Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Sara Bedrossian

Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Sara Bedrossian! - Pics and info and more!

How Did You Get Started?

From age 4, I studied dance was the major focus of my life. If I wasn't in dance class I was probably at home dancing in my room. I took my first aerobics class at 11. When I was young I really liked looking at fitness books and practicing all the exercises in them. I also loved watching all those workout shows that used to be on ESPN during the day time.

When I got to college I started working out in a gym for the first time. I immediately found my way into the weight room, but was very sporadic about it. My last year in school, I decided I wanted to put my dance skills to use. I took a class to help me prepare for an aerobics instructor certification (AFAA). As soon as I started teaching I knew I loved it so much I'd be doing it forever.

I got certified and began working as a personal trainer and eventually decided to get my degree in Exercise Science. Once I completed that I took a job at a large insurance company at a fantastic fitness facility for the company's employees. I ran a lot of 5k's and even did a half marathon, but I kept seeing these fitness magazines that intrigued me. What sealed the deal for me was Oxygen Magazine. The girls featured in it-looked so amazing, and I thought... I think I could do that.

So I set my sights on a figure competition. I began seriously training for it in April 2007, but did not tell anyone about my goal. I wanted to see first how my body would change. The competition was in October. By the time July hit, strangers were stopping me to ask if I was competing. It felt great! So I figured there was no reason not to go for it, right?

Sara Bedrossian
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Sara Bedrossian.

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

Since I teach group exercise classes for a living I didn't focus on doing a whole lot of cardio. I would run 2-3 times a weeks about 3-6 miles at a time. I was already lean, and my goal was to add muscle while maintaining my leanness. I trained using a split routine 6 days a week.

I'd rest one to two days and repeat. I was very focused on getting stronger. I lifted as heavy as I could in a 6-10 rep range. Normally I would do 3-4 sets of each exercise with about 3-4 different exercises per body part. For back and legs, there would be 5 to 6 different exercises. I made some amazing improvements and went from doing 0 unassisted pull ups to doing 8! It felt like such an accomplishment to reach those goals. I never missed a workout. It was my first priority.

Now I have so much muscle my goal is just to maintain and not grow much more. Figure seems to be headed in a softer smaller direction, so my routine has relaxed quite a bit. I no longer lift as heavy as possible. I lift to get a good pump in my muscles and work on my detail. I focus more on back and shoulders and less on chest and arms and legs.

Sara Bedrossian
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Sara Bedrossian.

What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

Because I only eat fish and eggs as my whole food protein sources, I think it has been easier for me to stay leaner over the years. Eating only fish and eggs definitely makes for a repetitive diet, especially when competing, but I am used to it and it works well for me. I am also a vegetable lover. Even before I started competing I would come home after work and make an egg white omelet with an entire bag of frozen broccoli.

I have always been very much into eating as nutritiously as possible. I feel it is a waste to eat something that isn't packed with good nutrients... unless of course it is chocolate! The most important addition to my diet since I began training has been whey protein. I don't think I would have ever seen the gains that I made with out it.

My typical non-contest diet looks like this:

Oatmeal & whey and a banana for breakfast. I prefer to make the plain oatmeal (1/2 cup) add some flax seed, wheat germ and some frozen blueberries or raspberries. Then I wash it all down with a protein shake. I love Tight Curves Vanilla and Berry protein. I keep them all on hand and rotate flavors. Occasionally I add a little Vanilla soymilk to my oatmeal too- it sweetens it up and adds protein. As an occasional treat, I like to have a spoonful of natural peanut or cashew butter with my banana... yum!

For meal 2/snack I will have cottage cheese and sweet peas.

Meal 3 is generally fish (tilapia, Tuna, salmon) and veggies with a little brown rice or quinoa. I always go heavy on the veggies. It fills me up with minimal caloric cost and maximum nutrients.

Meal 4/ snack is often yams (I love them mashed with cinnamon) and a protein shake (water and BSN Chocolate coconut candy bar). This satisfies my sweet tooth!

Meal 5/ Dinner on a good day I will have an egg white omelet with lots of veggies like spinach, asparagus, and broccoli with a sprinkle of tofu cheese. There are definitely not-so-good days, but I try to be disciplined as much as possible throughout the week so I can have a treat every now and then.

If I ever have a sweet craving I try to opt for sugar free/fat free pudding or I will have a couple spoonfuls of peanut butter.

Sara Bedrossian
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Sara Bedrossian.

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

Last year when I was trying to put on muscle for my first competition, I had great success with adding whey shakes with extra glutamine immediately following my workout. Awhile back I read this great book called Nutrient Timing. I learned how to maximize my muscle gain my mixing my workout shake with just the right amount of protein and simple carbs. In the beginning I also had success with creatine. My body packs muscle easily, so to keep my "figure" figure, I just stick to the basics.

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

I love fitness because I feel confident and strong when I am working out. If I am having a bad day, all it takes is a good workout to turn my mood around.

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

In the future I hope to continue competing and finally get that 1st place I've been working for. I am going to continue training my clients to inspire the best in them! For my career I plan to start studying for the NSCA CSCS certification in 2009!

Sara Bedrossian
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Sara Bedrossian.

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

Invest in a good suit that is truly custom fit. I think I lost my chance at a first place in my first two shows because my one piece was just not cut well to flatter me. My scores dropped as a result. I went from first to second just because of a suit! Don't let that happen to you after all the hard work you have put into this.

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

Chastity Slone, I met her at one of my first competitions and she was just so kind and genuine! She was refreshingly sincere and down to earth!