At the age of 44 I was rapidly gaining weight and didn’t know why. I went to the doctor for answers and was shocked to find out that I was going through menopause! I knew that I had to do something fast to get my weight back under control and live a healthier lifestyle.
So, I joined Beechmont Fitness Club and did cardio for an hour a day, three times a week for an entire year. My weight decreased and my confidence increased, but I still wasn’t content with my overall appearance. I needed more shape. To do this I needed to add muscle! That, however, required lifting weights and I had no idea what to do. I asked a friend at the gym, Tom, for advice.
Tom advised me to cut back on cardio, start lifting heavier weights, and start using Beverly International supplements. I did some research and found Tom’s advice for gaining muscle was right on the money. For inspiration, Tom also suggested that I attend a bodybuilding show.
When I saw the Figure competitors step on stage for the first time at the NPC Northern Kentucky show, I was amazed! I wanted to learn what they did to be able to get in that kind of shape! They had a lot of muscle, very little fat, and looked stunning! I later found out that it required as much mental as physical strength to attain their physique.
I think the “conceive, believe, achieve” mindset is essential for anything that you want to accomplish in life, including a competitive physique. You need to dream, visualize yourself in that dream, and strive to make it reality. There are times you might be the only one who believes in yourself with an image of how you want to look. If you can sustain that mindset, you can achieve your goals and grow stronger through the process.
Because of bodybuilding, I am mentally the strongest I have ever been in my life! I went on to become a Pro Figure competitor in the NGA, WNBF, ANBF and nationally qualified in the NPC. I own and operate Cutting Edge Posing Suits, LLC where we design custom made posing suits, write meal plans, and give posing classes. I also teach preschool and created the “Fit for Life” program at the Goddard School in Anderson Township, Ohio. My program introduces children to a healthy lifestyle with fitness and good nutritional decisions. Most of my achievements are due to the mindset that I learned through bodybuilding, which has been an ongoing journey that originated from a desire to lose weight and be healthy.
Here’s a look at how I achieved the following contest accomplishments:
2014: NGA Kentucky Natural Classic – 1st Open Figure, 1st Masters Figure, Overall Winner;
2015: NGA Kentucky Bluegrass Bodybuilding Championships – 1st Pro Figure;
2016: NGA Kentucky Natural Classic – 1st Pro Figure; NGA Pro/Am Western Kentucky Natural – 1st Pro Figure, Overall Pro Figure; NGA Bluegrass Bodybuilding Championships – 1st Pro Figure, 1st Pro Masters
Leg Extensions 5x10
Leg Press Machine 5x10
Bench Press 5x10
Pec Deck 5x10
Dumbbell Flyes 5x10
Cable Cross-Over 5x10
Seated Rows 5x10
Lat Pulldowns 5x10
Reverse Pec Deck 5x10
Thursday Arms & Shoulders
Dumbbell Curls 5x10
Dumbbell Hammers 5x10
Cable V-Bar Pushdowns 5x10
Rope Pressdowns 5x10
Dumbbell Raises (Forward) 5x10
Dumbbell Raises (Side) 5x10
Friday Legs (second time in the week with lighter weights, higher reps)
Calf Raises 5x12
Seated Leg Press 5x12
Leg Extensions 5x12
Glute Kickbacks 5x12
Saturday Cardio Yardwork “grass cutting cardio” for 2.5 to 3 hours
Abs (every other day)
Hanging Leg Raises (to failure) Incline bench sit-ups (to failure) Ab wheel (to failure)
I am a preschool teacher and move around all day. Because of that, I don’t need to do cardio until I’m 30 days out from a competition. I found that I tend to eat more when I do too much cardio, which defeats the purpose. I use the elliptical 3 times a week for 20 minutes each time on a moderate tension, steep incline setting. I rely more on yardwork as a means for conditioning. I live on one acre of land and cut my grass with a push mower. It’s a great workout that provides results, while also being productive.
Nutrition & Supplements
Daily Meal Plan
In the off-season I eat many small “meals” throughout the day. Here is a typical meal plan I use between competitions to build muscle while keeping my bodyfat relatively low:
Meal 2 (8:30 am): 2 brown rice cakes, 2 tbsp almond butter, and a small banana
Meal 3 (10:30 am): 1/4 cup of nuts
Meal 4 (11:30 am): Salad with chicken, shredded cheese, and low fat dressing Meal 5 (1:30 pm): Beef jerky
Meal 6 (3:30 pm): My Chewy UMP Granola Bars
Meal 7 (5:30 pm): Burrito bowl made with venison, beans, shredded cheese, and plain Greek yogurt
Meal 8 (6:30 pm): Protein bar (during workout)
Meal 9 (8:30 pm): 1 scoop vanilla UMP, 12 oz. almond milk, blended with ice (it’s an essential post-workout meal) Meal 10 (10:00 pm): Steak with broccoli Water Intake: I drink about 1 ½ gallons of water each day, because of my active lifestyle.
Ultimate Muscle Protein – 1 scoop at meal 1 and 9 and also the main ingredient of my Chewy Granola Bars (meal 6). (Daily total: 3 scoops to maintain and build muscle, reduce body fat, and satisfy a sweet tooth.)
Lean Out – 1 capsule with meals 1 through 9. (Daily total: 9 capsules to reduce body fat.)
Muscularity – 3 capsules with meals 1, 4, and 7. (Daily total: 9 capsules to maintain muscle mass, during my strict dieting as the contest approaches.)
Density – 3 tablets with meals 1, 4, and 7. (Daily total: 9 tablets to improve gains and acquire that rock, hard, solid muscle look.)
Glutamine Select – 2 scoops with water after every workout for muscle recovery and growth, and/or for a tasty treat when cutting calories.
Fit Tabs – 2 tablets with meals 1 and 7. (Daily total: 4 tablets to ensure that I am getting the necessary vitamins and minerals that my body requires to perform at its best.)
Joint Care – 3 capsules with meal 5 as a precautionary measure to maintain healthy joints.
Meal prep tips:
Kai Greene (IFBB professional bodybuilder) said, “Plan and preparation prevents poor performance.” When I prep for the week, I like to cook multiple things at one time. I get more accomplished that way and it’s a lot easier. I’ll have something cooking in the oven, on the stove top, in the crock pot, and mixing in a bowl. Then, I stock my freezer and I’m set for the week! I make it fun by blasting music!
Wendy’s Chewy UMP Granola Bars
2 1/2 cup oats
4 scoops Vanilla UMP
1 cup sweetened coconut
½ cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup blueberry Craisins
¼ cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325°
Line 9 x 9 pan with parchment paper and spray with olive oil
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl
Stir in wet ingredients
Press down firmly in the pan (use a glass cup to roll firmly)
Bake for approximately 40 mins
Make sure to let cool in pan
Cut into bars, serve, and enjoy!
When you first decide to compete, I believe you should seek out a posing instructor to help you understand the basic comparison poses. Then, do your research! Watch YouTube videos. Check out contest photos and online images of the top competitors in your category. Then, analyze everything they do. Try to emulate their positions/poses in front of the mirror and make minute changes to see what works best for your physique. Keep practicing and adjusting as your physique changes throughout prep. Also, make sure someone critiques you throughout the process. A second opinion is very important, especially when you don’t have the use of a mirror as an aid. Last, but not least, don’t forget to exude confidence on stage! It makes a huge difference in your overall appearance!
Bodybuilding is a very difficult yet gratifying lifestyle. It will take you through a journey that will test your limitations, both physically and mentally. You must to be able to set yourself apart from others, especially in the way you think. Then, with a strong mindset, you can achieve your dreams not only in bodybuilding but in life!
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