Lessons for the Figure Competitor

Ultimate Muscle Protein recipes

By: Linda Reho
Magazine 11 #2

Sometimes the journey does seem tough working a full-time job, volunteering, training, dieting, preparing all my meals, etc. everything that competing requires is really like another full-time job.

But, I really do love it? My faith is very strong, and I truly believe that it is Jesus who is in control of the people and situations that I encounter in life. I am very thankful to Him for being blessed with so much! I always keep close in my heart several Bible verses, which I remind myself of often, "I can do all things through God who strengthens me." -Philippians 4:13. "With God all things are possible." -Matthew 19:24-26. These verses always help to motivate me to keep on going, and help me to never give up, even when things do seem very tough.

Weight Training My First Show (Incognito)

Back in my teenage years, I used to witness my brother, Louie, venturing downstairs into the basement to lift weights. This really inspired me I soon found myself volunteering at the YMCA, and then began working out myself there. I had always loved reading any health and/or fitness magazines, and I’d admire the athletes I’d read about I was always inspired and motivated by them.

I then began attending competitions, just to watch. As I attended several shows, and sat in the audience, I thought to myself, if these athletes can do this, why can’t I’, I thought, I don’t want to be sitting in the audience any more I want to be up there on stage! I had already been accustomed to training, as well as eating very clean, I just had to tweak it all and take it up a notch to be in competition shape.

Linda pre competition shot side pose

Unfortunately, I was completely uncoordinated, so my next step was to hire a personal trainer, Dave Liberman, (who, 2.5 years later, became my boyfriend) to assist me with my posing routine, as well as my training. My goal was to compete in my very first competition ever the 2001 NPC Natural Northern USA, in bodybuilding. I didn’t tell anyone that I was entering this competition, because if I didn’t do well, I didn’t want anybody knowing. My parents, brother, and my trainer were the only ones who knew what I was up to. I even asked that my family not attend, because I told them they’d be wasting their time. I even wanted the announcer to use a fake name when it was my turn to step onto the stage! Lo and behold, I ended up placing 1st in the Women’s Lightweight Bodybuilding, plus I won the OVERALL title! I was elated! I didn’t even know what the heck a pose down round was! But, I quickly learned!

Should You Compete?

One of the things which hold others back from competing is that some people just lack the confidence that it takes to get up on stage. It also takes a lot of perseverance and self-confidence to stick to your goals, especially when you’re around people who don’t understand the whole dieting and competition world.

I’ve learned to stay mind strong, focus on my goals, and stay very disciplined, instead of letting my friends who don’t compete sabotage my efforts. Many of my friends have grown to understand and respect the fact that yes, I can still join them for social events, but I will be bringing my own Tupperware containers of food in my cooler along (and I don’t have a problem politely asking the waitresses/waiters to heat up my food for me if we venture to restaurants).

I actually think competing can BUILD one’s confidence. You just have to go in there with the mind set, that I’ve put in my best effort (if you have), this is the best I’ve looked in my entire life, and just show up at your contest as best as you possibly can. Everybody came from somewhere, and usually can recite their own individual success story.. some may have lost 100lbs, some may have overcame a disease, no matter what, I think every single person who gets up on that stage is a winner in their life.

Linda woking out bicep curl

The best advice I can offer someone contemplating first-time figure or bodybuilding competition

  1. You only live once, so if you have a gut feeling about competing, act on it!
  2. Go watch a show to see how it proceeds.
  3. Set a date for your contest.
  4. Make sure to put your goals down in writing, and then put your whole heart and mind into it, and do it! Put in 110%, giving it your all!

What can you lose? Maybe a few extra pounds, but that’s a great thing!! Do it for YOURSELF, and set personal records. Don’t just base your goal on winning – you never know who is going to show up at your contest, nor do you know how the judging is going to go. My goal for each show is to always come in better (improving upon what my physique looked last time) and even if the judges don’t reward it, at least I have met my goal.

It is a very subjective sport, but I am aware of that going in. Stay focused, stay disciplined, and when times get tough, reach out to whomever your higher power is (mine is God) to help you keep pressing on. And lastly, always be sure that whatever you are doing, stay positive, smile often, laugh a lot, and be happy!

My Training

I train at Titan’s Gym, located in Mentor, Ohio. The best amenity that it offers is that it’s open 24 hours! Perfect for me, who never has a set schedule! I also have a gym at home. Some days I train with Dave, some days I train on my own.

I do cardio every single day, whether it is off-season or contest-season. To me there really is no "off" season. I have to work just as hard whether there’s an upcoming contest or not to make improvements. I usually do cardio first thing in the morning, for at least half an hour. The amount of time varies, especially when I’m getting ready for a show. Sometimes I’ll do 45 minutes +, it all depends what stage my physique is at. In addition to morning cardio, I’ll often do a second cardio session sometimes prior to my weight training, but usually afterwards.

