| AGE 29
WEIGHT 144 lbs
BODY FAT 28.9%
| AGE 29
WEIGHT 116 lbs
BODY FAT 16%
At age 10, I started my athletic journey in ballet which lasted for nearly 10 years. I also ran cross country and became an avid snowboarder, but I was best at swimming. I swam as a champion and took home many trophies. When I went to college, I taught boot-camp fitness classes at the YMCA to help pay bills and fitness became my passion.
I went on for my graduate degree in social work and became a slacker in my personal fitness. Under the stress of a fully-loaded academic year including an internship and several volunteer activities, I skipped workouts and overate.
I maintained some cardio, but my diet was far from nutritionally sound. I skipped meals throughout the day, opted for caffeine and snacks (potato chips, fruit, and yogurt), and overburdened my system with a huge carb-laden meal at night.
Three years later, I was 20 pounds heavier because of poor choices and on the fast track toward depression. Last summer, I weighed my heaviest ever. I saw a picture of myself in a swimsuit and was mortified. I knew I wasn't taking care of myself, but seeing it in black and white snapped me into reality. I was overweight and unhappy.
Soon after, a good college friend decided to compete. I saw her amazing transformation photos and the neglected athlete within me woke up and started screaming, "You can do this!"
For months, I couldn't stop thinking about it. It became somewhat of an obsession; I knew before what discipline was and my body was crying for it to return. This was my time for a comeback.
After seeing my friend's incredible change, I passionately pursued my competition glory. I researched and signed with the best team I could find, Team BodyVisions.
My coaches, DJ and Kimberlin, were the perfect fits—supportive, motivating, and strict. Their no nonsense, no excuses style was exactly what I needed to get back to the athlete I was.
I started with a fire under my butt and my motivation was high. While my motivation was soaring, I sat down and wrote out my goals. I organized them by timeframe with a strict deadline for each (I work best under pressure). I focused on these goals daily and burned them into my psyche. If I wasn't on track with my set goals, I adjusted my behaviors to get back on track. If I was on track or ahead of my deadline, I pushed harder to finish strong. When I reached a goal, I gave myself incentives like headphones or lifting gloves.
Despite my efforts to stay focused and organized, I still had my share of setbacks. I hit a plateau for nearly three weeks and work 12-hour shifts in an emergency room three days per week, so training on those days felt like torture. In these struggles, I discovered the power of the mind. I visualized my ideal physique and was very meticulous about every detail. I imagined how my new muscles would feel and envisioned prancing out on stage with my new body, rocking it for the judges, my family and friends, and winning.
On days that I wanted to quit, I daydreamed and focused my energy into that emotion. With enough focus, any discouragement quickly dissipated and I found new energy to power through tough times. This was a great mind trick to get through brutal leg days and long cardio sessions.
I was blessed with an awesome support system. My husband supported me 100 percent on my journey. Even in moments when I wasn't the best company, he continued to encourage my dreams. My family was an amazing resource for encouragement and support. My coaches were always available for help. Their encouragement always got my head back in the game.
1 1/2 scoops
I perform 45 minutes of cardio on every training day.
Pullups (Assisted)3 sets of 10 reps
Seated Cable Rows (Close-grip)3 sets of 12 reps
Resume regular sets
One of the biggest lessons for me was recognizing how much food permeated my life and society in general. Every get together revolved around food. This made hanging out with friends awkward at times. The temptation to derail my diet was magnified after weeks of caloric deficits.
I didn't go out as much, and if I did my friends and I met for activities like hiking, walking, or biking. I'm a pretty social person, so I felt somewhat isolated at first, but as the weeks went on I met other girls in the gym who compete and new friends entered my life.
I eventually found a balance. I learned to see food as energy and viewed food as fuel. I felt empowered and in control, which outweighed my desire for unhealthy foods. I still get the occasional craving for something greasy or sweet, so I allow myself a cheat meal once per week to stay balanced.
Fitness is my niche, and I'm finally home. This is just the beginning for me. I plan to go on and up in the fitness world. I'm currently training for the national stage with aspirations for a pro card. I'm working to get certified as a personal trainer and eventually plan to launch my own training business to help women find their neglected athlete.
People fail to tell you when you start this journey that your life is going to change. My best advice for new transformers is to emotionally prepare yourself for certain people to leave your life as you move toward your goals. My transformation is beyond physical; it's mental, emotional, and spiritual. All of these parts work synergistically. You will find that as you transform many people you counted on as friends or family won't handle a drastic change in you, even if it's for the better.
As we move in positive directions, many people want to stay the same and are afraid that you will leave them behind. If you are determined to achieve your dream, you will. You prepare by building a support system of people who love and encourage you no matter what. Even if you find just one person, their love and encouragement is exponentially wealthier than 10 people trying to bring you down with criticism and negativity. In the end, you are responsible for who you keep in your atmosphere. Are they helping and encouraging you toward your goal or are they holding you back?
Now, for the straight truth: This is not easy. If it were easy, everyone would look like this. It is possible. In fact, it's not just possible, it's your destiny. Own it. You are in complete control of where you're going. Every choice you make determines where you will be tomorrow. Where do you want to go?
Bodybuilding.com continues to be one of my main resources for articles, support, and motivation. Before completely dedicating myself to competitions, I started my journey with Jamie Eason's LiveFit training program. I used Jamie's program to start my clean diet and to get back onto a training schedule.
I also set up a BodySpace account and took before pictures to stay accountable. The goal tracking feature is awesome. It made my goals and progress easy to organize and the notifications reminded me to update my progress, which kept me accountable every week.
The female transformation articles on Bodybuilding.com motivated me. I used helpful tips from these articles in my own program.
- "Jambi" by Tool
- "The Outsider" by A Perfect Circle
- "Picture Me Rollin'" by 2Pac
- "Escaping Velocity" by The Chemical Brothers
- "Cosmic Love" by Florence + The Machine