Meet Bikini Competitor and Magnum Athlete, Carsen Machin. When it comes to nutrition and training, this stunning Bikini competitor does things on the fly. Find out how this approach has led to her living a healthier lifestyle and to her success!
- Hometown: Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
- Current Location: Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
- Height: 5’6”
- Weight: 135 lbs
- Age: 25
- Favorite Lift: Stiff Legged Deadlift and Wide Grip Pull Ups
- Favorite Style of Cardio: Stairmaster and Interval Sprints
For those unfamiliar with you, can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got involved in the fitness industry?
I have been an athlete all my life. I started playing soccer at 4 years old, and began horseback riding, softball, Irish dance at a very young age too. I also ran track & field, and I played volleyball during high school as well. In my teens, I played soccer and volleyball at the highest level, and that’s when I realized I needed to weight train more frequently so I could progress further in those sports. I started weight training and I did 1 on 1 sessions at the gym. I played volleyball for Team British Columbia. I went on to play soccer for Langara College before transferring to University of Victoria on scholarship for soccer. While at UVIC, I worked hard to earn a starting/traveling position on the team, and I wanted to be in the best shape. I began training with Rugby Canada’s Women’s Strength and Conditioning coach, Dana Agar-Newman. His focus was strength and conditioning which focused on Olympic lifts and powerlifting, and I did a lot of running. Dana’s conditioning got me into the best possible physical condition for soccer. At the time I was finishing my soccer career in University, Instagram was starting to take off, and I noticed that a lot of women were competing in fitness competitions. During this time, I was still in the gym training 5-7 times a week, and I decided to turn my competitive efforts towards training for my first Fitness competition.
What were your biggest challenges when you first started training?
My biggest challenge when I first started training was my technique. I wanted to be the fastest and the strongest in the group training sessions, therefore my technique suffered. Once I started with my personal training sessions in between my group training, my trainer helped me focus on my technique. She emphasized that once I got my technique down, the strength would come, and I would have less potential of hurting myself. I think my biggest challenge has been my diet when I’m prepping for a show because I am an emotional and stress eater. Therefore if I am going through a lot, I find it hard to stay disciplined and stick to an eating plan.
How does your training and diet evolve as you get closer to a competition?
When I am in between shows, I don’t follow a specific diet or training schedule. I eat healthy but I allow myself treats and different foods, and my training is much more frequent. I lift weights everyday until I feel that my body needs a rest. Sometimes this means 13 days in a row then a rest day, or 3 days in a row and then a rest day. When I make the decision to do a show, my coach and I decide how many weeks out we want to start prep and go from there. When it comes to prep, I am on a very structured 6 meals a day diet plan, and I weight train 5 days a week with a cardio session everyday. My coach and I adjust my diet as the show nears along with my cardio sessions.
How did you become involved with Magnum Nutraceuticals? And what do you love most about the company?
In 2013, before my very first competition, I started taking Magnum’s products. When I first reached out to Magnum’s President, Markus Kaulius, I did so for the wrong reasons. When I began competing, my main goal was to get sponsored and get noticed. I wasn’t competing necessarily for ‘myself’ and this showed in my social media posts, and by how I lived my life on a daily basis. After my 2nd show, I had a bit of a downfall, and I began dealing with a lot in my personal issues. I started to hate the gym, and I took a break from competing and working out. I moved to a new city in the fall of 2014 and began training for the love of it. I ate healthy and was working out hard and enjoying it again. I loved seeing the progress and I did a lot of research. I finally contacted Darren Mehling with Freak Fitness to seek his coaching. My first show with Darren I did for the love of the challenge and fitness. I was truly happy with everything that was going on in my life and this showed. I wasn’t looking for a sponsorship or looking to get noticed, I just posted what I was doing because I felt like it and hoped it motivated others. In the fall of 2015, Markus and I began chatting once again, and by early 2016 I was offered an opportunity to be a Magnum Athlete, which I couldn’t turn down. What I love most about Magnum is that they make top quality products that work. Magnum completely stands behind their products and they truly make supplements that help not only elite athletes, but also everyday people looking to live a healthier lifestyle.
What Magnum products are you currently using?
- After Burner
- Carne Diem
- Big C
What does your current training look like?
As I mentioned, my current training isn’t a ‘typical’ training schedule, and my exercises change on the fly. I lift weights every day until my body tells me it needs a break, or if life gets busy and I’m unable to get to the gym to train. I am also trying to grow my legs, so I train them as soon as they aren’t sore. Every morning, I do fasted cardio for 30 minutes, and I alternate between steady state on the stairmaster and 30 minutes of sprint intervals. Here’s one of my recent splits:
Carsen’s Recent Split:
- Sunday: Legs
- Monday: Back/Abs
- Tuesday: Rest
- Wednesday: Legs (Hamstring focus)
- Thursday: Chest/Arms
- Friday: Legs (Quad focus)
- Saturday: Delts/Calves
What are your favorite exercises and why?
