Bodybuilding.com Information Motivation Supplementation
in:

Body Transformation: Iron Will

Elizabeth set a goal to compete that drove her into a fitness frenzy. She lifted mean, got lean, and proudly took her spot atop the podium!
Name: Elizabeth Stewart
Email: Elizabeth.paoletti@gmail.com
BodySpace: Elizabeth0247

Elizabeth Stewart Elizabeth Stewart
AGE 26
HEIGHT
5'4"
WEIGHT
144 lbs
BODY FAT
23%
AGE 27
HEIGHT
5'4"
WEIGHT
124 lbs
BODY FAT
16%

Post To Fitboard
Why I Decided to Transform

I went to college, gained the dreaded "freshman 15," and struggled for years to get my weight under control. I met my husband, Scott, in 2008, and he introduced me to running and triathlons. I thought it would be an easy to get into shape and loose the excess college weight. I was confident that hours of endurance training was what I needed to achieve the physique I saw in fitness magazines. I saw improvements in my fitness level, but not in my body. I considered my diet "clean" and ate 5-6 small meals per day, but didn't realize I was consuming hidden sugars. I had no strict limit on cheat meals.

I got engaged in 2012 and thought wedding planning would provide extra motivation to lose weight and get lean. I added boot camps to my training and lost a few more pounds. Everyone told me I looked great on my wedding day, but I knew I could push harder and that my diet needed to change to see results I wanted.

Fed up with failed attempts, I came across transformation stories on Bodybuilding.com about women who experienced what I had. They had greater obstacles to overcome than I, so I decided it was time to stop making excuses and start holding myself accountable.

On December 30, 2012, I decided to compete in a fitness competition within six months as my New Year's resolution. Unlike triathlons I entered in the past, I wanted this more than any event prior. I knew if I signed up for a competition I would be less likely to stray from my diet and training. I found online nutrition plans from fitness professionals like Jamie Eason and started my journey. After six weeks, I lost five pounds and decided to hire a coach to push me to the next level. I signed up to compete in the bikini division at the "The Natural" Championship within the Natural Muscle Association because it ensured I competed in a drug-free contest.

The training wasn't easy, even as a former triathlete used to several hours of steady-state cardio per day, but I made every workout count. I woke up early before work to get my cardio done then spent evenings after work doing more cardio and/or weight training—My husband was extremely supportive and understood that we couldn't eat out like we used to. I spent lots of time prepping food to support my nutrition plan. Not everyone in my life was supportive or understanding and I received criticism occasionally. It was hurtful, but I never let it get in the way of my end goal. It made me want to persevere.

After months of hard training, I competed in my first bikini competition on June 1, 2013. I took first in the beginner bikini division and second overall. My hard work paid off and I was pleased with how I looked at the show. I can proudly say the journey was one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my life. I discovered I had willpower, strength, and discipline. I'm using my newfound knowledge to fuel a clean, healthy lifestyle.

How I Accomplished My Goals

Having a coach was crucial to my training and provided the support I needed to hold me accountable. He laid out my custom nutrition and training plan with 5-6 clean meals per day. I immediately noticed my previous diet lacked portion control and I consumed too many calories late at night.

My training included six days of HIIT and steady-state cardio per week and 3-4 days of weight training per week. Taking progress pictures once per week provided the motivation I needed to keep going. I saw my body improve every week which helped me indentify areas that needed work.

There were days I thought about quitting, but always focused on small achievements I already made to stay motivated. Nobody told me it would be easy. My coach reassured that I was on track and making solid progress.

Apply Here To Be A Transformation Of The Week!

Apply Here To Be A Transformation Of The Week!

Bodybuilding.com honors people across all transformation categories for their hard work and dedication. Learn how our featured transformers overcame obstacles and hit their goals!
Supplements that Helped Me Through the Journey
With Meal 1
With Meal 2 and 6
Diet Plan that Guided My Transformation

My nutrition was fueled by small, clean meals spaced three hours apart throughout the day with lean meat, complex carbs, and healthy fats to fuel my training. I allowed myself one cheat meal per week for the majority of my contest prep.

Meal 1
Meal 3
Meal 4
Meal 5
Training Regimen that Kept Me On Track
Day 1: Legs
Day 2: Cardio
Day 3: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps
Day 4: Cardio
Day 5: Back/Biceps
Day 6: Cardio
Day 7: Rest

What Aspect Challenged Me the Most

The most challenging part of the transformation was the diet when I attended family parties and traveled for business. I always said no to food that I previously would've eaten. By planning ahead and prepping my food in advance, I resisted cravings and it became easier to say no to junk food.

I attended a bridal shower two weeks before my show and brought my own food when there was an entire buffet of food. I got strange stares, but knew I would leave without any regrets. Willpower is a muscle too. The more you use it, the stronger it gets!

Now that I'm out of contest-prep mode, I eat a weekly cheat meal and try to save dessert splurges for holidays, parties, and special occasions. Eating clean 95 percent of the time helps my body physically and contributes to my positive self image.

My Future Fitness Plans

I plan to continue my clean diet and training regimen and will compete again. In the meantime, I'm working on a clean-eating blog to inspire others to make healthy choices and share my love of cooking and training.

Suggestions for Aspiring Transformers
  • Plan ahead. Always pack clean food and snacks to fight hunger and cravings.
  • Set big and small goals along the way.
  • Don't be anyone but yourself.
  • Find balance in your life. Fitness should come after your family, friends, and faith.
How Bodybuilding.com Helped Me Reach My Goals

Bodybuilding.com opened my eyes to my true potential. I always look forward to the latest recipes and motivational articles. The Bodybuilding.com app helped me watch my weight and body fat level drop.

