Autumn Cleveland – June Featured Athlete

Date of Birth: 10/25/1987
Height: 5’2 1/2″
Weight: 115-125lb
Hair Color: Blonde
Eye Color: Blue
Location/Hometown: Jeffersonville IN

What is your athletic background, and how did you get involved with lifting? 

I never really played sports, so I do not have much of an “athletic” background. I was bullied in middle and high school for being too skinny, so I went to my dad about it and he taught me how to lift weights so I could feel strong enough to defend myself.


What keeps you motivated?
When I was 16 and did my first competition, I set the goal to be on the Olympia stage one day. I knew then that I had the potential, if I worked hard enough.  Since then, I’ve invested so much into myself, and I keep getting baby steps closer now, that I can’t quit. I know eventually, as long as I don’t quit, and that I work wisely, I’ll get there. I feel liek that is where I am supposed to go, and where I belong…so every day I ask myself, “Is this what Ms. Olympia would do?”


Who’s the most inspirational person in your life?

I’m fortunate to have a circle of inspirational people that fill my life.  There isn’t just one. I draw from my friend’s and family’s backgrounds, stories, battles, challenges, and successes. They each have served as strong motivators in different ways, so it’s difficult to choose just one.


What does your current training split look like?

As I am gearing up for a competition, I train Shoulders/Chest, Quads & Glutes, Back & Arms, and Hams & Glutes. On a refeed day I do a full body depletion workout in addition. Cardio at this point is every day, with HIIT 3 times a week and MISS 4 days a week. In the off season, I decrease this.


What’s your favorite body part to train?

Shoulders. They have always been a weak point for me, but over the last year or two I have seen improvement and I feel more connected with that muscle group now. I love the pump on a good shoulder day!


Which do you prefer, and why…steady state cardio or HIIT?

Both.  They both serve different purposes and fit differently based on the style of diet.  I’m currently following a ketogenic diet, so most days I do steady state as the lower/moderate intensity works well with this style of diet. However, I will perform HIIT the day after a refeed while my glycogen stores and energy are high, to get a metabolic boost.  I’ve also started to push the limits of intensity in my steady state, and frequency of HIIT based on my ability, as long as I don’t have signs of lean mass loss.


What are some of the most common mistakes made when someone is trying to get ripped?

Cutting calories too low or too fast, or increasing cardio too fast.  With myself, and with my clients, I make subtle changes until we don’t get a good result from them anymore. Then, I will make another small change in the form of a calorie cut or added cardio.  My motto is “If it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it” in this situation.  The body will usually continue to respond for several weeks based off of subtle changes for a longer duration of time, but a drastic change can halt progress in a shorter period of time. The goal is to get the body to cooperate and with WITH you, not AGAINST you.


Funniest thing you’ve seen at the gym recently?

A pair of men’s underwear in the middle of the gym.  I guess they fell out of someone’s bag….and they probably needed them later and couldn’t find them.


Who do you look up to in the fitness world?

I look up to IFBB WPD Pro Monica Hornback. She is someone who I look up to not just as an athlete, but as a woman, and a good person.  She has helped me grow in so many ways with my own goals, but more so, she is a loving mother and wife, BEFORE she is an athlete. Self-absorbed, one dimensional competitors are common in this industry, but she is so far from that. She is so humble and always happy to extend her help to others.  She has inspired me to aim to balance my life and those who are important to me, along with my goals. She is also the hardest working woman I know, and I’ve seen the fire in her eyes when she wants to win.


What are some of your favorite motivational quotes?

“Everyone has excuses. A Champion never uses them.”


Do you have any gym, pet peeves?

So many, but I’ll try to keep it light! Anything that is inconsiderate that other people use the same space…such as blaring loud music when that person should use headphones, but my biggest peeve is when someone doesn’t put things back where they belong.

What’s a sport or event that you would LOVE to try?

This may sound strange, but pole fitness.  I tried a pole fitness class once, and it took a great amount of strength and stability, but I think it can be beautifully expressed regardless of the choice of clothing. I love that combination of strength, femininity, and empowerment. Plus you have to have some guts to climb up a pole that high and hang upside down in the splits!


What are the contents of your fridge?