- Stiff Legged Deadlifts – I love the burn it gives in my hamstrings.
- Pull Ups and Dips – I’ve worked hard over the years to be able to do multiple dips and unassisted pull ups. I think it is awesome when a woman can do these exercises unassisted and show off her strength.
What does your current diet look like?
Currently I don’t follow a diet. I eat whatever I am craving, and I eat in regards to how I am going to train. I believe in following a balanced lifestyle. I have the same breakfast every morning and the 4-5 other meals of the day are a good balance of proteins, carbs and healthy fats. I don’t weigh my food either as I think that it can cause an issue of too much control over your food. Here’s an example of what my diet looks like:
Carsen’s Typical Diet:
- Meal 1: Egg Whites, Oats, Peanut Butter, Stevia and Blackberries
- Meal 2: Yogurt and Fruit
- Meal 3: Chicken Salad and 1 Slice Toast
- Meal 4: Chicken and Vegetables
- Meal 5: Steak, Rice and Vegetables
- Meal 6: Protein Mug Cake
Tell us how you handle a maintaining a healthy body image after a competition?
This is hard and is one of the main reasons that I am taking an indefinite break from competing. I have always had bad body dysmorphia, and competing just brings out the worst. As I prep for a show I never realize how lean I actually am and after doing 5 competitions, I’ve realized that I do the same thing every time. I constantly say how I don’t feel lean and then a month or so post show when I look back at the photos, I realize that I was very lean. I usually have a 2-month battle with myself post show to get to a place where I can find a balance between training, eating and being happy with my body image again. When I start to put on weight again after a show, I constantly battle with my head as to how I look. I study myself in the mirror constantly and every time I want to indulge in a treat, food, or wine, I say to myself “You look great! You enjoy those treats etc. Go hard in the gym, you’ve earned it.” But after I indulge, I look at myself in the mirror and ask myself “was it really worth it?” And I feel sorry for my friends and boyfriend because I am constantly asking “am I big? Do I look like I’ve put on a lot of weight? Does this area look bad?” When they tell me I look great, a little voice in my head goes “I don’t think they see what I see. They must just be saying that to make me feel good.” So after I compete, my biggest battle is to do with my mental state and balance. I LOVE to lift weights and train hard, that’s easy for me! I also like to eat, order dessert, enjoy wine and have the occasional night out with friends. My goal after a show is to get to the point where I can enjoy an extra slice of cake, or a burger and fries or split a bottle of wine with my boyfriend over dinner, and not feel ‘guilty’ or not have that I need to ‘work it off tomorrow’ mentality. I work to find balance, so that I can look in the mirror and be happy with what I see and know that I’m not missing out on anything; it’s also accepting the fact that I won’t be shredded and crazy lean all year round. After this last show, I confided a lot in my good friend Julie, and she helped me see that competing can play games with our heads and that a healthy body image is much more important, plus our significant others enjoy our curves as well! (Laughs) We also came up with the expression that ‘the extra weight we’ve put on is our ‘enjoying life weight’. We get to enjoy wine, donuts, a 2nd serving of dinner, and then train our butts off in the gym because we enjoy it! (Laughs)
What are some of your favorite foods you like to treat yourself to after a competition?
Treats; baked goods, desserts, anything sugary is my weakness! (Laughs) I also love a big burger and fries as well.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of the fitness industry?
I love horseback riding. It will always be my number one passion. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or money for a horse at the moment, but one day I will get another ‘project’ horse to work on. In the summer, I enjoy being out on the water whether it is with our Seadoos, or out on a boat wakeboarding or just enjoying the sun with my friends. I have found a new love for sledding in the winter, and I can’t wait for the snow to fall, so I can go away on some sled trips with my boyfriend and friends. Pretty much, I am a big adrenaline junkie, so as long as something has a motor I will enjoy myself! (Laughs)
Tell us a little about your dog.
Back home I have a Blue Heeler Cross, German Shepard named Sydney. She is 16 ½ years old! We’ve had her since she was 1 ½. Growing up she was a little bit of a terror; she would eat our leather couch, rip up the floor in the laundry room, and dig holes in our newly landscaped yard. Once she settled in though, she became the perfect ‘family’ dog. My parents spoil her, and I look forward to her wagging tail every time I am visiting home.
Where’s the favorite place you’ve traveled to so far, and where would you like to go in the future?
In the summer of 2010, I went to the Greek Islands for 3 weeks, and it was absolutely amazing! They are beautiful, and I would love to go back there again. I would like to see more of Europe and some other nice spots in the Mediterranean Sea.
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