Amateur Bodybuilder of the Week: Katherine Denes

Amateur Bodybuilder of the Week: Katherine Denes! - Pics and info and more!
  • Name: Katherine Denes
  • E-mail:
  • Age: 24
  • Where: Eugene, Oregon
  • Height: 5' 6"
  • Weight: 156 Lbs., Contest: 139 Lbs.
  • Years Bodybuilding :2
  • Favorite Bodypart: Biceps, Hamstrings, Intercostals
  • Favorite Exercise: Spider Curls, Walking Lunges, Deadlifts
  • Favorite Supplements: Champion Whey Protein, Biotest ZMA, German American Technologies Nitric Suspension, Nature's Way prenatal Multivitamin

How Did You Get Started?

I have always been an athlete, and as such, I have always followed a specific diet and workout regime. For a long time my focus had been on being toned and being thin, which was a losing battle based on my genetics/body type, but a battle that I nonetheless continued to wage for a long time.

About two years ago, a friend (who was a seasoned competitor) suggested I diet and train for a show in order to have a new focus in the gym. After some hesitation I agreed to give it a shot. Following a lot of research, I completely changed my diet, specifically my macro nutrient intake and timing of intake.

To make a long and tedious story short, I gained 37lbs in approximately 4 months. I then proceeded to diet down for the show, losing a total of 30lbs pre-contest. I won my weight class in my first show. I was immediately hooked on competing and entered a second show, taking second in a lighter weight class.

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

One of the most important things I have learned from bodybuilding is that the human body is a much more complex and sophisticated machine than I could have ever imagined. As such, its ability to attenuate, or adapt, to physiological, environmental, biochemical conditions is highly developed.

Keeping this in mind, I have found that a workout plan that includes changes in not only order of exercises, duration of exercise, weight and rep ranges, but also exercises being performed and rest between exercises is crucial for making consistent gains and avoiding plateaus. I have also found that having a good understanding of anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics has given me the knowledge to not just know what to do but why it is necessary to do certain things.

Having such an understanding has proven indispensable in designing a workout which allows me to make get the most out of my gym time. It is also important to note that I also play collegiate rugby. Since rugby involves a lot of explosive movement, my training and conditioning routine also changes to reflect the changes in my activity level during the rugby pre-season conditioning period and during the season itself.

To be brief, I incorporate a cardiovascular conditioning routine provided by the conditioning coach and I also add power lifting exercises- deadlifts, power cleans, squat variations, and lunging variations - to my weight workout as well. I do cardio everyday year round to maintain my cardiovascular conditioning and to stay lean. An overview of my current workout regime is as follows:

*Within my routine I change the exercises I perform for each body part approximately every three weeks. I also alternate between light weight/high volume, periodization, and heavy weight/low volume rep ranges.
** If anyone were to want a more detailed description or explanation of anything I do, feel free to e-mail me and I will try, to the best of my ability, to provide answers or explanations.

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What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

My diet, like my workout regime, changes according to activity level. Another important thing I have learned from bodybuilding is that everyone's body is different in the way that it utilizes macro nutrients for energy, breaks down macro nutrients to meet other cellular demands and stores macro nutrients for potential use in the future.

I have learned that because I am so active on a daily basis year round that restricting my carbohydrate intake is not an effective means to loss fat/ become lean. I have seem the best results in terms of fat loss through manipulation of my fat intake specifically, my consumption of saturated fats.

Overall, I have found that consumption of 3/2g(1.5g) protein per lb body weight, 1g low glycemic carbohydrates per lb body weight and approximately 1/5 g fat per pound of body weight is an effective ratio both on season and off season to maintain a lean physique. The quantity of each macro nutrient is calculated based on my current lean body mass, or in the case of contest prep, my target eight at weigh-in. To note, during the rugby season, my carbohydrate intake is slightly higher on practice days and the 36 hours preceding a game.

In regards to fat intake, I have found myself to be particularly sensitive to saturated fats, especially dairy products, in the sense that I feel they promote fat storage in my body. I notice significant weight loss by simply eliminating dairy products from my diet. To supplement my daily calcium intake, I not only take prenatal multivitamins, but I also eat 8-12 oz of broccoli everyday, which has been shown to be a great source of calcium as well. The fats in my diet come mainly from medium-chain-triglyceride (MCT) oils, salmon, chicken, and some peanut butter or almonds.

