I've been active in sports and interested in working out ever since I was a teenager. My workouts primarily consisted of cardio with a smattering of weights. I went through the high impact aerobics craze, step aerobics, and tae-bo and ran the block often too. I was very lean- sometimes my mom telling me I was too thin. What I did not have was a lot of muscle! I was consistent, however. In fact, I did the same tae-bo tape for 2 straight years. I DID IT every Monday and Friday for as long as it held up in the VCR (It had been repaired 3 times and I even knew it with my back to the T.V.) I really needed to learn some new exercises.
And the opportunity came when I received an invitational brochure to visit a local gym. I decided to sign up and work with a trainer 2 times per week for ½ hour while continuing to do my cardio at home. After a few months a trainer asked me if I had ever competed. I asked, "Competed in what?" When he said "figure competition", I thought, "What is a figure competition?" Several weeks later he mentioned it again and brought in some information on a local contest in which his girlfriend was competing. My first thought was "This isn"t for me." I was well past 40 and had no clue what it was all about. I went home and told my husband, just for laughs. He said, "We have no time in our schedules as it is with 3 young children and our careers." We were really crazy nuts busy as it was, and I agreed!
But then I started to change my thinking. Wow! This would really be different and I am working out already so why not try it? A good friend (and trainer) from the gym hooked me up with one of her clients who was a figure competitor to learn more. The more I learned the worse it got. The more intense workouts and precise nutritional requirements were bad enough but when I learned I'd have to shave all body hair, even my arms – I was horrified and returned to the gym on Monday to tell my trainer, "No Way!!!!!" First, how would my arm hair grow back? And all that weighing of food sounded neurotic. But, my trainer reassured me to just eat like I usually do and I would be fine. He reminded me that this is all about having fun and showing your kids what you can do. He talked me into it, I would do it!
"I love the Super Pak. I used to take an over the counter one-a-day multi vitamin, but only got about an eighth of the vitamins and minerals I needed to support my body and my health. I don't take a lot of supplements, I believe more in whole foods, but I don't go without the Super Pak and the Ultra Size. To all of my friends who do take supplements, I recommend only Beverly products. I am actually buying a Super Pak today to give to a friend."
"Love the Quadracarn!!! I've been taking it religiously for 3 weeks now and love the energy and overall feeling I'm getting from this product. Note that I started at 14% bodyfat and am currently 7% and have done this in about 16 months. Quadracarn is a good product that I have added to my arsenal."
It was 8 weeks prior to the competition. I still refused to weigh my food, but learned I could just measure my portions by "a handful of this and another of that". Then came the posing. I found a gentleman in the area that was teaching figure posing and I took a few lessons with him before the competition. This was interesting, being taught by a man how to pose like women in figure. Competition day was not like anything I ever imagined in my lifetime! I could never explain until you do your first figure show. I placed 8th and was happy when it was over. I think I enjoyed it, but was unsure if I would ever compete again.
Six months later I was at it again, training to compete. This time I had a friend who was also competing and we trained together. It was definitely more fun doing it with someone else. We had a great time. I built muscle for the first time and really transformed my shape. I even received first place in the show. You would have thought that I got the bug, but I really had no desire or pressure to compete again anytime soon. I was content with keeping up with my regular training on Monday and Fridays with my trainer and enjoying life.
A year had passed and I decided to revisit the figure scene. This time I knew what I needed and went about it with much more precision. To make the gains I needed physique-wise I researched, then called Beverly International. A friendly consultant asked questions then guided me in choosing the supplements that would personally help me achieve my goals.
Now, I really started to see improvement. I entered and competed in the open for height and masters for age categories in three contests. I came out of each contest with a first place in one category and a second in another. I also received my figure pro card that year, 2009. Here's how I went about it.DIET
I eat pretty clean year round and only fluctuate 5 or 6 lbs from my competition weight. I really can lose weight fast, so it is important for me to keep up on my calories by eating every 2 to 2 ½ hours when in precontest mode.
Breakfast: ½ cup oatmeal made with water, cinnamon, blueberries and walnuts, along with 8 oz of pasteurized liquid egg whites and a little Muscle Provider or UMP.
Meal 2: 5-6 oz turkey burger with 2 tomato slices, horseradish or mustard and 4 oz of sweet potato with fresh green vegetable.
Meal 3: 5 oz grilled chicken with artichokes, tomatoes, some shredded carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes, cranberries in the off-season and walnuts. Dressing consists of rice vinegar, lemon, lime juice and herb seasonings. Sometimes I'll add 3-4 oz of sweet potato.
Meal 4: Beverly protein shake − ½ banana, UMP chocolate and Muscle Provider chocolate mixed in a 50:50 ratio with water and ice.
