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Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Allison Black Stirling

Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Allison Black Stirling! - Pics and info and more!
  • Name: Allison Black Stirling
  • E-mail:
  • Age: 30
  • Where: Edmonton, Alberta
  • Height: 5' 3"
  • Weight: 130 Lbs., Contest: 115 Lbs.
  • Years Bodybuilding :5
  • Favorite Bodypart: Shoulders
  • Favorite Exercise: Arms
  • Favorite Supplements: Glutamine & Glucosamine (never go without!)

How Did You Get Started?

I have been involved in sports as long as I can remember. Although my sport interests as a young girl were quite vast, I concentrated most of my efforts towards gymnastics. I had always dreamt of becoming an Olympic gymnast. Although I'll admit that my abilities would never have carried me close (I was only a recreation-level gymnast), gymnastics was still my number one passion. Unfortunately, I tore my anterior cruciate ligament while tumbling (at age 14), and waited over a year for surgery.

It was a very lengthy recovery, and at the end of it all, I was seven inches taller, and near to 50 pounds heavier... a very traumatic lifestyle change, which inevitably made gymnastics very difficult to go back to. At this time, my sport interests became much more diverse. I became actively involved in skiing, running, hiking, biking and swimming... not to mention a more active social life!

I started basic (circuit style) weight-training as part of rehabilitation following my knee surgery (anterior cruciate ligament repair) when I was sixteen – they made me do it! It was not until my first year University degree that I began weight training out of personal interest. I was first introduced to training by my best friend in University over ten years ago. It didn't take long before my gains started to become noticeable, and people were commenting on my definition – hmmm... I could actually build muscles! In the next few years I was fortunate enough to meet several people involved in associated sports (especially bodybuilding).

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I will always remember the first time I watched a fitness competition... I had never heard of it before I went to cheer on my friend in her first bodybuilding show (2000), which included a fitness category. I was completely blown away by the girls' physiques, and their combination of strength, endurance, and flexibility – not to mention the performance factor!!! It was at that time that I realized fitness would be the ideal sport for me to combine my newly discovered love of weight training with my background of recreational gymnastics as a child. Overcoming my fear of re-injury with gymnastics was sure to be the biggest challenge – I could hardly wait!!

Grad school, of course, was a major obstacle to achieving this goal. In some ways, my busy schedule during the completion of my master's in speech-language pathology kept my training more regimented. In fact, training became my most effective means of stress reduction, and I was known for my huge lunch kit throughout the faculty! Although I kept a clean diet and was dedicated to my training, I knew my school schedule (Time Management Ideas) would not allow me the time to commit my best efforts towards show preparation. I promised myself that I would compete as soon as possible after I completed school, when I could give it my all!

Needless to say, the fall of 2002 saw me begin both my career in Speech-Language Pathology, and also my hobby of competing in fitness competitions. Although it was a busy time in my life, and circumstances still were not ideal with the steep learning curve in this challenging new field, I was determined to give it a shot. In all honesty, things didn't fall into place for me until the last moment possible – I was worried more than once!!! I managed to surprise myself, and place first of 11 competitors in the Muscle Beach Classic, Edmonton 2002... I've been hooked ever since!

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By David Ford Photography.

... To date, I have competed in over 10 competitions and hold Provincial Overall titles in both the Fitness and Figure Divisions. My competition history is as follows:

Arrow Competition History:

  • 2006 IFBB World Championships, Santa Susana, Spain – 15th place Fitness Short
  • 2006 CBBF World Qualifier - 2nd Place Fitness Short
  • 2006 CBBF National Fitness & Figure-2nd Place Fitness Short
  • 2005 CBBF World Qualifier - 2nd Place Fitness Short
  • 2005 Alberta Provincial Championships - 1st Place Fitness, Short & Overall Fitness Champion
  • 2005 CBBF National Fitness & Figure - 4th Place Figure, Middle
  • 2004 CBBF National Fitness & Figure-6th Place Fitness Short
  • 2004 Alberta Provincial Championships - 1st Place Figure, Short & Overall Figure Champion
  • 2003 CBBF National Fitness & Figure-8th Fitness Short
  • 2003 Alberta Provincial Championships-1st Fitness Short
  • 2002 Muscle Beach Classic - 1st Place Overall Fitness

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Photography By Gary Bartlett

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

With the range of training necessary to compete in fitness, it is easy to quickly fill up every day of the week between weight-training, cardio, plyometric training, gymnastics, dance & routine training. I have learned from experience that it is very important to ensure that I have a day-off in my training regime to rest and recover. For this reason, I follow a 4 day split for weight-training to allow for 2 days of gymnastics/routine work, and one day off.

Presently, I incorporate plyometric training into each of my workouts. In my off-season, however, when I do not need to concentrate on gymnastics/routine, I will allow one day of training specific to "plyo" in order to develop the fast twitch muscle groups that will be so critical to routine performance. I choose to keep Saturdays to myself and to enjoy time with my husband, family and friends. Depending on the stage of my training, I look forward to indulging in a cheat meal on this day as well!

