BABY GOT BACK … AND A WHOLE LOT MORE!
The Beauty Booty Queen Shines On and Offstage
MUSCLE INSIDER: In terms of nutrition and supplementation: What are you doing now with your nutrition? How did you/do you prep on such short notice for a photo shoot?
AMANDA LATONA: My nutrition and supplementation stay pretty much the same year round, whereas before when I competed, I would have my super-strict competition diet and then the ”eat whatever I want” diet. I have way more balance now with my eating. Before, I felt so restricted that I had constant cravings. Now, I have something if I want, like a dessert or some wine, but all in moderation and only if I feel like it. That being said, it’s easier for me to eat clean year round. I still train as hard; it’s pretty much the only way I know how to train and like to train, so I definitely want to get the most from my training with a clean diet. I also have more variety in my diet. In general, I stick to a high-protein diet, lots of veggies, lots of healthy fats, and moderate carbs. That’s what works best for me. The thing I watch most is sugar, and I try to keep that as low as possible. I eat about four meals a day instead of my years of six meals.
That goes hand in hand with getting ready for a shoot on short notice. I stay pretty lean year-round, so when I need to get tighter, I just add in extra cardio and clean my diet up even more. “Calories in versus calories out” is my rule.
My supplements also stay the same year round: My pre-workout is H:VOL, a non-stimulant pre-workout that I pair with A:CUTS, an amazing product with energy and BCAAs. I also use ISOFLEX protein every day, and especially right after my training (I have two scoops). When I add in extra cardio, I also add in liquid L-carnitine. All of these products are by Allmax, and they’re all supplements that I love and believe in.
MI: What are the origins of “Booty Queen”? Where did that term originate? How do you feel about it?
AL: I think that came about in 2009 when I hit the NPC competition stage for the first year of the bikini division. After I won my first show and then the overall at my second show, the subsequent photos and articles would focus on my glutes. I remember one article called me “Glutezilla”! I turned pro later that year and earned two athlete contracts on one day. My fitness career started taking off. I would take progress pictures (before Instagram) and do the booty pose. Once Instagram came out, I just did the same thing and hashtagged it “#bootyqueen.” The phrase caught on, and since I was one of the first pros, and known for my glutes, as my following and popularity grew, (along with my glutes), “Bootyqueen” just exploded. When starting an apparel line, I didn’t want to use my name and have “Latona” flashed across some T-shirt. I’d also just gotten married, and my legal name was now Kuclo, and people didn’t really know me that way. I wanted an apparel line not just about me, but with a name and a logo that all women could relate to. Hence “Bootyqueen Apparel.” My motto for the line is that “every woman is a queen, and it’s all about the booty.” This line is for all women who train their butts off, love training, and want to look fabulous while doing it. It’s taking my background of being in the fitness industry and lifting for so many years. I want the leggings to be the best fit, the best quality, durable, and glamorous. We marry strength with glamour. So “Bootyqueen” is for the ladies that train their booties.
MI: You haven’t been onstage in years, but you’re still incredibly popular. What is about you that still pulls people in?
AL: I think that I stay as real as I possibly can, and people respect that. Being in the fitness industry for so many years, I feel as though I’ve experienced it all. I’ve had those times where I’m beyond motivated, and I’ve had those times with zero desire to train. There are times where my body is a machine, and times where it’s stopped responding. I’ve gained weight, and I’ve lost weight. I talk about it all and am incredibly honest about it. I think you can help people that much more once you’ve personally experienced something. Sometimes with social media, people are portraying a life that they think people want to see, and it’s the farthest thing from reality. That sets people up to feel bad about themselves. I keep it real. I talk about issues we all deal with and that not a lot of people want to talk about. I also talk about my faith, and people respect that. I’ve lost competitions and gotten up to win back-to-back shows. I’m a fighter, and we need to fight for what we want. I competed for 11 years and trained for 15, and I always tell people that it’s never too late to start something new and try something different. I always say, “You never know unless you try, and you never fail until you stop trying.”
MI: As your priorities shift from competing to work and family, do you find there’s more or less pressure on you professionally?
