Fitness Amateur Of The Week: Jacqueline Thomas
Name: Jacqueline Thomas
Age: 25 Height: 4'11" Weight: 108 lbs
Occupation: Ph. D Student/Biomedical Engineer
Location: Chicago, IL
Years Competing: Since 2009
At an early age I loved being active and I joined any sport team that would take me. From hockey and basketball to dance and gymnastics, I kept myself busy and out of trouble all through my adolescent and college years. Working out was always fun and seeing the older female athletes with such great muscle maturity inspired my own goals to gain strength and build muscle.
In 2007, I started personal training to help pay off college debt and I found myself immersed in the bodybuilding community without even knowing it! About 30 competitors happened to workout at my gym and I began noticing the phenomenal physiques and work ethic of these athletes.
During that time I was also involved in Latin ballroom dancing. Unfortunately, I dislocated my knee during rehearsal and was injured for several months. Taking this hurdle was hard, but I looked to the weights to help ease the stress and hopefully regain strength. Not only did my knees heal without permanent damage, but I was able to make incredible gains in strength as well as size. The next year I was encouraged by friends to compete and show off my hard work and that's exactly what I did!
During my last year in engineering school (with finals and all) I prepped for the 2009 Collegiate Nationals. Watching the master figure and bodybuilding competitors during Master Nationals opened my eyes to such amazing talent and dedication. Ever since I have been hit with the competing bug! This is my third year as a figure competitor and I love it! I hope to improve with each show I do and express to other girls the importance of staying active and having fun!
Workout plans that include a wide variety of movement and strength have helped improved my overall physique as well as kept me excited about heading to the gym day in and day out. My workouts generally consist of one body part per day ranging from heavy to moderate weights with some cardio-type incorporated at the end of weight training; it's always intense and more importantly always fun!
I have included an example of a week's workout scheme I typically follow, of course I always change up something but this gives you an idea of the types of movements I use to improve my physique for competitions. I lift depending on how my body feels that day. I stay usually between 6-15 reps for 3-6 sets - instinctual training is key in this sport, so always listen to your body!
Note: Don't let the cuteness fool you, this girl can lift!
Circuit 1: Repeat 2-3x
Circuit 2: Repeat 2-3x
Circuit 3: Repeat 2-3x
Burpees Push-Ups (shown without push-ups)4 sets of 30 reps
Burpees Push-Ups (shown without push-ups)1 sets of 10 reps
Circuit: 1 round
My nutrition plan is far from the deprivation diets everyone fears during competition prep. My body hates drastic change, which is why my plan stays fairly balanced all year around. With the guidance of Mike Davies from the Fitness Factory, I have been able to keep eating a moderate amount of carbs, protein, fat, and even sugar while getting ready for shows. The variety of food groups keeps my body and mind happy for workouts, school and work!
I have included a typical day of meals I go through while getting ready to compete.
With a sensitive immune system and several health conditions, the options for supplements are few for me. Great quality supplements that have proven to help maintain my muscle mass while preparing for shows are a must:
Fitness is my de-stressor and motivation in my life. I have a hectic career and school schedule, but when I enter those gym doors I can release any anxiety or frustration from that day. Getting through an intense workout and diet helps keep me disciplined for other responsibilities. Being active keeps me focused, alert, and energized for the rest of my day. Fitness has also brought great people into my life, including my boyfriend! As an athlete in such a demanding sport, having a good support system with people who know what you are going through helps a lot. Moreover, fitness has improved my way of life. I have several health conditions, including problems with my heart and lung, which have been subsided with this active lifestyle. When one thing can bring so much benefit, how can I not love it?
Following a healthy lifestyle in hopes of improving not only my way of life but also my loved ones keeps me motivated. I hope my health conscious habits with diet and exercise brush off on my friends and family. At the end of the day whether on stage or on the couch, living and feeling well is all that matters.
My initial reason for staying active and increasing my strength was to improve my health rather than sulk about the diagnosis. Three years later, my cardiovascular endurance has gone up and my energy levels are the highest they've ever been. I always keep in mind the state I started this journey in and I continue to reach my goals with the aspiration to affect the people I love.
I intend to compete on the national level this year; continuing to improve and learn as much as I can about the fitness industry in general. I want to showcase the improvements I have made and be competitive alongside other women with great physiques.
Give it your all and you won't ever be disappointed!
2009 NPC Collegiate Nationals Figure
Class A: 1st & overall
2009 NPC Continental USA Open Figure
Class A: 1st place
2009 NPC Midwest Ironman Open Figure
Class A: 2nd place
2009 NPC Natural Mid-State Class Open
Figure Class A: 2nd place
2011 NPC Pittsburgh Championships Open
Figure Class A: 9th place
2011 NPC GNC Classic Open Figure
Class A: 1st & overall
2011 NPC USA Championships Open
Figure Class A: 5th place
2011 IFBB North American Championships
Open Figure Class A: 6th place
2012 IFBB Arnold Amateur International
Championships Open Figure
Class A: 1st place
Nicole Wilkins, Erin Stern and Cheryl Brown are my favorite competitors in figure. These women represent class, integrity and some amazing physiques. I look up to the many pro figure athletes for inspiration and insight with this industry. The work ethic, sportsmanship and character I see in these ladies make me proud to be part of the sport.
I want to send out special thanks to everyone who has supported me throughout all my shows. I really do appreciate my friends and family showering me with tons of love and encouragement each and every day. Particularly, my boyfriend, Mace Oropeza, has kept me going during my weakest moments and my Coach Mike Davies who believed in my potential from the start; with these two men in my corner I am able to fight hard through the challenges faced on and off stage. Thanks for keeping me smiling everyone!
Jeff Binns for Muscular Development
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