Maria Shed 30 Pounds And Competed In Figure!

Maria Steward had always relied on good genetics, but she decided it was time to take her body to the next level: competition quality. She read the transformation stories on Bodybuilding.com - and then wrote her own!


Vital Stats

Name: Maria Steward

Email: msteward87@yahoo.com

Bodyspace: MariaAntonia

Maria Steward Maria Steward

Before:

Age:
23
Height:
5'8.5"
Weight:
152 lbs
Body Fat:
24-26%
Waist:
32"
Hips:
42"

After:

Age:
23
Height:
5'8.5"
Weight:
122 lbs
Body Fat:
7-8%
Waist:
23"
Hips:
35.5"


Why I Got Started

In March 2010, my husband and I booked a summer vacation to Costa Rica. Right then and there, I knew I wanted to be in tip-top shape. My goal was to stroll the beach in a thong bikini. (Kidding ... sort of.) I began searching online for a workout-and-nutrition regimen. After discovering Bodybuilding.com, I became hooked. I never even heard of figure competing prior to visiting this site. Seeing overweight mothers who had transformed themselves into beautifully toned specimens motivated me. If they could do it, so could I!

I had never been super active; I had relied heavily on my genetics. At this time, I was the heaviest I ever been, and genetics began to work against me now-as my hips were the biggest they'd ever been (a staple trademark in my family). Prior to March, my normal routine consisted of going to the gym 2 times a week doing cardio only, switching between the elliptical and treadmill-never ONCE stepping into "the prison yard." I had no idea where to start, so Bodybuilding.com became my Bible!

I didn't see any results really the first month physically, but mentally weightlifting and eating clean made me feel so good. Each day was a struggle, and at the end of the day I was really proud of myself. The majority of the time, I had no desire to go to the gym, or eat clean; however, almost always, as soon as I'd be in the gym working out, or finishing eating my meal I would feel extremely happy that I did it!

As Soon As I'd Be In The Gym Working Out, Or Finishing Eating My Meal I Would Feel Extremely Happy That I Did It
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As Soon As I'd Be In The Gym Working Out, Or Finishing Eating My Meal I Would Feel Extremely Happy That I Did It!

For extra motivation, I decided to enter myself into a figure competition. It has been an exciting journey. I started March 15th at 24% body fat, 151 pounds (the biggest I've ever been!). 4 Months later, I exceeded my goal and not only competed in a figure competition, but won 1st place. I hit the stage at 9% body fat and 119lb.

Initially, I thought I'd only do that one competition. I never thought that I'd continue to compete, as I only entered myself in the first competition for motivation to work out and eat clean. However, since that first competition, I have become hooked. I have now done 2 additional competitions, the INBF Alamo showdown (winning 1st in bikini, and 2nd in figure tall), and most recently winning 1st place and even overall at the NPC Lackland Classic on November 13, 2010. This time I came in at 122lb, and 7-8% bodyfat. This has become a lifestyle for me.

I am now a nationally qualified figure competitor and currently in the process of getting my personal training certification. It is one of my goals to become a part of the beautiful elite physiques of the IFBB. What motivates me the most now is seeing just how much ones actions can affect a multitude of people, many of which that person has no idea about! I don't just do this for myself anymore, but it's my hope that I can be a catalyst in helping others reach their goals.

I Am Now A Nationally Qualified Figure Competitor And Currently In The Process Of Getting My Personal Training Certification
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I Am Now A Nationally Qualified Figure Competitor And Currently In The Process Of Getting My Personal Training Certification.


How I Did It

At the beginning, I could not afford a personal trainer, so I turned to the internet for a workout/regimen that could work for me. I looked at EVERY singly female transformation, trying to find someone that had a similar body type as me, with the results that I wanted. After much searching, I found Frances Smith. Our body types were similar (bottom heavy) so I ate and trained out EXACTLY like her for the first month, tweaking her training slightly by adding more reps. After doing more research and gaining more insight of my body, I tweaked my diet and workout more accordingly.

After the first two months, the scale did not really move, but body fat did. I was getting closer to competition date (2 months out) so I needed additional help. After researching, I contacted Skie Trevino, former pro bodybuilder for the WBFF and NGA and current figure competitor, I instantly knew she was the person I needed to work with.

