Body Transformation: Naturally Transformed

Being a vegan and trying to gain muscle is a daunting task. Transforming naturally drew Portia to Skip LaCour’s training challenge and started her on a path to a new life!
Name: Portia Phelps
BodySpace: pphelps83

Portia Phelps Portia Phelps
AGE 28
158 lbs
AGE 28
137 lbs

Why I Decided To Transform

I've been going to the gym for about five years, but can honestly only say I only paid attention to my diet and training over the last 18 months. During the turn of the year 2011, I decided to give up chocolate, sweets, and chips for one year. I was so frustrated with feeling like rubbish. It got easier as the weeks went by and I can say I have not had any sweets to this day.

Last year, my boyfriend and I met Dale Leonard, a natural bodybuilder, while living in Australia. He introduced us to eating clean and we saw awesome results. In November 2011, we moved to Canada and lived without jobs for a few weeks. We put on a few pounds while travelling and by 2012 I put the weight back on.

My boyfriend, Matthew Blandy, received an email regarding Skip LaCour's Mass Machine Bulking and Cutting Program Challenge which ran from January 16 to June 30 and decided to enter. I was a bit hesitant, mainly because of the word "bulking," but I entered and committed to the six-month challenge.

I have to say, it has been the best six months ever. I have learned so much from Skip LaCour about training and life. His challenge was different than others I've attempted. It was very involved and made me think about what I was doing.

Emailing photos every week, watching videos, and interacting on his weekly conference call gave me an assignment every week.

I really had to think about what I was doing in the gym. He was always available to answer any query regarding training or the challenge.

I was lucky enough to have my boyfriend participate in the challenge too. It was great to workout together, make meals in bulk, and prepare everything as a team. On Sundays, we reviewed our workout for the week and created a vision board with goals to achieve.

I feel unstoppable. Since the challenge ended, I feel like there is nothing stopping me from achieving everything I want in life. I enrolled in a personal training course, which is something I put off in the past, but now there's no stopping me.

How I Accomplished My Goals

During the three months of bulking, I followed a set nutrition plan that I created. The cutting phase really made me look at what I was eating. I followed Mass Machine Style training, which required 4-6 reps with 20 minutes of high-intensity cardio and loved every minute of it.

The real challenges you face are belief within yourself, setting specific goals, and following daily disciplines to keep you on track.

My inspiration comes from wanting to be the best version of myself. You are what you tell yourself, and I am a mass machine, strong, powerful, and confident. I would repeat positive affirmations everyday and listen to motivational audio on the way to work.

Quitting was never an option. I was so involved in the challenge. Luckily I had the support of my boyfriend to keep me on track.

Preparation is the key. We always prepare food in advance and we never leave the house without two meals, even if we're only going out for a short while.

Supplements That Helped Me Through The Journey


Diet Plan That Guided My Transformation

I'm a vegan, I can't have eggs, whey, or dairy. I ate out out once a month, usually the last day of the month.

Meals 1 and 2: Pre and Post-Workout
Meals 3 and 4
Meal 5
Meal 6

I ate the same thing every day at the same time. I find it easier to keep track of what you eat that way. It saves times and the risk of adding extras to your meals. I love the discipline and structure.

Training Regimen That Kept Me On Track

I used Mass Machine Style Training and cardio in a 4-6 rep range and always increased the weight when I hit the required reps. I performed 20 minutes of cardio on a recumbent bike and always tried to beat the highest distance covered. My record is 7.44 miles.

After all training sessions, I perform 20 minutes of cardio on the recumbent bike.

Day 1: Legs
Day 2: Biceps/Triceps/Forearms
Day 3: Shoulders/Traps
Day 4: Back
Day 5: Chest/Abs

What Aspect Challenged Me The Most

The most challenging aspect was believing in myself at the start of the journey. When I re-read my online journal, I had so much uncertainty in what I was doing, but I learned through the assignments and information Skip provided.

I picked a diet and training plan and followed through. I ate the same thing at the same time every day for six months. It was never a chore. I actually loved the foods I was eating.

I took a week off form the gym every 8-10 weeks. At first, I found this really hard because I was so used to going, but I found off-weeks to be extremely beneficial. I revived my bite for the gym after a week off and still followed my nutrition plan.

My Future Fitness Plans

My plans are to gain my ACSM personal training certification (currently just started). I plan on entering a show next year to prove vegans can do it. For now, concentrating on improving my body and getting my certification are the goals.

I'm on a mission to change the world and get everyone eating healthier. I would love a camp where kids come and learn to cook healthy meals for life, not how to use a microwave.

Suggestions for Aspiring Transformers

  • Believe in what you're doing. Pick a plan and follow it.
  • Surround yourself with positive influences. Unfortunately, there will be people who aren't supportive, but it's up to you to sell them on it.
  • Listen to motivational material. My iPod has more Skip LaCour audio and Anthony Robbins than actual music.
  • Prepare your food in advance.
  • Remember the feelings of achieving what you want.
  • You are what you tell yourself, so tell yourself you can do it.
  • Keep on keeping on. Develop habits to help you succeed.
  • Model you life after successful people.
  • Keep a journal either online or on paper. I kept both.

How Helped Me Reach My Goals

I love I order my supplements from the Store and kept an online journal as part of the challenge, which I'm still updating. I frequently visit the IFBB Pro Bodybuilding Skip LaCour Forum.

That's where he posted all the videos for the challenge. You could ask him questions, post-training footage, and he would always respond. I also love reading the transformations and amateurs of the week articles.

Thank You

  • Matthew Blandy, my boyfriend, for all his support and motivation in the gym over the last six months. We make an awesome team!
  • Skip LaCour, for doing this challenge and all the hard work he put in prior and during the challenge. Thanks for all the information videos, forum posts, and articles. It really has changed my life.
  • Dale Leonard, for leading me on this path 18 months ago.
  • All the Mass Machines who completed the challenge. Keep on keeping on! It was great to get to know you all.
  • Robert Cheeke and everyone on

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