BodySpace Member Of The Month - May 2009: Making_A_Change!

The BodySpace Member of the Month for May 2009 is Making_A_Change. She was chosen because she is using nearly every applicable feature of BodySpace, and making it look very impressive!

The BodySpace Member of the Month for May 2009 is Making_A_Change. She was chosen because she is using nearly every applicable feature of BodySpace, and making it look very impressive!

    arrow Check Out Making_A_Change's BodySpace Profile Here.

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[ Q ] Where are you from and how old are you?
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    I am 34 years old and originally from Stockton, CA. I currently live in Oakland, CA.

Kassandre, Making_A_Change.
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Kassandre, Making_A_Change.

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[ Q ] When did you start getting in shape and what made you decide to take yourself to the limit rather than just losing a few pounds?
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    I have had an interest in 'getting in shape' for as long as I can remember. I would read magazines like Shape and Fitness. Then, I began to read Muscle and Fitness Hers and Oxygen. I admired the physiques, but I thought that fitness must be the 'models' full-time time job. At the time, their bodies seemed so unattainable.

    I worked out intermittently during my twenties. It was not until my daughter was about three that I had grown tired of the body that I was in. I wanted to make a dramatic and permanent change, thus the username, Making_A_Change.

I Wanted To Make A Dramatic And Permanent Change. I Wanted To Make A Dramatic And Permanent Change.
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I Wanted To Make A Dramatic
And Permanent Change.

    When I created my profile in March 2007 I wanted to be a size 10 and 150 pounds. As far as I was concerned, those numbers meant I had reached the mountain top. That was going to be my 'After'. I began to read a lot of articles on Bodybuilding.com and I read hundreds of profiles.

    I saw people who had very similar lives to my own. They made being fit a priority. Then I began to see that the women with the physiques that I previously thought were unattainable were not just models. They were, again, women like me. They did not spend 8 hours at the gym, they spend a couple of hours and, in many cases, less than that.

I Began To Read A Lot Of Bodybuilding.com And I Read Hundreds Of Profiles.
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I Began To Read A Lot Of Bodybuilding.com
And I Read Hundreds Of Profiles.

    I was working out on my own for about 6 months when my trainer approached me. I watched him train another woman and I liked his methods. I figured with my newfound dedication and his routines we could build a new body. My body began to transform weekly.

    I began to take great pleasure in finding articles about pre and post-workout nutrition, carb cycling, protein intake, etc. I wanted to push myself.

My Body Began To Transform Weekly.
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My Body Began To Transform Weekly.

    The moment I saw that I had capped deltoids and a v-taper was the moment that I knew that I could compete someday. I wrote a blog committing to a show the following year. Then, I received a comment that I believe helped set the course that I am currently on.

    Paraphrasing, it said not to wait for 'perfection' but to take a risk. I looked for a local competition and found one about 6 months later. My trainer, Billy Washington, was up for the challenge of getting me ready. I stopped 'working out' and began to 'train'.

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Search for upcoming bodybuilding, fitness, and figure competitions in your area. Challenge yourself to step up on stage and take home the gold!

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[ Q ] What mistakes have you made in your journey so far?
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    The only thing that I can call a mistake is not starting this journey sooner or always 'putting it off until Monday'. I regret not making a commitment to myself sooner.

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10 Beginner's Mistakes!
The first day I arrived at the gym I was overwhelmed by all the weights and machines they had. Here are 10 mistakes beginners make.
Author:
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[ Q ] What is the best advice you could give to somebody who is just starting out in becoming fit?
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    The best advice that I can give is to be patient, be consistent, be a problem-solver, and be honest. I was guilty of adhering to the 'lose two pounds a week rule'. I felt that if I did not do that, I had somehow failed. I was also dependent on the scale to tell me if I was progressing. That is just one tool.

    Changing one's body takes time and a lot of effort. Having a long-term goal and a vision is important, but it is the small things that you do daily that add up. The day that I switched my focus from the scale to changing my daily habits, everything became 'easier'.

Changing One's Body Takes Time And A Lot Of Effort.
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Changing One's Body Takes
Time And A Lot Of Effort.

    I no longer became preoccupied with being 150 pounds. Instead, I focused on getting to the gym 4-5 times per week and eating to support those workouts. I had to be a problem-solver. One of my big challenges was finding the time to workout.

    When I really thought about it, I knew I would have to do it in the morning. I started waking up 10-15 minutes earlier, then 20 minutes, then 30 minutes, and so on. Today, I wake up at 4:00 a.m. for my pre-workout oatmeal.

One Of My Big Challenges Was Finding The Time To Workout.
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One Of My Big Challenges Was
Finding The Time To Workout.

    To help myself get used to eating every few hours I set the alarm on my Outlook Calendar. After a while, my body began to tell me. I keep peanut butter in my car. I carry a cooler to work. I purchased The Forman Grill to cook chicken quickly. I looked at my lifestyle and made fitness an everyday part of it.

    I looked at my challenges and tried to create solutions that were sustainable. Were there times when my planning did not work? Of course. But those times become less frequent and you reap the benefits. Being honest with yourself is critical.

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    Often someone who is starting out will go to the gym and then 'reward' themselves with fast food or some other counter-productive snack. It is common for someone to do a program or workout for 3 weeks and claim that it does not work.

    I have seen people eat well in public and then binge in private. To see lasting and dramatic change you have to look at your actions, critically.

To See Lasting And Dramatic Change You Have To Look At Your Actions, Critically.
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To See Lasting And Dramatic Change You
Have To Look At Your Actions, Critically.

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[ Q ] Have you been working on your own or do you have a coach?
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    I worked on my own, seriously, for about 6 months. My motivation was high and I was making some progress. I had been inspired to lift heavier, improve my form, and not be afraid to sweat.

