Over 40 Transformation Of The Week - Leigh Keess!

Leigh was the ultimate couch potato, but when she saw an ad in the newspaper for women's only training, she decided to give it a shot. Before she knew it, her trainer talked her into competing. Read on to learn more!
Before Before:
160 lbs
After After:
122 lbs

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Vital Stats
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Name: Leigh Keess
Age: 55
Email: fitrnmom2@yahoo.ca
BodySpace: fitrnmom2

Before:
Weight: 160 lbs

After:
Weight: 122 lbs

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Why I Got Started
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A girlfriend and I noticed an ad in the local paper offering a beginning weight-lifting class just for women, the main intention being to remove the intimidation some women feel walking into a gym.

I was the couch potato poster-child until then, although I felt I was pretty strong from the physical labor involved in nursing (which was my occupation then). We decided to go to the class and got hooked.

Leigh
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Leigh Keess' Progress.

It was by no means a class structured toward bodybuilding. It was simply a place to start and learn the proper use of the various equipment, and the correct form. I began to notice changes in my body, as well as the mental stimulation that comes from working your body hard.

Once I had "outgrown" the basic class, I told my husband that for Christmas I wanted a set of sessions with local Estevan competitive bodybuilder, Shelly Yakimchuk and Santa delivered. Shelly and I worked together about a year, also getting input from Shelly's husband, Chris and they soon began encouraging me to try competition.

Leigh
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Leigh Keess.

I remember my initial reaction: "But I am 49-years old!" That didn't seem to deter them, nor did the fact that I was painfully shy. The more they talked, the more I decided I wanted to go through the prep not ready to take the stage, but to see just what my body could do.

The 20-week prep flew by. Before I knew it, I was standing on the stage and loving it. I didn't do well at that first show (4th place), but that spurred me on to do Provincials the same year with a much better outcome.

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Supplements
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Diet
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Off-season, I try to keep my diet "clean" but to get my calories up as high as possible without becoming sloppy. I am fortunate to live in a cold place, so can stay bundled up in the off-season!

The higher the off-season calories, usually the more calories a person can diet on and lose weight. I use a lot of chicken during the pre-contest phase, so I try to limit that in the off-season, preferring lean red meat, fish and this year my local grocery has started carrying bison steak and roast, and it is wonderful!

Just about all wild game is good in the off-season, with the possible exception of geese (they are fatty). Off-season, I still try to maintain a regimen of eating 6-7 meals per day, that keeps the metabolism high, and you are constantly burning more calories, even at rest.

Leigh
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Leigh Keess & Her Husband Colin.

Unitl this past year, I have always removed cardio from my off-season regimen believing it to be a waste of calories. However, as I get older, I find getting back into it for pre-contest is becoming harder and harder. So, now I do just some easy treadmill year-round.

Pre-contest, I always depend on my coach, Chris Yakimchuk. I still prefer a 20-week diet long, slow and easy. I would always recommend that anyone (regardless of experience) hire a coach for competition.

I can successfully diet others but we are not always too objective about ourselves. My pre-contest diet remains at about 6 meals/day, but the ingredients shrink down to oatmeal, egg whites, chicken, rice, some potatoes early on, and veggies.

No dairy, no fruit, no salt! Cardio becomes a huge part of the program and, unfortunately, contest-time here is always in the summer, so I have to get the cardio done before the house heats up, and I am not a morning-person. But bodybuilding is a whole spectrum of sacrifices, if everyone could do it, I would never have go to where I am!

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Training
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Off-season, I train heavy with low reps. I use a 5-day split with sets of calves and abs thrown in instead of resting between sets.

Since legs are a lagging part for me, I alternate leg days, where my heavy sets will be squats one time, presses the next.

Leigh
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Leigh Keess.

Since these 2 exercises are the "meat-and-potatoes" for growth, I don't believe you need to do them both in one workout. It's better to maximize one, then the other.

Contest-prep training is different. My coach and I have developed an 18-week program of exercises, which gradually increase the reps. Naturally, the weights will go down because of the increased reps, and because of the diminishing calories.

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Sugestions For Others
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Regardless of your own perception of your health and your experience, start with a visit to your physician. This is even more important if you have ever suffered any kind of injury.

Hire a coach and make use of their knowledge and experience. Yes, it costs a little, but nothing near the cost of being off work because of an injury, or doing poorly at a competition simply for lack of knowledge.

Leigh
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Leigh Keess.

Ask around at your gym and pick someone whose physique you admire. Bodybuilding is a difficult sport, physically and mentally but a good coach can simplify that for you and help you to train smarter, not necessarily harder!

You should still be able to do a championship-level workout (except for cardio) in an hour. After that, you are risking becoming catabolic and burning up the muscle you have worked so hard to build.



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