We talked with RhondaLee Quaresma in November, 2020.
Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hey there! I am RhondaLee Quaresma. I am an IFBB Professional Bodybuilder. My career began by winning all my titles as an amateur and then winning the Canadians which earned me my pro card. I have also competed in Physique and Figure categories, but bodybuilding is my default.
I am 51 years old and have been training for 30 years. I am Canadian but go between Toronto and Los Angeles, doing some Venice Beach Mecca! I am certified as a Personal Trainer and nutrition tech through The PROPTA. (The Certification of the pros by Joe Anturi. )
RLQZone.com is my personal training and bodybuilding career site. I prep others for competition or for any health and fitness goals. In addition to competing and personal training, bodybuilding led me into many years of a side career in modeling and entertainment.
Now I train more for quality and aesthetics compared to previous years where being a big female bodybuilder was the emphasis. Focus now is not on just the body, but on a balance or completeness of body, mind and soul. Taking the mind, muscle connection a step further.
Describe a typical day of training
Regarding my training regiment, I typically do a training split. I find by doing weight training separate from cardio I can recover better, which leads to better muscle growth. In the off-season, I may not split all the time but pre contest 100% of the time this applies. I always do a quarterly training routine.
Approximately every three months I switch things up in some regard depending on the goal I am trying to achieve. Sometimes it is a complete overhaul and sometimes it is just some particular adjustments I make in the current program. I always plan out my programs. This way I find if it is written down, I have to follow it, and I do!
I feel this is a solid training regiment that always helps with size and strength gains: rlqzone.com/bodybuilders-on-a-quest. Squatting was my number one for mass building! I no longer train for size but when I did this helped me build quality muscle.
As for cardio, I do it every other day in off-season. Everyday pre-contest starting off 25 min session and building up each week. How much time depends on how I am looking for contest. Stairs are always best for me when pre contest for burning fat and tightening hams and glutes.
In my fitness bag is my iPod, a change of shirt, hand sanitizer, phone charger, my planned workout routine and ankle straps for buttocks work, weight belt, my lock, and some beauty things. 🙂
I typically train on my own as I find distractions keep arising with a partner. For heavy lifts, however, I will always be sure to have a spotter.
How do you keep going and push harder?
I will train forever! I just LOVE and LIVE for my training! This is what has kept me going for so long. I love to pursue different training methods, experimental, and learned from others. The human body fascinates me. Plus it keeps me on track with my diet, which has been a lifetime struggle. Always wanting treats teehee.
By setting goals like shows and photo shoots I stay on course. I am done with the competing side of things, but weight training always keeps me balanced!
Whenever I have personal struggles it always helps me cope! It is the natural feel good drug for sure! It’s funny, I can go into the gym, dragging my butt, not feeling like training, and 9/10 times, I train and it ends up being a good session, or better than I thought and then I feel rejuvenated after! That being said, I am facing my biggest challenge now!
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Well, I thought all was going perfectly. I seriously have lived for my training. I thought I was healthy. I was sure I was destined to live to a FIT 100 years old and be the poster child for motivating others that they could do it too! I did what I learned and studied and observed that I was supposed to do as a health and fitness lifestyle and bodybuilder.
When I was told the news that I had advanced colon cancer I was dumbfounded! What I learned was my case is related to genetics as it runs in my family. So it managed to overtake even my healthy life style. I do think though some environmental factors contributed.
To me the feeling I get is if you have the cancer gene in family for a certain type and then you feed it with certain things it likes, then you up your probability of getting it. It’s like the door is open (genetics). It just waits for a walk through for it to be there to do whatever the heck cancer does to live. (what we put into our bodies knowingly or unknowingly).
For example, I did eat a lot of meat being a bodybuilder, and I drank too much diet coke probably. Did this have anything to do with it? We will never know. Colon cancer causes in someone cannot be identified exactly. Like a certain cancer can. For example there is a rare cancer ONLY smokers get in back of tongue.