At least once a week I’ll do just cardio, both in the morning, then later on it the early evening. I like to vary my modes, one, because I like variety, and two, because I don’t want my body to get used to the same thing, and stop producing the maximum results that it’s capable of. I jog, run, speed walk, ride bikes (stationary and recumbent), elliptical, row, and kick box. I vary the intensity as well. I incorporate the Beverly HITT cardio sessions (my boyfriend and trainer, Dave’s addicted to it, he does it on the elliptical ALL THE TIME!)

As for weight training, I usually train one body part per day, and hit each part at least once per week. My first contest was bodybuilding, then I switched to competing in figure. This type of training works for both. In fact, my weight-training regimen is still very much the same for figure as it was for bodybuilding. (The only big difference is I have incorporated more cardio for my figure prep). Depending on what body part/s I’m trying to improve for my next show, I will train that particular muscle group/s twice a week. I always vary my exercises, as well as the order of them. I rarely do the same exact workout. I train heavy, but my reps and sets vary. I like to incorporate all sorts of things.. regular sets, drop sets, super sets, tri sets, you name it! I also choose exercises that train various angles, to ensure I’m training different muscle fibers. I love to challenge myself, and I love variety!

What have I learned about food? For me, dieting for the contest isn’t as tough as THE AFTERMATH! You can turn into a food-addict, for sure, and become out-of-control, if you get too carried away and don’t set limits. I’ve personally lived and learned all about post-contest awareness, and have been through the entire experience! As every competitor knows, you just have one thing on your mind after your contest, you want to eat! Anything and everything that you’ve deprived yourself of in the previous 4-6 months. Eating the night of your contest is certainly a rewarding feeling it’s "the icing on the cake"! (And I ABSolutely love cake! Ha!) You feel you’ve worked so very hard, you displayed your package on stage, putting to the "test" all that you’ve worked for in your preparation, now its time for your taste buds’ reward! Sound familiar?! But, you must learn to be careful Yes, of course you must celebrate, but be sure not to turn this celebration into a continuous 24-7 celebration. Once you begin to eat those non-diet foods, of course they taste so heavenly, but you will be tempted to do this the following day, and the next day, too! And then it becomes very hard to go back to your clean-eating mode. You can’t continue to do it day after day after day your body will begin holding onto it and STORING it as body fat, extra unhealthy unwanted pounds. And it becomes very easy for that number on the scale to go up, up, up and away!

I always remind myself of the quote A moment on your lips is FOREVER on the hips
  • I’ve learned a lot when it comes to food during the off-season, moderation, moderation, moderation is the magic word, and I try to alert every competitor about it. I came up with the quote, "Eat ANYTHING you want, and you won’t be able to WEAR anything you want!" I know that most of us competitors have their wardrobes divided into separate sections in their closets.. a section for their off-season clothes, and a section for their in-season clothes. It becomes very discouraging when neither section fits!
  • I’ve learned that you must keep things in perspective. Although it is not realistic to stay at your contest weight year-round, it’s best to stay within 15-20 lbs during the off-season, for a figure competitor. Staying leaner in the off-season will make it that much easier for you to snap back to your contest weight, without having to diet for an over-lengthy period of time to be stage-ready for your next contest. There are in-season diets, and there are structured off-season diets to adhere to as well.
  • I’ve learned to eat very clean throughout the week during the off-season, but I do allow myself to enjoy a cheat meal, sometimes even a cheat day on the weekends. I’ve learned that if I deprive myself, I might turn my deprivations into full-blown binges! Dave’s body can handle eating whatever he wants on the weekends, but I can only do it for one day of the weekend, just a meal or two. For some reason my body just can’t handle the huge splurge all weekend long, maybe it’s because I’m a female?!
  • I’ve learned that as you age, your metabolism is not the same as it was when you were in your 20’s. That’s when you must implement and manipulate different variables into your training and diet regimen. This is where the huge importance of proper supplementation with Beverly products comes in, along with the Beverly "carb up meals," and the HITT cardio sessions. All have had drastic benefits on my metabolism.
  • I’ve learned that it helps to have supportive people in your life. My boyfriend has been very supportive this time around during the off-season, to help me to keep my weight off for my next show. We no longer venture to restaurants throughout the weekdays. On Sundays I prepare our meals. I call Dave’s his "Meals on Wheels" as he lives just two miles down the road, and many times I have pedaled my bike, carrying a cooler full of weighed-out meals packed in Tupperware, and delivered them to his fridge!
  • I’ve learned that if I ever want that extra helping of dessert, I just remind myself that I will never let myself get this far over my contest weight next season, and that I can have another helping during my cheat meal the following weekend. I must keep on instilling will power and control in my head, and not give in to those tempting taste buds! (It’s taken a while, but I’ve gotten control of it!) My more-than-anticipated weight gain in January 06 sure was a learning lesson for me, and I try to pass this bit of advice on to every person who competes.
  • Dave reminds me that it’s best to always hold yourself accountable and have an idea of what that magic number for your weight is, cuz that number can creep up on you quite fast! When it does that dreadful word "scale" comes in to play! Ugh! Although the scale is by no means my best friend, I have learned to become "acquainted" with it, at least once a week, just to make sure that I’m staying within my weight range during the off-season.

