Alice Got Back Into Fighting Shape At Age 36!

Alice's athletic lifestyle was derailed by an injury. Then she committed to becoming a professional fighter in her 30s and found a new reason to get fit!

Growing up, Alice Yauger was a fighter—literally. She was a professional boxer as a young woman, even participating in the first all-women National Golden Gloves tournament in 1999, at the tender age of 21. She went on to become a pro, battling through five tightly contested bouts before she got pregnant and hung up her gloves.

Many athletes struggle to maintain their fitness once they are out of the limelight, but Alice continued to hit the gym regularly. Or at least, she did until she suffered a torn ACL and meniscus in a judo bout. "It was kind of all downhill from there," Alice remembers.

Unable to fight or train intensely for several years, Alice turned to food for comfort. "I'm an emotional eater, so I would drive down the road, stop at Sonic, and grab a double cheeseburger," she says. "I just ate a lot." Her busy schedule, packed with work, travel, and her kids' activities, made getting back into a healthy lifestyle seem all the more daunting. "I like healthy food, but because of the way my schedule was—with my husband working nights and me off work late and caring for the kids—I needed fast and easy," she remarks. "We ate a lot of fast food. I didn't have the time to prep."

Alice topped 200 pounds before she made the decision to get back into the gym and ultimately, back into the ring. With steadfast support from her family, she was able to do it.

How did you get your start as a boxer?

I started training in muay thai—the Thai version of kickboxing—and taekwondo as a junior in high school in 1995. Unfortunately, there weren't enough tournaments for me to easily compete in either sport. Boxing was much more common than martial arts in Texas, so I took that up and gave it my all until I got pregnant.

I started training in judo in 2006 because my husband and children were learning. I tore my ACL and meniscus in my second competition, which put me out of training for several years.

However, I always had the idea that I wanted to somehow get in the ring again, whether it be boxing or MMA. When I finally got serious about it, my husband and I just decided that he was going to stay home so I could pursue that. It was kind of tough at first. We paid a few things off and then said, "Let's do it."

Before 205 lbs.
After 135 lbs.
Age: 35
Height: 5'5"
Weight: 205 lbs.
Body Fat: 30-35%
Age: 36
Height: 5'5"
Weight: 135 lbs.
Body Fat: 12-14%

My husband manages the kids, my training schedule, and my food. I still work full-time, but he takes care of all of the other stuff so I don't have to worry about it. Every morning, I leave with a lunch that he's already prepared for me. It's kind of sweet.

It was a quick transition. One day he was working, and the next day he was home. Financially, we can't do the things that dual-income families get to do, like vacations, but we have quality time together, and that's more important to us than the money.

Your busy schedule was an excuse for you before. How do you fit your training in with work, kids, and other responsibilities?

I wake up at about 5:30 a.m. and hit the treadmill. Then, I get ready and go to work, where I occasionally work out at my desk during lunch, doing push-ups and triceps dips. After I'm done at work, I either go to my MMA gym or cross train at another gym.

Some nights, I coach until about 7 p.m. and train in MMA until around 8. On those nights, the kids are usually at their sports practices. When we get home, we do homework, dinner, showers, and then it's bedtime.

How did MMA help you get fit?

It's not a traditional bodybuilding workout, but MMA fighting works all of the muscle groups in the body. For instance, hitting the heavy bag is equivalent to lifting weights. When your back is against the cage and you're working to get your opponent off you, that's equivalent to doing weighted squats and bench presses. You do training camps to prepare for fights, and that means sticking to your diet religiously and working out hard. It's not an easy lifestyle, but it keeps you fit.

By deciding I wanted to fight again and training hard, I went from 200 pounds to weighing in at 135 pounds for my debut.

I reached my goal of becoming a fighter 5-6 months after starting my transformation—and 12 years after my last fight. By deciding I wanted to fight again and training hard, I went from 200 pounds to weighing in at 135 pounds for my debut.

I lost my first fight, but it didn't feel like losing. Even if I lose every single fight, the fact that I'm able to do this again—at a lighter weight than before I had kids—is such an accomplishment.

Have there been any other milestone goals you've hit?

Having abs! Even when I was boxing in my early 20s, I didn't have a six-pack. To be in my late 30s and have abs is so awesome.

After losing your husband's income, how did you make healthy eating affordable?