So what I was doing and what I had planned for near future has been very disrupted by this new state of affairs for me. But I have continued to train when I can.
Once again my training helped my state of mind and well being even though I have lost a lot of muscle mass . Cancer eats away at you, and my weight training kept me at least looking not sick.
Covid has added an element to make it more difficult too. BUT I LOVE my loyal training. I will do so until…forever :). My doctors said my training has probably helped me handle everything better. I’ve done much better than predicted, although my cancer is incurable. I caught it too late. Be careful! Colon cancer is sneaky. I had virtually no symptoms and it has had a sharp increase in people who are young! I was not even 50. That used to be unheard of.
BUT I am still training, personal training, modeling a little, doing art, working on my projects, trying to keep a balance of body, mind and soul, and making the best out of life!
How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I have had only one injury-related to my training in 30 years and that was just five months into working out. I was doing heavy leg press thinking the further back my legs went the better, until my lower back pulled! Well, that set the tone from there on in. I learned about over extending and going too heavy than ability.
I worked my strength and muscle up over the following years and at my peak was able to lift with 100% strict form a deep 315 pound squat. One of my proudest feats. I say if social networking had been around then….teehee. Funny in those days we never took photos until show day. So wish we had of! It was put in the work, walk the walk, then you can talk the talk. But I do have witnesses that could still verify this claim ha. I miss being this strong.
But at 51, it is not practical ,for my body at least, to lift so much. Tendons, ligaments, etc. can only handle so many years of exertion. I now have very flat feet. It causes pain. But I am ok with it. POINT BEING, FORM is everything in avoiding injuries! As the saying goes, leave your ego at the door.
I learned to listen to my body and understand the difference between workout pain and injury pain. This is key! If training and I feel any sort of oddity or weird pain. I stop! I do not push through! The gym will be there tomorrow and I can retry then. But If I injure myself I cannot! Almost always I was fine next time. And even if it was nothing. Better to stop just in case than to hope for the best.
Good workout pain feels full, burning and a good pain like u can push through still. Bad feels weird, not right, really hurts pain and need to stop. Best way I can think to describe. 🙂
Also, if I did think I had potential injury. I would always go home, rest, ice, warm and take anti inflammatory. The rest combined with these set me back to good. Probably prevented an injury.
Also, I would warm up 5 minutes via the stationary bike before training. Sleep is a huge recovery factor. And after first training session during contest time, a 25 minute nap was part of the process. Massages do me wonders!
Supplements very much aid in recovery. BLACKSTONE LABS has sponsored me supplements. I definitely felt their products helped me!
I use their 3-whey protein source blend and Isolation whey Isolate, Juiced up Phytoformula Greens, Hype Nitric Oxide Booster Pre workout, Viper Rx focus energy fat burning good mood supplement.
Multi vitamins and minerals in the off season and then pre contest, add in those to enhance training like amino acids, Glut amine, pre workout, etc.
How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
DIET is key. It all depends on how I look and how my strength is regarding what I eat. I do five to six meals a day Pre contest, this ratio varies.
#1 rule during contest phase which I always adhere to advice is NEVER CHEAT! You can do all the training and supplements in the world, but for the stage, diet in the number 1 factor to winning. Those stage lights don’t lie and reveal exactly how you look!
Food is still the number one1 for nutrition and more but I do take supplements before and after training. Just to make sure all nutrition bases are covered and to stimulate the muscle building elements in my body!
Other supplements in my program are L Glutamine and amino acids, multi vitamin/mineral, Vit D Calcium/magnesium, iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Melatonin, Zinc, potassium, biotin, milk thistle, omega 3, dhea, IP-6 & Inositol, cognizin, Gingko, I also take brain enhancements especially …….because to me it all starts there! Ginkgo is a go to! And I always try to make sure my supplements have the GMP symbol so I know I am getting a true product!
I used to count calories, protein, carbs and fats in the beginning for some years until I got to know my foods and the amounts and how my body reacted to them. Then I did not have to after some time. I eat approximately every three to four hours.
