Fitness Amateur Of The Week: Lauren Irick

Lauren always struggled to gain weight. Eating disorders and excessive cardio held her back, but with bodybuilding, nothing can stop her!

Years of up and down weight fluctuations worried Lauren Irick. She struggled with an eating disorder, which kept her frame slight. She moved to Germany and put on weight, then lost it in an unhealthy manner. She could never put on or keep any muscle tone.

Her struggle weighed on her until 2013, when she started to reverse her unhealthy, party-driven lifestyle. The gym slowly became more than a part-time hobby. HIIT cardio replaced treadmill excess. Weight training became a staple in her weekly schedule, but something was still missing.

The final piece of her fitness puzzle was hiring Amber Orton as a trainer. Like so many before her, Lauren took well to the advisement of Orton. The balance of healthy eating, weightlifting, and a goal-oriented program finally gave Lauren the positive mental attitude she'd sought for years. Once she made an honest commitment, happiness and healthfulness finally became normal for this aspiring bikini competitor. Learn how she did it!

Q

How did your fitness journey begin?

I am the youngest in my family, with four older brothers. We were always active, and they were big influences on me playing sports growing up. After high school, I wanted to stay active and keep an athletic look. Unfortunately, I wasn't educated in the benefits of weight training and how to properly fuel my body. I struggled for years with an eating disorder and was absolutely convinced that the only way I could stay thin was by being a cardio bunny and undereating.

At the age of 18, I reached my all-time low weight of 94 pounds. I had no muscle, no fat, and an unhealthy mindset. I did eventually put on some weight and stayed between 112 and 116 pounds. I loved running, but still had an unhealthy relationship with food. I worked out in the gym for hours. I looked decent, but I didn't feel great and lacked muscle. I ate too little and drank entirely too much.

"Seeing an increase on my lifts gave me a great feeling of accomplishment! I was much happier focusing on these numbers than the ones I was seeing on the scale."

In 2013, I got serious about working out again, and began doing HIIT and lifting weights. I started to focus less on what my body looked like and more on what my body could do. Seeing an increase on my lifts gave me a great feeling of accomplishment! I was much happier focusing on these numbers than the ones I was seeing on the scale. Naturally, my body started to look better too, but in retrospect, my diet was still terrible.

I hired a trainer and kept lifting heavy. In February of 2014, I decided to clean up my diet. I started working with my coach, Amber Orton, with just nutrition. She agreed I was undereating and increased my calories with a clean-eating meal plan. Almost immediately I had better workouts, more energy, dropped weight, and—most importantly—felt better.

I committed to working out 5-6 days a week, and I planned and prepped my meals ahead of time. I was finally ready to go to the next level and take the plunge into bodybuilding. I started a 12-week prep with Amber and competed in my first bodybuilding competition in 2014. I won first in my class, which put me up for the overall. I was flabbergasted when I won the Oregon State Women's Overall bikini title.

Cool Fact

Lauren lived in Germany for almost two years and is fluent in German.

I have heard from other competitors that eating disorders can be prevalent in the bodybuilding world, but I have never looked better, felt better, or been happier in my whole life. Working with Amber and competing has helped me understand how to properly fuel my body and my workouts. I went from being unhealthy and miserable to happy and healthy.

What fitness regimen delivered the best results?

Monday: Legs
Superset
1

Squat

4 sets of 15 reps
Squat Squat

Squat jump

4 sets of 12 reps
Squat jump Squat jump

Superset
2

Single-leg press

4 sets of 15 reps
Single-leg press Single-leg press

High-box dumbbell step-up

4 sets of 15 reps
High-box dumbbell step-up High-box dumbbell step-up

Superset
3

Straight-leg deadlift

4 sets of 15 reps
Straight-leg deadlift Straight-leg deadlift

Skater lunge

4 sets of 15 reps per leg
Skater lunge Skater lunge

4

Seated single-leg leg extension

4 sets of 15 reps per leg
Seated single-leg leg extension Seated single-leg leg extension


5

Walking barbell lunge

4 sets of 20 reps
Walking barbell lunge Walking barbell lunge

Superset
6

Glute kickback

4 sets of 15 reps per leg
Glute kickback Glute kickback

BOSU skip

4 sets of 15 reps per leg
BOSU skip BOSU skip

7

Interval cardio

30 minutes
Interval cardio Interval cardio


Tuesday: Biceps/Triceps
Superset
1
Lying close-grip triceps press Lying close-grip triceps press

