Winner of the first ever Ms. Olympia title, Rachel McLish has published two "New York Times" best-selling books on women's health and fitness. With a background ranging from a bachelor of science in exercise physiology and nutrition to starring in fitness related films such as "Pumping Iron II, The Women," it is not surprising that Rachel McLish has come up with a diet plan that embodies the combination of femininity and health.

Rachel's Bio

Currently in her mid-50s, Rachel is still an active fitness model with a physique that rivals women of any age. Her passion in life has always been to advance women's role in health and fitness. When she visited her first health spa in the 1970s she loved the atmosphere so much she began working there the same day. She soon began running her own club, then owning her own clubs. She combined her background in dance and her father's background in weight-lifting and began a women's fitness movement that has changed how American culture views the perfect female form. Women are now appreciated with some muscle.

Rachel's Fitness Strategies

Rachel McLish's overall fitness strategy is about a holistic lifestyle approach. She is concerned with hydration, a beneficial diet, a wide range of weight-training, stretching and deep-breathing exercises. She finds motivation to keep going these many years through obvious encouragements like bikini season and just knowing how over-all good-for-you it is to stay in shape. She also believes she can partially thank supplements for her youthfulness. She uses anti-oxidant supplements and teas plus omega-3 oils to battle aging.

Rachel's Diet Philosophy

Rachel believes that eating well comes from self-awareness. According to the Arkansas Dietetic Association, this way of eating mindfully is a method being used to form a healthier relationship with food than traditional diet alone. Rachel details a diet plan that she calls, "the beneficial diet," in her new book, "TLC -- Tighter and Leaner to the Core." She basically eats three meals per day and leaves herself room for snacks between meals if she feels like eating them. She says any food goes, as long as you pay attention to how your body responds to it.

Applications: Strength Training

Rachel McLish is a veteran weight-lifter. Don't be disappointed if you don't build beautiful muscles like hers over night 1. Fraser Baillie, researcher of women's resistance training, recommends using resistance bands instead of dumbbells or barbells. He suggests that the bands help avoid cheating by requiring as much work in both directions rather than mainly on the "lift" as with other weights. Also, the bands are accessible at home or while travelling with or without a gym nearby. While Rachel McLish does emphasize resistance training as the main component to the exercise portion of her fitness plan, the American College of Sports Medicine states that activity guidelines for adults under age 65 include moderately intense cardiovascular exercise for 30-minutes per day, five days per week in addition to strength training twice a week. It also endorses eight to 10 strength-training exercises with eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise per weight-training session.

Applications: Diet

Protein, fat, and carbohydrates should be balanced with special attention to adding more protein without adding more calories. While keeping an eye on calories, you will want to make sure your calories do not drop too low, either. With the exercises burning more calories and requiring more fuel, you will see your body changing. If your calories drop too low, your body will break down muscle tissue reserves, which defeats the purpose of adding resistance training into your program. For the best results, follow Rachel McLish's example by eating three meals a day, add two healthy snacks if you feel hungry between meals, and pay attention to how your body reacts to food. If you feel sluggish or too full after certain foods, decrease or eliminate them.


As with any new diet or exercise program, please consult your doctor before making any changes to your current routine. When you sit down with your physician, make sure to discuss your caloric needs and ask for their opinion on eating more mindfully. Make a healthy plan together, and once your doctor gives you the OK to start, enjoy your new diet exercise program.