As I have aged, I tend to eat less as my body seems to be more comfortable. I have learned to stay lean all of the time too. Not too lean though. But my body likes to have a little extra body fat I find. Perhaps that is my set point.
I would be a sugar junkie if I allowed it. But like an alcoholic recovered I must be aware not to fall back into bad habits. I fast once every six weeks now. It is good for me. I do drink a coffee and tea a few times a week.
What has inspired and motivated you?
My personal inspiration is wanting to be healthy and look the part and more! I like to be different from the rest. 🙂 Outside influences that affected me are: Arnold Schwarzenegger was and is a big inspiration and influence for me. His go get it attitude always doing right by him. Shows what can be done with the right mindset. It helped me with the shy part of myself.
The encyclopedia of bodybuilding written with Bill Dobbins was like my bodybuilding bible. I have shot many times with bill dobbins as well. Rachel Mclish my 1st glimpse of a female bodybuilder set the tone for me! Lenda Murray, Sue price, Dennis Newman also influenced me.
My friends and family are my biggest support system. I love them so much. Fitness has evolved as it does! There are so many amazing physiques out there these days. And in the gym, my training partner is my house music on my iPod!
Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
I love my experience in my bodybuilding world. I would not change a thing how I began. I just would have done even more if that is possible.
My biggest advice would be to not get discouraged when things don’t go your way or fast enough with training results. Many give up too easily. But it’s hard work so just do it. And if you mess up. Just forgive yourself from the fall, don’t look back, and start again, But get it right. Or keep going till you do!! Just don’t make excuses or take responsibility otherwise.
Sometimes life happens to us too, so whether it is my actions affecting my life, or if it comes from an external source, here is how I try to deal with my training and all my life for that matter, until I get it right.
’Arrange whatever pieces come your way!’ Quote by Virginia Wolfe and I learned of from Dr Wayne Dyer. This guy’s teachings can keep your head in check.
My gym pet peeves: People who do not put their weights away!!!! ESPECIALLY BIG WEIGHTS! If you can lift it you can put it away! If you don’t, you are lazy and being disrespectful to other gym members and the staff. Big man shows little man doing this, so come on. Be the authentic big man! Or woman teehee. But you get my point.
Also, be mindful of what goes into your body! There are a lot of fake foods or additives, etc. in our culture now. Natural is still always the best way to eat. Athletes tend to eat more than others. Although we do not know exactly the cause of my colon cancer for sure, I do know now more than ever, every detail that passes through your body is absorbed and affects its functions.
The peritoneum, a piece of anatomy rarely touched on, is HUGE in relation to the colon. Our gut biome is as important as our hearts and brains I believe. Do your research.
Are you taking on clients right now?
I sure do but not as many now because of spending time on my healing these days! But I decide on a case by case basis if I will take on a new client or not. I always like to take on all and every case. Diet is my specialty. Then training, cardio, supplementation, competitions, mind muscle body soul coaching. Transforming physiques for the better in the RLQZone! AND I CARE! I do not just hand you a template all clients get.
I customize programs to best suit the clients needs. I am very strict regarding the client following through too. Shortcuts just don’t work. Do the work or don’t expect results. Don’t say I want to look like this, then say but I can’t or won’t do this and this. Sorry, that is the only client I wont work with because it’s frustrating teehee. If a client does or doesn’t look the best in the world, I don’t care as much about that as that they put the honest work in! Then they will be at their best and I will do the same! THAT makes me happy! I look at the client as my team mate, even though as a teacher as well. I take people LIVE and ONLINE. Mostly online lately.
Where can we learn more about you?
My personal training and bodybuilding website is RLQZone.com. Please follow me on Instagram @rhondalee_quaresma and Facebook @RhondaLee4U.
2 thoughts on “How I Keep On Training Despite My Health Issues”
A very encouraging and insightful story of a very remarkable lady. I wish RLQ the best and pray for her swift recovery.
May God bless and watch over her.
Thank you so very much! I appreciate the support!