How Did You Get Started In Health And Fitness?
I fell in love with fitness in 2009 after I won the overall in bikini at my very first NPC show. I had a background in pageants and modeling, yet never realized my love for lifting weights and living a truly “clean” lifestyle until I began competing. The decision to compete was 100% driven from my older brother, Aaron Orton, owner of Genuine Fitness in Eugene, Oregon. He pushed me to enter a show because he saw potential in me I would have never seen. So I give a lot of the credit to him for believing in me even back then.
Previous to competing, I received conjoining degrees at the University of Oregon in Economics and business administration with a focus in finance and was a first time home owner at the age of 19. My career direction drastically changed when I realized my strong passion for the fitness and health industry and have since then made it my everyday life as a full time personal trainer, nutrition/prep coach, posing instructor, endorsed athlete and fitness model.
What Advice Would You Give To Someone Who Is Looking To Start Getting Fit?
That progress is not overnight and it all comes down to consistency. People tend to think if they dont see results instantly, nothing is happening and they give up. This drives me crazy. What is giving up going to do anyways? Put you back to where you started? It makes no sense. If something feels hard that is typically your body changing, and that is GOOD. In all aspects of life you have to struggle to progress. Even I have my days in prep where it feel impossible and I dont see the changes I wish I did. But the only difference between me and the person who never reaches those goals is I just keep going.
What Is Your Workout Routine?
Monday: Glute focused leg day
Thursday: Back & Chest
Friday: Abs & Lower Body Plyo Day
Saturday: Rest Day
Sunday: Lift whatever isnt sore from the week 😉
Practically all my lifts are focused on 3-4 sets of 6-10 different exercises at 12-15 reps each. I will add in at least 3 HIIT sessions and 2-3 longer duration (40-60 min) LISS sessions to this split typically. My cardio will change based on if I am getting ready for an event, photoshoot, or show.
What Is Your Diet Like? Supplements?
I use more of a flexibile dieting/IIFYM approach so my nutrition never stays the same, but below is a basic breakdown of what some days may look like. I use IconMeals meal prep service as it is a great, affordable, and efficient way to have meals pre-made and freshly delivered each week as well.
Meal 1: 1/2c MyOatmeal Oats + 3 egg whites/1 whole omega 3 egg (I often times combine these ingredients to make protein pancakes or waffles) but if on the go I will eat the IconMeals pre-made protein pancakes
Meal 2: 4 egg whites, spinach, mushrooms, tomato, hot sauce scramble or omelette with ezekiel english muffin(post-lift)
Meal 3: 4oz. grilled chicken and asparagus from IconMeals
Meal 4: 4oz. buffalo, 4oz. mashed sweet potato, and broccoli from IconMeals
Meal 5: 4oz. grilled chicken or 99% lean ground turkey and greens from IconMeals
Meal 6: Low carb protein waffles (recipe on my blog!) with 1tbs P28 nut butter
Your Husband, Brandan Fokken Is Also A Top Fitness Competitor. Is It Easier To Have A Partner That Understands Your Passion For Fitness? Do You Train Together?
Yes it is MUCH easier to have a husband who also lives this lifestyle. Not only because it allows us to have something in common physically and from a hobby standpoint but it allows us to understand one another from an emotional and mental standpoint. This sport is so much more mental than anything and unless you have truly lived it, it is virtually impossible to explain to an “outsider”. So I feel very fortunate to have someone to share in my passion but also someone who understands my struggles.
We go to the gym together, yes. But we don’t necessarily “train” together most of the time. We are both very independent in our personal methods and approach to exercise so we typically work out solo but of course go together and often times do our outdoor cardio together.
Your Abs Are Incredible! What Advice Would You Give To Someone Looking A Toned Mid-Section Like Yours?
Ha, thanks. But honestly I dont really have any magic formula to abs. I get asked this a lot and its flattering but I really rarely ever do direct ab work. About a month out from a show or shoot I will start adding in a few different ab exercises before bed. Just the basics though, no tricks! Bicycle crunches, reverse crunches, and standard crunches to name a few 😉 If I do hit abs in the gym I will do hanging leg raises or body-weighted side bends on the hyperextension. Thats about it. Losing body fat and choosing a majority of your foods from clean food sources will be your best bet when it comes to wanting abs.
How Do You Handle Set Backs & Bad Days?
“If your not struggling you’re not progressing”
Understanding that progress is not overnight and it all comes down to consistency is key on those hard days. People tend to think if they dont see results nothing is happening and they give up. This drives me crazy. What is giving up going to do anyways? Put you back to where you started? It makes no sense. If something feels hard that is typically your body changing, and that is GOOD. In all aspects of life you have to struggle to progress. Even I have my days in prep where it feel impossible and I dont see the changes I wish I did. But the only difference between me and the person who never reaches those goals is I just keep going. I have to constantly remind myself of this because this sport is so much more of a mental battle than anything.
Did You Make Any Mistakes When You First Started Out?
Ha, TONS!! If you arent making mistakes you arent learning in my opinion. I get asked daily on social media about how I know my body so well, or how does one know if they are carb or fat sensitive, or sodium sensitive, etc…. The only way to learn is to TRY! Everyone is different and therefor the only person who can really learn your body fully is you! It has taken me 4 years of trial and error to figure out what my body responds best to.
As I mentioned, I respond much better to carbs than I do to fats. I willl say I was fortunate enough to have my brothers wisdom of his own body for 6 years of competing before I ever stepped on stage, which helped a ton. Obviously he is a male and a bodybuilder, I am a female bikini competitor, but genetically a lot of the trial and error he put himself through also applied to my results. I will give you one example, I tried the Whole 30 diet on one of my off seasons. Basically its a paleo diet with emphasis on fats. One thing it did help with is balancing my hormones a bit ( I was able to get my cycle back) but I gained a LOT of weight, as I said I do not respond well to a high fat diet. And that proved it to me.
One of my most significant mistakes was not giving myself enough recovery/rest days. Its so easy to fall into the mindset that a day off is going to hault progress, which is completely not true. Its very important to let your body rest for proper health, growth, and recovery and to hedge the risk of injury.
Give Your Best 3 Health Tips That People Can Implement Right Now:
Hydrate!! Aim for a gallon of water a day! Its so important to stay hydrated and most people don’t even realize when they are dehydrated.
Get enough sleep and don’t ‘sweat’ the small stuff. Stress is such a terrible and draining emotion for the body. When you can learn to manage your stress levels, everything else will fall into place easier.
Make a plan. If you don’t have a plan to how you will achieve your goals then you will never know which steps to take to achieving them. Start NOW. Write it down. Envision it. Go for it. And don’t give up!
Where Does Your Motivation Come From?
I wrote an in depth article on this on my blog just recently! But honestly the people who support me motivate me the most. If you surround yourself with people who truly have your best interest in mind and love you for who you are they will support your strive for a better you. The messages I receive on a daily basis that I was able to inspire someone to live a healthier life, or that I helped someone with a binge eating disorder find balance, etc are all the reasons I do what I do. Those people motivate me more than anything. However, I am blessed to have a wonderful husband who understands this sport and lifestyle and he motivates me everyday as well.
For More Of Amber Dawn Orton Please Check Out:
Facebook: Amber Orton
Facebook Athlete Page: Amber Dawn Orton- National Level Bikini Competitor/Fitness Model