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Since she stepped on stage for the first time in 2008, Candice Keene has been pretty much killing it. Now, the IFBB Pro and repeat champion says that training for shows is about more than just her physique—it’s about her state of mind. In our interview, she gets candid about the fitness industry, talks shop, and shares the best piece of advice she’s ever been given.

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SFM: How do you feel women are perceived in the fitness industry today, versus when you started?
CK:
It has become normal to see women of all age groups in fitness. I think since the bikini division came out a few years ago, more women feel they can relate and fit into that category versus figure. But even the figure division has grown tremendously, too. As a woman, it’s empowering to be physically fit.
SFM: What does your nutrition plan look like?
CK:
What works well for me is carb cycling, low to moderate fats, and high protein. I consume six meals a day with protein at each meal, and my carbs are consumed in my first few meals. During prep, I cut out dairy and fruit. When I am not preparing for a show, I eat 80 percent clean.
SFM: Where do you see the sport of figure in five years?
CK:
Figure has been around for about 13 years. I believe figure will remain a strong presence in the industry. Figure is about performing 1/4 turns, showing confidence and presentation, and owning the stage. With the sport exuding this, I believe in five years it will be just as strong as ever.
SFM: If you could train alongside anyone, who would it be?
CK:
IFBB Women’s Physique Pro Karina Nascimento. I love her physique. I follow her on Instagram and love watching her training clips. She has a very strong, built physique, but maintains style and grace, and is a beauty both on and off stage.
SFM: How do you spend your time outside of the weight room?
CK:
I coach my posing clients, bake my ProCakez, work with my online clients on their goals and map out a plan for success, and of course, I relax! I’m a bit of a homebody at times, so I like to kick my feet up and put on a good movie. If I feel like getting out of the house, going out to eat in a social setting is always fun. Mainly though, I just try to enjoy each day.
SFM: What is a great piece of advice someone has given you along the way?
CK:
During some frustrations in the second year of my figure journey, my coach Jamie Ibone told me something that has stuck with me. He said: “Look how far you have come already, compared to where you were before competing. It doesn’t matter how fast you get there. What matters is that you are getting there. What matters most is that the steps, even if they’re baby steps, are heading in the right direction—forward.”
For the full interview, see the September/October issue of STRONG Fitness Magazine, on stands now.

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Candice’s track record speaks for itself. Here’s how she rose through the ranks, from the first time she stepped on stage, back in 2008.

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STRONG Fitness Mag
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