From Sags to Riches

By: Sandy Dickerson
Bodybuilding World
Summer 1997

At the age of 37 I still consider myself a newcomer to the sport of bodybuilding. Although working out has now become an integral part of my life, it wasn’t always. In fact, I really didn’t begin a structured exercise program until last summer when I glanced, well actually, took a double look in the mirror and noticed the unmistakable fact gravity was taking over. I was beginning to look my age! There were sags where I once had curves. Then and there I became determined to take drastic measures and recover my shape.

At home practicing her posing routine

My first attempt at firming up was to try aerobics. The only problem was I didn’t, still don’t, and never will like jumping around in an aerobic class or doing an hour of boring cardio each day. (By the way, I was thrilled to learn from Roger and Sandy I would not have to include any type of cardio in my contest training.) One evening after my aerobic class I followed my husband to the basement to watch him workout with weights. He was more than eager to show me the ropes and together we began to pump iron. Besides training at my home in Sandy Hook, I also began training at Fitness World in Grayson, Kentucky.

My interest in bodybuilding quickly became an obsession. I loved the feeling of being b and healthy and the sense of accomplishment it gave me. As I became more serious, I asked Dick, my husband, to take me to the 1996 Tri-State Bodybuilding competition. As each competitor took the posing stage my interest grew. Suddenly the thought that maybe I could compete ran through my mind. In reality, I didn’t know the first thing about preparing for a show.

At intermission, we met Sandy and Roger at the Beverly International booth. After speaking with Sandy for only a few minutes, my confidence was boosted Motivated, I was now ready for the challenge, I set a goal to look my best and compete in the 1997 Northern Kentucky Championships.

January was the start of my contest preparation. I visited the Beverly International Nutrition Center where Roger set me up with a diet. He kept my protein high and switched my carbs to those with a lower glycemic index. Roger then formulated a supplement program customized to allow me to rapidly gain lean muscle mass while reducing my bodyfat. Next, Sandy showed me muscle building tips for my weak points which I incorporated into my workout routine.

Not knowing what a significan’t transformation I would make over the next few weeks, I was in store for an incredible surprise. The diet and training program were amazing! I could see results in the very first week!

Three weeks later I returned to the Beverly International Nutrition Center. Sandy calculated a 3% decrease in body fat. My nutrition program had accelerated fat loss while stimulating muscle growth. What and when to eat proved the ultimate difference in this sudden physical transformation as I made more gains in one month than I had in the previous six. The diet and custom supplement program worked hand in hand with my workouts. My energy never decreased and I always felt terrific. Furthermore, with each passing week I continued to look better. My increased muscularity resulted in not only size gains but new indentations and bulges were now exploding into view. My veins were becoming more visible as well. They seemed to be bursting out everywhere.

Prep for the Northern
Sandy Dickerson in October 1996, just after she first talked to Sandy Riedinger at the Tri-State Championships

Another visit to the Beverly International Nutrition Center brought me a clinic in posing and tanning. New to the sport, I was in dire need of all the help I could obtain when it came to posing. Sandy and Roger taught me what was needed to produce winning results on stage. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be on stage if I hadn’t had their professional help in posing. I am grateful and appreciate the fact they always insisted on perfect posing.

Women's overall champion
Sandy winning her weight class and the Overall Women’s title at the ′97 Northern Kentucky Championships

At last the final, yet critical, week was upon me. I had achieved my goal and was ready to go. I had lost more than 4% body fat over the weeks and gained muscle simultaneously. Feeling fantastic, I not only no longer sagged, but was in the best condition of my entire life, regardless of age. Looking in the mirror, I couldn’t believe this was the same body that once stood in the exact spot in total despair. I had physically come a long way and was now ready for the stage. (Truthfully, I was a bit nervous.)

1997 Champ
Posing during her celebration

On the morning of Saturday, March 15, I balanced the scales at 106 lbs., ripped and remarkably hard. Later that evening I was handed my first bodybuilding trophy, winning the lightweight division and womens overall. To say the least, I was tickled with the outcome of my first competition. I know without a doubt my contest success could only have been achieved with the proper diet and supplement program. I am definitely hooked on iron and look forward to continued gains. My next goal is to gain an additional 12 pounds of lean mass and compete at the top of the lightweight class in regional and state competitions.