    Someone took notice. It was my current trainer, Billy Washington. I had been watching him train someone else for months and I really liked his training style. He had been watching me put a lot of effort into my early morning workouts.

I Had Been Inspired To Lift Heavier, Improve My Form, And Not Be Afraid To Sweat.
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I Had Been Inspired To Lift Heavier,
Improve My Form, And Not Be Afraid To Sweat.

    The morning that I decided to finally approach him, he approached me. He took me from 'working out' to 'training'. We have a 50 pound weight loss, two competitions, and numerous personal bests under our belts.

    He is knowledgeable and passionate about fitness, but he also humble and is not to proud to say, "I don't know. Let me do some research." He knows I will give 100% and he does the same. I definitely would not be where I am, physically, without his guidance.

I Definitely Would Not Be Where I Am, Physically, Without My Trainer's Guidance.
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I Definitely Would Not Be Where I Am,
Physically, Without My Trainer's Guidance.

    Some might think it would be a full time job just to get in the physique you have accomplished. How do you balance being a student, instructor, wife, and mother?

    I may train 5-6 times per week during my off season, lifting 3 or 4 times per week and mixing in some plyometrics or posing practice. I am in the gym for a little over an hour during the week.

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    On the weekends I am in the gym for about 2 hours. That comes out to 7, maybe 8, hours per week. That is the equivalent of one television show per day. I can easily spend that much time on the phone or online! I value that time that I can devote to myself.

    While preparing for my second competition, I decreased the number of days that I was lifting to 4 days per week and did cardio sessions in the evening. I suppose preparing for a competition could be considered extreme. The day to day maintenance is minimal, by comparison. The bulk of the work is outside of the gym. Having a whole, healthy diet is the key to lasting results.

Having A Whole, Healthy Diet Is The Key To Lasting Results.
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Having A Whole, Healthy Diet
Is The Key To Lasting Results.

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[ Q ] How was your first competition experience?
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    My first competition experience was thrilling! I enjoyed the dieting, the training, and the discipline that it took to prepare. It was satisfying to have a long term goal and meet it.

    I knew as soon as I stepped off stage that I was going to do another show. It is amazing to watch the weekly changes that your body goes through. You develop parts that you did not know you had.

    You lift weights that you previously thought you could not. It is a test of will and strength. The best part is that if you are patient and committed, you only get better with each show.

I Knew As Soon As I Stepped Off Stage That I Was Going To Do Another Show. I Knew As Soon As I Stepped Off Stage That I Was Going To Do Another Show.
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I Knew As Soon As I Stepped Off Stage
That I Was Going To Do Another Show.

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[ Q ] How have friends and family reacted to the changes you've made?
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    The response to the change has been very positive. I have a few friends who had decided to make some lifestyle changes and become healthier.

    I think they have seen that I truly love living this lifestyle. I have debunked some misconceptions. For example, I am seen eating regularly. I am not hungry and my food is delicious.

    I think my daughter's reaction to the change has been priceless and the most important to me. She appreciates female muscle, is learning human anatomy, and can do quarter turns in the shoes. She is extremely proud of me and likes to tell people that I compete and that her mommy is fit.

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Tips To Motivate Others!
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[ Q ] Have you ever had a day where you felt like giving up?
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    There are definitely days that I do not want to wake up, but I make it up to myself and go to the gym in the evening. There are days when my diet may not be stellar, but ensure that the next day is better. If I need to take a few days off to recover, I try to do that.

    Sometimes, I will go through my progress pictures to remind myself of how far I have come over the last two years. I have become a competitive athlete and feel so much better about myself. I have found something that I am passionate about. That is enough to keep me going.

I Have Found Something That I Am Passionate About.
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I Have Found Something
That I Am Passionate About.

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[ Q ] If you had any extra time, what would you want to be doing?
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    If I had a little extra time I would take a nap. Then, any extra time would be spent with my daughter. She is starting kindergarten this fall and I cannot believe how fast she is growing up. I am so proud of the little girl that she is.

RELATED WALLPAPER
Kassandre Harper-Cotton!
Kassandre Harper-Cotton!
BodySpace Member Of The Month!

Week #165 - 5/26/2009
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[ Q ] Your professional photo shoots pictures are amazing, how was your experience doing the shoot?
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    Thank you. I am very proud of the results. When I saw the first photo I let out an audible gasp. I looked at myself in a completely different way. I inquired about local photographers in my area on a message board and Weiferd Watts came highly recommended.

    I was a bit nervous, but like my first figure competition, I was up for the challenge. I came with four ideas for outfits and he was drawn to the brown body suit immediately. He has a very calm demeanor. I immediately felt comfortable.

I Looked At Myself In A Completely Different Way.
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I Looked At Myself In
A Completely Different Way.

    I was so impressed with how he used his environment. We shot in a doorway and on some steps, against a stone wall, and in a park. Weiferd was great at directing me. Two years ago, I would not have considered doing something like that. It was liberating and empowering.

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[ Q ] Do you have any future plans put together for more competing and photo shoots?
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    My next show is in October, 2009. I was going to do one in the summer, but I feel like I dieted a bit too long for my last show. I would like to eat, get my strength back and train. Billy has tried some new routines with me that have been really effective, so it should be interesting to see where my physique will be in six months.

I Would Like To Eat, Get My Strength Back And Train.
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I Would Like To Eat, Get
My Strength Back And Train.

    I need to bring up my glutes and hamstrings. I also need to continue to chisel away at my abs. I know they will come with time and patience. I will also be scheduling another photo shoot in October. I will definitely be working with Weiferd, again.

    arrow Check Out Making_A_Change's BodySpace Profile Here.