Meal 5: fish (usually tilapia with fresh salsa and a little rice vinegar for taste), fresh green vegetable − broccoli, green beans or asparagus.
Meal 6: 4-5 oz turkey rolled up with romaine lettuce.
Meal 7: Always before bed 1.5 scoops Chocolate UMP mixed into a pudding with heavy whipping cream. The last week before competition I eliminate the cream. I let this sit in the refrigerator about ½ hour before eating. What a treat and a great chocolate fix!!
I may mix the order a bit for variety but these are often the foods I eat when preparing for competition.
Every morning − Super Pak. Bodybuilding or not; everyone needs to take a good multivitamin for optimal health! But it is especially important when eliminating dairy products for competition.
With meals − Mass aminos is my choice for muscle building. I have really seen a change in my delts and even more muscle definition in my abs.
Pre workout and during workout – I drink Glutamine Select plus BCAAs. I NEVER WORKOUT WITHOUT THIS − plain water just does not cut it. This is so refreshing and gives me so much energy when I sip it between sets. I also drink Glutamine Select during my cardio.
Post workout − I use Muscle Provider (vanilla) ½ scoop and ½ scoop UMP in a smoothie with ½ banana, 4 strawberries, ice and water. (I'll add pineapple and skim milk in the off season) − what a delicious creamy treat! I have tried a lot of protein powders and post work out drinks and none have been as tasty as Beverly. See bevnut.com Recipes for some great recipes − I did! You will never go back to any other proteins once you have tasted the best! I have recommended Beverly products to so many of my fellow figure competitors and have shared the Beverly Goo with them and they love it!
In-between meals: Muscle Provider shakes ice, water and protein powder.
½ hour before bed: Beverly ZMA − to improve muscle strength and anabolic hormone levels along with sleep. Real important!... Then ½ hour later before getting into bed to prevent catabolic breakdown of muscle I eat UMP protein pudding with heavy whipping cream YUM !!!! You never feel like you are deprived or dieting with this treat!
I do cardio 2-3 days per week for 50 minutes. My favorite cardio is Tae-bo and kick boxing. I also run steps and sprints at the track, weather permitting. On a bad weather day, I love to climb hills on the treadmill for 20-30 minutes. I play on a USTA tennis team which keeps me in shape also!
I work with my trainer on Mondays and Fridays for 1 hour sessions with emphasis on the legs and glutes. I need to work my legs more often, since they are my weakest body part. I love squats and the way they work those large muscles of the gluteus and quads. My trainer keeps me motivated with other moves such as pulling or pushing a sled with weights, squatting on a high platform with a heavy kettle bell strapped to my waist or flipping a large doughnut around the gym!
On the other days I work out in my home gym. I usually do 3-4 exercises per body part, 4 sets and 12 reps and always try to vary my workouts by increasing the weight lifted, doing negatives or drop sets to really get a good burn. I try to keep my workout sessions to about 60 to 70 minutes not including any cardio.
Presentation is of utmost importance in figure. You may have a "shapely figure", but if you do not know how to show it, no one will know it! The secretary at my dental office once gave me a tip. She said, "Look at getting on stage as if you are an actress". I am pretty subdued most of the time, but now when I get on stage I take on a different persona. Practice posing and quarter turns 4-6 weeks out and hold the poses for 1 minute or more. This will get you in even better shape and create muscle memory. Start practicing in front of the mirror and then without it.
Make sure you get a good suit in color and fit. Have your make up done by a make-up artist at the local department store. Most are willing to help you and it is always good to learn how to do your own make-up and eyelashes especially if you will be traveling. Get a fresh haircut the week before competition and highlights if needed. Judges always look at appearance and how well you present the whole package for figure. Do a final practice run posing with your make-up, suit and heels a few days before the show. Most of all don’t forget to smile!
As a general tip if you plan on competing again keep notes of everything that you do from your diet to your workout routine, especially for the last week. Keep your preparation list (with dates) such as hair, waxing and tanning, so that you can reference them for a future competition. You may decide to tweak a few things so write them down right after your competition before you forget. I also record my weight each day several weeks before competition to compare where I was at last competition at certain time frames. My final measurements are taken a few days after the competition to compare what gains I have made in my physique.
I thank God every day for the support of my husband and family who enable me to do something I love. My husband and I have a great time traveling to the competitions; it gives us some "alone" time. I never imagined going out of my local area to compete let alone taking a plane cross country to do so. I also have finally gotten used to doing some other things too: weighing my food and now I even like my arms with no hair too! So, I guess figure competition agrees with me. I love the challenge, the friends I have met and above all else feeling great about my body and general health.
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