We had a chance to sit down with JUSCO athlete and Canadian figure competitor Michele Steeves. She told us about growing up dancing, working out, maintaining nutrition with the help of the Ph9 Generator, and her upcoming goals for competition.
When did you decide to get competitive in the fitness world?
I had a trainer way back when in 2009, when I returned from Afghanistan. He’s the one who encouraged me to compete. I had no idea what it was, before that.
Were you always an athletic type when you were a kid?
I was a dancer as a kid. I did ballet, modern and jazz. It wasn’t a transition so much as I stopped doing one and when I started training with this trainer, he’s the one that recommended the fitness competitions. It wasn’t a conscious plan.
Do you do a mix of cardio workouts and weight training?
I don’t do that much cardio. Right now, I’m probably doing about 50% more than usual just because I’m getting ready for the competition, but otherwise I keep cardio really low, because it does muscle waste and that’s not good for my goals. Very minimal cardio, but definitely a lot of weight training.
Do your workouts very throughout the week?
My coach Eric Broser is based out of Los Angeles–he trains at what we call “the Mecca”: Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach. We do primarily online training; I’ve never been to where he lives!
His training protocol is really unique. I’m not allowed to talk too much about it because it’s fairly exclusive to him, but it’s such a unique protocol that I’m really responding well to.
I can tell you what the split is: I do legs and calves, and then I do back and chest, and then I do delts and biceps, legs and glutes, chest and back gain, and then delts and triceps.
I work out about 6 days a week, and then one day is just cardio. I mostly do either incline treadmill or stairmill, and sometimes spin bike.
I don’t like when I have to do over 45min of cardio because I get very bored…thank goodness for Wifi. And as far as what I like, I don’t have a real favorite! Every time I come up to a new day to train, I feel “Oh, I’m so excited to train that part!” I was really focused on my legs for a long time, so that was my default favorite for a while, because I was really trying to build them.
But now I love it all. He keeps the workouts fresh—there’s no repetition, so I’m never ever bored.
What keeps you dialed in and doing your best?
It helps that I always have a goal. I always have my hat on really low, so I can’t see around me. And music—if I didn’t have my music, probably, I wouldn’t be as focused as I am. I have a really eclectic collection on my iPod, and I’ve always got it on shuffle.
How long have you been competing?
Since 2009. It’s surprisingly supportive, and that’s one of the things that keeps me going back—I’ve developed a really strong community. When I’m going to competitions, we all really have each other’s backs. It’s so cool to have such support. A lot of people ask if people are tripping each other backstage or psyching each other out, but there’s none of that.
When it comes to diet, what do you eat to stay in such great shape / allow you to expend so much energy in your training?
I have two seasons—my building season and then my cutting season. During my building season, it’s a lot of food, high-calorie, like 3000 to 3500 a day. It’s also a lot higher carbs. And I also don’t worry too much about eating something “bad”—if I want a doughnut or a burger, I don’t stress out too much about it. You want to be healthy, but to be worried about the food I don’t think is helpful.
During competition season when I’m trying to lose fat, it’s a carb cycle. One day I’ll have higher fat, lower carbs, next day I’ll have lower fat, higher carbs. That keeps the body in a fat-burning state. The foods I’m eating when I’m cutting are very simple. I have 4 sources of protein, 3 sources of carbs and 3 sources of fat, and those I do over and over.
I hear you’re a fan of the Ph9Generator. Can you tell me the impact it has made on your health and how it has helped in competition?
I definitely notice the difference. I didn’t think I would, because I couldn’t understand the technology, but my energy has definitely improved, and I felt … it might sound silly … I feel more hydrated! The water I was drinking from the Ph9 was bringing me more energy. It just feels more healthful. It’s actually doing what it’s supposed to do, which is hydrating my body. My skin even feels better since using it. There has definitely been a noticeable improvement in my digestion, my skin, my energy levels.
As a competitive athlete focused on building muscle, your metabolism must be something you take seriously. Have you seen a noticeable increase in your metabolic rate since hydrating with the Ph9?
My energy levels were noticeably higher, and once your energy level is higher, it means the metabolism has increased.
What does it mean to you to represent your country as an athlete and can you tell me about any upcoming competitions you’re training for?
It’s an incredible honor—I never imagined that I would be in this position, and I take it very seriously. I want to make sure that I can show them they chose the right person to do so. I’m beyond proud and I hope that Canada can be proud of me in this capacity.
It’s called the IFBB World Championships. It takes place the 14th of Nov, and the finals are the 15th of November. It’s a 2-day competition, and only the top 6 get to compete in finals. So I’m really hoping I’ll be there both days!