Name: Delaine Sardinha
Age: 26
Height: 1.61 m  (5’ 3’’) 
Current weight: 59.2 Kgs  (110 lb)
Current city: Pretoria, South Africa
Occupation: Exercise Science Student, Bikini Posing Coach.

What made you get started with training and living a more healthy lifestyle?

I went from being active in school and very self-conscious to inactive and unhealthy in college. I felt like I was doing nothing to improve my own health and well-being and decided to set forth and challenge myself. I fell in love with training and Anatomy fascinated me. I wanted to know more and I wanted to see how far my body could go if I gave 110% in my training and nutrition.

Seeing what the body is really capable of is an amazing feat. What has become more important to me over the years though is developing strength, functional ability and a sustainable approach and understanding of how the body works.


One On One With Bikini Athlete And Posing Coach, Delaine Sardinha


What made you enter your first show and when was it, and how did the prep and competition go?

I loved collecting the ‘Fitness Magazines’ since I was in school, but never really trained in a gym. I loved the section on competition coverage at the back of the magazine and found the ladies to be radiant, poised and beautiful.

I took part in photographic modeling campaigns for 3 years and figured that being on stage was the next step. Plus it looked like fun!

Who has been your biggest influence/support in your life and how did they affect you?

My family and my boyfriend. With every prep, every early wake up, every mood swing, they were there. Their love and support is unconditional and their faith in my journey is what pushes me through every single time. 

How do you manage to balance all the aspects of life with your training and eating? Has it ever been difficult to?

We all have our individual struggles and we find a way to work through it. It’s hard, it really is but through the years I’ve seen that having resilience and pushing through the seemingly impossible situations is worth every tear and breakdown. They key in my opinion is to hold onto the little things that bring you joy and focus on that.


One On One With Bikini Athlete And Posing Coach, Delaine Sardinha


Do you find the prep for competitions gets easier each time? Do they differ much?

I wouldn’t say the prep per se, but my mind definitely feels better equipped with every prep. I know what to expect and I know what my body is going to throw at me and how to deal with it.

How has it been throughout lockdown keeping to your training? What have you been doing to keep fit and active?

Fortunately a significant chunk of my training programme incorporates bodyweight training so programming was a challenge, but possible none the less. It was mentally challenging don’t get me wrong! It is significantly harder to overload certain muscle groups without added resistance and it provided an escape from day-to-day challenges.


One On One With Bikini Athlete And Posing Coach, Delaine Sardinha


What are your future plans?

I’d love to further studies with HFPA and branch into something a bit more specialized in sport and fitness. 

Take us through an average day of yours:

  • 05:00 Wake up, get dressed and Coffee.
  • 05:30 Training (No more than 60 min).
  • 07:30 Breakfast. Always a good source of protein, veggies and some oats.
  • 08:00-10:30 Go through my online study portal and make sure all my assignments are done.
  • 11:00 Mid morning meal and coffee. (Protein source, complex carbohydrates and veggies).
  • 11:30-13:00 Make sure the house is clean and tidy.
  • 13:30 Lunch (Protein, veggies and a fruit).
  • 13:45-17:00 I love brushing up on my knowledge, so I do loads of research and revise my studies. During this time I take bookings from posing clients and schedule sessions.
  • 18:00 If I haven’t training yet, this would be my evening slot. (If I am prepping, this would my my second session)
  • 18:30-20:00 Prepare dinner and meals for the next day.
  • 20:00-22:00 Relaxation time! (I like catching a bit tv, but don’t actually watch much. Skincare routine and preparation for the next day).
  • 22:30 Bed Time. 


One On One With Bikini Athlete And Posing Coach, Delaine Sardinha


Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your diet: (If you would like to write your full diet here you can)

Eat whole foods and think ‘natural.’

If it has a huge table of ingredients you can’t pronounce on it, it’s probably best you ditch it. I try buy as fresh as I can and always include loads of veggies in my diet, with every meal. I don’t cut out carbs, fruits, fats or dairy. My macro split would roughly look like this on an average day: 

  • 15% Fat   
  • 40% Carbs  
  • 45% Protein

Foods always in my house: Chicken, tuna, eggs, rice cakes, oats, brown rice, sweet potato, veggie mix, green apples, peanut butter and coffee.

Do you count your calories? Do you think it is necessary?

When I’m preparing for a bikini contest, yes I feel it is necessary. It helps me stay on track and know where to make adjustments if necessary. I will alternate between high, low and medium calorie days depending on where my body composition is at and what I intend on training the next day. 

When I’m ‘off season’ I have a rough basis off which I work. Since starting weighing foods and what not, I’ve really learnt how to gauge my portions without actually having to take out the scale. Also, when I do feel hungry, I eat an extra cup of veggies or an extra piece of protein for example. Ravenous hunger (due to ultra low calories) constantly will only lead to the development of bad eating habits and a bad relationship with food. My current approach works best for ME. I eat plenty of whole foods and eat to fuel my workouts.


One On One With Bikini Athlete And Posing Coach, Delaine Sardinha


Do you think, to generally lose fat one needs to be super strict and repetitive, as strict as a diet for a bodybuilding competition?

To lose FAT? Absolutely not. In essence, fat loss comes from caloric deficit. In my opinion, adding extra effort in the gym (Energy ‘Out’) as opposed to eating well bellow maintenance, is a more sustainable approach. (Key word ‘Effort’ not necessarily time. Quality over quantity).