We sat down and discussed goals, workout and food. I told her how I had been told by two other trainers that I should reconsider my goals and train for at least 6 months before thinking about competing (which became even more motivation for me!). She told me that we would aim for figure and if I fell short, I could do bikini. I was 8 weeks out and had a lot of work to do (I was about 17% bodyfat). LEAN, LEAN, LEAN- this was my focus, so workouts with high reps, and a carb cycling diet with lots of fish and complex carbs was the plan. I did not worry about calories, but watched my sugar and carb intake.

Additionally, I totally eliminated bread, dairy and fruit (except grapefruit), as I had lots of cellulite on my behind that I needed to clean up! For my most recent competition, my diet was a lot more liberal, with a diet consisting mostly of chicken and steak and complex carbs and for training I stayed heavy at a 10 rep range (as I was trying to add a little more muscle and maintain weight). I weight trained 6 times a week, doing cardio 30 min in the morning fasted, and 30-45 minutes in the evening.

I Weight Trained 6 Times A Week, Doing Cardio 30 Min In The Morning Fasted, And 30-45 Minutes In The Evening
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I Weight Trained 6 Times A Week, Doing Cardio 30 Min In The Morning Fasted, And 30-45 Minutes In The Evening.


Supplements

Morning Pre Workout:

Morning Post Workout:

With Meal 2:

With Meal 5/Pre Workout:

With Meal 6/Post Workout:

With Meal 7/Before Bed:


Diet

The following is how I prepped for the first competition as I was trying to lean down. If I absolutely was hungry and needed something to eat, I'd eat a Grapefruit, and "cheat" with a Diet Orange Soda, filled with crushed ice.

Non Leg Days (Mon, Wed, Thurs):

Meal 1:

Meal 2:

Meal 3:

Meal 4: Pre Workout

Meal 5:

Meal 6: Before Bed

Leg Days (Tues, Fri, Sat):

Meal 1: Pre Workout

Meal 2:

Meal 3:

Meal 4:

Meal 5: Pre Workout

Meal 6:

Meal 7: Before Bed


Training

This is a sample of my training 8 weeks prior to my first competition. Training changed weekly, but still targeted the same body parts for that day.

TERMS YOU'LL NEED TO KNOW
Superset - Two exercises are performed consecutively without any rest.
Triset: - Three exercises are performed consecutively without any rest.
Giant Set: - Four or more exercises are performed consecutively without any rest.

Day 1: Shoulders/Triceps/Biceps/Abs/Calves

Triset:

Triset:

  • Donkey Calf Raise: 4 sets of 20 reps (2 sets toes pointed in, 2 sets toes pointed out)
  • Abs: 5 minutes
  • AM Cardio: 30 minutes
  • Upright Bike: 2 minutes seated on level 1, followed by 1 minute standing peddling as fast as I can on level 17
  • PM Cardio: 30-45 minutes Uphill Lunges and Sprints. Lunge up the hill (walk down) 4 times, then sprint as fast as I can up the hill (jog back down) 3 times. 3 sets of these took about 30-45 minutes.

Day 2: Legs/Calves

Triset:

Triset:

  • Donkey Calf Raise: 4 sets of 20 reps (2 sets toes pointed in, 2 sets toes pointed out)
  • AM Cardio: 30 minutes Elliptical, level 6
  • PM Cardio: 30-45 minutes Elliptical, level 6

Day 3: Shoulders/Back/Chest/Calves/Abs

Triset:

Triset:

  • Donkey Calf Raise: 4 sets of 20 reps (2 sets toes pointed in, 2 sets toes pointed out)
  • Abs: 5 minutes
  • AM Cardio: 30 minutes
  • Upright Bike: 2 minutes seated on level 1, followed by 1 minute standing peddling as fast as I can on level 17
  • PM Cardio: 30-45 minutes Uphill Lunges and Sprints. Lunge up the hill (walk down) 4 times, then sprint as fast as I can up the hill (jog back down) 3 times. 3 sets of these took about 30-45 minutes.

