Fit At 44: NPC Bikini Competitor & Fitness Model Stacey Naito Talks With

How did you get started with bodybuilding?

I had been recovering from a bout of anorexia which I experienced at the age of 19. I had gotten down to 85 pounds and at 5’5″ that certainly is not a healthy weight to be at. I had decided to live a healthy lifestyle and took exercise science as my college major. I was surrounded by athletes who encouraged me to start weight training on a regular basis. Once I started, I was hooked.

Looking in the mirror and being able to say, “Damn, I look good!” is what keeps me focused.

What workout routine has worked best for you?

I love a mix of different things: plyometrics, pilates, supersets, resistance bands, cable moves, forced reps, pyramids and mostly I like to keep moving in a circuit. My glutes responded in a major way from switching to these modalities. I usually do 5 to 6 workouts a week which will vary in the moves I do and how I do them. My rule is to mix it all up each time so no two workouts are exactly the same.

Sample Routine:

Monday: Delts

  • Military DB press x15/x12/x10/x8
  • Rear flyes x15/x12/x12/x10
  • Side laterals x15/x12/x10
  • Front raise x12/x10/x8
  • Upright rows x15/x12/x12
  • Arnolds x15/x12/x12
  • 30 minutes cardio

Tuesday: Back/Chest

  • Incline DB bench press x15/x12/x10
  • Flat DB bench press x15/x12/x10
  • Wide grip lat pulldowns x15/x12/x10
  • Seated wide grip rows x15/x12/x10/x8
  • Hyperextensions x15/x15/x15/x15
  • 30 minutes cardio

Wednesday: Biceps/Triceps

  • Preacher curl x15/x12/x10
  • Alternating DB curl x15/x12/x10
  • Drop set hammer cable rope curls x30/x30/x30
  • Overhead cable French press x15/x12/x12
  • Skull crushers x15/x12/x12
  • Rope tricep extensions x15/x12/x10
  • 30 minutes cardio

Friday: Glutes/Hams

  • Cable kickbacks x15/x12/x10/x10
  • Prone leg curl x15/x12/x12/x10
  • Seated leg curl x15/x12/x12
  • Low lying lunges x20/x15/x12/x10
  • Deadlifts x15/x15/x12
  • 30 minutes cardio

Saturday: Quads/Calves

  • Jump squats x10/x10/x10
  • Leg extensions x15/x12/x10
  • Leg press x20/x15/x12
  • Standing calf raise x15/x12/x10
  • Seated calf raise x15/x12/x10
  • V-ups x30/x30/x30
  • Bicycle crunches x20/x20/x20
  • Decline bench crunches x30/x30/x30
  • 30 minutes cardio

If you have to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?

I love dumbbell woodchops because it is a great compound movement which recruits muscles throughout the body. Another move I love is hyperextensions since they have been instrumental in transforming my glutes.

The third move I would choose is shoulder presses with side leg kicks using an ankle band. This is another great compound movement.

What is your diet like?

I eat about 90% clean off-season as I try to stay lean year round. This is a typical regimen for me:

Sample Diet:

  • Meal 1: 3 egg whites with 1/4 cup steel cut oats made into pancake
  • Meal 2: Whey protein shake with 1/2 banana and 1 tbsp. fresh berries (post-gym)
  • Meal 3: 4 ounces lean chicken with 1 cup salad, 1/3 cup sweet potatoes, 5 almonds
  • Meal 4: 5 ounces tilapia with 2/3 cup brussels sprouts, 1 cup salad, 5 almonds
  • Meal 5: 4 ounces lean chicken with 1 cup salad, 5 almonds
  • Meal 6: Whey and casein shake with 1 teaspoon raw almond butter

They say that the pre and post-workout meals are the most vital meals for the day, what do yours consist of?

My pre-workout meal is the egg white and oat pancake I make every morning. Post-workout, I have a whey shake with 1/2 banana and a very small amount of berries added in.

When trying to cut down do you prefer to use HIIT or just normal cardio?

I mostly do normal cardio and just increase the amount of time. My schedule switches to double cardio. Once in a while for variety I will add HIIT, but since I do HIIT on the treadmill, and since I get wicked shin splints every time no matter how warmed up I am, I have accepted the fact that my body is limiting my ability to do HIIT on a regular basis, at least on the treadmill.

I am fortunate in that I stay pretty lean in the off-season and don’t need to keep HIIT in my workout arsenal.

What is your supplementation like?

I take flax seed oil capsules, fish oil, CLA, ALA, digestive enzymes, arginine and glutamine.

Favorite Bodybuilders?

Flex Wheeler is my all-time favorite bodybuilder. His symmetry was just incredible. These days, my favorite male bodybuilders are Victor Martinez and Kiyoshi Moody. In the figure world, I am in awe of Erin Stern. Her physique is flawless! And in bikini, Amanda Latona has what I think is the perfect bikini bod. Plus she is gorgeous, talented and completely hilarious!

Favorite Quote?

“Only the shallow know themselves.” – Oscar Wilde