Fat to Fit Figure

The "F" word – FAT! I’ve always hated that word

By: Erin Rhoades
Magazine 14 #3

More than likely because that is how I perceived myself most my life. Though I was two years younger and considered the "little" sister, I was always technically the "BIG" sister. Growing up I played softball, basketball, and soccer, and my best friends were the teeny tiny cheerleaders.

At age 15, I went to the doctor for my softball physical and was astonished when I stepped on the scale and it read 211 pounds. That led to my journey of cardio and yo–yo diets. I’d drop 40 pounds while in high school, and it would slowly creep back on. I’d try another crash diet, lose the weight again, and then the pounds would reappear. Six years of this and in 2007, I was right back up to 210 pounds.

That spring, I attended my first figure competition, Beverly International’s 2007 Northern. I remember seeing those girls on stage, wishing that one day my body would be beautiful like theirs. Who was I kidding? I had never even been to a pool without wearing shorts over my bathing suit. I would never be confident enough to put on a posing suit and stand in front of hundreds of people. But seeing those women on stage WAS motivation enough for me to want to try to lose weight again.

When I got home from the contest, I did some research on Beverly’s website, bodybuildingworld.com. I immediately began to implement the advice I found there. I cleaned up my diet and started lifting heavier to gain muscle. In a year’s time I had lost 30lbs, and also noticed that my body at 180 pounds had more definition than it had in the past at that same scale weight. Again the dream of competing one day in a figure competition popped in my mind.

Erin Rhoades a woman proud of her body
A couple months later I decided there would be no better time for me to achieve this goal than right now!

I had read the articles by Julie Lohre on the Beverly website and a figure competitor from my home-town told me that she had used Julie’s personal coaching services for her contest prep. I decided to send Julie some photos and ask her if she would consider working with me. A part of me thought she would see my pictures and run, knowing there was no hope for me. Instead, I immediately heard back from Julie with encouraging words that she had no doubt she could get me to where I needed to be for my first show.

I joined with Julie and started seeing changes immediately. Even though the meetings were held 5 hours from home, I joined Julie’s FitBody team that meets as a group every 3 to 4 weeks during contest prep season. I can’t begin to explain the encouragement and motivation that Julie and the members of the FitBody Team gave me each time we met. I had someone calling, texting, or emailing everyday, asking how I was feeling and if I needed to talk. Though this is an individual sport, and I have played team sports my entire life, I’ve never felt more support and love than I did with the ladies on Team FitBody.

Diet 5 meals with lean protein

I ate five meals each day consisting of a lean protein in each, complex carbs at meals 1 and 3, and only protein and vegetables after my third meal of the day. My favorite meal was breakfast which was usually 1 whole egg, 3 egg whites, 3 oz lean ground beef, and ½ cup of the world’s best oatmeal.

If I was on a time crunch I’d drink shakes, if not, I stuck to whole food proteins. When I needed something sweet, I’d mix up some protein pudding with Beverly’s chocolate Muscle Provider. The Muscle Provider mixed and tasted better than any protein I had ever had. Sunday was my grocery day. Each Sunday I’d buy all my meats, veggies, and seven gallon jugs of water. I made sure I drank a gallon of water every day. After shopping, I came home and weighed and measured out all my food for the week. Diet is the key to this whole process.

Supplement Plan

One constant throughout my 25 weeks of prep was my Beverly International supplement plan. Starting out, I was afraid that I might lose quite a bit of muscle with the calorie cuts and all the cardio I’d need to do over that long period of time, but Beverly supplements took care of this aspect for me. Here are the supplements I took to sustain my lean muscle mass and give my metabolism a little kick in the butt when it was needed.

Training Plan

Every four weeks, Julie had a new training plan waiting. She added subtle variations each week–it might be the number of sets or reps, the amount of rest time between sets or the poundage used. But every week was a touch different. This approach made my workouts exciting and neweach week.

I started every morning at 4:30 am with a session of HIIT (high intensity interval training) cardio on an empty stomach. This really helped me shed the body fat. I varied my HIIT cardio sessions between spin classes, the stair mill, elliptical training, sprints, and plyometrics. I performed my posing practice for 15 minutes each day after cardio. After work, at 5:00 p.m., I’d head back to the gym to lift and sometimes do a second session of HIIT for another 30–45 minutes.

"Erin? I didn’t even recognize you".


I can’t tell you how many times I heard that statement in the last month of my contest prep. I had grown not only physically stronger, but mentally as well. There was a part of me that came out in that 25 weeks that I didn’t even know I had. I found dedication and drive that had been hiding behind my layers of adipose tissue.

On April 11, 2009, for the first time in my life, I walked out on stage, as a woman proud of her body. Going from no one ever seeing my legs to posing in a tiny suit in front of hundreds of people was like jumping out of an airplane for me, but I loved every minute of it. It felt good to finally "take my shorts off". "I took home 4th place in the Figure novice division and 3rd in the open tall class". Now I can’t wait to improve upon my accomplishments, and go into the fall season looking and feeling even better.

I want to give a big thank you to Julie Lohre, for the time and effort she put into my contest prep. To Team FitBody, and to all my family and friends, for the love, support and motivation that each gave me. And to Beverly International for their great supplements that provided my body with energy and essential nutrition I needed to make it to the stage.

Magazine 14 #3