With consultation from my trainer, my weight-training program varies to target specific muscle groups that I require extra development for overall muscular balance. Presently, my training regime is a 3 day split, but because I train 4 days a week, I am able to target several body parts twice weekly. I always alternate the workout that I get in twice (e.g. ABCA, BCAB, CABC), and no two workouts are ever the same! The more variety the better!

Arrow Sample Split Training Week:

A typical week of training during competition season might be as follows:

    Monday: am cardio, pm weight training A (+ plyo)
    Tuesday: am cardio, pm weight training B (+ plyo)
    Wednesday: am cardio, pm gymnastics/routine training
    Thursday: am cardio, pm weight training C (+ plyo)
    Friday: am cardio, pm weight training A (+ plyo)
    Saturday: rest
    Sunday: am cardio, pm gymnastics/routine training

What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

For me, the key to longevity in this sport has been to be comfortable with my weight during the off-season as well as during the peak of competition. I always strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle year-round, keeping within 15 pounds of my competition weight. This is achieved through eating small meals regularly throughout the day to keep my metabolism constantly working. I balance my meals with healthy choices of protein (e.g. chicken, eye of round, turkey, egg whites, fish), with complex carbohydrates (e.g. oatmeal, brown rice, potatoes, yams).

Appropriate amounts of sleep and water (shoot for 8 hours and 4 Liters respectively) are extremely beneficial as well. Of course, I do enjoy dining out and allow myself treats in moderation – I am confident that it is important to maintain a happy balance in life. After all, if you are strict with diet 12 months a year, the body will be slow to respond when competition comes around!

Now, when it comes to competition, however, I am 100% committed to diet, and do not stray from what my trainer recommends. Fortunately for me, (likely because of my approach to nutrition year-round) strict diet for competition is typically less than 12-weeks of preparation. I am always amazed with the changes that are possible during that time! My diet for the 2007 Canadian Fitness and Figure Championships will start in April... I can't wait!

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

I have learned the importance of glutamine for muscle recovery, and glucosamine has been critical given the demands on the joints that the fitness routine presents!

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

Where do I even begin with this one? ... Healthy diet and regular exercise have become a lifestyle for me, and I am committed to helping and inspiring others! Although competing in Fitness and Figure in addition to a demanding and rewarding career can at times be busy, I feel very rewarded by the ultimate challenge that it presents!

Competing helps me to prioritize, balance time with family with friends and loved ones, and to be exceptionally organized and efficient! Most importantly, my involvement with fitness has encouraged me to continually set goals for myself and strive to achieve the goals in all aspects of my life! Recently, my experiences competing in the IFBB World Championships in Santa Susana, Spain allowed me to combine my two biggest passions – fitness and travel! You can read more about my experiences on Athletic Image Magazine at Through fitness, I have found myself surrounded by amazing people, and I even met the man of my dreams (my husband, Craig, and I met at the gym)! Together, we intend to follow this lifestyle forever!

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What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

Although it wasn't initially my goal to obtain my pro-card, now that I am progressively getting closer to achieving it, I have become more determined! I am definitely happy to compete as a hobby for personal gratification - but getting my pro-card would be quite the accomplishment!

As I head towards the quickly approaching competition season, my goals are to continue to work on improving my routine skills, and continue to improve my physique to present my best package yet! I look forward to another opportunity to perform in my hometown for my friends and family at the 2007 National Figure and Fitness Championships. In addition, I would like to become more involved in the fitness modeling industry. I always welcome opportunities for photo shoots and exposure as I become more recognized within the sport.

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By David Ford Photography.

Although fitness continues to be my number one passion, and I am determined to take it as far as I can while my body can still endure the demands of the fitness routine, I have also dabbled in Figure Competitions (I hold the 2005 Provincial Overall Figure title). Now that I know that I have potential in Figure competitions as well, I am positive that I will venture along this route after having children, and hopefully well into my 40's. Of course, the lifestyle and interest in weight-training and overall well-being is something I will practice throughout my lifetime!

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

Set personal goals, continue to learn from your experiences, and most of all – do it for YOU! Enjoy the process!

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

Jenny Hendershott is by far my favorite fitness competitor. She is a huge mentor and constant source of inspiration, as well as a genuine and caring individual. Jenny has been so supportive since I first met her in 2003 at her first ever Phat Camp in Calgary, Alberta. This year, I have been fortunate enough to have worked with her to develop my fitness routine... can't wait to perform it at this year's Nationals!

A Special Thank-You:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my dedicated sponsors: The Vitamin Guy (Health and Supplement Shop), Phoenix Gymnastics, and Fabutan Capilano. Also to thank Raejha Douziech at Peak Fitness and Nutrition for my diet and for being a continued source of inspiration, to my family and friends for their ongoing support, and mostly to my husband, Craig: without his love and support I would never be where I am today!

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