Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Suzy Groves

Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Suzy Groves! - Pics and info and more!

How Did You Get Started?

I have always been pretty active throughout my life, working out at the gym, snow skiing, and swimming. When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2001, I had to put all of that on hold. I struggled through 1-1/2 years of chemotherapy for Acute Myeloid Leukemia and due to how it made me feel, I sat around a lot, losing all of my muscle tone and energy.

Once I started feeling better, I began working out casually to gain my strength back. Really beginning with the basics, walking, biking and very light weight training, because at this point I couldn't tackle a flight of steps without having to rest 1/2 way. Cancer really takes a toll on a 35 year old body even if you are in decent shape. I went into the hospital a healthy 125 pounds and came out weighing a little over 100 lbs, not a pretty sight.

However, after a few months, I was nearly back to my old self but I was not seeing the results that I wanted, nor gaining the strength I needed (or would have liked), so I hired a personal trainer who started me on the road to building muscle. Through her "boot-camp" type workouts, muscle came on quickly and it was apparent that my body was responding rather well to weight training. After a couple more years of casually working out, and a couple more trainers, I ended up last year (2005) working out with a bodybuilding competitor.

I had no idea whatsoever about the bodybuilding arena or competing at this point. All I knew about it was what I had seen on TV back in the 70's when Arnold was King, the sport was more widely televised, and, for the most part, predominantly male. I had no knowledge about Figure or Fitness until I had gone to my first bodybuilding competition in Fargo, North Dakota in April of 2005. That's where I met Jen Hendershott. She was guest posing at the competition, and after speaking with her for a few minutes, she convinced me, then and there, to start competing.

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Some days I thank Jen, other days (like a leg workout day) I swear at her under my breath for even suggesting that I even attempt this sport. In July of 2005, I was urged to consider competing in an upcoming October show, and thought I would give it a shot. So, after my first competition (North American Natural Classic in Elk River Minnesota) in October, where I placed 2nd overall and the next show (2005 NPC North Star) where I won the Master's Class and Tall Class, I knew I was truly hooked.

It amazes me on a daily basis that I have come so far, so quickly. Just a little over 5 years ago, I was lying in a hospital bed fighting for my life and today, here I am happy, healthy, strong and competing in bodybuilding competitions. Yes the training is hard, but most things in life worth having or achieving come with some challenges. If it were handed to me on a silver platter, I don't think it would mean as much as it does.

When my trainer, Brian Beauvais (Amateur of the week #270), Mr. Minnesota 2003, busts my @ss in the gym, I do my best to stay focused and on track, and there's no better feeling in the world than banging out all that he has to dish out. We have goals for me, I am excited and I hope, and truly believe, that this is the beginning of a long and healthful lifestyle as a figure competitor.

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

I usually train 3 days per week, but 16 weeks or so out from a contest, we bump that to 4 times per week, cardio everyday, twice a day, except for leg day, then cardio once. I do my weight training on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Here's a typical pre-contest workout week.

Monday: Leg Day:

We have 2 different leg day workouts, heavy and light. Cardio only in am.


    Cardio 2 times, Morning and early evening, 30 minutes each

Wednesday: Shoulders & Triceps (Cardio am & pm)


    Cardio 2 times, Morning and early evening, 30 minutes each

Friday: Back and Bi's:

Saturday: Chest & Abs (cardio am and pm)

What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

The diet is pretty routine. We do a 4 day carb cycle with 2 high days, and 2 low days. I eat extremely clean and about 7-8 meals per day. Mostly chicken, brown rice, dark green veggies, yams and of course, oatmeal for breakfast. On day 4, which is a low carb day, we included some salmon for variety and healthy fats. So far that seems to be working well, but I know that closer to contest time, we'll tweak the diet again depending on how my body is responding.

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

My supplements are pretty basic. For protein & muscle development, I like Nature's Best Zero Carb Isopure (any flavor really) mixed with a little glutamine. I take flaxseed oil to keep up on my EFA's and a multi-vitamin, vitamins C & E (post workout), a little glucosamine, because joints at my age tend to creak a little, and that's pretty much it.

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

I love Figure competitions and preparing for them because it gives me the power to change my body through hard work and dedication. That sense of power is something that gets taken away from you when you have a serious illness. I sometimes feel that I was betrayed by my body when I was diagnosed with my cancer, and I think this is my way of keeping everything in check.

I also love the sense of accomplishment that I feel when I look at myself in the mirror; I've come along way from 104 pounds of skin and bones (5years ago) to competing and winning figure competitions. I find that very satisfying, especially since a lot of the women I'm competing against are 1/2 my age!

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

My immediate plan, and what I am currently training for, is to compete at the NPC Master's Nationals in Pittsburg, July 2006. This will be my first Nationals competition and I am a little anxious, but very excited to go and compete. I also would love the opportunity to gain as much exposure from this sport as possible so that I may obtain some sponsorship from companies within the fitness industry to advertise and promote their products.

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The obstacles that I have overcome I think have helped me to realize that I have become a good role model for women who compete and even those who don't, and I think that I have a message to share with the world and would like the opportunity to do so.

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

Stay the course, stay focused, and believe in yourself and God! Those are the keys to accomplishing anything you put your mind to in life, whether it's bodybuilding, your relationships, a career or even trying to beat a serious illness.

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

Obviously I adore Jen Hendershott who convinced me to join this madness we call a sport. Not only is she a spectacular fitness competitor, she also has a heart of platinum. She has been a constant source of encouragement for me over these past few months, and I can identify with her positive spirit and dedication to herself, her family and friends and to the sport of Fitness. She amazes me every time I see her perform. I also really like Jenny Lynn, whose pictures I have taped to my bathroom mirror for inspiration.