Reverse Grip Barbell Row
Ian Spanier / M+F Magazine

FLEX: I’ve watched videos of you for years. Your English seems much better. Did you take lessons to improve your English?

Roelly Winklaar: No, I didn’t take any lessons, but thank you for noticing. Improving my English was a personal challenge for the past year, and I’ve worked hard on it. Because I travel so much, I’ve made friends who live around the world. I use English on Facebook or when I text with them, and they’ve been patient enough to practice with me. I’ve also had to learn
 a lot of slang and phrases that maybe don’t translate so well into Dutch! I try 
to use English at home sometimes with my sisters and brother so they can also improve.

FLEX: What’s your secret to dropping water the last week before you go onstage? Do you take any supplements to help you do it, such as dandelion root?

Roelly Winklaar: I don’t like to rely on dandelion root or some of the other crazy combinations I’ve
 heard people mention because I find them too unpredictable. I carefully time my workouts, diet, and water consumption so that I peak at exactly the right time. It’s a process that takes a lot of years as you get to know how your body reacts to this much water or that much sodium. I taper off my sodium for the last few weeks, so 
by the last week I don’t take in much at all. I also drink a lot more water the last two weeks, and 
I drop all diet sodas for a month before the show.
 I keep the workouts as intense as possible until the very end. I think if you keep things very simple you’ll see better results when you get on stage.

FLEX: I know you eat a lot of fish when you diet. Do you also eat it in the offseason? Which fish do you recommend eating, and how much of it per day do you eat?

Roelly Winklaar: As you can imagine, fish is very popular in Curaçao, so we eat it very regularly here. But I admit I get tired of it, so I only eat fish when I diet. When the show is over, I can’t stand to see another fish, so I eat other protein sources like egg whites and chicken in the offseason. I highly recommend eating panga fillet, which has a very mild flavor. I eat about a kilo of it (2 pounds) a day during my diet. I sprinkle just a little spice on it like red pepper and then lightly sauté it in olive oil. My mom makes this for me, and it doesn’t even feel like diet food. Off season I’d recommend red snapper or salmon. Both are more flavorful fish with a lot of good vitamins. Even a small serving of salmon—say 6 ounces per week—is great for bodybuilders due to the high amount of omega-3 fatty acids in it. – FLEX