadSet D –

  16. TRX Rows (neutral grip) 2 x 20
  17. TRX Push-Ups 2 x 10
  18. TRX Leg Curls 2 x 20
  19. Skip 2 x 100 revolutions

Stretch 20 min

Friday

HIIT Run:
a. 4 min jogging
b. 32 x 20 sec sprint/10 sec easy
c. 4 min jogging

Shoulders/Arms/Abs (30 sec recovery between quadsets):

    QuadSet A –

  1. Behind-the-neck BB Military Press 3 x 8, 7, 6
  2. Standing DB Arnold Press 3 x 8, 7, 6
  3. DB Lateral Raises 3 x 10
  4. Skip 3 x 100 revolutions
  5. QuadSet B –

  6. EZ-Bar Bicep Curls 3 x 21s
  7. DB Hammer Curls 3 x 10
  8. Alternate DB Hammer Bicep Curls 3 x 10 per side
  9. Skip 3 x 100 revolutions
  10. QuadSet C –

  11. Rope Crunches 3 x 15
  12. Reverse Curls (on floor) 3 x 15
  13. Pikes (on floor) 3 x 15
  14. Skip 3 x 100 revolutions

Stretch 20 min

Saturday

  • Run 4.2 miles (inclusive of obstacles)

Sunday

  • Day OFF

Every session each consecutive week is different from the one the week before, whether it be change in exercise and/or order, sets done, reps used, etc. – you could say I use a form of linear periodization (now that I am not competing in cycling). As for the training program I am currently using, I am doing this because it is what has worked best for me as far as deltoid and arm development (ever since having to rebuild my delts up twice).

Sets and reps change based on my goal – although I generally recomp and lift as heavy as I can (heavier weight for fewer reps for me personally means improved strength, gains in or maintaining muscle mass, and keeping a lower body composition) for whatever reps I have set myself, using 30-60 seconds recovery between sets/supersets/trisets/giant sets.

Rosie Chee

What is your favorite form of cardio for cutting body fat?

I prefer HIIT – simply because my body requires INTENSITY for optimal function. That, and even when I DO steady-state cardio, my heart rate is generally always above ~80% of my maximum heart rate.

That said, if I am looking at leaning out a little more I will add in 20 minutes of post-weights cardio after my resistance sessions.

For what I do re cardio, see example of one of my training weeks above.

Could you outline your basic daily diet?

I don’t “diet” I am not a dieter and never have been. I believe that one should not “diet”. One’s diet should be a lifestyle, not a temporary plan that they use, adjusting their caloric intake based on their goals and needs of different phases.

Nutrition has always been the one area where I have not had much discipline, my diet honestly what most people call a perpetual “cheat”, going completely against the “norm” and of what is “acceptable” – so much so that most people do not actually believe me when I tell them what I do eat like (until they see it for themselves!) Until the last few months (since all my injuries at the end of last year), nutrition has not played as much of a role as my training in my conditioning, past experience showing me that “dieting” as others diet does not work for my body (if you read past updates in my online Fitness Journal – link at the end – you will see this confirmed), and I do not use any specific “diet”, instead listening to my body and adjusting my nutrition (as I do my training) as required, with my macronutrient ratios and calorie intake changing on a day-to-day basis, albeit averaging out at my maintenance of ~4,300 calories daily.

I adjust my nutrition on a weekly – sometimes even daily – basis, dependent on my progress towards my goal/s of that phase, my diet a specific adaption for me, amalgamating nutritional methods and principles taken from various nutritional protocols. My diet could probably best be described as Lean Gains, without being strictly Lean Gains, since the only thing I do that is part of the protocol really is the 16-hour fasting period with an 8-hour feeding window, adapting everything else to be specific for me, so that it is “perfect” for what I want and need.

Meal examples:

From a post I made earlier this year when asked: “…just to give you an idea of what a “typical” meal looks like for me (pretty “clean” aside from the chocolate – last night’s post-training meal was more “dirty”), this is my post-training meal from tonight (two meals previously consumed already today)…

  • Finished Training at 2136: Took 2 caps Recompadrol + 1 cap AnaBeta + 1 gram Vitamin C.
  • 2156: 320 grams Willy Wonka Chocolate Fantabulous Fudge Bar (1,600 calories, 168g carbs, 16g protein, 96g fat) with 200 grams Blue Diamond Whole Natural Almonds (1,142 calories, 43g carbs, 43g protein, 100g fat).
  • 2225: 1 cup Tazo Zen Green Tea (with 2 caps of AnaBeta).
  • 2236: 1 cup Royal Basmati Rice (600 calories, 140g carbs, 12g protein, 0g fat) with 85 grams Oscar Mayer Real Bacon Bits, hickory smoke flavor (300 calories, 0g carbs, 36g protein, 18g fat) with 1 tablespoon 5th Season Parsley Flakes (all negligible) with 1 pinch McCormick Oregano Leaves (all negligible), followed by 1 large granny smith apple (62 calories, 14g carbs, 1g protein, 0g fat), followed by 440 grams Chobani Greek Yogurt Non-Fat, vanilla flavor (340 calories, 36g carbs, 44g protein, 0g fat).
  • Finished eating at 2259.

