I am in the best shape of my life at age 38. But that’s not always been the case. As a child I developed a weight problem from emotional overeating. I lost my father at a young age and lived with my single mother and three siblings. I weighed 145 pounds before I had even turned 13. I used food to compensate for every problem in my life. If I felt bad about something, was angry or upset, I ate. To make matters worse, I also used food like macaroni and cheese, chips, pizza, etc. to reward myself.
Entering my teenage years, I became much more concerned about my weight and appearance. I tried every weight loss fad available. My weight went up and down like a yo-yo. By age 15 I was borderline anorexic. My unhealthy obsession with food lasted throughout my teenage years and on into my adult life. The last straw was in response to a bad day at work; I bought a Cadbury egg and shoved the whole thing in my mouth at once. I came very close to literally choking myself to death. My response to stress was to eat. If I felt out of control, I ate. I knew I had to do something about it.
My first positive action was to start a cardio exercise program. Next, I joined Weight Watchers. At Weight Watchers I learned to start thinking about what I was eating before I ate it. As I made progress, I became more serious. I added some weight training exercises to my regimen, first at home, and I finally progressed to a gym, Lifetime Wellness Center.
At the gym, Anthony Ferguson, the head trainer, suggested that I start a figure program. Not necessarily to compete in figure but to build and shape my muscles. Then as I progressed, he suggested that I enter a figure competition.
This thought of competing in a figure contest appealed to me. The ideal figure competitor has an athletic feminine physique, exactly what I was after. The structure of the figure athlete lifestyle was just what I needed. Now, I was in control. I planned what and when I was going to eat. The discipline that I practiced in controlling my eating and training pored over into my work and other hobbies. No more guessing and just "winging it" for me!
Favorite workout: Arms
4 sets of 10-dips
4 sets of 20, 15, 12, 10- pushdowns
3 sets of 20- 2 hand overhead extensions
4 sets of 12- 2 hand DB kickbacks, superset
4 sets of 12- supinated DB curls
3 sets of 15- straight bar preacher curls
3 sets of 10- standing cable curls
3 sets of 6- reverse grip pull-ups
#1: GH Factor. I’ve always had problems holding fat in the glutes, hip and thigh area. After 6 weeks of taking the GH factor, I was able to see a remarkable difference. It really helps me shed the fat in those areas that I’ve worked years on trying to thin down. #2: Muscle Provider and the Ultimate Muscle Protein Muscle Provider in a shake pre-workout and I make a shake with the Chocolate Ultimate Muscle Protein Powder mid-morning mixed with 2 shots espresso, water and a few ice cubes and topped off with lite whipped cream. I omit the cream during contest prep. I really look forward to this yummy shake every day plus it helps me get in the total grams of high quality protein that I need in a convenient “sweet” way. I do love sweets!
I entered my first contest in 2004. I finished 16th out of 22 in my height class, not great, but still an accomplishment. I followed the standard "gym" advice – low calorie, extremely low fat diet. The week of the show I carb depleted and carb loaded just like the male bodybuilders. I competed twice more that year and did progressively better. But believe me, every diet was an experiment. I knew I needed more muscle and better definition.
The following year I concentrated on gradually building muscle. After a year away from competition I came back with one show in September 2006 and finished second in MMaster’s Figure Class A. The photos didn’t lie. I had come a long way, but still had a way to go. I really wanted to compete in the Mountain Pride Championships to be held in July, 2007. That gave me another nine months to make improvements.
A few months into my preparation I attended a posing clinic. The topic of what are the best supplements to take came up. When someone mentioned Beverly International, all of a sudden everyone seemed to have a positive anecdote to relate. Here is a subject where confusion seems to run rampant, and all of a sudden clarity enters the picture. Every person who had used Beverly spoke positively about their experience.
I spoke to Rachel Wade. The first thing she did instead of trying to sell me supplements was ask questions about my current prep and condition, and then requested photos so she could make a proper diagnosis before suggesting anything. At Rachel’s suggestion, I took advantage of the "competitor’s special" which included the Beverly International Pre-Contest Workshop Manual. Once I had that in hand, Rachel helped me choose the best diet and supplement plan from the manual. It was great, no more guessing and experimentation, a simple, straight forward approach to diet and workouts with lots of support.
