Name: Cathleen Kronemer
Where: St. Louis, MO
Weight: ~107 Lbs.
Years bodybuilding: 5
Favorite bodypart: Triceps And Back
Favorite exercise: Weighted Dips And Weighted Pull-ups
Favorite supplements: Whey Protein Isolate, Casein Isolate, And L-Glutamine For Recovery!
How Did I Get Started?
I have been teaching aerobics since 1988. It's a wonderful job, full of creative opportunities for choreography, helping others stay fit, and a wonderful outlet for my love of movement. However, there was one downside to it: the job completely played into my eating disorder.
I had been struggling with Anorexia since age 13. It seems to be a common problem with many women in the fitness industry; we are in front of a mirror so much of the day, constantly appraising and critiquing our own appearance. It is no wonder that so many dancers succumb to its evil clutches.
In the spring of 2000, I finally was forced to take a leave of absence from my job and enter a residential treatment center. I had to live away from my family, which was especially hard on my daughters, who were 6 and 13 at the time.
I would not allow them to visit me while I had the feeding tube; it just would have devastated them. So, I began a slow struggle back to a relatively safe weight, under strict medical and psychiatric supervision. It was quite a learning experience, and in hindsight, one that probably saved my life.
When I was allowed to go back to the gym and teach again, however on a limited schedule, I soon found myself slipping back into old habits. I wanted so badly to get back to lifting weights, which I had been doing recreationally before I entered treatment.
However, it was tough finding anyone in the gym to spot me; they all perceived me to still be too frail. A friend of mine at the gym, who knew of my history, must have seen a spark of determination somewhere within me.
I was watching him do pull-ups one day, and told him it had always been a goal of mine to be able to do that. He offered to help me, but only if I promised to start keeping track of everything I ate in a day, and be accountable for my calories. If I could maintain a certain number for 2 weeks, he promised to help me with the pull-ups.
And so began my training! Every few weeks, the bar would be raised on my calories, along with a new level of training. Eventually I was doing pull-ups with a 35-pound plate on a weight belt!
By this point in time, I found myself thoroughly absorbed in the bodybuilding world. I began using protein powders to supplement my diet, and the lean muscle mass actually started becoming visible! It was exciting to know I could find a positive reason to eat, with such good results, instead of purposefully trying to starve myself.
In addition, my training buddy continued to take my training to new and higher levels, including telling me that if I could get to 2200 calories per day, competition might be something to consider!
In July of 2005, I entered my first competition, The Caveman Classic, in the Masters Figure class. To my complete amazement, I placed 3rd! It was so exciting! When I went backstage, I looked at my trophy, and had a sudden flashback to being in the treatment center. When I realized how far I had come, I actually started to cry. It was a wonderfully emotional moment, and one I'll always cherish.
After 2 more trophies in Figure competitions, I decided to switch over to Bodybuilding. Being so lean and cut, it seemed a better fit for me, and the poses came more naturally. My first bodybuilding show was last October, and I took home a first-place trophy!
After that show, I was extremely motivated to train even harder, and worked for 8 months in preparation for the Show-Me Naturals, which took place here in St. Louis on June 17, 2006. Nutrition continued to play a huge role, and I even worked with a sports dietician this time, as well as a posing coach, in addition to still receiving tons of help from my trainer.
I could not have done any of this without all the help I received! The show was the day after I turned 45, and what a great birthday it turned out to be: I took first-place in the Masters division and first-place in the Lightweight division!
I know I have so far to go still, in terms of fully conquering the eating disorder. However, I truly believe that bodybuilding is now saving me, and helping me realize that with the proper motivation and determination, anything is possible! This more than anything is the message I hope I am teaching my daughters as they watch me along my journey.
What Workout Plan Works Best For Me?
I change my workout plan every 6 weeks or so, sometimes more often. One of the favorite plans we've used is the "backward workout," doing a week of 10 sets of 3 reps for every exercise, then a week of 10 sets of 4, finishing with a week of 10 sets of 5. After that, without fail, my strength increases by at least 10%!
Right now, I am doing a split-body workout, hitting all body parts twice in a week, with reps in the 8-10 range. I teach aerobics several times a week, but that is all the cardio I do. It's hard enough to keep up with my caloric requirements without adding any more exercise!
What Nutrition Plan Works Best?
Honestly, I often think that it's a good thing I am a microbiologist, because every day's worth of meals is like a scientific experiment!
I eat my first meal at 5:45 a.m, usually oatmeal and protein powder or egg whites, and a spoonful of natural peanut butter. Later, breakfast consists of more oatmeal. Post-workout shake is whey protein, a spoonful of Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder and a spoonful of honey.
The rest of the day consists of fish, sweet potatoes or brown rice, and veggies. Bedtime shake is always casein protein, since I am lactose-intolerant and can't have dairy. Currently I am shooting for 320 grams carbs, 40-45 grams fats and 200 grams protein. Very, very tough!
What Supplements Have Given Me The Greatest Gains?
I'd like to believe the gains have come from nutrition; but I know myself too well not to give credence to my supplements! The protein powders help a great deal, as so the high-quality protein bars. Also, L-Glutamine definitely helps with recovery. I found that out the hard way recently when I ran out of it for about a week. I was truly dragging!
Why Do I Love Bodybuilding?
The compulsive part of my nature loves the discipline required by this sport. It helps keep me focused on what is important in my life: staying healthy! I feel so often as if I've been given a second chance in life, and I am so grateful for it.
I wasn't expecting to live to see my 39th birthday, so every year since then has been a wonderful gift. I love pushing myself beyond my "comfort zone," and seeing positive results! In addition, I am hoping my journey has a positive and empowering impact on my children.
What Are My Future Goals?
At this point, I just hope to be able to continue getting stronger, and have fun training and competing! I continue to meet such wonderful people in this industry, and they help keep me motivated!
What One Tip Would I Give Other Bodybuilders?
Never let anyone discourage you. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to continue believing in yourself, especially in the face of adversity. Your mind is the most powerful tool ... use it to shape not only your body, but your future.
I am a big fan of Davana Medina. Her body is sculpted so beautifully! But I'd have to say the women I admire most are the "local ladies": Dena Westerfield, Lisa Mori, and Angie Semsch. They are truly devoted to their sport ... and have helped me immensely on my journey!