It was very bland. I ate a lot of frozen vegetables, canned tuna, canned chicken, protein shakes, raw nuts, and oatmeal. That's basically it. Those are the things we could afford.

It sucked, but I got to the point where I just looked at food as my fuel. I was—and am—especially strict during a training camp, which is 6-8 weeks before a fight. When I have to make weight, things really kick in, and I don't stray from my diet at all.

I've learned what foods work for me, and those are the foods I stick with.

Even when I was boxing in my early 20s, I didn't have a six-pack. To be in my late 30s and have abs is so awesome.

How do you fight cravings on such a bland diet?

I crave the other foods, but it's not like a nuclear bomb is going to take out all of my favorite restaurants while I'm in training. I know that food will still be there for me if I want it after I fight. My favorite is Vietnamese food, so if I have cravings, I find ways to reward myself by eating things I can have, like spring rolls. You have to live a little. The key is not to overindulge. You have to know where to stop, which just comes with practicing self-control.

A food journal helped keep me on track and accountable during the early part of my transformation. If I went over my calorie intake, I'd feel guilty and work out harder the next day to make sure I burned off those calories.

A big problem for me before was not knowing where to stop. Having goals keeps me on track now. My goal is to win the fight, but my first goal to achieve is to make weight. When cravings hit, I keep the goal in mind.

What was the diet you started on?

Meal 1: Breakfast

Oatmeal: 1 cup


Apple: 1



Boiled eggs: 2


Meal 2: Snack

Tuna: 1 can


Unsalted cashews: 2 oz.


Meal 3: Lunch

Green salad


Canned chicken: 1 can



Meal 4: Snack

Tuna: 1 can



Meal 5: Dinner

Green salad


Lean protein: 4 oz.


Meal 6: Before bed

Unsalted cashews: 2 oz.



Did you use any supplements?

On one income we could only afford protein, a multivitamin, fish oil, vitamin C, vitamin D, and calcium.

What does your training schedule look like?

Day 1: MMA class and treadmill
1

Treadmill (inclined between 5-10%)

30 min.
Jogging-Treadmill Jogging-Treadmill

Day 2: Cardio
1

Treadmill intervals

Alternate 5 mph one minute; Then 3.5 mph one minute for 5 minutes straight; Then 2.5 mph one minute. Repeat 5 sets.
Walk on 5-10% incline 20 minutes.
Increase speeds up to 7 mph when able.
Jogging-Treadmill Jogging-Treadmill

Day 3: MMA class and treadmill
1

Treadmill (inclined between 5-10%)

30 min.
Jogging-Treadmill Jogging-Treadmill

Day 4: Cardio
1

Treadmill intervals

Alternate 5 mph one minute; Then 3.5 mph one minute for 5 minutes straight; Then 2.5 mph one minute. Repeat 5 sets.
Walk on 5-10% incline 20 minutes.
Increase speeds up to 7 mph when able.
Jogging-Treadmill Jogging-Treadmill

Day 5: MMA class and treadmill
1

Treadmill (inclined between 5-10%)

30 min.
Jogging-Treadmill Jogging-Treadmill

Day 6: MMA class and walk
1
Walking, Treadmill Walking, Treadmill

Day 7: Outdoors family activity

When did you discover Bodybuilding.com?

My husband and I discovered Bodybuilding.com about a year ago. We followed the Facebook page first. It's so helpful because I get to see other people complete their transformations. I get to see their journeys. Whenever I get really down, when I gain weight or something, friends who aren't on a fitness journey don't understand.

When you go to the site, you see other people who are going through the same things. It's such a huge motivator. Going to the site and seeing other people overcome the same challenges I have really motivates me.

In addition to being motivated by transformations, I loved seeing comments on my photos. You don't see any negativity in BodySpace like you do on other social media, where people claim that your pictures are manipulated using Photoshop; you just don't see it.

All I've seen are people who are there to promote positivity. Even though I don't let negative comments get to me, it's so nice to be part of a like-minded community.



Has your family's sacrifice been worth it?

It has. My current habits are setting a good example for my kids. Now they know that if they want something, they have to earn it. Seeing me work toward my goals shows them that hard work pays off. Yeah, there have been sacrifices, but in the end, they've all been worth it.

What are your plans for the future?

I still have a ton of fight left in me, so I'll be hitting the gym hard in the coming weeks. I had to take a little time off from my last fight to let my body recover and to live normally for a while. Hopefully, I will have some offers for 2016 fight cards soon.



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