I have been in the military for 15 years, currently holding the rank of Master Sergeant, E7. I am a Weapon Systems Supply Management Specialist at the Air Force Global Logistics Supply Center at Scott AFB, IL. My husband, Zack has also committed himself to the Air Force. We have spent 10 years overseas at 3 different bases, moving back to the States January 2012. Outside of the military, I am a Certified Personal Trainer with NASM and AFAA, a Speed and Explosion Specialist with NASE, Group Cycling Instructor, Group Fitness Instructor, and a Fitness Nutrition Specialist. I have a Logistics Management Degree, a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, and a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion, and I am not done yet! I have more educational pursuits in sight. Over the years, health and fitness has become my passion and I love to help others reach their health and fitness goals and to promote total well-being.
Along the way my passion grew into more and I began competing in Figure competitions in 2009:
British Natural Bodybuilding Federation (BNBF) Ultra Bodies Competition Women’s Figure, 1st Place Open Class, Best Abs Award, 2009
International Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation (INBF)
USAG Stuttgart Germany Bodybuilding & Fitness Competition, Women’s Figure, 1st Place Short Class, 1st Place Overall, 2009, earned WNBF Figure Pro Card
NPC Kentucky State Championship, Women’s Figure Class B, 2nd Place, National Qualifier, 2012
I have worked with Women’s Fitness Specialist, Julie Lohre, for all of my competition prep. Living in Europe, I was not able to work with her face-to-face, but Julie set up all my training programs in an easy to follow format. I can see a tremendous transformation when comparing pictures from 3 years ago, and I owe it all to Julie for her fitness and diet guidance, as well as her overall support and encouragement. Also, Julie is the one who introduced me to the Beverly International products, so thank you, Julie!
The best way to implement a plan such as this is to make your meals ahead of time. It is easier to stay on track when the right foods are readily available.
Meal 1: 4 egg whites scrambled with 2 oz ground chicken breast, ½ cup oatmeal.
Meal 2: 2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein (UMP) mixed with water.
Meal 3: 5 oz lean protein (usually chicken breast or fish) topped on a large salad always including tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, red onion, drizzled with red wine vinegar; plus a 4-5 oz sweet potato, lightly salted, and with red wine vinegar to moisten it.
Meal 4: 2-3 oz of tuna (in water) mixed with one chopped dill pickle and 1 tbsp light mayo, 1 medium tomato in 4 slices. I top each tomato slice with the tuna mix and avocado slices. Close to competition I omit the mayo and avocado.
Meal 5: 6 oz lean protein, 2 cups of steamed vegetables, usually broccoli florets and/or cauliflower.
Meal 6: On occasion, if I feel extra hungry before bed, I have 1 scoop of BI UMP pudding made with water.
Even more importantly, as a wife and mother, although my family does not adhere to such a regimented diet, I do my best to cook clean for them as well. At first, I would make "their dinner" then "my dinner." Until one night I looked at the 2 different meals and saw a big problem. My family was eating processed fatty foods while I was eating a healthy clean meal. It all changed at the moment. Why was that food okay for them but not for me? Why was I taking in all the wonderful nutrition while they weren’t? I began incorporating clean diets for my husband and children. So now when we sit down at the dinner table we all enjoy a healthy meal together.
I cooked 1 lb of ground chicken to last the whole week for my breakfast. I also cooked egg whites up to 3 days in advance and keep them in separated containers in the fridge. I add 2 oz chicken to each egg white container so I can easily grab it and take to work. At work I store a container of quick oats oatmeal, a ½ cup measuring cup, a bowl and make my oatmeal in the break room at work. Every Sunday, I buy, wash, cut, and store all my fruits and vegetables. I build one very large salad with all my desired veggies and store it in the fridge. This stops me from having to build a new salad every day, I just serve a couple handfuls and I am good to go! I bring my salad to work in a freezer bowl to keep it cold.
