I’m really a stubborn and persistent person when it comes to goal achievement. I just competed in my 6th figure competition. No, I’m not going to tell you that I won my first show and it’s been easy going ever since. In fact, I still haven’t won, but I’m getting closer to that elusive 1st place I want so desperately. I started my figure career consistently; I placed 5th in each of my first four shows. I finally beat the 5th place curse last year at the Excalibur in Charleston, SC by winning the 2nd place trophy in my class. This year I’ve received a 2nd place in the masters division and 3rd in class B at the Palmetto Classic.
I know going in to a show that there is a lot of competition out there and I have to give it my all. My competitors and I are all working toward the same goal. They’re sweating through their 45 minute cardio sessions just like me. They’re following their diet just like me. And, they’re training to bring up their weak points just like me. I have to be in my best ever condition and prepared to compete no matter who shows up.
I didn’t know a thing about weight lifting until 4 years ago. My husband, Gary, who’s a soldier, did a year tour in Korea. While he was away, I joined my first gym to help pass the time. I picked up my very first dumbbell at the age of 31. (You can imagine my husband’s surprise when he returned and I was competing in my first show!)
I became really interested in the toned bodies I saw in the gym and hired a personal trainer to get me started out on the right foot. I fell in love with training. That’s also when I started using BI supplements. I noticed that several members at the gym who were getting great results were hooked on Beverly. I followed their lead and quickly began to see what consistent training and quality supplements can do to enhance the look and performance of the human body.
One day I showed up for a training session with my trainer and he was reading the NPC News magazine. I saw the figure and fitness competitors and have been intrigued with achieving that kind of physique ever since. That was the day I decided to compete. I trained for a full year for that first show. I have been at it ever since.
I’m grateful that when I decided to compete, Beverly International was there to lead me in the right direction. Time and time again, the BI team of advisors guided me to the right nutrition and supplement program to help me be my best. They even offered me a complete competition workbook with sections on diet, supplements, training, cardio, posing – you name it – everything about getting in the best shape possible and being prepared for a competition in 16 weeks. The BI team is professional and helpful and answered every question I asked.
Before being bitten by this Figure bug, I was a competitive runner. I quickly found out that it’s much harder to prep for a figure competition than a race. You can’t just show up in your last race t-shirt (or contest t-shirt) and expect to do well. There’s a lot of time and work that goes into competiting, and at times I struggled with motivation (which I’m sure happens to all competitors). That’s when I would stop, take a moment and visualize the results I wanted on stage and remember what it takes to get them. From there, I’d upload some new kickin’ tunes on my mp3 player and go.
I’m now working as a personal trainer, so I take most of my meals with me and eat them between clients. It works, I get better every week, so why switch? If it’s not broke then don’t fix it. I had great results.
I followed the nutrition plan listed below for the entire 12 weeks of my show prep:
1 whole egg with 3 egg whites
5 oz chicken
½ cup oatmeal
Protein shake with one and a half scoops of Muscle Provider and water
5 oz chicken or grilled fish
4 oz sweet potato
2 cups of spinach
Protein shake with one and a half scoops of Ultimate Muscle Protein mixed in water
5 oz chicken or grilled fish
2 cups of spinach or broccoli
Sometimes I had another UMP protein shake before bed if I felt too hungry to sleep.
I designed my pre contest supplement program to cut the maximum amount of fat yet still allow me to build muscle.
Glutamine Select – I always had 3 scoops while training, love it! Once I reached 4 weeks out, I added Muscle Mass before my cardio and during weight training to spare lean muscle.
Muscle Provider (chocolate) is my absolute favorite protein!
Ultimate Muscle Protein (vanilla) tastes like cake batter!
I also drink a gallon of water every day. My body has a tendency to retain water and I find the more water I drink, the less I hold.
I try to fit in 30 minutes of moderate cardio every day whether I’m competing or not. When I’m 8 weeks out from a show I do two sessions per day (45 minutes in the morning and 30 in the afternoon). My cardio varies from the bike, to the treadmill at an 8 percent incline, to the step mill and some days the elliptical. I try to change it around so that it doesn’t become too monotonous. I try to keep my heart rate elevated, but not let it get too high. I also rely on Muscle Mass and Energy Reserve to hold on to muscle while I am trying to lose that last bit of fat in the final weeks.
