Earning my Pro Card

NPC Master’s National, Women’s Physique

By: Lisa Lachowski IFBB Pro
Magazine 20 #2

28 June 2015

I knew at a young age I would try to follow in my mom and dad’s footsteps and adopt the exercise lifestyle. However, that was back in the day of aerobics and more aerobics. We did dance, step, and light weights. I really won’t share what type of clothes we wore back then, well maybe, let’s just say it started out with a leotard type outfit and something to keep your legs warm!

I always had to be in the front row of class, with my eyes glued on the teacher. I always tried to do my best and even learned entire class routines by heart. It wasn’t long before my teacher suggested that I get my certification, (she thought if I were certified, she could take a break here and there). Eventually she retired, and I took over. I continued practicing and teaching aerobics until one day I realized that I wanted more – more out of me.

I Am Living My Dream

I decided to take it up a notch and try an aerobic competition, which was all the craze! Unfortunately, it wasn’t my thing. But, it did help me decide to try something else. I really wanted to transform my body and to do that I needed to start working out seriously – with weights.

My initial challenge was just getting comfortable in the gym. I was very intimidated by all around me, whether they were fit women, men, bodybuilders, and even the weights themselves. Every time I went to the gym with the intention of starting my weight program, I would end up hiding on the Versa Climber in the corner! Finally, I realized that I was not going to start a weight program on my own, so I hired a trainer for a few sessions. Not only did I get off to a good start, but just as important, I learned I became more comfortable in the gym.

Lisa individual routine

I enjoyed lifting so much that I decided I’d learn everything I could, become a certified trainer and be able to train myself. Well, that was the easy part; the hard part was actually pushing myself to train and work hard enough to make it worth my time. My next goal was to compete in a bodybuilding show. That was back in 1998. I enjoyed the sport and competed for the next three years. I guess you could say I was hooked.

At the time I was working in an accounting office while starting to build my own fitness business. I became a Certified Kettlebell instructor and competed in two competitions, although extremely challenging, they proved to be another source of enjoyment. I would train early in the morning, work during the day, and teach classes and clients at night. I’ve continued this routine for twenty years.

Personal trainer full time

Eventually my place of business closed and I began training and teaching full time as a personal trainer and fitness instructor. My focus became to help others achieve their fitness goals while building a clientele for myself. Thirteen years later, I decided to try competing again at the 2013 Pittsburgh Elite Physique Championships. This time my struggles were different, and my body was different. My lower body was my trouble spot. I began training my legs hard and heavy. I’d even throw in some extra work during my classes and at other times throughout the week.

Lisa Lachowski double bicep

Masters Nationals, Women’s Physique

To my surprise and delight, I ended up placing second in the Women’s Physique category. I decided to try one more time with a big step up in competition. I entered the NPC Masters Nationals, Women’s Physique category over forty-five, again placing second, but the biggest joy came when I learned that the top two competitors would earn a Pro Card. I did it! It took me over twenty years to get to a point where I could say, Wow, this is it, and my dream has come true.

My many thanks go out to my family and my very good gym buddies, you know who you are. I can’t thank you enough!

It’s not over yet, I’ll always dream bigger, better, try harder. It’s who I’ve become. Here are examples of the diet, supplement program, and training I did for my last competition. I encourage you to give it a try and maybe you’ll be able to achieve even better results than I did.

Meal Plan

  • Meal #1: 4 egg whites, 4 oz. tuna or turkey and cucumber, ½ cup oatmeal
  • Meal #2: UMP protein waffle or pancakes (see sidebar below for recipe)
  • Meal #3: 4 oz. grilled chicken, 2 cups vegetables
  • Meal #4: 2 scoops UMP after training with water and 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • Meal #5: 5 oz. lean beef or chicken, 2 cups vegetables
  • Meal #6: 4 oz. tuna, cucumber & tomato salad
  • Optional Late Night Snack: If I feel hungry, I have an UMP shake mixed in water (sometimes with cocoa powder and almond butter.)

Supplement Schedule

Here’s the supplement schedule I follow for muscular gains:
Ultimate Muscle Protein two times a day between meals and at night for added protein
Glutamine Select during workouts and when I feel fatigued from my day
4 Mass Aminos and 4 Ultra 40 liver tabs four times a day with my meals
2 Fit Tabs and 3 EFA Gold twice a day
UMP protein pancakes
My favorite Beverly recipe has to be the protein pancakes (or waffles).
Mix together:
  • 2 scoops of UMP vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • These pancakes are great to take along on a busy day when I do not get much of a break at work.