Triangle push-up

5 sets of 10 reps
Triangle push-up Triangle push-up

Superset
2
Underhand-grip straight-bar triceps push-down Underhand-grip straight-bar triceps push-down

Dive bomber

5 sets of 10 reps
Dive bomber Dive bomber

Superset
3

Overhead cable extension

4 sets of 12 reps
Overhead cable extension Overhead cable extension

Standing cable push-down

4 sets of 12 reps
Standing cable push-down Standing cable push-down

4

Weighted triceps dip

5 sets to failure
Weighted triceps dip Weighted triceps dip

Superset
5

Incline dumbbell biceps curl

5 sets of 12 reps
Incline dumbbell biceps curl Incline dumbbell biceps curl

Chin-up

5 sets of 10 reps
Chin-up Chin-up

Superset
6

Standing hammer curl

5 sets of 12 reps
Standing hammer curl Standing hammer curl
Alternating ''monkey arm'' biceps curl Alternating ''monkey arm'' biceps curl

Superset
7

Single-arm preacher curl

5 sets of 15 reps per arm
Single-arm preacher curl Single-arm preacher curl

Standing barbell curl

5 sets to failure
Standing barbell curl Standing barbell curl

8

Cardio

10 HIIT Sprints
Cardio Cardio


Wednesday: Back/Abs
Superset
1

Dumbbell row

4 sets of 15 reps
Dumbbell row Dumbbell row

Lat pull-down

4 sets of 12 reps
Lat pull-down Lat pull-down

Superset
2
Bench decline lateral raise for rear delts Bench decline lateral raise for rear delts

Bench decline pull-back

4 sets of 15 reps
Bench decline pull-back Bench decline pull-back

Superset
3

Seated close-grip row

4 sets of 15 reps
Seated close-grip row Seated close-grip row
Standing bent-over close-grip row Standing bent-over close-grip row

4

Hyperextension

5 sets to failure
Hyperextension Hyperextension

Superset
5

Hanging leg raise

5 sets of 10 reps
Hanging leg raise Hanging leg raise

Hanging knee raise

5 sets of 10 reps
Hanging knee raise Hanging knee raise

6

Medicine ball Russian twist

5 sets of 20 reps
Medicine ball Russian twist Medicine ball Russian twist

7

Reverse crunch

5 sets of 20 reps
Reverse crunch Reverse crunch

Superset
8

Exercise ball tuck

5 sets of 20 reps
Exercise ball tuck Exercise ball tuck

Exercise ball pike

5 sets of 10 reps
Exercise ball pike Exercise ball pike

9

Bicycle crunch

3 sets of 100 reps
Bicycle crunch Bicycle crunch


Thursday: Heavy Legs
Superset
1

Barbell calf raise

5 sets of 25 reps
Barbell calf raise Barbell calf raise

Alternating barbell reverse lunge

5 sets of 12 reps per leg
Alternating barbell reverse lunge Alternating barbell reverse lunge

2

Smith machine kick-up

5 sets of 15 reps
Smith machine kick-up Smith machine kick-up

3

Weighted single-leg glute bridge

5 sets of 15 per leg
Weighted single-leg glute bridge Weighted single-leg glute bridge

4

Smith machine split-squat

5 sets of 15 per leg
Smith machine split-squat Smith machine split-squat

5

Hack squat

4 sets to failure
Hack squat Hack squat

6

Cardio

10 HIIT Sprints
Cardio Cardio


Friday: Shoulders
Superset
1
Seated dumbbell military press Seated dumbbell military press

Upright barbell row

4 sets of 12 reps
Upright barbell row Upright barbell row

2

Lateral raise

5 sets of 15 reps
Lateral raise Lateral raise

Superset
3
Single-arm standing dumbbell press Single-arm standing dumbbell press

Shoulder-to-thumb plank

3 sets of 12 reps
Shoulder-to-thumb plank Shoulder-to-thumb plank

4
Alternating single-arm dumbbell front raise Alternating single-arm dumbbell front raise

5

Seated rear-delt machine

3 sets to failure
Seated rear-delt machine Seated rear-delt machine


Saturday: Active Recovery
1

Yoga, hiking, walking, track workout, 300 workout, etc.


