Today, we spoke to Dr. Harriet Davis – a mother, wife, physician, vegan bikini competitor, and marathon runner. She recently started competing in the bikini division but fitness has been apart of her life for many years. She somehow finds time to balance her busy career with her family and still makes time for the gym. She has a lot to offer and has many tips to share.
Name: Dr. Harriet Davis
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Birthday: July 10
Weight: 110 lb. (competition)/ 115 lb. (off season)
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a 42 year Board-Certified Family and Sports Medicine Physician and National level NPC Bikini Competitor. I started competing in June 2013. I have ways been driven by fitness. Prior to becoming a NPC bikini competitor, I was an avid distance runner. I ran track in high school. During college, medical school, and residency, I maintained my fitness and conditioning by running 20-25 miles/week. Since 1998, I have run 4 full marathons, 2 half marathons, and numerous 5, 8, 10, 12 and 30Ks.
How would you describe your body before you started training?
I was well conditioned and “in shape” but certainly not as fit as I am now. Before I started weight training, I had more muscle definition in my upper body (arms, shoulders, and back) and less muscle definition in abs and legs. I was 23% body fat when I started training in November 2012 and 10% body fat by August 2013!
What are your hobbies?
Anything that involves fitness! I love to workout…weight training, running, HIIT, cardio, cycling and the list goes on! I also enjoy traveling, reading, shopping, and public speaking.
Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?
I am up at 4:45 am for my first cardio session. Then it’s off to work from 8a-5p (four days a week). After work, I weight train for 1-1.5 hours. Later, I do another cardio session ( usually around 8 pm). I take one rest day a week. (My meals are prepped at the start of the week so I don’t have to deal with meal prep during a typical day)!
Let’s say I don’t have that much time during the day to workout, so I really want to burn major calories in a short amount of time. What is the #1 “bang for the buck” cardio exercise I should do to burn serious calories?
A plyometric/HIIT circuit (box jumps, jump squats, mountain climbers, burpees, sprints).
What is your current weekly workout routine?
Monday: cardio (am/pm). Gym: legs (quads, inner/outer thighs), abs
Tuesday: cardio (am/pm). Gym: shoulders, arms (biceps, triceps), abs
Wednesday: cardio (am/pm). Gym: (hump day): glutes, hamstrings
Thursday: cardio (am/pm). Gym: total body workout.
Friday: cardio (am/pm). Gym: legs, abs
Saturday: cardio (am/pm). Track workout.
Sunday: REST DAY!
Who’s your biggest inspiration?
That’s a difficult question because I have been inspired by many great people. But, I would have to say that my biggest inspiration is my mother. She is an incredible woman who is strong, loving, wise and loyal. My mother is my mentor and friend. She has taught me the true meaning of beauty. I have watched her go through many trials and tribulations over the years, and she always weathered them with grace. She never compromised her integrity to solve problems. She has always remained focused, loving, and most importantly, faithful to God. Now that is an inspiration!
What are your weakest body parts and how do you work to balance them?
My weakest body parts are my glutes and hamstrings. I have been working on gaining more muscle mass in these areas during my off season. The way I’ve learned to balance everything is to work twice as hard on my weaker areas in order to build more muscle and definition. It also helped when I stopped running 25 miles a week!
So you love to pose for the camera, how did you get into modeling?
I first started modeling when I was in high school but it was mostly fashion modeling. I have always loved posing for the camera! I started fitness modeling in 2013 and it has become my new found passion.
You used to be a distance runner, do you still run?
Yes, but not as much distance. Now my weekly mileage is less than 10 miles/week. My runs are 3 miles/session and I usually run 2-3 times/week (off season) and once a week during my contest prep. As I get closer to competition I only run sprints and do track work (high knees, false starts, etc).
You’re a vegan, how long have you been following this lifestyle?