I keep several must-have items at work so I don’t have to carry them back and forth from home: oatmeal, Uncle Ben’s individual microwavable brown rice servings, utensils, red wine vinegar, Splenda, salt and pepper.
Multi vitamin (such as Fit Tabs)
Fish Oil (or EFA Gold)
7-Keto: 3 capsules 30 minutes before breakfast and 3 capsules 30 minutes before lunch
Lean Out: 2 capsules 20 minutes before 5 meals
Muscle Synergy (powder): 1 scoop prior to working out
Glutamine Select: 1-2 scoops during workout for muscle recovery
Ultra 40: 3 tablets with each of 5 meals
Split Routine over 6 days. Each session targets 2 muscles groups with under-trained areas addressed twice a week. The exercises remain the same for 4 weeks with each week changing variables such as rep, sets, intensity, and/or rest periods.
No matter how the program is designed, there are always plyometrics involved at least 1 day. Sample:
Monday – Glutes and abs
Tuesday – Back and chest
Wednesday – Delts and abs
Thursday – Glutes and hamstrings
Friday – Biceps, triceps, and abs
Saturday – Legs
Sunday – Rest
5 days a week: usually 3 sessions of 30 minute HIIT, and 2 sessions of 45-60 minutes moderate intensity steady state. If I can’t get at least 30 minutes in one workout session, I will do what I have time for even if it is only 15 minutes. But in that short time I will go at a very high intensity leaving myself exhausted. Then go back that evening and do at least 30 more minutes of cardio.
Everyone’s experience is so unique and everyone encounters different challenges. For me, my hardest obstacle to overcome during contest prep is time management. Managing all of life’s day-to-day aspects gets harder when you add consistent training, prepping meals, posing practice, so on and so on. So I would like to share this with BI readers who are wondering how they can do it.
This is a small segment I wrote to share with my FB page followers that reveals my dearest secret to accomplishment:
Mental compartmentalization: This is truly my "secret" weapon to living a military life, raising children, maintaining my health, the health and happiness of my family, and finding time for self-improvement. I mentally compartmentalize my entire life by breaking it down into the main areas:
Fitness (Gym/Exercise Time)
Each of these areas is important to me so I groom them separately. Of course they overlap each other at times, but helping them flourish takes extra effort and we have to give each the individual mental attention they need to do so. For example, when I first decided to compete, I was working full time, in school full time, my husband was deployed, I was raising 2 very young toddlers in Europe with no family near, and I was going to train for a competition. I had to tackle each area separately. Here’s how. When I stepped into work I did my best to block out the other areas. I didn’t worry about what assignment had to be accomplished for school or what workout I was going to do later. I focused on work and work alone. When I left work, I left thoughts of work there as I stepped out of the office and into the gym. In the gym all I focused on was conditioning for the competition. Yes, many times I heard people saying I was stuck up in the gym, but socializing was not on the top of my list at the moment. When I left the gym and picked up my kids, my focus for the evening was all on my 2 year and 3 ½ year old daughters (favorite part of my day). As soon as they were in bed, I opened up my laptop and school books and thought about nothing but how I was going to rock out this A-paper. When I could not concentrate another second, into the kitchen I went to prepare all my food for the next day, got all our bags lined up by the door, caught my 7 hours of sleep and by 6:15 am, the girls and I were out the door for another day just like the previous. Two of the best feelings of my life were walking across the stage graduating from college with honors, and then 2 weeks later walking across the stage accepting 1st place in my first competition! Although my husband was not there to witness either, he was so proud!
My point is that we all have "stuff." List your "stuff," weed out what is not important or makes you unhappy and put the rest into categories. Then find a way to arrange your categories into manageable areas of life. At times in our lives this will be easier or more difficult. But it can be done.
If it is truly important to you, it can be done and it should be an area of your life.
You notice I did not list "health" as an area of my life. That’s because it over shadows all areas of my life. Health is not an area of my life; it is the result of my life.
Editor’s note: We want to thank Jonelle for her service to our country as well as for writing this very helpful and inspiring article. ˜ Roger and Sandy