Name: Shivani Sachdeva
Height: 1.63 m
Current weight: 61 kg (offseason)
Current city: Chandigarh, India
What made you get started with training and living a more healthy lifestyle?
Initially a few years back, in 2014 my body got quite unbalanced gaining a lot of weight on my lower body because of some hormonal imbalance caused by some depression. My mother dropped me at the gym to try get away from all the negative thoughts that was causing my depression and to motivate me to get into shape. After that I never looked back and this has actually become my lifestyle.
What made you enter your first show and when was it, and how did the prep and competition go?
My first competition was in October 2018.
After getting a secured banking job in December 2016, I still had a question in my mind, is this job enough to live a life that am I here for and passionate about? Is this all that? What am I doing for myself?
These all were the questions. I then got married to the person who first put dumbbells in my hands. I discussed the same questions with him. I don’t know where the thought came from, but one morning (just after 2 months of marriage) I said to him, I want to compete. He was like are you sure, as we are from a place where we have not worn bikinis anywhere, so will you be comfortable in that, and in front of a large audience. Then I just said I don’t know. But I want to compete.
Then there was no question and we started our prep from February 2018 to October 2018 we worked so hard on my body. I placed 1st in that competition.
What aspects would you do differently when preparing for the next competition?
Every thing changes with each prep, from diet to training. In my first contest I did more cardio because I had small muscles and more fat. But in my 2nd prep, the calories went higher since my muscle size was a little bigger. This continues. Now I am working much harder on glutes and hamstrings as well as my shoulders.
Who has been your biggest influence/support in your life and how did they affect you?
My mother and my husband both are my support system. Without my mother’s support at the time when I was suffering mentally in my life I would have died. Then I met Sahil (my husband). They both are my lifelines. And one more thing about Sahil, without him I could have never thought of competing. He is my coach and then my husband. 🙂
How do you manage to balance all the aspects of life with your training and eating? Has it ever been difficult to?
Initially it was so difficult. Like I did not know how to manage my profession and passion at the same time. After doing a 10 to 5 job you still have to train, without any excuses, and prep days really require a lot from you.
You have to manage your meals in the office too. But as the time passes I learnt so many things and managed my meals. For example I cook my meals for 4 to 5 days at once over weekends. Now it’s a lot easier. Passion always wins.
What are your future plans?
The question. I am literally looking forward to getting my Pro Card which is the door that will get opened to pro shows and then to the Olympia, which is my dream.
Take us through an average day of yours:
- As my day does not start early like most of the fit people, I wake up at 8:30 in the morning. And just have apple cider vinegar in the morning.
- I usually have 1 hour to do all my things. I make a 4 -5 egg white omelette for myself and a protein shake for Sahil.
- After that at 9:30 I leave for my office. I have 2 meals at the office, one is the main meal, which contains chicken, rice and some veggies, and the second I eat rice cakes with peanut butter.
- Around 5:15 I reach home and at 6 after having my preworkout and preworkout meal I go for training where I spend 2 to 3 hours.
- At 9 I have my meal, and I spend some time on social media as well.
Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your diet:
It changes with the requirement as off seasons are more open to calories, I can eat carbs freely.
Now a days my meals are bigger and I really enjoy the food.
- Morning: 4-5 egg whites with oats or protein
- 2nd meal: Rice cakes with peanut butter
- 3rd meal: Rice, chicken, veggies
- 4th meal: Sweat potato / peanut butter bread + protein
- 5th meal: Rice, chicken, veggies
Do you count your calories? Do you think it is necessary?
Yes of course, it is necessary. It shows how much macros you are having and how much is required for us to grow our muscles. If it helps you, you can also try calculate your macros with a macro calculator.
Do you think, to generally lose fat one needs to be super strict and repetitive, as strict as a diet is for a bodybuilding competition?
No, never. A flexible diet can also help in fat loss. Bodybuilding is on another level, it is an art of growing muscle on each and every part of the body for that we have to be strict. But in the case of losing fat, a flexible diet with a calorie deficit works.
Have you seen any common mistakes that ladies may make when trying to lose fat or gain muscle?
Yes the common myth all the ladies have, lifting weights will give you big muscles and having protein in your diet will make you fat. Ahhh but this is not the case, ladies should be educated about this.
Actually they are misguided by some sort of people.
What process do you follow when it’s time to start getting ready for a competition/photoshoot?
It is not a one day or one week process to get stage ready. It requires our full dedication on training and meals. By simply cutting carbs or junk food, you can not get stage or photo shoot ready. And carbs are not meant to be cut.
They are like our friends. They are the boosters. I have never cut my carbs completely in any competition.
Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your training/training schedule and on average how long do you workout for?
Training is basically a mind muscle connection. If you are not making this connection then according to me, training is of no use. It is all about feeling each and every rep that we are hitting. Not even a single rep should be missed. I guess 1.15 hrs are enough to complete any workout.
What are a few of your weight training tips for the ladies? And tips for the ladies venturing into the gym for the first time?
The very first thing I want to say, weight training makes you curvy, not that muscular like men. We don’t have as much testosterone in our body, so we can never have as big muscles. And don’t lift too heavy in the first few days. Just get guidance from a good coach so that you make a good connection with the weights and exercises.
What are your essentials that are always in your gym bag?
My water bottle, training waist belt and ankle straps. I carry all these 3 things always with me in my gym bag. And yes, one deodorant also.
Do you advise using supplements, and do you use any yourself?
Yes supplements are essential like a multivitamin, protein, glutamine and many more.
But as per the requirement like I only started having all these after 1.5 years of training. If you are consuming enough protein from raw food then initially it is not required. But the time will come when you have to have all these in your diet.
What are your 3 favourite exercises?
- My personal favourite are squats (these are the ones which made my lower body more muscular and toned)
- Shoulder presses
- Deadlifts (as it was my weaker part so I made it my favourite so that I can get stronger)
Can you give a few tips to training legs and what sort of exercises do you favour the most when doing legs?
Yes for training legs don’t get scared of lifting heavy (under guidance) . This is the key to grow toned legs and glutes.
- I favour squats for quads/hamstrings/glutes.
- Sumo deadlifts are also very effective.
- Training legs also helps with fat loss more than cardio.
Do you do a lot of cardio with your training? How do you schedule cardio and when?
No I am not a cardio person. But I have to do cardio as per the season requirements, like on prep I do 30 to 45 minutes of incline treadmill all 6 days, sometimes with the cross trainer rather.
Favorite male Fitness models or bodybuilders?
Favorite female fitness icon(s):
No doubt Angelica Teixeira.
“Never Satisfied.” This is what i am.
What is the most common question you get asked?
Why do you compete?
Just following my passion. It is the only reason I am living.
Where can people get hold of you?
- Facebook: Shivani Sachddev
- Email: shivanisachddev[at]gmail[dot]com
- Instagram: shivani_sachddev