The Woman of Steele

NPC Mid-States Muscle Classic

By: Sue Steele Bergman, 1st Place Masters
Magazine 7 #1

My first exposure to bodybuilding came when I was just 7 years old. I was watching a mixed couple’s competition on TV. I remember saying to my mom, " That’s so cool you can see the inside of their bodies from the outside!" I can’t tell you who the competitors were, but the image of their strong muscular bodies stayed with me throughout the years.

Now, nearly thirty years later I was determined to see if I could get as shredded as I remembered those competitors from that long ago TV show were. Since I’d seen one amazing success story after another in the Beverly Magazine I thought I’d give the contact them via their web site a try.

A few days later I received a nutrition plan in the mail from Steven Wade. For a personal trainer like myself I thought I’d been eating fairly scientifically sound. That is until I received the meal plan! The suggested combinations of foods and supplements made sense and the diet actually sounded appealing.

I picked a date to reenter the world of competitive Figure, November 11, 2000. (I had competed in the 80’s but that was then and this is now.) But to add a little more excitement to my life I had another competitive venture scheduled for a month earlier – a 24 hour adventure race called the Wild Onion Urban Eco Challenge (composed of 8 consecutive events: running, biking orienteering, coasteering, repelling, canoeing, kayaking and inline skating) October 6 and 7th.Talk about jumping into the fire with both feet first!

Sue Steele Bergman 1st place
Sue Steele Bergman at the NPC Mid-States Muscle Classic, 1st Place Masters 35-39

Sixteen weeks from the bodybuilding competition and 12 weeks from the Eco Challenge I sent in a new profile with my updated goals and current nutrition program. This time I really presented Steven with a challenge – I needed to add muscle, reduce body fat and train for an endurance competition – all at the same time!

Steven once again devised the plan. He told me we were going to have to watch very closely so I would get enough calories. Sounded good to me but was it possible to add calories and still get ripped for my Figure show?

Sunday August 6th
I started my food and training diary. I weighed 115 pounds at 12 percent body fat. Not bad, but I wanted to be as lean as possible for the Figure contest.

At my next weigh in 30 days later I weighed 116 and had dropped down to 9% body fat, even with all the extra endurance training. Somehow I had managed to gain more than 4 pounds of lean mass while losing more than 3 pounds of body fat! Steven rewarded my good progress by adding one ounce of meat to each meat portion and one tablespoon of whipping cream to every shake. The best thing was that I felt really, really strong and saw my definition improve daily!

From my training diary: August 30th
 Woke at 4 a.m. Protein shake with 2 Tablespoons of whipping cream
 5:10 a.m. biked 1.5 miles to kayak lesson
5:30 – 7:30 a.m. kayak lesson on Lake Michigan, had fun! Learned how to rescue, be dumped over in the water and get out of boat, and paddle, paddle, paddle!

Steven gauged my progress through photos I e-mailed him every two weeks and body composition measurements I sent each month. What a surprise when I had to tell him I’d broken my wrist while taking a rollerblading lesson. I had to drop out of the Eco Challenge race but I still intended to compete in the Figure show. The problem was the cast would be removed less than two weeks before the contest.

I had already trained biceps that morning and taken a spinning class so I didn’t feel too bad. But, just when everyone in the gym thought I was going to take a break from lifting, due to my injured arm, I showed up in the gym the next day to do cardio. The doctor told me I could push and pull with the cast but not with my hand. While plodding away on the elliptical trainer I looked around at all the machines I rarely used before and began formulating a plan of attack. I could see that these machines held the key to training chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders and most difficult of all my back   with one arm in a cast!

Sue outside pose by foutain

Eight Weeks Out from contest:

I no longer had to worry about the Eco Challenge – all I had to do was train for the Figure show. I was worried about my training, but not about my diet. At the 10-week mark I still weighed 115 but had increased the size in my shoulders one full inch and decreased my waist size half an inch, my body fat was now 8%. I certainly couldn’t complain, except for the cast.

In order to train back I had to hook my elbows around a lat pull down bar and do an exercise called a shrug down with as much weight as possible. I used heavily assisted pull-ups and close grip pull-ups to finish my abbreviated back routine. My back was looking good but could this kind of training hold on to any size for another 6 weeks?

