Sonya Arellano is no stranger to competitive sports. She grew up playing sports and earned a degree in Physical Education before she turned in her coaching hat to take on the role as principal at her school. This devoted mother of two athletic boys was introduced to the world of figure competitions a few short years ago and graced the stage for the first time at the age of 42.
Sonya’s inspirational story proves that it’s never too late to be in the best shape of your life. I had the honor of interviewing Sonya, and here is what she had to say.
OliciousLife.com: Let’s start out by learning a little bit about you.
Sonya Arellano: I was born in Stockton, CA. When I was 3 days old, I went home with my adoptive parents to join my 6 siblings who were also adopted. My parents adopted 3 more after me making it a total of 10 children.
I currently live in Manteca. My pride and joy are my 2 boys… my 17 year old son Matthew and my 21 year old adopted son Dewitt. Matthew is a junior in HS (attends the same HS I went to!) and Dewitt is in his sophomore year at University of Oregon on a full-ride football scholarship. I have a 4 year old black lab Jake who is my baby! I’m an elementary school principal and I love my job!
OL: Was your family health-conscious growing up? If so, how did this affect your views as an adult? If not, when did you decide to make changes?
SA: My mom is originally from Arkansas so that pretty much says it all… if you’ve ever eaten southern home cooking (think Paula Deen) then you know what I’m talking about! I have pretty much always eaten what I wanted but always in moderation. It wasn’t until 2007 that I really started being more aware of my nutrition and eating clean.
OL: What has been your greatest fitness/health accomplishment? How did you feel when reaching this goal?
SA: Competing in my first figure competition at the age of 42! I was very proud of my accomplishment, especially competing against girls who were 35!
OL: Were you active or an athlete as a child? If so, did this stick with you all the way through, or did you have a period when you were inactive? If not, when did you decide to start training?
SA: I have been active since the day I took my first steps! I was the biggest tomboy growing up and started participating in organized sports at the age of 10. My passion for fitness/athletics continued into my adult life as I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education which I taught before getting my Master’s in Administration. There has never been a point in my life where I was inactive but it wasn’t until 2007 that I really took my training to the next level.
OL: Is your family supportive of your goals? If so, in what ways? If not, how do you overcome this obstacle?
SA: Yes, my family is very supportive. They know when I attend family functions that if it isn’t my cheat meal that I may be selective in what I choose to eat or bring my own meals.
OL: What has been the biggest challenge with your fitness and dieting goals? How do you stay focused?
SA: Sometimes my work schedule can get hectic and having to supervise nighttime activities I do have to plan my workouts and when to take my rest day(s) to ensure I get my workouts in. I do pretty well with my diet and very seldom deviate from my nutritional plan. However there are times that I get so sick of eating a certain food.
I haven’t eaten yams since October! Tuna is a close second! I have always been a disciplined person but I think for me if I think about putting that unclean food in my mouth (besides my weekly cheat!) I think about how hard I’ve worked to get where I am and do not want to sabotage it. Is it worth it? Not to mention, eating crap just makes you feel like crap!
OL: Where do you see yourself in the future of fitness?
SA: I do plan on competing in a couple of shows this year but after that not sure if I will continue competing. However, I will never stop training/dieting as a figure athlete….that way if I do decide to step back on the stage I’ll be ready. Not to mention I love the look of my physique when I am leaning out!
OL: What is your favorite clean eat?
SA: Stir fry w/round steak. I use green onions, green and red bell pepper, and asparagus and mushrooms sautéed in olive oil and add steak! YUM!
OL: Do you have an irresistible cheat?
SA: It really just depends on what I am craving. I always go out to eat for my cheat meal so the fact that it is prepared by someone else makes it irresistible! I do love sweets so I will always include a dessert with my cheat….and a glass of wine!
OL: What is your favorite workout day? Why? Describe a typical training regimen in that day.
SA: I like training shoulders and back. I think these two body parts are my assets and I feel strong when I train them.
High Incline DB Press
Incline Rear Flyes
Narrow Grip Pull Ups
Standing Parallel Cable Rows
One Arm Pull Down
OL: What do you do for peri-workout nutrition?
SA: Pre-workout I take BCAA, Beta-Alanine and Black Powder
Intra-workout I drink my BCAA’s (Xtend)
Post-workout I take 2:1:1 Recovery
OL: Do you have any favorite supplements? If so, what are they and why do you take them?
SA: I don’t have a favorite as I think all my supplements are crucial. I take BCAA’s, Beta-Alanine, Mulit-Vitamin, Black Powder, 2:1:1 Recovery, Whey and Fish Oil.
I have taken Se7en in the past which I do highly recommend when leaning out.
OL: What is the best compliment you have received since you started training?
SA: Before I actually competed people would ask me if I did compete. Also people are amazed when I tell then my age (43) and tell me I look like I’m in my early 30’s!
OL: Do you have any websites, blogs, or event dates you would like to share or promote?
SA: Central Valley Classic June 12.
May 28…the last day of school. Hallelujah!
OL: Is there an event in your life that you can attribute to your success?
SA: A friend of mine sent me an article on a fitness website which in turn led me to meet Olesya Novik…my amazing trainer and friend! She has most definitely contributed to my success!
OL: What is a quote that inspires you?
SA:”The dictionary is the only place success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must all pay for success.” Vince Lombardi
OL: Is there anything else you would like to share to help empower other women?
SA: It’s never too late to start working on that body you’ve always dreamed of having!