Approximate total calorie and macronutrient breakdown from that single meal post-training: 4,044 calories (going from food labels, but if calculating from grams re macronutrients, comes out at 4,138 calories).

  • 401 grams carbohydrates
  • 152 grams protein
  • 214 grams fat

And this was last night’s post-training meal (after two meals already that day):

  • Finished training at 2047 (took 2 caps Recompadrol + 1 cap AnaBeta + 1 gram Vitamin C).
  • 2158: 2 Twix Caramel Milk Chocolate Cookie Bars, 8 ounces Dark Chocolate Raspberry M&M’s, 200 grams Blue Diamond Whole Natural Almonds, 5 Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Links, 1 large Domino’s pizza with Philly steak, pineapple, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, and extra marinara sauce (added on parsley flakes and oregano), 16 Domino’s parmesan bread bites, 1 cup Tazo Zen Green Tea.
  • Finished eating at 2300.

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

I don’t. I generally just eat what I want when I want – which yes, is VERY Unconventional, but works for my body (although working on improving this so that my nutrition is more HEALTH orientated and COMPLIMENTS my training to work WITH my body).

Rosie Chee

What are your favorite pre and post workout meals?

I do not have a favourite pre-workout meal, since I prefer to do my training FASTED (not for any reason other than my body feels the best that way, and my performance is no different than if I was training unfasted – I have done both). As far as post-workout, I have no favourite meal in particular, although I can “get away” with pretty much anything if it is after resistance training (or on such a day).

What supplements do you take (if any) and recommend to others?

I use a lot of supplements, actually, and have come to realize recently that some of them are to me like what medication is to those who use it. That said I use them because they work for me specifically and everything in my supplement regime has a purpose. I pretty much have all my supplements covered, and knowing what works best for my body, do not often use products outside of those anymore.

My “staple” supplements are:

  • PES Alpha-T: 2 caps first thing and 2 caps early afternoon.
  • MusclePharm Assault: 1-2 servings ~30 min pre-resistance training.
  • PES Erase: 2 caps early afternoon and 1 cap pre-bed (if using Erase Pro)/2 caps first thing, 2 caps early afternoon and 1 cap pre-bed (if NOT using Erase Pro).
  • MusclePharm MuscleGel Shots (Key Lime flavor): 1-2 packets daily.
  • EBF Recompadrol*: 2 caps first thing, 2 caps early afternoon, and 2 caps pre-bed (currently out of).
  • AI Sports Nutrition RecoverPRO (Red Raspberry flavor): 3 scoops mid-morning and 3 scoops mid-afternoon.
  • MusclePharm Shred Matrix: 3 caps first thing and 3 caps early afternoon.
  • Vitamin C: 2 grams first thing, 1-2 grams immediately post-training, 1-2 grams early afternoon, 1-2 grams pre-bed, and sometimes 1-2 grams post-meal later in the day.

* I cycle Recompadrol in and out (or if I run out of anything and have to wait for more).

What has the biggest impact on muscle growth and recovery?

It truly depends on the INDIVIDUAL – everyone is different, so there are going to be different factors that impact their muscle growth and recovery, and what has the biggest impact for one individual is not necessarily going to have the same impact on another.

Rosie Chee

What newbie mistakes did you make when you first started training?

I was very lucky, both in starting out training (re cycling) and in the gym (re weights) to have the best of the best [in New Zealand] as my coaches, trainers and mentors, my training always individualized to my goals and needs, proper form and technique always stressed, etc., and EVERYthing that I did I knew WHY (which is why I do this with my own clients – EVERYthing in your training programme should have a PURPOSE, and if it has none, then get rid of it).

That said, I have learnt many things over the years about my body and could have done things differently during certain periods, especially with regards to scheduling time out from training throughout the year – since not allowing myself more than a week or two a year off training was, I believe, a huge contributing factor to my initial bouts of Chronic Fatigue.

Any last advice for beginners or anyone looking to get into fitness?