For someone who has never used Beverly supplements before I would recommend getting in touch with a Beverly representative. Let them help you decide what supplements would benefit you the most. Like with me, I love all Beverly products, but I noticed the biggest difference in my physique after taking GH Factor since I was having problems holding fat in the hip, thigh and glute area. Ultra 40 beef liver helped harden me up and gave me energy. Muscle Mass and the Glutamine Select BCAAs really helped my skin tighten up, plus protected my muscle while dieting. I took EFA Gold with meals. It really helped balance my nutritional intake since a high protein/low carb diet can cause some issues. I also noticed a big difference in my hair after taking this; it has gotten much thicker, longer and healthier.
My 4-Week Out Diet Plan
3 oz. chicken breast or turkey breast; three egg whites; one tomato or four strawberries.
Meal 2 (A):
Protein Drink with one scoop Ultimate Muscle Protein or Muscle Provider, one teaspoon healthy fat source (olive oil, flax oil, almond butter). "I modified this by adding espresso to my UMP chocolate shake and having a teaspoon of almond butter on a celery stick."
Option (B): Three and one-half oz. chicken breast or tuna; three egg whites, one tomato.
Meal 3 (A):
Five oz. chicken breast (weighed prior to cooking); two cups salad (lettuce, tomato, carrot, cucumber, green peppers, etc.) or two cups low carb vegetables; one tablespoon "Newman’s Own" dressing ( or make your own with one tablespoon cider vinegar and one tablespoon olive oil).
Protein Drink with one scoop Ultimate Muscle Protein or Muscle Provider. "Here I made a brownie out of the Muscle Provider chocolate to eat on the way to the gym."
Five oz. chicken breast, turkey breast or 96% lean beef; two cups low carb vegetables or salad.
Monday and Thursday:
Carb up meal in place of Meal 5: ¾ cup oatmeal, or ¾ cup cooked brown rice,
5-oz. sweet potato, 4 oz. banana, 1 cup vegetables, 1 tbsp butter or almond butter.
Occasionally, I used pumpkin in place of the sweet potato. I liked to mix everything but the vegetables together and top it with splenda, cinnamon, and a little Walden Sugar Free Chocolate syrup. I had this treat packed in a cooler and ready to eat as soon as I completed my Monday and Thursday evening workouts.
A Typical Day
During the week it’s really challenging to get everything done, but luckily I do have a small gym at home to get my morning cardio and pre-contest weight lifting in. My husband, Nick, has to be at work much earlier than I do. So I am able to make him a nice breakfast, send him off to work, then I can concentrate on my normal routine.
I mix up 2 scoops of Glutamine Select to drink during my workout, so I don’t burn muscle, just stored fat for energy. I also take 6 GH Factor and a couple Energy Reserve. At 6 weeks out I’ll train two body parts in the morning on an empty stomach and then finish with 30-45 minutes cardio. The elliptical machine is my usual choice for morning cardio. I do this 6 days a week.
After my workout, I turn on some relaxing music (usually show tunes) and make my breakfast. It’s normally a 3-egg white omelet with 3 oz. grilled chicken and veggies. I top this with homemade salsa and cilantro and have ½ grapefruit or 6 strawberries on the side.
After that, I prepare my husband’s and my lunch and snacks. More often than not, I also prepare my dinner, too, since it is so late when I get home from the gym. Then I pack my gym clothes and leave for work. I’m at work by 10:30 a.m. and get off at 4:00 p.m.. After work, I go straight to the gym. Lifetime Wellness Center is a thirty minute drive from work (45 minutes from home). At the gym I train 2 more body parts (at six weeks out I train 2 body parts at home in the morning and 2 more in the evening at the gym.) I also do a Group Power class that I love. It is a circuit training course where we work every body part in one hour. It’s motivating and fun with good music.
