Dedication Commitment and Desire My Recipe for Success

By: Kristina Henn
Magazine 9 #4

I was at a bar when I saw my first fitness competition. I looked up at the wide screen tuned to ESPN and thought,"I can do that!" Of course, everyone laughed at me because my only "sport" all through school was marching band.

3 National Qualifiers 2 National Competitions

I started working out in college to combat the "Freshman 15" that I gained from the dorm cafeterias (soft-serve ice cream at each meal is NOT the way to keep a girlish figure). When I graduated from college, I decided to train for my first triathlon and joined a new gym.

At my new gym, I made friends with a female bodybuilder, and we started training together. My focus changed. I had been training primarily for running and as a triathlete. Now weights became my prime focus. I challenged myself each week to increase the weights I had used the previous workout and quickly gained strength. The idea of competing in fitness was becoming a realistic possibility. I signed up for some gymnastic classes as the idea grew. Still, I kept coming up with reasons not to compete. Finally, in April of 2002 my friend and gymnastics coach, Gloria DeCoste, entered her first show. This inspired me further. I knew I could probably go on making excuses forever, but it was time that I commit myself to do a show. I chose the NPC Central States five months away. My original intention was to do just one show. I placed a close second at the Central States, and caught "the competition bug"!

I entered four more competitions during the next twelve months, three national qualifiers and two national competitions.

When I finally made that commitment to compete, my friend and training partner, DeWayde Perry M.D., recommended I contact BI for my diet. I have to admit I was scared away by the supplement recommendations. So, I went out and hired a nutritionist who gave me a diet without any supplements. I slowly lost weight, almost all of which was the muscle. The contest was approaching, and so far I’d lost most of the muscle I’d been training four years to build, and I was still not lean enough to compete. Then I went to a local supplement store, Muscle Zone USA, and met with the owner, Barry Everingham. Just like Dr. Perry, Barry also recommended I start using BI supplements. OK, there must be something to this. Two people who I respect the most both independently recommended Beverly. I gave them a try, and it made an amazing difference in my physique! Now, I use BI products exclusively.

Kristina Henn on stage front pose
My intention was to do one show. I placed a close Second at the Central States and have had "the bug" ever since! In my first year of competition, I have competed at 3 national qualifiers and 2 national competitions.
Competition Highlights:
2002 NPC Central States: Second place in Fitness Division, Fourth place in Figure Division
2003 NPC Michigan: 2nd place in Fitness Division, 3rd place in Figure Division
2003 FAP Motor City: 3rd place in Fitness Division
2003 NPC Jr. Nationals: 4th place in Fitness Tall Division, 11th place in Figure Tall Division
2003 NPC Team Universe: 2nd place in Fitness Tall Division

Because I’m a chocoholic, chocolate Muscle Provider is my favorite supplement. It allows me to get my daily chocolate fix while prepping for a show. BI products are the only supplements that taste good without all the added sugar. My advisor, Mark Ritter, tailored a program just for me and always answers my emails quickly.

I train at Conrad’s Gymnastics Academy in Farmington Hills and Lifetime Fitness.

Kristina outdoor photo shoot next to Michigan tree
I love exercise and being active, especially outdoors on a nice day. It makes me feel good about myself, helps my physique, and gives me more energy.

Because I’m a chocoholic, chocolate Muscle Provider is my favorite supplement. It allows me to get my daily chocolate fix while prepping for a show.

I rely on my husband, Karl, to help me stay disciplined and focused. He monitors my diet, does the grocery shopping and weight trains with me frequently to help push me harder. He even helps me design my suits, costumes and gives advice on routines!

My Favorites:

  • Muscle Provider chocolate: It’s a great way to get a chocolate fix and get protein without eating yet another chicken breast
  • Super Pak: It has everything in it so you don’t have to worry about getting all your vitamins, and I haven’t been ill one day since taking them
  • Ultra 40 Liver tablets & Mass Amino: They help maintain muscle mass, and the liver pills even taste pretty good when chewed in the last few weeks before competition

Carbs Lesson Learned

In the past year, I have learned that fat is not necessarily bad, nor is red meat. Also, I have learned the difference between good carbs and bad carbs (with respect to glycemic index), and what one serving of carbs really is. (One serving = 20-30 grams of carbs.). It’s much smaller than what I was used to!