Yoga, hiking, walking, track workout, 300 workout, etc. Yoga, hiking, walking, track workout, 300 workout, etc.


Sunday: Rest

What nutrition plan fueled your body?

Meal 1: Pre-workout

Egg whites 3 whites


Cage-Free Egg 1 egg


Spinach


Old-fashioned oatmeal with blueberries 1 cup


Black coffee 1 cup



Meal 2: Post-workout

Whey protein 1 scoop


Apple 1 apple


Ezekiel English muffin 1 muffin



Meal 3

Chicken 3 oz.


Sweet potato 6 oz.


Brussels sprouts 10 sprouts



Meal 4

Chicken 3 oz.


Or

Lean turkey breast 3 oz.


Sweet potato 4 oz.


Green beans 1 cup

Peppers 1 cup


Or

Broccoli 1 cup



Meal 5

Egg whites 4 whites


Large green salad


With 1/4 cup salsa as dressing

Raw unsalted almonds 15 almonds



Meal 6

White fish 4 oz.


Broccoli


Or

Green salad


With 1/2 cup salsa

Large avocado 1/2 avocado



What supplements gave you an edge?


During workout

BSN AMINOx 1 scoop






How did your passion for fitness emerge?

I love the mental and physical challenge! Fitness has always been somewhat of a meditation for me. It's my opportunity to focus on goals to regain mental clarity. You can't cheat the lifestyle! You get what you give, and it's such a gratifying feeling to see hard work and persistence pay off. In my experience all the focus, drive, hard work, tenacity, and positivity that goes into bodybuilding starts extending into all the other areas of your life and only perpetuates itself.

"In my experience all the focus, drive, hard work, tenacity, and positivity that goes into bodybuilding starts extending into all the other areas of your life and only perpetuates itself."

What or who motivates you to live healthy?

I am self-motivated and enjoy the mental and physical challenge—the whole process! I am capable of so much more than I thought. I am motivated to stay happy, healthy, be my best self, and hopefully inspire others to do the same!

Where did you go for inspiration?

I use Instagram for a lot of inspiration. There are so many quotes and awesome stories out there. I just focus on what needs to be done and I do it! I know I won't feel happy if I don't do my best.

Lauren Irick 2014 NPC Oregon State Bikini
Watch the video - 13:25



What are your future fitness plans?

I will continue to compete in regional shows, and next year I will take the stage at a national competition. I would also like to transition into personal training. I would love to work with all age ranges, but I really want to work with women to help them gain confidence in the gym. I want to see more women lifting!

What is the most important fitness tip?

Set goals, work hard, and never give up!



Who is your favorite fitness competitor?

My coach Amber has been an inspiration before she even knew! I admire her physique, but also respect the hard work and dedication she has put into running her own business. She is incredibly honest about her lifestyle and any challenges that arise. The balance she has found is something I strive for. Beautiful on the inside and out, she is proof that hard work pays off! She also has a great sense of humor.

How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?

BodySpace and the message boards are awesome! I am not active on the message boards, but I read them a lot. People are always asking great questions, sharing their knowledge, and posting great links for information. It's a supportive community. I also know I can get all of my supplements at a competitive price. My order always arrives so fast; I'm in awe every time. Seeing one of those boxes on my porch after coming home from work is like Christmas!

Lauren's Top 4 Gym Tracks

Oh man! The music I listen to in the gym varies so much depending on what I am doing. I definitely listen to cheesy pop and top 40 during my cardio! Aside from that, I listen to mainstream EDM, rap, and trap music during my lifts.

2Pac
"Uppercut"
Eminem ft. Nate Dogg
"Til' I Collapse"
Ellie Goulding
"Good Gracious"
RL Grime
"Pockets"
2Pac
"Uppercut"
Eminem ft. Nate Dogg
"Til' I Collapse"
Ellie Goulding
"Good Gracious"
RL Grime
"Pockets"


Thanks

I want to thank Amber Orton for mentoring me, coaching me, inspiring me, and giving me the tools to live a healthy and happy life; my friends, who have shown and provided their support throughout the last year and a half; my friends and "fit fam" on IG; and my family, for giving me so much unconditional love and support. I am very lucky!

Photo Credit

The photos watermarked with AlwaysEvolving were taken by Skyler Lee Stutzman. The DreamQuest watermarked photos were taken by Justin Card or Derek Kaneshiro.