Day 4: Legs/Calves

Triset:

Triset:

  • Donkey Calf Raise: 4 sets of 20 reps (2 sets toes pointed in, 2 sets toes pointed out)
  • AM Cardio: 30 minutes Elliptical, level 6
  • PM Cardio: 30-45 minutes Elliptical, level 6

Day 5: Upper Body/Abs

Giant Set:

Superset:

  • Abs: 5 minutes
  • AM Cardio: 30 minutes on Upright Bike: 2 minutes seated on level 1, followed by 1 minute standing peddling as fast as I can on level 17
  • PM Cardio: 30 minutes on Upright Bike: 2 minutes seated on level 1, followed by 1 minute standing peddling as fast as I can on level 17

Day 6: Lower Body

Giant Set:

Superset:

  • AM Cardio: 30-45 minutes Uphill Lunges and Sprints. Lunge up the hill (walk down) 4 times, then sprint as fast as I can up the hill (jog back down) 3 times. 3 sets of these took about 30-45 minutes

Day 7: Rest

I trained abs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for 5 minutes continuously; changing it up daily ( Bicycle Crunches, Leg Raises, Reverse Leg Raises, Weighted Crunches, etc).

My cardio has been about the same for each competition with one exception. For my last competition, in addition to tweaks with my diet and training I did cardio boxing and core conditioning with the phenomenal trainers at 2 Guys and a Gym (San Antonio, Texas). I came to them 6 weeks before my last competition with the goal of getting "abs and obliques" in 6 weeks.

I did this one on one training Monday-Friday, and though it only lasted for 15 minutes it felt like an eternity! 6 weeks later my abs were the most ripped that they ever have been in my life, I also noticed more definition in my shoulders. I began dropping weight faster than normal, so we lowered the intensity in the boxing, as I was trying to maintain weight. Below is a sample of the training I did with them.

Boxing Sample: Leg Days

  • 2 minute Punching Drills followed by 1 minute rest for 3 rounds
  • 2 minute Rope Punch "up and unders" 1 minute rest for 2 rounds

Abs Sample: Day 1-Day 5

We circuited abs, no breaks, and Never did the same routine

Superset:

  • Hanging Leg Raise (middle-side-side): 1 set of 3 reps each
  • Plate Twist: 1 set of 5 reps


Suggestions for Others

Research research research! Knowledge is power. You may find some discrepancies between many resources as of how to train/eat, but don't get discouraged! Pay attention to your body and see what works best for you. Also, don't forfeit too early, it can completely delay/hault your results. Usually when you feel like you just can't do another rep, or can't eat another piece of chicken/fish/whatever-do it anyways!

At the end of the day, the intrinsic reward is far more rewarding than any amount of money or compliment that someone else could give you and you will be so proud of yourself wondering how the heck you ever did it! Don't worry about what you will do tomorrow, or fear failure, just take it one day at a time. Sometimes looking at the future can become overwhelming. If you have a "fitness funk" or relapse, just brush yourself off and jump back into it, don't do an extra 30 minutes cardio or some ridiculous thing to "makeup" for a relapse, it can be more mentally boggling and draining (well for me it is!). Just continue with your training and eating as usual.

I was blessed to find my trainer, Skie Trevino. Initially, my goal coming to her was only for posing and contest prep, as I knew NOTHING about the world of figure/bikini competing. The only thing keeping me from training with her was my finances. After she saw my dedication, and the progress I had already made on my own, she offered to work with my finances and also suggested that I find some sponsors in helping me pay for my training and contest prep.

I Was Blessed To Find My Trainer, Skie Trevino
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I Was Blessed To Find My Trainer, Skie Trevino.

I really didn't think I could find someone interested in sponsoring me, however I was wrong, and not only did I find 1, but 2 people! I compiled a resume with my photos showing the progress I had thus made, my goals, and how sponsorship could benefit both a sponsor and myself.

So with some of the financial burden alleviated, I started training with more purpose and motivation as I did not want to let down Skie and the people who believed in me. I said all that to emphasize you will be surprised at what you can receive by just asking! Training and especially competing can become an expensive thing, but don't let that stop you from attaining your goals. It's all about presentation and attitude.

I highly suggest you take weekly pictures of your progress, and ignore the scale for a while. The numbers on the scale are not always accurate and you will definitely feel a difference before you see a difference. For the first month I worked out, the scale did not move but I could "feel" and see the difference in my pictures (very little, but still a difference lol). Additionally, Bodybuilding.com's transformation section is such an excellent resource.

I suggest finding someone with a similar body type as you, and train and eat as they did tweaking it as necessary. If you can afford it, hire a personal trainer, if not get a workout partner (that you won't be chattering away and distracted with though!). And if you really want some motivation enter yourself in a competition and don't look back!

Photographic Credit:
Jeff Kutscher
CodaC/Digipixel Studios
210 Photography

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