I have a lot of favorite recipes for the Beverly protein powders, including protein pancakes and pudding. In fact, I just came up with a few really yummy ones, especially great for indulging in around the holidays! The best thing about them is they taste GREAT, they’re very healthy (you can eat them during contest-season!) and you can still look great, and feel like you’re really indulging throughout the holidays!

Also, note that you can alter the ingredients, depending on your diet’s needs ½ cup of pumpkin only has 20 calories!!! And, as I’m sure you all know, a ½ cup of oatmeal only has 75 calories!

 pUMPkin Pie Passion 
1 scoop Vanilla UMP (Ultimate Muscle Protein)
½ cup canned pumpkin
½ cup old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon of cinnamon spice
1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice
1 packet of Splenda (or Equal)
1 tablespoon of fat-free Cool Whip
Mix oats with water and put in microwave, just as you would make your oatmeal; stir in pumpkin and UMP, adding water to get a thick, smooth, creamy consistency. Add in cinnamon and pumpkin spices and Splenda flavor; top with a tablespoon of fat-free Cool Whip if you’d like! Enjoy!
  pUMPkin Smoothie  
1 ½ scoops of Vanilla UMP
1 teaspoon of cinnamon spice
1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice
1 packet of Splenda (or Equal)
4-6 ice cubes, cold water. Mix all the above ingredients together to create a smooth, creamy smoothie. I like to put mine in the freezer for a while to thicken it up.
 pUMPkin Pudding 
1 container of vanilla Fit n’ Lively yogurt (only 60 calories!)
½ cup canned pumpkin
½ scoop Vanilla UMP
(Optional: ¼ – ½ cup of Fiber One Cereal to make crunchy)
1 tablespoon of fat-free Cool Whip
Mix all the above ingredients together to create a smooth, thick, and creamy pudding. (Add a little water to make it thinner, if you wish). Top with a tablespoon of fat-free Cool Whip, too, if you’d like!

» For more protien shake recipes » bevnut.com/recipes/

My Ultimate Goal

As to achieving my ultimate goal in life, physically, spiritually, and personally, I rely on the dear Lord to help me follow my dreams, goals, and passions in life. Each day I ask Him to help me to bless somebody today.

In the last issue Linda wrote one of the best articles we’ve ever seen for anyone interested in Figure. Well, I thought it would be good to share her specific training and diet plans with you. Our philosophy here at Beverly is, If you want to be like Linda, train and eat like Linda.

Here’s Linda’s program in her own words "Note that each week my workouts vary I use a combination of dumbbells, barbells, machines. In addition, I vary my grips and angles of exercises; I always warm up 10 minutes on cardio prior to my weight training sessions; I train each muscle group once per week, hard, using very challenging weights; for muscle groups that need additional improvement I will train twice a week."

Linda Reho photo shoot pre contest
My meals are pretty standard. Breakfast is usually egg whites and oatmeal (I like to mix both together and sometimes I even sprinkle Splenda and/or Cinnamon on it.. yum!)


-OR- Protein pancake made with egg whites, oatmeal, and Mass Maker.

My meals throughout the day, (I eat every two and one-half to three hours) are some kind of lean meat (chicken, tuna, 95% lean ground beef, or 99% lean ground turkey) and brown rice or sweet potatoes OR a Muscle Provider shake.

As evening approaches it’s meat and veggies or a large salad with a variety of veggies (I LOVE red peppers one time I was at a show, just in the audience, and bit into my pepper and saw a worm, with some black droppings! UGH! But, I still eat them! I just make sure I wash them very thoroughly, inside and out, and try to refrain from eating them in the dark) I make my own dressing any type of vinegar, and a little Splenda, and sometimes I mix in other spices whatever is in my cupboard! Some days I add in olive oil, too.

And if I’m still hungry at the end of the day I’ll eat another meal lean meat with a variety of veggies -OR- UMP shake or Muscle Provider Shake or Mass Maker/MP pudding -OR- sometimes I’ll have egg whites again! Or, mix in veggies and make into an omelet.