Ensuring that you are doing strength training to add on lean muscle mass, hence pushing up your BMR, is advised as well (Muscle mass is active tissue).

As mentioned in my opinion on calorie counting, for the purpose of going below average body fat norms and into the competitive circuit, I believe it is necessary to track.

Also, ‘repetition’ in the sense of exercise programming is calling for one to reach a plateau, so the incorporation of Periodization is highly useful. (In other words, the body adapts to stress placed on it, so either increase resistance, or volume, preferably one aspect at a time. Adjustments every 4-6 weeks is a good gauge)

Have you seen any common mistakes that ladies may make when trying to lose fat or gain muscle?

  • Utilizing cardio over resistance training and cutting calories too quickly or simply going to low. 
  • Following ‘Fitness Influencers’ regimes to-the-tee.
  • Eliminating food groups or demonizing them.
  • Looking for a quick fix will always lead to disaster.


One On One With Bikini Athlete And Posing Coach, Delaine Sardinha


What process do you follow when it’s time to start getting ready for a competition/photoshoot? 

I would probably start cutting out ‘treats’ and any alcohol and sugar. I then set a calorie base and adjust it as I get leaner. Hydration and sleep is very important. A good skin prep routine is great to help your skin ‘glow’ before shoots or shows (exfoliating, moisturizing etc).

Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your training/training schedule and on average how long do you workout for?

I absolutely believe in quality over quantity. I’d rather do 5 quality reps than 15-20 average reps for the sake of reaching a number. On the other hand I do believe in a structured programme to ensure progress is continual.

I put most of my emphasis on weight training and functional movements. I prefer HIIT over long duration steady state cardio. I would do these sessions 2-3 times a week.

Session times: I like to aim for 60 minutes or under. 4-5 days a week, comp prep, 6 days a week, 2 separate sessions, split into cardiovascular and strength training. If I’m short on time I’ll do HIIT after my strength training.


One On One With Bikini Athlete And Posing Coach, Delaine Sardinha


What are a few of your weight training tips for the ladies? 

  • Focus on correct form before adding weight and place emphasis on quality repetitions (No ‘jerky’ reps as this results in the recruitment of additional/unnecessary muscles and can result in injury).
  • Don’t be afraid of weights, it raises your BMR and in turn helps your burn more calories ladies. (The ‘skinny fat’ look is common when cardio is the focus of training programmes).

What are your essentials that are always in your gym bag?

(Apart from the obvious) Resistance band set, Lifting straps, skipping rope, earphones.

Do you advise using supplements, and do you use any yourself?

In my opinion, nutrition is the foundation of any good fitness venture, whether it be for fat loss or hypertrophy. I believe getting all your nutrients and macros from whole foods is always a better approach. More often than not, certain supplements (whey for example) can have a higher calorie content than a serving of protein from a food source and is less satiating. 

It does however have a high protein content and can form part of a nutrition plan.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a bowl of oats with blueberries and a scoop of Whey protein, it’s quick and  convenient but I just personally prefer food sources if they are available.


One On One With Bikini Athlete And Posing Coach, Delaine Sardinha


What are your 3 favourite exercises? 

1. Battle ropes alternating waves

High intensity and activates not only the arms, but the posterior chain and core as well.

2. Bulgarian Split Squats

One of my favourite Glute max exercises. I also love unilateral exercises as they help identify muscle imbalances.

2. Alternating DB Lateral raises with an Isometric hold

Great exercise to overload the Mid Deltoids.

Can you give a few tips to training legs and glutes and what sort of exercises do you favour the most when doing them?

  • Women tend to carry more body fat in their glutes and legs and this tends to be our ‘trouble areas.’ I suggest more volume in these areas and 2-3 dedicated lower body sessions per week.
  •  Every person’s genetics is different and their lower body may respond faster or slower to training. 
  • Never forget about your compound lifts, I make these the basis of all my lower body workouts: Squats, Deadlifts, Lunges.

Don’t forget the Glute Medius! Most of the time ladies will include a bunch of hip extension exercises (Barbell Hip Thrusts, Donkey kicks etc.), which are fantastic, but this leaves the Medius very underactive and underdeveloped.

Exercises that include lateral movement will target these (Eg: Lateral lunges, Resistance band Abduction, Monster walks and Clamshells). Contraction is key to targeting the glutes, as odd as it may look from behind, squeezing your glutes fully is essential. Alternate between heavy loads as well as high reps to maximize glute hypertrophy. 

Be sure to use your full range of motion!


One On One With Bikini Athlete And Posing Coach, Delaine Sardinha


Do you do a lot of cardio with your training? How do you schedule cardio and when?

No I don’t. My focus is always strength training and I schedule HIIT sessions in between those. This would be about 15-30 minutes of high intensity functional exercises like: battle ropes, box jumps, burpees, renegade rows, KB swings, assault bike and sprints.

Favorite male Fitness models or bodybuilders?

Favorite female fitness icon(s): 

  • Hattie Boydle
  • Tia-Claire Toomey; Strong, beautiful and confident women.

Favorite Quote:

“Your best teacher is your last mistake.”


One On One With Bikini Athlete And Posing Coach, Delaine Sardinha


What is the most common question you get asked? 

How many shows have you competed in and how many top 3 placings? (Mostly by my posing clients)

  • (2017- 2020) : 10 Shows, 7 top 3 placings.

Where can people get hold of you? 

  • Instagram: delainesardinha777
  • Facebook: Delaine Sardinha (Dee)
  • Email: delainesardinha[at]

Photo credits:

  • Carlos Frazao


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