Fitness Amateur Of The Week: Figurative Fitness

Insecurities kept Rakeysha trapped in a life she didn't want. She was afraid to compete in sports and didn't value her body. When she gained the courage to step onstage, she found her true self!

Name: Rakeysha Pinkston
BodySpace: Ivymaria
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Age: 30  Height: 4'9"  Weight: 95 lbs contest; 107 lbs off
Years Competing: 2

How did your fitness journey begin?

Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, I have always been a tomboy and enjoyed athletics. My shyness often kept me from getting into sports, though. Because of my insecurities, I purposely kept myself away from involved activities I loved. I often have regrets for not getting into gymnastics because I love the sport and was always told I had the build for it. It wasn't until college that I was first introduced to the world of bodybuilding.

My eyes were always glued to reading fitness magazines like Muscle & Fitness Hers, Fitness RX, and Muscular Development. I was in awe of how the female competitors carried a nice amount of muscle along with beauty and grace. Competing was something I always dreamed of, but never envisioned myself actually doing. I was afraid of what my family and friends would think. After all, being a figure competitor isn't a sport for the average female athlete. It takes an extreme amount of work and dedication to train and diet.

I reached a point in my life when I was in complete limbo. I was going through a lot of issues mentally and physically and gained a good amount of weight. My parents were both diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and their health was slowly declining. I had to turn things around, and if I wanted my family to change, the change had to start with me. I made a commitment to get in the best shape of my life, challenged myself to enter a bikini competition, and placed third.

Realizing I had a figure build, I entered two competitions the following year and won both. I qualified to compete at the national level where I competed for the first time this year. This experience made me realize that I'm stronger and more determined than I give myself credit for. I do posses the qualities needed to be a figure athlete and I don't want to stop until I make it to the pro stage.

What fitness regimen delivered the best results?

I enjoy varying rep ranges to keep my body guessing. I alternate between ranges of 12-15 for calorie burn and incorporate 1-2 sets of heavy lifting between the ranges of 8-10. During contest prep I keep the rep ranges high with moderate to heavy weight. My weakness is that I love to train legs heavy, and if I'm not careful they have a tendency to overpower my upper half. So for legs, I try to keep the rep range within 12-15 to maintain symmetry.

Right now my focus is to increase the size of my shoulders to match the size of my lower half, so I train shoulders twice per week. I like supersets to keep the heart rate up and sometimes throw in plyometrics between sets to maximize my gym time. I don't like doing cardio unless it's sprinting, but I know it's necessary for overall health. I find that 30-45 minutes of cardio per day helps me maintain a certain level of leanness.

I also do a lot of walking during the day. During contest prep, I perform early morning cardio in a fasted state and add in a second session later in the day if necessary. It's hard to follow a set schedule to train particular body parts, so I listen to my body and base my training around my schedule. This is a typical workout I love doing in the off-season.

Day 1: Legs

Day 2: Shoulders/Biceps/Triceps

Day 3: Cardio/Abs

Day 4: Chest/Back

Day 5: Cardio/Abs

Day 6: Hamstrings/Shoulders

Day 7: Off

What nutrition plan fueled your body?

I usually eat 5-6 clean meals per day. I'm always on the go, so I prepare my food in advance. I like to eat mostly whole foods, but when I don't have a lot of time to sit and eat a meal, I bring small bags of protein to make a quick shake. On my heavy training days, if I have a craving I allow myself a small serving of something. You can't be from New Orleans and not have a po' boy or beignets from time to time. During contest prep, I stick to my diet and use spices so I don't get bored with my food. I also try to drink close to a gallon of water each day.

Meal 1
Meal 2
Meal 3
Meal 4
Meal 5
Meal 6

What supplements gave you an edge?
With Meal 1
With Meal 2
With Meal 3
With Meal 4
Before Bed

How did your passion for fitness emerge?

Fitness is my personal escape and helps me get through tough situations. It amazes me seeing how my body responds to weights. I love the way lifting makes me feel. I always get excited to work out and see my hard work paying off from my increases in strength and muscle.

Competing is amazing. It's so funny, because I'm quiet and a little shy by nature. When I'm onstage, I transform into another person. Some people think I'm crazy to put in so much work to lean out for one moment onstage, but it's about more than just that one day; it's a day to celebrate a personal journey of the hard work and dedication endured to become a better and stronger version of myself.

What/Who motivates you to live a healthy lifestyle?

First, my motivation mostly comes from within. This lifestyle shaped my life for the better and gave me strength to apply to all areas of my life. I'm also motivated by my family looking to me for support and when people tell me I'm an inspiration for them to change their lifestyle. I definitely feel blessed.

Where did you go for inspiration?

If I ever need a push to go to the gym or to change things up, I turn to several fitness magazines and websites to learn from the pros. That allows me to put things in perspective and to keep pressing forward.

What are your future fitness plans?

It means everything to me to become an IFBB figure pro. I want to improve my physique and return to the figure stage to win my pro card in 2013, but for now I will have to temporarily put that goal on hold to pursue another. Competing has led me down a path that made me realize my true calling. I want to make a significant impact in the science of nutrition and in the lives of others. It's important to continue researching nutrition's major role in metabolic regulation. I'm currently working toward a Ph.D. in Nutrition Science.

What is the most important fitness tip?

Never be afraid to D.R.E.A.M (Dedication Requires Extreme Appreciation of Myself). It's a motto I created for myself to do my personal best. The most important factor in everything is you. Always strive to be better and realize you're not perfect. Remember to have your goal in mind and use whatever motivates you to pick back up and keep going. Don't give up.

Who is your favorite fitness competitor?

There are many figure competitors who I admire, so I have to name at least two. Ava Cowan and Alicia Harris are two beautiful women who push themselves to the limit and strive to be better than their best. It was Alicia's cover on Muscle & Fitness Hers in 2009 that inspired me to face my fears and compete. I hope to grace the pro stage with these awesome women one day.

How did help you reach your goals? is the best. I'm able to order the supplements I require to achieve my goals. I also use BodySpace to track my progress, get tips from the fitness and nutrition articles, and to interact with people from different walks of life for encouragement and inspiration.


  • To Arthur Gooden for mentoring and guiding me through my initial journey of competitive dieting and training.
  • To LaDarren Tyler for his guidance as my personal trainer and coach.
  • To IFBB fitness pro Nicole Duncan for her support and assistance with posing.
  • To NPC national physique competitor Lavecca Smith for her motivation and support.
  • To Tyson Arts Photography and DeWayne and Anna VP from DeArt Photography for their fantastic work. I love you all.

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