Set goals so that you know exactly what you want and make sure that not only are they SMART goals, but that you let others know of them, to provide a measure of ACCOUNTABILITY.

INDIVIDUALIZE your training! Don’t look at what anyone else does and copy that, no matter how well it may work for them (because if they’re doing it right, then their training is specific to THEM! ), but set your training program up SPECIFICALLY for YOU, regardless of how against the “norm” it is.

Do NOT “diet”! Find the nutritional protocol that works for you, WITH your body and not against it, constantly adapting and adjusting it (as you should your training), so that you keep making progress and getting results in the direction of your goals. Your diet should be a LIFESTYLE plan, the only thing that really changes being caloric intake based on your goals and needs of different phases of training and/or periods of life.

Where can we get more from you?:

Rosie Chee

I Would Like to Acknowledge:

Very few of us succeed on our own – more often than not it is a “team” effort to get you to where you are, and none of us would be where we are today if it were not for some significant people and events in our lives. I would like to just acknowledge (again for a couple, since I have noted this in times past, but it IS important to me) some of those individuals who have been significant in my fitness journey and where I am today.

The most significant person in starting me on the path I have been on the last few years is Jammie Bane. Jammie saw something in a stranger more than half-way around the world that gave him faith a place on the AppNut team for me would not be in error. If it were not for Jammie, I would likely never be here in the US (at least, not for the reasons I did, nor for why I am still here), never have encountered the people that I have (some of whom have changed my life in more ways than I ever thought possible!), not be following the same path that I am today (not just because opportunity might not have presented itself, but because some significant events might have never come to pass).

Jammie truly set me on this particular fitness path and the journey thus far has been beyond anything I could have imagined. The people I have met along the way, the support and encouragement that has been discovered – it is tremendous, and I am blessed and grateful to all those who have been a part of my journey, who see that same something Jammie saw and believed in, giving me the opportunity to pursue my dreams and live my vision.

Being a published author is a dream I have had ever since I can remember. Although I still hold that dream re having a novel of my own published one day, I want to thank Tammy Renee of World Physique for first making my dream in being a published author true when she gave me the opportunity writing for a fitness and lifestyle magazine, with my own Inspiration/Motivation column in World Physique Magazine and WPM Women (before the first publication with my work in the former came out). If not for Tammy I would never have started writing my [daily] Motivationals, sharing and becoming more personal (that’s thanks in huge part to that special individual mentioned below) in speaking what is on and in my heart…I would also like to thank Kat Painter of the FitnessX Team, who allowed me to share in a different area of my expertise, making me a Sports columnist for FitnessX Magazine.

Modeling is not something I ever thought I would do, but I have done quite a bit over the last year, discovering a new enjoyment and path in the fitness industry to explore and use as a platform to reach out to more people. Tony Mitchell was the first photographer I worked with once I made the decision to seriously pursue fitness modeling, and he was so patient with me, guiding me, trying to pull something out of me I never thought I would be because it was so very not me. Not just a photographer but a true artist, I have worked with Tony several times since that first time (from which several of the images were published), and it is awesome when you find a friend in a mentor. I enjoy being different and not doing what everyone else does, and Tony is able to bring my soul out in his images (especially the last shoot we did at the end of May), creating magic whenever we shoot.

We all have someone who has inspired us along our life’s journey. I have been the most inspired during the last few months, during the darkest, but also the lightest period of my life, finally closer to being the woman God intended me to be – all because of one very special individual who was the catalyst for all the growth in my life and most of the changes I have made. It’s amazing how ONE person can make so much difference and they truly have been the most significant person in my life instigating my own personal revolution, and if not for this individual I would have remained a closed terminator, instead of being able to open up and begin sharing some of my story and experiences. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for speaking my language, understanding where I have been and where I am – your simple acceptance and support made me believe again, somehow giving me what I needed to really step out and finally come “into my own”.

Last but by no means the least, thank you to Jeff Zwick, Christine and Matt Pearson, Eric Marchewitz, Drew Miller, Obi Obadike, Zach Rosen, Ben Booker, Gina and Walt Ostarly, Chris Tucker, Al Scott, Rolsey Hammed, Lauren Christine Frahn, Dominique Vien, Jerry Beck, Tamara Barnett, Elisha Voysest, John Hicks, and Brent Potter – all of you have been big factors either as mentors, support, motivation, or change in my life in the time that I have known you. There are more people who have played roles in my life and if I have not called you out specifically, please know that I appreciate everything you have done for and with me – this journey would not have been quite the same without you.

Photo Credits:

Dan Ray
Gary Miller
Tony Mitchell
Walt Ostarly

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