We talked with April RaQuel in April, 2020.
👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
My name is April RaQuel. I’m 44 years old and I’ve been an athlete since around age 13. I was born in West Palm Beach, Florida and grew up also in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where I’m currently living.
My occupation is an Entertainer/Model. I sing & perform at high end private events, corporate events, weddings, upscale lounges & restaurants and music festivals.
I also fit model for two clothing companies in Boca Raton, Florida. As a fit model, my body frame is used to replicate a size 6 mannequin in human form as a base for the technical design, construction & mass production of women’s clothing for these brands. This is where being fit plays an important role in my adult life. But we’ll get to that in a few….:)
I started training around the middle school/high school age. I ran track in high school, played volleyball and was a cheerleader. I continued on running track at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida. In my post college years up till present, I’m still at it…..running and training through my 40s.
My hobbies are my lifestyle, which I’ve also been favored to have made them a career path. I enjoy music, fashion and athletics and in these areas I make my living.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
A typical day of training for me includes (based on my schedule) either a short 2 mile run (in under 18 minutes), a 5K run (in under 29 minutes) or a day with my trainer once to twice per week for 45 minutes at the gym. I try to incorporate one of these in my day 3-4 times per week, but admittedly don’t always hit the mark. :/
I also incorporate yoga and lots of heat therapy. My favorite is to steam my muscles in the steam room while stretching and then sit in the Jacuzzi, followed by a quick cool dip in the pool.
The older I get the more important therapy becomes because my body is not as resilient as it was 25 years ago, lol, so I also do as much massage therapy as possible. All of this helps to support my body as I continue with such a highly active lifestyle.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
This is a good question for me to actually have to think about and verbalize. Half the time I just get up and go but don’t really put a lot of emphasis on what’s making me push to get it done.
So here’s what I know works for me: First, the undying athlete in me won’t allow me to be ok with not being fit so there’s a built-in motivation that I can’t deny even when I’ve tried, lol.
Then there’s the gravity of just not wanting to go at times. That can be a tough force to fight when you really aren’t up to it, but many of those moments I just stop thinking about it, throw on my sneakers and running gear and just hit the road from my front door.
After those workouts in particular I always feel so good that I did it even though I didn’t want to initially.
Now once I get going if the run becomes tough or the workouts with the trainer are particularly excruciating, I either really get into the music that I’m listening to to drown out what I think I feel or increase the depths of my breath, close my eyes and push through that impossible lunge my trainer is making me hold for 60 seconds.
That’s what I appreciate most about having a trainer, is that he or she is standing over you pushing you past your points of exhaustion. And the gratification is that the next time I do that particular exercise it grows less and less excruciating. So I overcome and feel like a champion!
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
So, I mentioned above about how being fit really plays a big role in my adult life. Today I’m so thankful that I’ve maintained an active life of fitness since my teenage years because as a fit model, I must maintain specific measurements for a size 6 mannequin/dress form. I can only be within an inch of tolerance of the specified measurements of a perfect size 6 so 2 inches too big or too small could be a real problem in earning my income. So the 2-mile & 5k runs and being very serious about my overall health is not just a benefit health wise but also financially to me.
I’m learning my body every day as the 40s have a natural way of shifting things. But I plan to continue being in the best shape that I can be for the rest of my life.
There are some areas that I think I’d like to explore some change, for example, possibly exploring a vegan diet to see how my body may respond.
I’d also like to do more core work so that as I age my body is strong and I feel solid balance in my core. Even after I am no longer singing and performing or fit modeling for a living I love how elastic the body can be and how it can reward you for taking good care of it over the course of your lifetime as you age, so this is a part of me …..always has been….always will be.
One of my best friends & track teammates from college is encouraging me to join her on a half marathon….I’m considering adding it to my bucket list. 🙂
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
Recovery for me has become paramount. When I don’t do what I should, I have a lot of lingering aches, pains and stiffness. Here are some things that I do in my recovery rotation:
After a run, I cool down with a walk to bring my heart rate back down. Then I replace my electrolytes with coconut water or Pedialyte and do a fairly light stretch.
I have a membership at a stretch facility called “The Stretch Zone”. And guess what goes on there…..nothing but stretching! You’re strapped to a table while a stretch therapist stretches your body from limb to limb in a way you could never achieve on your own. It is literally the most amazing thing after a run.
After training with my trainer, and sometimes after a run as well, I do heat therapy in the steam room and jacuzzi. A great deep stretch in heat is so amazing for your muscles.
I also incorporate a 90-minute deep tissue or sports massage as often as possible. As I mentioned above, yoga is a great means of balance, stretch and recovery, and most recently I invested in the Ashley Black fascia blaster tools. Her fascia release system is really good and I find that releasing and massaging the fascia plays a very helpful role in the overall relaxation and movement of my body. And you know where my favorite place is to fascia blast… The steam room!
I do travel fairly often & when possible I am able to incorporate my same lifestyle wherever I go. All I ever need are gym shoes and my running gear, which literally consists of my phone, an arm band to carry it with and a pair shorts.
In Florida it’s very flat we don’t have hills and mountains and ascending trails to hike but in my frequent visits to California I challenge my body with steep uphill hikes and jogs on very hilly trails.
But for this I’d say one has to be pretty determined to work out while traveling because just travel alone can dehydrate & tire the body but it certainly can be done… Where there’s a will there’s most definitely a way.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
I would say I am a very fair eater. I eat clean and healthy mostly because my body processes raw vegetables, fruits & clean foods free of preservatives very well. But I do eat burgers, Chick-fil-A and pizza at times as well, so to be honest I get my fair share of balance in things I enjoy, but I mostly eat for things my body needs.
I love eggs, oatmeal, beans, grains, fish, fruits & veggies. I allow myself cheat days once to twice per week. One of the things I’m looking forward to learning about vegan diet options is exploring creative ways to make very tasty dishes from natural, unprocessed clean foods.
My first step towards this was learning how to make homemade cashew and almond milk from scratch. So over the course of the next six months i’m excited about adding more recipes & some major changes in my diet towards eating more and more clean.
I had taken about eight months to a year to really lighten my intake of red meat. I have had issues with anemia & found the slight hiatus from red meat really flared it up, amongst other iron depleting foods that I was eating unknowingly.
So I am taking an iron supplement called Floradix. I also take multivitamins as well. After a few weeks of the supplements & incorporating red meat my iron improved. Now the research begins to learn which organic foods compliment each other best for my body to fully absorb all the iron & protein it needs healthfully…..without red meat consumption.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
What inspires me is seeing a person over 50 that is flexible, limber & able to run and has full use of their bodies. They didn’t just start this lifestyle at 50! I know that if I don’t stay on this path that becoming an older aged person that has an active lifestyle is less likely. I want to be a little old lady still going for my jogs & that still looks good in heels, lol.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
I think the best push factor for a person to improve themselves is for them to really want to. Usually becoming unpleased, angry, uncomfortable and or unhappy with how you feel and look is what drives a person to want to improve.
For motivation, I monitor how I feel after I’ve eaten a certain thing or after running, or after not running for a period of time. I base my routines on those things that make me feel good. I try to limit or stop doing, and or eating what doesn’t.
The foods and actions that give me energy and make me feel light remain a part of my lifestyle, which have become: A lighter diet, frequent exercise and adequate sleep/rest.
I think your individual program/fitness experience goals should be based solely on what feels good to you & looks good on you.
Measuring up against someone else’s results, apparent physical form or photos may not be the best motivation for you…..after all, most of what we see is not natural, unretouched or tweaked in post editing in some kind of way….????
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
I’d love to connect with you on the socials: Instagram, Facebook