Whoever it may be, I just pray that this person/s will be placed in my path today, and that I will be able to share whatever gifts I have been given, to help this person in whatever way that God has intended for me. Somehow, someway, I hope that I was able to help you by writing this article. I will feel blessed for being able to do so.

Linda Reho Personal Profile
Age: 31, but I act and feel MUCH younger!

Competition History:
2001 NPC Natural Northern USA Bodybuilding; 1st Place Lightweight & Overall Title
 2005 NPC Natural Great Lakes Figure Championships; 1st Place Short Class
 2006 NPC Junior California Figure; 1st Runner Up Medium Class
 2006 NPC Natural Grand Prix Figure Championships; 1st Place Short Class & Overall Title
Occupation: I work in several departments for the Lake Hospital System – Cardiac Rehabilitation, I’m Coordinator of the Tobacco Education Department (no, I don’t teach people HOW TO smoke) I counsel smokers on ways to kick their smoking addiction, and I also work in the Health Promotions Department where I go out to elementary schools to give talks/presentations to 3rd and 4th graders about heart disease, exercise, and teach the students that "Butts are Gross" (cigarette butts, that is.)
Education: I earned a Bachelors of Science in Exercise Physiology, from Ohio University; and two Masters Degrees from Cleveland State University. One is in Exercise Science with a specialty in Cardiac Rehabilitation; the other is in Sports Management.
Marital Status: Not married, but I do have a boyfriend (Dave Liberman) who is also my best friend. No human kids, but I consider my Himalayan cat, Bailey, my baby boy!
Gym: Titan’s Gym and I also have my own home gym.
Height: 5′2″ and a quarter
Off Season Weight: 125-130 lbs
Contest Weight: 110 pounds
Favorite Cheat Food: Chocolate Giant Eagle Cake loaded with tons of butter cream frosting! Yummie! Dave surprised me with a huge one after one of my contests! He secretly had a hotel employee deliver it to the fridge in our room WHILE I was at my contest. What an awesome treat to come back to.. I just devoured it!
Favorite Meal: I love Mexican food (during the off-season)! I also love different variations of protein pancakes!
Favorite Beverly Recipe: Protein pancakes, and my new favorite one, pUMPkin pie passion, I’ve included the recipe in my article for all to enjoy!
Favorite Band or CD: I love listening to Christian music; I always have my radio tuned into The Fish, an awesome Christian radio station. I also love Cyndi Lauper!
Most Inspiring Books: The Bible, and one of my favorite motivational books is by Joyce Meyer, entitled "The Power of Determination". I them take along with me to all my competitions, to read throughout the day, and often to the gym. I love to read Christian books, as well as the Bible, on a daily basis, even if it’s just reading a little portion each day. The Bible, and one of my favorite motivational books is by Joyce Meyer, entitled The Power of Determination. I them take along with me to all my competitions, to read throughout the day, and often to the gym. I love to read Christian books, as well as the Bible, on a daily basis, even if it’s just reading a little portion each day.
Activities and Other Interests: My most favorite thing to do is exercise! I just love it! The worst part about competing is that I can’t workout two days prior to the show, or the day of the show I LOVE WORKING OUT, and I hate taking days off! Activities and Other Interests: My most favorite thing to do is exercise! I just love it! The worst part about competing is that I can’t workout two days prior to the show, or the day of the show I LOVE WORKING OUT, and I hate taking days off!
Aside from working out, I love to volunteer. I enjoy doing public speaking and volunteer my time speaking to groups such as "Mended Hearts", which is a support group made up of patients who have heart disease.
Important People in My Life: Several people win the title of being mentors in my life. My faith in Jesus is very strong, and I truly believe that it is He that helps me to do all that I do. There have literally been times when it took everything I had to drag myself to the gym, but I kept repeating I can do all things through God who strengthens me (Philippians 4:16) over and over in my mind, throughout my whole workout, and that’s what got me through it!
Another motivational person is my mother She’s a big encourager and motivator! She even helps me to cook my food when I’m in a bind. My brother, Louie, is also great to bounce off ideas. He is an exercise physiologist as well, and I swear, he never ever eats a morsel of unhealthy food, ever! (At least I’ve never witnessed it).
And, of course, my boyfriend, and trainer, Dave, is a huge inspiration for me (I met Dave back in 2001 when I initially hired him to train me and teach me my posing routine! Two and a half years later we began to date!) Words cannot express how grateful and blessed I am to be not only one of Dave’s clients, but to have him as my boyfriend and best friend as well.


What my body is capable of and how to use food and workouts to change my physique

» Karina Rhode
How I Earned My Natural Figure Pro Card

I discovered High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and never looked back.

» 4 Month Figure Makeover
Rachel Johnson Fit Figures series
for women who wishes to compete (or just look like she could compete) in a figure or fitness contest