AL: When you live with a level of excellence, you give your best to whatever you do. When I competed, I had the constant hunger, the deprivation of no dinners out, skipping celebrations, training twice a day no matter what, and a pressure to be my best onstage. Now, I have a whole different set of responsibilities; with promoting a show, running a business, and being a sponsored athlete, it seems like there’s no time to do everything. When I competed, it was my sole focus, and I stopped everything to concentrate on that. Now, I’m doing a slew of different things all while maintaining my training to look a certain way. There’s physical and mental stress. Fitness gives you the holidays off, mostly, but the apparel business is busiest during the holidays, so you really never get to be off. No matter what, I’m so beyond grateful for where I’ve been, where I am now, and where I’m going. I’m so blessed when someone says that I’ve helped, motivated, or inspired them. To me, that’s what we’re here to do: to help others. I’ve been given a platform, and I use it with grace. I want people to see that I went from a single girl competing her butt off to a married woman who owns a business, promotes a show, teaches through social media, and does it all. The physical and mental toughness that I’ve learned though competing carries into my life now, and I’m so grateful for that.
1. Bulgarian Split Squats
For these, I take a wide step forward to take as much weight as I can off my quads and put more focus on my glutes and hams. I also go as low as I can on the working leg to get more of a stretch, a greater range of motion, and recruit more muscle fibres. I push through my heel and sometimes end with bottom partials and/or top partials.
2. Kickbacks (Using Resistance Bands)
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love me some kickbacks (if you don’t follow me, shame on you but it’s never too late—@amandalatona).
I love cable kickbacks because I like the constant tension the cable brings, but I also love the fact that you can go heavier or lighter when isolating the glutes. That being said, the resistance band is an alternative to the cables. I’ve been using bands in my workouts for about five or six years now. I use them as a superset to an exercise, as a finisher to a workout, or in between sets to really pump the muscle and increase blood flow to the glutes. Here, I’ve attached a resistance band to a heavy weight to stabilize it. I then move far enough away to allow for greater tension in the band making it harder. I push through the heels and really use mind muscle connection to feel the glutes working. I do these two ways: either really quick for a great pump or with a two- or three-second hold at the top and really squeezing the glutes for a great contraction.
3. Hip Thrusts
One of my all-time fave exercises. I love this because I feel it’s the best way to go heavy and isolate the glutes. I love that you can also do various foot positions and feel this exercise a bunch of different ways. I do these both heavy and light with a good two-second squeeze at the top, again being very careful to squeeze the glutes without hyperextending my lower back. I also do these toes slightly turned out, with both wide stance and narrow.
4. T-Bar Squats
I first started doing this squat when I hurt my back right before back-to-back competitions a few years ago. I had to look for new ways to train without adding any weight loaded on my spine. I went from a lot of barbells to dumbbells and hack squats, to these.
I don’t use a handle for this; rather, I just grab the bar. I also use smaller plates but more of them in order to get a better range of motion. The 45-pound plates hit the floor before the 25s because of their size, so I stack the smaller sizes. I also like to have multiple plates on in order to make drop sets easier.
I make sure to not round my lower back, and I use the help of a weight belt to keep my lower back stable. I sit my hips back and take the weight as low as possible just before touching the floor. I push through the heels on the way up and squeeze my glutes, making sure to not hyperextend my lower back. I’m a huge believer in mind-muscle connection and form.
5. Step-Ups with Kickbacks
I make sure to push through the heel of the working leg and use mind-muscle connection to feel it in my entire glute. The step-up and kickback is done more as one motion, as opposed to step-up, then kickback. While you’re stepping up with one leg, you’re kicking back with the other, and then just touching down, not resting it or stopping on the floor. Go right back into it. I don’t lock the knee of the leg I’m stepping up with.
6. Goblet/Plie Squats
I like doing these on plates to allow for a better range of motion. You could also do these on a couple of benches or boxes. Just make sure your surface is stable. I don’t go super-heavy on these because of what my grip allows me to hold, so I mostly use this exercise after a heavier lift as a superset.
NUTRITION AND SUPPLEMENTATION
“It’s easier for me to eat clean year round. I definitely want to get the most from my training with a clean diet. In general, I stick to a high-protein diet, lots of veggies, lots of healthy fats, and moderate carbs.
My supplements also stay the same year round: My pre-workout is H:VOL, a non-stimulant pre-workout that I pair with A:CUTS, an amazing product with energy and BCAAs. I also use ISOFLEX protein every day, and especially right after my training (I have two scoops). When I add in extra cardio, I also add in liquid L-carnitine.”