Cardio Kettlebell HITT

I teach two Total Body Conditioning classes and one Kettlebell class each week. These classes provide me with my off-season cardio, but as I shift into pre-contest mode, I add 3 HIIT sessions per week. My HIIT sessions generally consist of a high intensity movement for one minute followed by a 1 or 2-minute recovery period for a total 20-30 minutes. Here are three variations of HIIT workouts I have followed:

  • Run on a treadmill with the incline set at 7 for 1 minute, then walk 1 minute for recovery
  • Kettlebell swings for 1 minute, then rest for 2 minutes. Repeat 7-10 times leading up to total of 20-30 minutes. Your heart rate really goes up and this is an excellent way to burn fat!
  • Last but not least, 30-40 minute session on the old-fashioned Stair Stepper

Weight Training

I train 5 days a week with weights and go as heavy as I can in the off-season. During contest prep I add more volume and take less rest between sets.
  DB Military press – 4 x 12
Lateral Raise – 4-5 x 10 reps single arm raise, followed by a light set with both arms to failure
Cable Upright Rows – 4 x 12
DB Front Raises and Rear Delt Raises – 4 x 10-12 each
Wide Lat Pulldowns – 5 x 10 as heavy as possible, I need to improve my lat spread!
Close Grip T-bar rows – 4-5x10-12
Wide Seated Rows – 4-5x10-12
Bent Over Barbell Rows – 4x10-12
Straight Arm Cable Pulldown – 4x10-12
DB Military press – 4x12
Lateral Raise – 4-5x10 reps single arm raise, followed by a light set with both arms to failure
Cable Upright Rows – 4x12
DB Front Raises and Rear Delt Raises – 4 x 10-12 each
Wide Lat Pulldowns – 5 x 10 as heavy as possible, I need to improve my lat spread!
Close Grip T-bar rows – 4-5 x 10-12
Wide Seated Rows – 4-5 x 10-12
Bent Over Barbell Rows – 4 x 10-12
Straight Arm Cable Pulldown – 4 x 10-12
DB Incline Press – 4 x 10
DB Bench Press – 4-5 x 12
Cable Flyes – 4 x 10-12
Close Grip Flat DB Press – 4 x 10-12
Pushups – 3-4 sets to failure
Barbell Squats – 4-5 x 10 going at least parallel
Leg Press – 4 x 20, feet wide for 10 reps, then close for 10 more reps each set
Leg Extensions, single leg followed by double – 4 x 10-12
Straight Leg Deadlifts, partial raises followed by full – 4 x 10
Lunges – 4-5 x 10-12, variations include standard, walking, and 1 leg on bench
Straight Bar Curl – 4 x 12
DB Curls with a twist – 5 x 10
Concentration Curls – 4 x 10-12
Barbell Preacher Curls – 4 x 10-12
Rope Cable Hammer Curls – 4 x 10-12
Tricep Pressdown, overhand and underhand – 4 x 12-15 each way
DB Kickbacks or Cable Kickbacks – 4 x 10-12
Bench Dips – 4-5 x 12
» Sometimes I superset biceps and triceps, other times I’ll work one at a time.
Lisa Lachowski chest pose

Presentation Tips

Posing is extremely difficult. Make sure you take the time to learn each pose. Give the judges what they expect to see in your division.

The best tip I can give you is one that I received at my very first competition. A judge told me that when I was facing the back of the stage to remember to smile. I wondered how he could possibly know that I wasn’t smiling. Well, he said, It shows in your body. Smile and be happy that you made it up to that stage and you are going to show off all the hard work! I have never forgotten those words. Enjoy your time on stage, you have earned it!!

Mental Prep and Closing

I have had many people give me their opinion during the final stages of competition. Some are just that, opinion. It takes a strong mental state to block out all the negative opinions. Believe me, sometimes things are said that shouldn’t be said. You do have to be focused, but remember, in the end it is you against you. Never Give Up. It is your dream to live. I’ve made many friends along the way. The support of my family and friends never ceases to amaze me. I am blessed beyond measure, I am living my dream.

Lisa Lachowski at a Glance
Age: 48
Occupation: Personal Trainer, Fitness and Kettlebell Instructor
Family: Married to Joe, Puppies – Jagger: 8, Ozzy: 5
Current Residence: Niles, Ohio
Years of Training: 25
Height: 4′ 11″
Weight: 118 (Off Season), 101 (Contest)
Most Inspiring Book: It’s a small book, but A Dog’s Purpose put me to tears, I love my boys!
Hobbies: I enjoy being home, I love to cook and invent new healthy meals or snacks.
Favorite Words of Wisdom: I always tell anyone who has doubt, or has fear, whether it is to compete, to walk into the gym, to start a new fitness program, or everyday challenges of life to just put the fear behind try. Never decide not to try. You will never regret as long as you try no matter the outcome, you have already won.

Melissa Rayburn
Figure Master’s Winner Derby Festival
Sabrina Sonner
Bodybuilding to Figure to my IFBB pro card in Women’s Physique