I’ve been vegan for 7 years. Prior to that, I was vegetarian for 20 years! You’re probably wondering what’s the difference? Well, when I was vegetarian, I still consumed dairy products (cheese, eggs, etc.). Now I consume a 100% gluten-free / dairy-free / plant-based diet.
Is it hard for a vegan to build muscle from eating a diet consisting of many plant foods?
It’s not hard at all as long as you educate yourself with regards to vegan nutrition.
How do you balance your fitness career, with your medicial profession and your family life?
Now that’s difficult to explain. It’s certainly helps that my family is so supportive. My husband preps all of my meals and keeps my schedule straight! God takes care of the rest (because I don’t know how else to explain it).
What are 3 exercises you could not do without and why?
Cardio (because I am a cardio addict), pull-ups (they help strengthen my core and bring out my abs), and plyometrics (because it’s a quick way to work lots of leg muscles).
Would you provide a sample workout routine?
Here is a sample Leg/Glute Day workout routine:
Leg Extension: 4 sets 15 reps
Walking Lunges w/Dumbbells
Abductor/Adductor machine (inner/outer thigh): 4 sets 25 reps
Stiff leg dead lifts: 4 sets 20 reps
Single leg lunges w/Dumbbells
Box jumps 4 sets 10 reps
Lateral Lunges to Curtsy Lunge: 4 sets 10 reps (each side)
What does your daily diet consist of?
I am vegan so my diet is 100% plant/based. I consume: Quinoa, fruit (apples, berries, grapefruit, lemons), sweet potato, greens (kale, spinach), black beans (black bean spaghetti), mushrooms, carrots, cucumber, protein shake(s), nuts (almonds) and LOTS of water (1-1.5 gallons/day)!
What is your favorite workout song?
I don’t have just one but my playlist includes a lot of songs by Rihanna and JayZ.
What would you say is your greatest weakness?
I am too regimented.
What are the top tips you recommend for staying motivated on a fitness plan and truly making a healthy lifestyle change?
No matter what your personal health and fitness goals for are, you need to take certain steps in order to meet those goals. Sometimes people start off on the right track and then get sidetracked, never finishing what they set out to do. Yet, if you have a clear plan of what success & achievement mean to you then you will easily be able to reach your goals.
1. Have clear goals (write them down)
2. Think positive
3. Don’t let setbacks get you down
4. Stay focused
5. Be consistent
6. Take progress pictures
7. Enjoy the journey
Tell me one random fact about yourself?
I co-piloted a twin-engine Cessna airplane while I was in medical school!
What’s next for Dr. Davis?
My plans for 2014 include actively pursuing SPONSORSHIPS as well as continuing to compete in the bikini division of bodybuilding. My ultimate goal is to earn an IFBB pro card as a bikini competitor and to become a well-known spokesmodel for health and fitness.
Where can people get into contact with you?
Anyone you would like to thank?
- Yes, I would like to thank my husband and son for their love and constant support. My mother, who has always encouraged me to think big and follow my dreams.
- I would also like to thank my coach and mentor, MJ Fox for sharing her knowledge and skills to help me to develop the body of my dreams. And also for her willingness to go the extra mile for me (and my teammates).
- I want to say thank you to Romy Antoine and RippedNFit for this opportunity.
- My friends and family for their support and encouragement.
- My little sister and teammate, Courtney Edwards for her guidance, support, and friendship. Thank you to my teammates at the House of Fit, Charlotte.
- I also want to give a special thanks to my stylist, Tonya Stokes at Nufaces, International for working so hard to design my signature look for the 2014 season.
- And most importantly, I thank God! He is my strength and my shield. All I can say is that I am nothing without Him!
It’s been our pleasure! Do you have a quote, or any closing words for your fans and the readers of RippedNFit?
Thank you for the opportunity to share my story. Perhaps reading this interview will help others evaluate their lives. Hopefully my story will positively influence someone to make a change in their own lifestyle.[nggallery id=94 w=300 h=300 float=none]