I think most people trying to lean out struggle with 2 issues:
1. Lack of discipline (alcohol, snacking on junk food all day): People need to understand that long-term results require a lifestyle change. 2. Over-training: I see women spending hours on the treadmill and men spending hours in the weight room every day and then they get frustrated when they don’t get that 6-pack of abs. Over-training reduces muscle gain and causes the body to retain water around the overworked muscles. The best thing to do is follow a moderate diet and limit oneself to 1 hour (weights and cardio) in the gym each day.

Here is an outline of my training schedule:

  • Weight training: I lift heavy, each muscle group once per week. I do 3 sets of 8-12 reps per exercise and 3-4 exercises per major muscle group (chest, back, arms, shoulders, legs). For legs and glutes, I lift lighter weights and do 15-20 reps to tighten without gaining too much size
  • Cardio: In the off-season and early pre-contest weeks, I do HIIT (high intensity interval training) on Stairmaster / treadmill / elliptical, stadium sprints or plyometrics for 20-30 minutes 2-3 times a week. Pre-competition I walk on a treadmill on an incline for 60 minutes each day and use routine practice as the high intensity portion of training. I stretch every day for 5-15 minutes after cardio
  • In a typical week, I do gymnastics every day and alternate days of cardio and weights. Pre-competition, I do cardio and gymnastics every day, and add weight training 3 days a week

Advice on diet

I am frequently asked for advice on diet. What I tell people is basic; no alcohol, no sugar, no bread, low carbs, and high protein. For people closer to their first competition, I suggest contacting BI directly for diet advice.

Commitment a Must

Commitment is essential. Pick a date for competition and register for it early, so you have no choice but to follow your diet. Also, find substitutes for your favorite cheat foods. I use chocolate Muscle Provider for my daily chocolate fix. I chew sugar-free gum after meals as a dessert. I drink Crystal Light for a treat when I’m craving sweets. And I carry a full water bottle EVERYWHERE.

Personal interests

I work as an automotive engineer and am completing my MBA. I have 2 cats, 1 husband, and no kids (yet).

In our free time, my husband and I like to train at the gym, watch University of Michigan football (GO BLUE!), visit with family, do home improvement projects, watch movies and read. Some other favorite pastimes are driving my new Mazda Miata (the Zoom-zoom commercials are true!) and vacationing anywhere with a beach and a warm sun. My favorite cheat food is anything with lots of ice cream and chocolate.

I love exercise and being active, especially outdoors on a nice day. It makes me feel good about myself, helps my physique, and gives me more energy. I even sleep better at night now that I wok out regularly than I ever did before. My athletic hobbies include: running (I’ve done 2 half-marathons), triathlons, swimming, rollerblading, and kickboxing. Someday, I hope to do the Ironman triathlon. But that will have to wait until I hang up my Fitness dance sneakers and platform shoes. In addition to athletics, I’m an instrumental "junkie". I play alto saxophone as my main instrument, but I also play/have played: piano, tenor sax, soprano sax, oboe, flute, hand bells, carillon (bell tower) and clarinet.

Aside from fitness, my ultimate goal is to strike and maintain a healthy balance between my varying interests: family and friends, career, fitness and athletics, and music.

My advisor, Mark Ritter, tailored a program just for me and always answers my emails quickly.

Appreciation for my success

I’d like to thank my husband, Karl, who has been my diet conscience, my tan-painter, my workout-motivator, my financial sponsor, and my sanity coach through the whole process. I’d also like to thank Gloria DeCoste, my coach, choreographer, fellow competitor, sponsor and friend. Between the two of you, you’ve worked as hard for my success as I have!