I work out hard every day whether I’m preparing for a show or not. I always keep a log to track my progress, because no matter how sharp we think our memory is; we will never remember the exact weights and reps we perform week after week.
The twelve weeks before my show, this is the program I followed:
Monday – Legs
Leg Press 3x10-15 reps
Squat 3x8-12 reps
Hack Squat Machine all the way down and half way back up for 12 reps
Stiff Leg Dead Lift 3x12
Leg Extensions 3x12
Abs 8 sets of 25-50 variety
Tuesday – Back, Delts, Biceps (light day)
One Arm DB Row 3x8-10
Pulldowns 3x8-12 reps
Seated Cable Row 3x8-12 reps
DB Lateral Raises (bent over, side, and fronts)
Cable Curl 3x8-10
Incline DB Curl 3x8-10
Calf Raises 6-8 sets (variety)
Wednesday – Chest, Triceps
Incline DB Press 4x6-10 reps
Flat DB Press 4x8-12 reps
Pec Deck 3x8-12 reps
Triceps Pushdowns 4x8-12 reps
Lying Triceps Extension 4x10-12 reps
Abs 6-8 sets 15-25 reps machine
Thursday – Legs (glutes)
Romanian Dead Lift 3x10–15 reps superset with next exercise
Wide Leg Press 3x10–15 reps
Leg Curl 3x6–8 reps superset with next exercise
Walking Lunge 3x12–15 steps each foot
Leg Extension 3x12 superset with next exercise
Smith Machine Squat 3x12 non–lock
Calf Raises 6–8 sets 15 reps
Friday – Delts, Back, Biceps, Triceps
Shoulder Press 3x6–10 superset with next exercise
Lat Pulldowns 3x8–12 reps
Upright Row 3x8–10 reps superset with next exercise
Straight Arm Pulldowns 3x10–12
Bent Over Laterals 3x10–12 superset with next exercise
Seated Cable Row 3x6–10
Barbell Curl 3x6–10 reps superset with next exercise
Close Grip Bench Press 3x6–10
Concentration Curl 2x10–12
Abs 8 sets of 25 to 50 (variety)
I also like to add a couple of pull–up and push–up sessions during the week. Each session includes about 25–35 pull–ups and 50–60 push–ups (in as many sets as it takes to accumulate the number of reps I’m targeting).
My legs are a problem; they just want to hold fat. I can get a ripped core and still be fighting bodyfat on my legs! I’ve found that standing low cable kickbacks seem to help me target that area most of all (you just secure an ankle cuff to your leg and attach a low pulley cable, raising the leg directly to the rear). I do these twice a week for 12 weeks. Another thing that helps me with the area under my glutes is Smith machine lunges. I am really able to focus on squeezing my glutes on that one. I also focused on squeezing my glutes with each step during my morning cardio on the treadmill.
Challenges and Advice
First, I want to thank my support team who helped me to get me through those tough days when I wanted to skip a workout or take a break from broccoli and chicken. My husband and has been a wonderful workout partner and motivator during my prep. My other great supporter is my little person, Abbi, who practiced posing with me after school just to help mom get ready. I am grateful for them both.
The biggest mistake that I made along the way was waiting until exactly 12 weeks out to start my show diet. I would have been a lot more successful had I focused on a clean diet farther out; like 16–20 weeks out. It’s really hard when you’re trying to eat a low carb diet, maintain a high level of cardio activity and get all of your weight training in to lose high amounts of bodyfat in just 12 weeks. I’ve learned that a true competitor maintains a healthy lifestyle year around, not just in the 12 weeks leading up to a show. My goal for the future is to stay within 5–8 pounds of my contest weight all of the time.
My advice to someone just getting started or thinking of competing would be to do it! If you have a goal to be a figure competitor, strive to do it. The sky’s the limit. You only live once. Besides it feels great to take care of your body and then get to show off the results on stage. Another word of advice to save you time and money would be to start from the beginning with the BI Team; they truly are your best tool for success!
NNM 14 #4
Sunshine Spring NPC KY State Bikini Champion. My first contest and it was a national qualifier
Rick Ruether Master Trainer - Personal Bodybuilding Philosophy