Then, one day last November I received an entry form for the Northern Kentucky Bodybuilding and Figure Championship. As I read the entry form I thought, "Maybe the right time is finally here. My kids are getting a little older and I could probably find a little extra time to do what I need to do to compete".
Next I discussed it with my husband and he gave me his support. Then I prayed about it. A Bible verse that helped to guide me was, For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. Jer 29:11.
Now I needed a game plan. I was pretty well-versed as far as training. My problem was the muscle I’d developed was hidden beneath the extra calories that I’d been consuming. Favor smiled on me as I received notice that Beverly International would be conducting Contest Countdown workshops beginning in December for the March show. My friend Toni and I signed up and attended our first workshop in mid-December.
At the workshops
We had our body composition assessed, worked on proper presentation, received training, cardio and nutrition instruction, and participated in extensive question and answer sessions related to all aspects of competition preparation including – how you are judged, suits, shoes, make-up, hair, and tanning. The focus of the workshop series was to give each of us the proper tools and instruction to be our personal best on the day of the show. Three weeks out from the contest date we actually did a dress rehearsal for the contest. It helped us get over any contest jitters and built great camaraderie among us. (Although the workshops were conducted in small groups of six to eight competitors, everyone involved in the Contest Countdown series attended the dress rehearsal and there were more than fifty athletes in attendance – all with the same goal – to be the best they could personally be at this particular time.)
The entire experience from beginning to end was more than I could have ever prayed for. As I write the above, the show is nine days away and I already feel like a winner. My dream will be coming true and the real fun is about to begin.
Contest Results and Reflections
Competing was easy. I knew that I was in the best shape of my life. I also knew exactly what to expect at the contest. I was in Figure Class E and finished in third place behind Jenn Paul and Lisa Sonterre-Hausfield, the class winner.As I reflect on this experience I realize that a disciplined life can be a balanced life.Here are five points that I think were very important:
Throughout my precontest preparation my spiritual life was my fortress. As soon as I woke I spent time in prayer, preparing my mind, body and soul for the day ahead.
The biggest challenge was to not get too consumed with myself. I kept reminding myself of my priorities (God is first, then my husband and kids, then me).
I trained early in the morning so I could spend evenings with my family. (Sometimes I’d do another cardio session after they went to bed).
I started my prep making two sets of meals everyday, one for my family, the other for me. That wasn’t working – I was tempted countless times to just eat what the kids and my husband were eating. The simpler I could make it, the better. I solved this problem by preparing my food in advance (on Sundays). That way during the rest of the week I just could grab my food. I doubled the recipes that I cooked for my family and got two nights worth of dinners from one night’s cooking.
Let’s face it. This show was not something I was doing for my family. They were supporting me in achieving a goal that I had set for myself. I was determined to not let this opportunity pass without giving it my best effort. And once I adopted this thought, everything became easier, even the diet.
I could not have come as far as I have without the help and constant encouragement Beverly International gave to me. The staff has been such a huge part of all my success and I feel blessed to have shared this awesome journey with them. They made the path for me so smooth with out any bumps in the road. I can’t thank them enough for all they have done.
I have had one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I will look back on this whole experience with a new found respect of body transformation because not only was the physical transformed but so was the mental. For the first time in my life I feel complete, with a sound body, soul and mind.
Training and Nutrition
Favorite Training Program: Negative day workouts, usually on Fridays. I did chins, dips, pull-ups, push-ups, leg presses, leg curls and leg extensions. I’d use as heavy a weight as I could for 10 reps on my own, and then do slow negatives (usually about 10 more with my partner’s assistance) or until I could no-longer hold the weight. I’d get the most amazing burn from this. It also made me focus and exert total control over my muscles. Mind over matter.
Breakfast: six egg whites, one-half cup oatmeal, coffee
Snack: protein drink
Lunch: four ounces chicken breast, one-half cup brown rice
Snack: protein drink
Dinner: four ounces fish, one cup veggies
Snack: protein drink or six egg whites
› Michelle Brown My first year in Figure comprehensive look at nutrition, and training