Cheryl Ott Shed 34 Pounds And Began Competing!

Cheryl decided to change her body in the spring of 2004 after moving to a new city. Read on to find out how she dedicated herself to fitness and lost 34 pounds right here!

Vital Stats

Name: Cheryl Ott

162 lbs
Body Fat:
Chest: 36"
Waist: 32"
Hips: 42"

Body Fat:
Chest: 34"
Waist: 26"
Hips: 36"

Why I Got Started

I decided to change my body in the spring of 2004. I had just moved to a new city, I was a freshman in college, and I had no friends. I was ready for a new direction and new energy in my life.

I reached my heaviest weight of 162 pounds during my senior year of high school. A former Varsity Dancer, I was active and lean until quitting sports and getting a job to save money for college.

My unfortunate choice to work at Hardee's helped me pack on 30 pounds in about 8 months - I also took up smoking since all of my co-workers did it too. The weight continued to creep on until my free physical at the NDSU Wellness Center.

I felt OK about my appearance and thought I was generally healthy - until the fitness trainer informed me my bodyfat was at an all-time high of 31%. I was genuinely concerned for my health, and that's what got me started on this path.

I immediately stopped smoking and began setting small diet and exercise goals and using to learn more about health and fitness. I loved reading the Transformation of the Week for inspiration!

I've been a user of since 2004 and it's been the single most powerful tool in getting me to where I am today.

Bodybuilding.Com Has Been The Single Most Powerful Tool In Getting Me To Where I Am Today.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Bodybuilding.Com Has Been The Single Most Powerful
Tool In Getting Me To Where I Am Today.

How I Did It

I lost the first 20 pounds by cutting out junk food and using the recumbent bike 3 times per week for 30 minutes each time. When that got easy, I bumped up the time and the resistance. I added Pilates twice per week and noticed a big change in my waistline.

Then I started doing cardio 5 days a week and using all of the cardio equipment. I added the strength training machines twice a week and really began to notice the change in my body composition.

Meanwhile, at the school cafeteria, I was eating omelets, salads and fresh soup and sandwiches along with fruits, veggies and the occasional well-deserved cookie. I kept a food journal; I still do to this day.

When I reached 142 pounds, I printed out side-by-side before and after pictures and showed them to my dormmates. They were amazed and their reactions gave me motivation to keep going. I gained so much confidence, I applied for a job at the campus wellness center and I worked there for 2 years.

I even started dating and having a wonderful social life. I continued to learn more about fitness and connected with like-minded, healthy people. I began using free weights and eventually my weight got down to 132 pounds. Then I started daydreaming about competing.

That dream is about to become a reality. I'm 6 weeks away from my first figure competition - the NPC Upper Midwest Championships in Fargo, North Dakota - at the college attended. I'm so excited to finally achieve this goal!

I have reached this point without any personal training, fancy gyms, expensive supplements or flashy attire. I'm just a regular person who did the work and it has really paid off! Anybody can do this! I currently work at Eagle Ridge Wellness Center in Williston, ND.

Our members are such amazing people! They motivate me every day with their positive attitudes and dedication to their health. I'm proud to represent our gym at the competition and to be set a positive example for my community.

I also have a sweet husband to thank. He helps so much by living a healthy lifestyle along with me and being such a positive fun person. My family is so supportive of everything I do and they've been a big help in achieving my transformation.

I'm Just A Regular Person Who Did The Work And It Has Really Paid Off!
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
I'm Just A Regular Person Who Did The
Work And It Has Really Paid Off!



The example meal I provided may seem a little bland, but I vary things a bit by swapping out different proteins, fruits, veggies and whole grains, and seasoning them differently.

My core foods include chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, whey shakes, protein bars, brown rice, oatmeal, broth-based soups, a variety of fruits and veggies, spinach for salads, pre-packaged stir fry mixes and of course the occasional dark chocolate bar.

For sauces/dressings, I rely on vinegar/oil and mustards. I do not drink soda of any kind and I rarely consume alcohol. On the chance I do imbibe, I choose a red wine or a light beer like Miller 64 or Michelob Ultra.

I eat little dairy and I do not eat bread, crackers, chips, croutons, potatoes, white rice, junk food or any other "bad" carbs. I love vanilla caramel tea with honey when I'm craving something sweet, and I can make a mean fruit and whey smoothie too!

Meal 1: Pre-Workout

Meal 2: Post-Workout

Meal 3:

Meal 4:

Meal 5:

Meal 6:



My workouts are 4 weight days, 5 cardio days, and a 1-hour yoga class. I keep my workouts varied and try to surprise my muscles at every opportunity.

I alternate individual exercises, the way I pair them, high weight/low weight days, high rep/low rep days, and I add bands and plyometrics as well. I also love doing bodyweight. Sometimes when I'm having a busy week I'll do full-body circuits instead of the splits.

Cardio is usually 30 minutes on the elliptical, alternating between forward and backward, followed by 15 minutes incline treadmill walking forward and backward.

Chest And Triceps:

Lower Body And Abs:

Back And Biceps:

Lower Body, Shoulders And Abs:

Suggestions For Others

My number one suggestion to anyone just beginning a transformation is to be proactive! Take your health in your hands and research exercise, supplementation, diet, and recovery.

Don't wait for someone to come along and show you. Remember, all the positive thinking in the world won't do anything without action and sincere effort! Here are some more tips in no particular order:

  • If you can't afford a personal trainer or a gym membership, buy some fitness DVDs and resistance bands and work out at home, or print out a list of moves you can do with your body weight only. Walk, run, or jump rope - no expensive equipment required!
  • Make yourself a priority and change your mindset - instead of saying, "I should do this" or "I need to do that," say "I want to exercise today" and make an appointment with yourself to get it done.
  • Recruit a friend or family member to exercise with you. Even if you don't have the same goals, just being there helps you hold each other accountable. As a bonus, you'll have fun and build a stronger friendship with that person.
  • If you prefer working out alone, make a killer mix on your MP3 player to help motivate you through your workout.
  • Don't keep tempting foods in your home. If you know you're a sucker for peanut butter and you'll eat 5 servings in a day - sorry, you need to drop that from the shopping list until you break the habit. That goes for any food - even "good" foods because you can always have too much of a good thing.
  • Avoid rewarding yourself with food. I prefer to reward myself with clothing and accessories so I can accentuate my body and "look good to feel good."
  • Don't be hard on yourself when you slip up - just start fresh immediately afterward - no negative self-talk, guilt, or regrets! I've experienced setbacks along the way of course, but the best thing I've learned from them is that having a healthy mind and body makes all the difference between living through tough times and thriving in them. Fitness is the link between my mind and body, and without it I would not deal as well with stress and temptation.

It's taken me a few years to get where I want to be, and I will never let myself go back to where I was.

My advice to anyone just getting started is to be patient, work hard, and don't get down on yourself when you make mistakes. With consistency you can attain your goals, whatever they are! You are in control. You can do it!

Be Patient, Work Hard, And Don't Get Down On Yourself When You Make Mistakes.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Be Patient, Work Hard, And Don't Get Down
On Yourself When You Make Mistakes.