We sat down with IFBB Figure Pro and United States Marine Corps servicewoman, Taylor Spadaccino just 2 weeks away from her 2018 stage debut at the Pittsburgh Pro on May 4th and 5th. Read along to find out how her prep is going and what to expect when she hits the stage next month!
How are things going with the prep overall? Has there been any struggles that you’ve had to overcome this time around? Is your body responding the way you anticipated?
Ahhh! Prep is, well, it’s going! To be honest, it hasn’t quite been the smoothest prep. I have had a very big struggle this time around. I have always thought I had lower energy levels than most people. I am constantly exhausted regardless of how much rest I get. I just figured I wasn’t blessed in the energy department like some are. No biggie. So, there I was, dead smack in the middle of prep (tired, of course!) when my coach, boyfriend and I realized my body just was not responding the way it should have been. I wasn’t seeing the results I should have been seeing for how much work I was putting in. Plus, my energy was just at rock bottom at this point. Something just wasn’t right. My boyfriend dragged me to the doctors to get bloodwork done to see if there were any issues going on. And ding, ding, ding! I received my results and saw that my thyroid peroxidase level was completely out of range. Long story short, I immediately saw an endocrinologist and was diagnosed with Hashimotos disease. Hashimotos is an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your thyroid gland. Both fatigue and difficulty losing body fat are a few of the many symptoms of Hashimotos. It all made sense. Hashimotos runs in my family, I just figured that I lead such a healthy and active lifestyle that I couldn’t quite possibly have it. Well, I was wrong. As much as it was a bummer to learn this, it was a relief to know what was causing all of the frustration. So here I am, about a month into treatment and things seem to be getting better. I seem to be gaining a little more energy. But it’s hard to really tell – I really want things to be getting better so maybe it’s just in my head that things are improving. Who knows, but I’m hoping the symptoms genuinely do improve.
Do you enjoy prep or is it more of means to an end?
Overall, I genuinely enjoy it. Sure, there are moments I would rather roll myself up in a ball and light myself on fire than do another round of cardio, but in general, I really do enjoy it. I love challenges. And prep is certainly a challenge. As much as I enjoy it, I cannot wait to unleash the inner big girl that’s currently locked up inside right now. The day I get my hands on a box of donuts again shall be glorious.
What would be a successful outcome for you at the Pittsburgh Pro?
I know you hear this ALL the time, but I honestly want to just show up much improved over last year. I brought my best last year, and I received last call-outs. That’s ok! If I told you I wasn’t bummed, that’d be a big fat lie, but I was genuinely okay with it because I looked the best I ever had. I compete because I enjoy it, I enjoy the challenge and because I want to become the best Taylor. So, if I bring the best Taylor to date, I will be happy. I am very realistic when it comes to competing. I am not the next Ms. Olympia. My physique is just simply not on that level. Sure, I do think with enough time that it’s possible to build my physique to that caliber but I am just not there. For this show, I want to be look my best yet and let’s be honest, I’d like to not get last call-outs again haha!
Will you compete at the Olympia this year if you qualify?
This is a simple one - duh! I would be honored to grace the Olympia stage!
Do you get nervous or have any anxiety before stepping on stage? If so, how do you deal with it?
Of course I do! I remember my first competition ever. I was competing in bikini division and I could feel my heel tapping against the wood stage the entire time because I was so nervous. It’s not as bad now-a-days, but I certainly do get nervous. How do I deal with it? Well, I use to take the edge off with a little red wine. That worked, until one show I had one too many sips and found myself tipsy as hell on stage. Haha, ahh, I learned my lesson with that. Now I just try to occupy myself backstage to keep my mind off of my nerves. I used to keep to myself backstage but I’ve started to socialize more as the years have gone on. Not only does it take your mind off of the nerves, but you actually get to hang out with some really cool people and have fun. If you aren’t having fun at the shows, you’re doing it all wrong. I also give myself a little pep talk which usually consists of something like “Suck it up and quit being a little bitch, Taylor. Just get out there and do your thaaaang.”
What Redcon1 supplements are you using leading up the contest? And will you stop taking any as you get closer? If so, explain.
Oh boy. My daily Redcon1 products consist of Double Tap fat burner for my AM cardio. I get my daily vitamins from Med Kit. I always, always, always take my Total War pre-workout and it’s usually mixed with Big Noise pump formula. I drink Breach BCAAs intra-workout, as well as Cluster Bomb carbs. My favorite time of my day is when I have my post workout shake which is made with either Isotope or MRE Lite. That MRE Lite, it is a game-changer. I have a serious sweet tooth, so the MRE Lite helps keep it at bay. On nights I am feeling restless, I’ll knock my ass out with some Fade Out and catch some gnarly zzz’s. I don’t see having to really completely stop taking any products but I have cut back on the Cluster Bomb, I used to be taking a full scoop but now it is just about a third of a scoop since my diet has gotten tighter.
What do you think separates your physique from the competition in your division?
Ahh, geez. To be honest, I am on the smaller side for figure division, especially compared to some of the top pro athletes you see on the Olympia stage. Although I may be a little smaller, I do think I have very good symmetry and balance, as well as a very feminine physique. I have always envisioned figure division as a beautiful mixture of muscle, symmetry and femininity.
Tell me about your diet. Can you give me a recap of everything on todays’ meal plan?
So, my diet is pretty boring now a days! I do get about 10 grams of carbs a day, each day, intra-workout from Cluster Bomb, but some days of the week, that’s about it for carbs besides what I get from vegetables. But today is a leg day so I do get carbs pre and post workout, which will probably be gluten free oats because, well, I am lazy and it’s easier and quicker to cook than rice. Besides that, you will find proteins such as egg whites, chicken, cod, lean turkey, salmon. Vegetables such as cucumbers and green beans. Depending on the day, sometimes I get some fats like almond butter. My diet also includes ample amounts of hot sauce. Hot sauce makes the world a better place to be.
How much and what kind of cardio does your prep call for right now? How much did you start with and what will you peak at in terms of duration throughout prep?
I started with about 45 minutes of cardio in the morning. Currently, at this point, I am doing about an hour every morning and 5 days a week I do a second 45-minute cardio session at night. It is actually much more cardio than my coach would like to have me doing, but once again, due to my thyroid condition it has been very difficult to bring in my conditioning, so because of this he has had to really amp up the cardio. It’s usually the treadmill on high incline or the stairs. I don’t see the amount of cardio really getting any higher than it currently is.
Is competition prep for you more of a mental challenge or physical?
Oh, 100% more of a mental challenge. Some days can be a real struggle. Don’t get me wrong – the physical work is tough. You’re putting your body through the ringer to try to bring your top physique to the stage. But it’s the mental aspect that is tougher for me at least. Not only do you deal with the stress of prep, but you have to deal with stress of everyday life. Combine them together and shiiiit, it can be not only tough but draining. I truly believe it all comes down to how badly you want to accomplish this goal you set out for yourself. Because if you want it badly enough, you will overcome the stress, you will make the sacrifices, you will find that willpower, you will beat the exhaustion, you will dig deep and you will do what it takes to reach your goal.