My shelves: egg whites, chicken, cod, salmon, LOTS of pickles and saurkraut, and a million mustards.
My boyfriend’s shelves: eggs, chicken thighs, sausages, steaks, tortillas, and sometimes to go boxes with sushi or burgers! 🙂


How do you prepare meals? Do you cook daily or cook for the week?

I knock out meal prep in about 1-1 1/2hrs once a week. I am constantly on the go, so I even package my peanut butter and egg whites for the whole week already measured out to save as much time as possible. I also lay out my supplements so I don’t forget anything. The night before, I set out my tea bags and measured water to get my caffeine going asap in the morning!


Who is your favorite superhero? And why.

I think I’m supposed to say Wonderwoman.  But in all honesty….I never got into superheroes all that much (do NOT tell my boyfriend that!)


What are your favorite cheat meals and foods?

When I do a cheat meal., I do it up right.  Heavy sweets are my vice. Brownies, cookies, candy, and I would eat tubs of icing if I got my hands on it. Pizza and burgers hit the spot too.

Ice cream, gelato or fro-yo?

I actually never got into frozen desserts a whole lot, but for a real indulgence, I’m a Ben & Jerry’s girl.  However, I actually LIKE Arctic Zero or Halo top just as well so I would grab those first.


Workout music – what’s on your playlist?

I used to be embarrassed to expose my taste in music….but now I am happy to share the variety.  I like heavy and industrial type dubstep, EDM, and electro/techno, reggae, and hip hop.  Nine Inch Nails, I see stars, Run the Jewels, Skrillex, M. I. A., Kendrick Lamar, Rob Bailey, just to name a few.


What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?

Questioning.  I will read about a method that makes complete sense and is scientifically backed up, but then I catch myself questioning science if it will work for me, and I forget to be patient sometimes. I have to remember to trust and give my body time before I make a change.


What is your greatest achievement so far?

I can look at all of my accomplishments and appreciate something from all of them.  I still favor my only two wins at regional shows, because the only 2 times that I’ve ever won was when I prepped myself. I was tested in so many ways, but I trusted myself.  Prepping myself is extremely challenging, but in turn, is also the most rewarding.


If you could interview one person alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Micheal Jackson is my idol. If I could sit down with him for one minute, and ask him if it ever truly set in with him how much he has impacted the world of music as we know it, that would be truly satisfying for me. I see him as one of the greatest influences that our world has been blessed to have.


What are some of your best diet, nutrition and supplementation tips for someone who wants to get ripped?

To focus more on creating a well functioning metabolic balance rather than


What does your current supplementation plan look like?

Creatine, beta alanine, fish oil, adrenal support, and currently close to competition, I use amino acids, Yohimbine hcl and Erase Pro.


What are your favorite 5 muscle building exercises and why?

Anything that uses multi groups and core stability. This has always made me more powerful and grow in size and strength. Lunges, Romanian deadlifts, push press, chest dips, and pullups


Favorite activities and hobbies you enjoy when away from the gym?

I have so many that I’ve neglected while I’m competing, but I’m itching to get back.  I play the piano, draw, paint, dj music, and I have so many books that I am trying to read! And anything that involves being outdoors and with my family, boyfriend, and pets.

What’s your favorite holiday?

Thanksgiving.  It’s the main holiday that all generations of my family come into one room from different parts of the world, and we spend the whole day enjoying each others’ company. My mom’s side is catholic, so we pray, eat, drink, play games, and sing karaoke!


What are your future goals, dreams, and plans?

I have too many goals to name, so I’ll condense it.  I want to expand my business so that I can travel and reach out to a greater amount of people that I can help them change their lives.  I want to write books.  It would be an insane dream to one day be on TED talks, as I would have to overcome my fears of presenting (which I am working on).  I want to talk to high school kids about anti-bullying. I want to be a motivational speaker. I WILL be on that Olympia stage one day. But mostly, I want to work hard a feel the rewards from the life I’ve created, and enjoy it with those who are at my side and behind me.


If someone wants to connect with you, where can you be found?
My instagram and snapchat is a good place to start: @autumnatikk
My website is also a useful tool:
or facebook page “Autumn “Autumnatikk” Cleveland
And follow my YouTube channel!

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