I then get into my cooler and eat dinner. A 45-minute drive home gets me there between 8:00-8:30. Then it is time to shower and get in the hot tub if I have time, then off to bed by 9:30p.m..
Tips and Challenges
I do a lot of cross training to avoid "cardio burnout". In addition to my regular treadmill or elliptical training I throw in some running, kick boxing, ballroom dancing, step aerobics and one of my favorites, road biking.
On the first day of the week I get all my Beverly supplements out, then sort them into little zip lock baggies. I write the time that I will need to take it on each one. Example: a.m. snack, lunch, p.m. snack, dinner, pre-workout & bed time.
I try to make big batches of chicken and other lean meats on the grill on Sunday and separate them into individual servings for my meals. That way I can just grab my servings for the day and stick them into my cooler as I go out the door. I also make a big salad that I keep at work. For lunch I just add meat to the salad and top it with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and some spices. Yes, it takes planning, but it’s very important to me. I want to get the most from my training and I know that my nutrition is key to the results I’ve gotten.
If you’re like me, you know that contest prep is a time of mental stress. I never feel like I’m where I want to be. One day, I think my conditioning is behind, the next that I’ve peaked too early. That’s why it is so important to have a plan and stick with it. I do what I’m supposed to each day, stay as positive as I can, and just keep moving forward to contest day.
Another challenge is family get-together’s during contest prep. My advice is family first! I made sure this area did not suffer. I stuck to my diet during vacations and celebrations, but made sure that I participated in family activities. My husband is supportive and understands that as the contest approaches I get quiet. It’s not him, it’s me. After the contest I make sure we go on a "getaway" weekend.
I met two major goals this year. First, was to win an overall masters’ figure competition. I accomplished that at the 2007 Mountain Pride contest. The second was to get my national qualification in an open contest. I achieved that goal by winning the open figure class A at the NPC Virginia State Championships.
What was the difference this year? I think that switching to Beverly supplements played a large part in my success. By using their Pre Contest Manual and customer support, I was able to concentrate on my workouts and other contest prep, knowing all the while my nutrition was being taken care of. No thinking, just follow the plan.
I now have set my sights on competing in the Arnold Amateur in the spring of 2008 and becoming a Certified Personal Trainer. It is important for me to set obtainable goals to keep the motivation process moving ahead. The contest is for me; while becoming a trainer is a way for me to help others achieve their goals!
Me at a Glance Patricia Crvich
Occupation: Office Manager/Sales at Appalachian Rail System
Family: Married 21 years to my husband and best friend, Nick. We have one son, Jake, 20 years old and a chef at the restaurant at Biltmore Estate’s Inn in Asheville, NC.
Current Residence: Rural Retreat, VA
Years training: 3 ½
Off-Season Weight: 102-107
Contest Weight: 98-100
In my CD player: Anything from old standards, hip-hop to rock. I like a variety.
Other interests: Ballroom dancing and running with my three dogs Stranger (collie mix), Vinnie (red doberman), and Bandit (black chow). I also love to road bike and cook. I’ve also ran in 5 and 10k races and even completed a marathon.
Words to live by: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
Favorite Cheat Food: I have two that I crave after a contest, baked French fries with hot & spicy mustard for dipping or microwave popcorn topped with butter spray and sprinkled with cinnamon and splenda.
Favorite Figure Meal:
Chicken Fried Rice Recipe Makes 6 servings
2 cups of cooked brown rice
1 16 oz. bag of mixed veggies (any kind)
2 large chicken breasts cut into small pieces
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 eggs (1 whole, 1 egg white beaten)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the brown rice according to package directions and set aside. Sauté the chicken breast until done and set aside. Cook beaten eggs (scrambled style) set aside. Cook mixed veggies according to package. Note: Dice the vegetables into small pieces if they are large. A food processor comes in handy with this. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray, add chicken, eggs, and veggies. Stir and cook until heated thoroughly. Add the 3 tablespoons of soy sauce (or according to taste) to the mixture in the skillet. Cook for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper or your choice of seasoning. Serve with or over rice.
This is an excellent all in one meal and it can be put in containers and frozen for your next day’s meals.