Name: JoAnn Rivas
Location: Williamsburg, VA
Why I decided to transform
In the summer of 2012, we took a family photo, and the sight of it made me burst into tears. I'd had a baby earlier that year, and was trying to get the weight off, but nothing seemed to be working.
The body changes after having a baby, and I didn't know this "new" body I was in. I didn't like it either. That picture ignited a fire within me that has yet to burn out. I wanted to not just look great on the outside, but feel great on the inside as well.
At first, my reasons to transform were for me and what I wanted. As I continued on my journey, I realized I was doing this for my family as well. I wanted to be a good influence for my son; to instill in him the ideals of a healthy and active lifestyle.
I also wanted to encourage my other family members and close friends to invest in their own bodies, health, and future.
How I accomplished my goals
I knew that I first had to get my diet under control. For the remainder of that year, I learned which foods did and did not work for my body. I ate five meals a day and only drank water or green tea. By doing just these things, I lost about 10 pounds.
In January 2013, I weighed 175 pounds, and I made it my New Year's resolution to really focus on fitness. I started running, and then began to incorporate yoga into my lifestyle as a fun challenge. By May 2013 I was down to 145 pounds, and began weightlifting with the guidance of Jamie Eason's 12-Week LiveFit Trainer. I've been hooked on weightlifting ever since. By July 2013 I was down to 130 pounds, all the while still eating very clean.
There were definitely days when I wanted to just lie in bed, not go to the gym, and eat pizza and cookies all day. I overcame these obstacles through motivational audios and the encouragement of my other half. He had played college football for 5 years, so seeing him push his body to the limit and give his all to every workout filled me with so much inspiration. His drive and passion were contagious, and only forced me to dig deep and find my own.
One weird trick I used was listening to audio compilations by Eric Thomas, Will Smith, and Ray Lewis every night. As soon as I woke up in the morning, I would hear their words freshly swirling around in my head, reminding me of my mission. I also stayed accountable and motivated by starting a blog. I tracked my workouts here, posted recipes, and shared progress pictures.
The feedback I received from sharing my fitness journey was overwhelming and so positive that it only pushed me to get up the next morning and do it all again, one day at a time.
Supplements that helped me through the journey
Diet plan that guided my transformation
I eat every 2-3 hours and drink at least a gallon of water a day. I'll eat snacks as needed, including things like rice cakes, nuts, and Power Crunch Bars.
- Egg White Protein
- Unsweetened almond milk
- Hemp protein
Training regimen that kept me on track
I like to train legs, back, and shoulders twice a week. I feel like these are major areas of focus for me. I also try to do 20-30 minutes of cardio 4-5 days per week.
- Underhand Cable Pulldowns
3 sets of 15 reps
- Straight-arm Pull-down
4 sets of 12 reps
- V-bar Pull-down
5 sets of 12 reps
- Cable Rear Delt Fly
3 sets of 15 reps
- Face Pull
3 sets of 15 reps
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press
3 sets of 12 reps
- Side Lateral Raise
3 sets of 12 reps
- Barbell Shrug
3 sets of 10 reps
What aspect challenged me the most
Sweating is always the easy part. My biggest challenge is to not let the number on the scale fool me. It fluctuates so often. Plus, my 120 pounds will never look like another competitor's 120 pounds.
I am learning that we are all built differently, and that I need to embrace being the best version of myself physically and mentally.
My future fitness plans
Competing in a figure competition is my ultimate goal at the moment. I have also considered getting my personal training certification, since I have had so many people reach out to me for help since starting my journey.
I will definitely keep blogging about my fitness journey. I'm even considering writing a book on postpartum weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
My goal is to reach out to as many women and mothers as I can and encourage them to take control of their lives, their health, their bodies, and their confidence. We all have it and we can all get it back!
Suggestions for aspiring transformers
Set small goals that will add up to the bigger picture.
Drinking water is a game changer. You have to drink your water!
Listen to motivation audios or watch motivational videos to get your mind right.
Track your progress. Take pictures and write down your measurements. You will be amazed at how subtly your body changes over time.
Work around your schedule. Don't let things feel forced, or you will become resistant. If you can't make it to the gym one or two days, move on and make sure you don't completely fall off.
How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals
Bodybuilding.com is like my online fitness bible. I tell everyone and anyone looking for a place to start to come here. When I felt I was ready to begin weightlifting, I did it by starting Jamie Eason's 12-Week LiveFit Trainer. You can modify workouts to your fitness level and easily do many of them at home.
I used Bodybuilding.com as my main source for dieting, nutrition, workouts, and so much more. The site really helped me kick-start my journey. I have also ordered some of my competition necessities, such as ProTan Bikini Bite and ProTan Instant Competition Color, all from one convenient place.
JoAnn's Favorite Gym Tracks
"All I Do Is Win"
"You Da One"
- Mel Jones for being the most amazing boyfriend, supporter, motivator and my own fitspiration!
- Terrence Riggins Photography for the fitness photos
- My mom and dad for encouraging me to compete this fall
- Kevin Parrott for coaching and prepping me for my first show