Now that my contest is finished, my favorite part of Bodybuilding.com is the Fitness 360 articles where I see how my favorite pros train and eat. I love using this information to enhance my training routines.

Acknowledgements

I want to thank my husband, Scott, for his constant support, love, and continued inspiration to be the healthiest, fittest version of myself. I want to credit my coach, Joe Christiano, for the help, encouragement, and training support.

A huge thanks goes to my family and friends who provided needed support during the process and continue to motivate me every day.

Photography credit: Cathryn Lahm and April Wilkowski

Elizabeth's Top 5 Gym Tracks

  1. "Can't Hold Us" by Macklemore
  2. "Part Of Me" by Katy Perry
  3. "Glad You Came" by The Wanted
  4. "We Found Love" by Rihanna
  5. "Light Em Up" by Fall Out Boy

Start Your Own Transformation Today


Bookmark and Share

Related Articles

About The Author

Have you made a dramatic change either by gaining muscle or by losing all the weight you have been hoping for?

RATE THIS ARTICLE
POOR
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
EXCELLENT
OVERALL RATING
8

Out of 10
Excellent
24 Ratings

21

Comments

Showing 1 - 21 of 21 Comments

(5 characters minimum)

      • notify me when users reply to my comment
djconnexion

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
djconnexion

Awesome transformation and article. Way to go !

Aug 10, 2013 12:58am | report
 
Elizabeth0247

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Elizabeth0247

Thank you!

Aug 11, 2013 5:17am | report
EliteMeat

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
EliteMeat

WOW! You looked good before, but you brought your game to a whole new level. Excellent article, love the "willpower is a muscle" quote. Great job girl!

Aug 10, 2013 8:40am | report
 
Elizabeth0247

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Elizabeth0247

Thank you!

Aug 11, 2013 5:18am | report
Aneudecker

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Aneudecker

You look amazing, well done! Thank you for the inspiration. I am looking forward to giving your workout routine a try.
Way to go!

Aug 10, 2013 3:39pm | report
 
Elizabeth0247

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Elizabeth0247

Thank you! Good luck with the workout :)

Aug 11, 2013 5:18am | report
allstars29

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
allstars29

Thanks for sharing !

Article Rated:
Aug 10, 2013 11:08pm | report
 
Elizabeth0247

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Elizabeth0247

You are welcome!

Aug 11, 2013 5:18am | report
Pinskers

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Pinskers

Love the transformation! Great to see another triathlete make the change! :)

Aug 11, 2013 6:19pm | report
 
rubiahb

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
rubiahb

Wow! Amazing job! Elizabeth I must say that I keep going back and forth. People tell me don't do so much cardio you have to lift really heavy. I want to be lean and muscular.
But I have gained about 8 lbs and notice a difference but just am losing very slowly. I feel like I should be father along. But, seeing your regimen I do need to do lots of cardio and kick it up!! I appreciate your story and so grateful for this website. I have the dedication and motivation I just lack the knowledge.. Thank god for BB.com and people like you who share your story.

Aug 12, 2013 12:39am | report
 
Elizabeth0247

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Elizabeth0247

Keep up the good work! I learned there is not a one size fits all approach for cardio, some people need more than others. Now that I am just maintaining and not cutting, I need much less, but as long as you continue to eat clean you will see the results as long as you have patience! Good luck!

Aug 12, 2013 7:52am | report
pseudobritchick

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
pseudobritchick

Willpower is the muscle I need to work on...food is my biggest setback. I love to cook, eat, and entertain. I am envious of your muscle [willpower] strength! You look amazing!

Aug 12, 2013 9:39am | report
 
Elizabeth0247

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Elizabeth0247

I love to cook and entertain too! My only advice there is to try and impress your guests with clean food:)

Aug 12, 2013 6:56pm | report
Gupo

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Gupo

Great job girl !

Article Rated:
Aug 12, 2013 10:22am | report
 
Scrummie02

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Scrummie02

The transformation articles are always inspiring and motivational. You look great! Amazing transformation and inspiration to other who are looking to make that change.

Aug 12, 2013 10:26am | report
 
Bruno30

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Bruno30

Great Job! Keep up the good work!

Aug 12, 2013 12:00pm | report
 
dustinriebel

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
dustinriebel

Very Inspirational Thanks for sharing.

Aug 14, 2013 10:42pm | report
 
dogetta

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
dogetta

Inspiring! nice job.

Aug 16, 2013 8:09pm | report
 
dior1901

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
dior1901

Well done you , reading this I know I need to change ,I'd love to enter a completion one day x

Aug 21, 2013 11:52am | report
 
damnkat

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
damnkat

I'm currently doing a transformation and have only lost 2.1kg in 3.5 weeks and am starting to wonder if I will ever be able to lose another 3-5 kg to really get ripped. You said in your article you only lost 5 lbs in 6 weeks, what little changes did you have to make to your diet, to get past the 5 lb loss? I'm thinking I cut my carbs too early from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup in week 2, as my loss has slowed since then.

Aug 27, 2013 12:54pm | report
 
Elizabeth0247

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Elizabeth0247

Everyone is different, for me I started to carb cycle, alternating high carb and low carb days, and added in extra HIIT sessions a couple days a week. Also, make sure you are eating enough fat, too little can actually hinder you fat loss. Good luck!

Sep 17, 2013 11:09am | report
Showing 1 - 21 of 21 Comments

Featured Product

Give Us Feedback:
Report A Problem
Site Feedback
Follow Us:
Twitter
Facebook
RSS Feeds
Bodybuilding.com Newsletter

Receive exciting features,
news & special offers from Bodybuilding.com