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

I personally feel that everyone, regardless of activity level or lifestyle, needs to take a multivitamin everyday. Reasons and evidence supporting such a statement are boundless, therefore I won't provide my own explanation. For anyone looking to makes gains in size and strength, it is essential to use a protein supplement.

It is physiologically impossible to make any gains without adequate protein intake. I know from personal experience that to consume enough protein to meet my own daily personal requirements from whole foods alone, would be virtually impossible for me to do. I have found that using a good pure whey protein supplement provides me with an easy and flexible way to meet my daily protein requirements.

A pure whey protein supplement can be used in cooking, as a pure protein drink, as a meal replacement by adding other nutrients to it, and the list goes on and on. It is through sleep that one's body not only cleanses itself, but repairs itself, and most importantly, grows. It is during sleep that the body releases growth hormone, rids itself of toxins, and repairs damaged cells and tissues.

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For anyone looking to grow in size and strength, adequate sleep every night is crucial for such gains to occur. ZMA is an amazing supplement that provides one with two important ions that the body needs and is often deficient in, zinc and magnesium. In the aspartate form, these two ions are efficiently absorbed by the body in the evening, promoting rest and relaxation.

For me, ZMA helps me sleep deeply and soundly every night, so that everyday I wake up feeling great. ZMA has proven to be very helpful during contest prep. When the body is in a severely glucose/glycogen depleted state, it is extremely difficult to fall asleep. At the same time, it is in such a state that the body needs adequate time to rest and heal itself. ZMA provides me with a natural way to get the rest my body needs.

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

Bodybuilding has changed my life. The physical and mental discipline required to be a successful bodybuilder has permeated all aspects of my life. Such discipline has brought me success not only in the gym, but also in the classroom, on the field, and in everything else that I do. I will always, for the rest of my life, live, eat and train as a bodybuilder.

Bodybuilding has given me a reason to embrace rather than fight against the genetics God has given me. It has provided me with an arena in which my discipline and hard work are appreciated and applauded, not ridiculed. I am lucky that I train in a gym... that by demonstrating my commitment and dedication just feel that bodybuilding is something I was born to do, and is something I will always do.

Bodybuilding has also given me an increased awareness of my body and my surrounding environment. I have become much more in tune with the way my body communicates its needs to me. I am much more aware of the response to not only what I put in my body, but also the way my body responds to the surrounding environment. I have seen and experienced the incredible elasticity and pliability of the human body, which has instilled in me much respect for the way I treat not only myself, but others around me.

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

As for future plans, I will continue to compete for as long as I am able. I plan on competing at nationals next year, and if I end up earning a pro card someday that's great. Most of all, I would like to show not just women, but the general population that women can be strong, athletic, muscular AND feminine.

Not all women in the sport of bodybuilding are extreme athletes. The amount of criticism and ridicule I receive on a daily basis regarding my physique is astounding. This is not to say that people don't have positive things to say, because they do. I just never expected the number of looks, stares, and comments to be as frequent and as many as they are.

I love being strong, muscular and healthy. I know I can't single-handedly change the gender roles and identities that have been prescribed by society for centuries, but I would like to have a chance to show girls and women that being strong and muscular is not bad or weird, it's just different than what one is accustomed to seeing.

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What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

I am still new to the sport of bodybuilding and have much more to learn. Aside from learning what not to do and what does not work, my limited experience has taught me one very important thing - don't just do things for the sake of doing them; be aware of what your doing and why you are choosing to do it.

When making decisions about lifting, diet, nutrition educate yourself so the decisions one makes are smart. My two year transformation has demonstrated to me the amazing potential of the human body. I want to use diet and training as a tool to take my body to fullest potential and I would hope that everyone else feels the same.

Thus, each decision regarding exercise and nutrition should be well though out and thoroughly researched. Never forget that you get only one body; treat it like the temple that it is.

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

Monica Brant has been an inspiration for me since I first came to know of her at age 16. She has really shown the world that strong and muscular women are beautiful women. I also love Victor Martinez and Troy Alves, because I love the symmetry, proportionality and aesthetics of their physiques. Their size and shape, to me, is not overwhelming.