Posing was another obstacle

Try doing a symmetrical double bicep pose with a white log on your arm! Funny? Yes, I thought so! My posing coach (former Mr. Illinois Rommy Abdalah) was impressed I was getting through the mandatories practice almost as well as before the cast.

at this point I was four weeks out and had started to experiment with an ‹Ultimate Muscle Protein cake recipe’. I was looking for a way to have something solid before bed – but not eat another chicken breast. I got the idea from reading the Ultimate Muscle Protein crepe recipe and an Ultimate Muscle Protein pudding another Beverly client had made.

I ran the idea past Steven. The ingredients I proposed to use for the cake had the same nutrient content as a shake so he said to go for it. How perfect! I mixed Ultimate Muscle Protein with enough water to form the consistency of a batter, put the dish in the microwave for 3 minutes. Voila, a cake was born. I sent it off to Steven and he e-mailed back; “I did try the Ultimate Muscle Protein cake. I couldn’t believe that it cooked up like that!”

Another advantage is you can mix and eat the Ultimate Muscle Protein "cake" in the same bowl it is cooked in.
"Ultimate Muscle Protein Cake" Recipe:
2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein in a small microwavable dish.
1/3 cup warm water
Mix until thoroughly blended. (Should be the consistency of batter or pudding)
Topping: 2 TBS whipped whipping cream w/ 1 packet of equal and a drop of vanilla, 3 sliced strawberries.

For the chocolate cake I found that mixing 1 TBS Butterbuds liquid (I mixed from the Butterbuds powder mix) and 6 packets Equal or Splenda, makes an excellent topping along with nuts for the chocolate "cake."

More recipes found here:

Just 2 weeks to go.
Steven switched my protein drink to Muscle Provider (which by the way does not make a cake like the Ultimate Muscle Protein due to the lack of fats). Steven also added Muscularity to each meal. That Monday, October 30th, the doctor removed my cast and said to take it easy.

The final week I weighed 112 and was trying desperately to get my legs to come in. I followed Steven’s meal plan to the letter. Every day I went to the gym twice a day (except the final three days.) My body was changing daily. My final body fat via calipers revealed 6%.

The day of the show I traveled 1 hour and 15 minutes from downtown Chicago to Rockford, Illinois to compete for the first time in 13 years. The 2000 NPC Mid-States Muscle Classic was my final destination. In a sea of over 100 competitors I registered and waited to be weighed in.

Pumped and ready I stepped on stage in the Masters 35 – 39 class. I smiled lots and posed cast free. The hard work was done now all I had to do was wait till the night show for the results.

Thirteen years I had waited for this moment, I inched towards the middle of the stage as the 5th and 4th place competitors collected their trophies. Then 3rd, then 2nd. Finally I heard my name called last, "Sue Steele Bergman". I won first place in the Women’s Masters 35-39. Nothing else mattered the brownies I had waiting for me, not the cast, but the fact that I stuck to the nutrition plan and it paid off!

I had entered the competition just to place. Needless to say I was ecstatic to have won! I can’t thank Steven Wade enough for his meticulous attention to my changing training and diet! I stayed well connected Steven via e-mail and phone. I plan to visit the center very soon to meet Steven who helped me realize my fitness dream, 13 years after it had begun.

Diet During Cross Training for Eco Challenge
Meal #1
2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein
½ Banana
1 TBS Heavy Whipping Cream
1 TBS Flax Oil
Coffee with 1 more TBS Heavy Cream
Meal #2
7 ounces lean turkey breast, tuna, or chicken
1 Granny Smith Apple
Meal #3
7 oz. chicken (before cooking)
8-oz. sweet potato or 1.25 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups salad w/ 2 oz. cucumbers, or 1 cup green beans, or 1 cup frozen spinach
Meal #4
2 Ultimate Muscle Protein Size
3 TBS whipping cream or 1 TBS Safflower Oil
Meal #5
7 oz. Chicken or occasionally sirloin or round steak (or other lean meat)
16 oz. package of frozen spinach
Meal #6 – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday only
Repeat any of the above meals or drinks

NNM 7 #1