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Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Jennifer Lynn Cowan

Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Jennifer Lynn Cowan! - Pics and info and more!

How Did You Get Started?

When I was young I remember struggling to keep up with all the other kids because of my asthma. Luckily, in high school, through medicine and sports I really strengthened my lungs and although I still have asthma it is very well controlled.

I've always been very athletic, throughout high school I competed in Track, X-Country, and was the only female on the Wrestling team. As a scholarship athlete I competed in Track and Field at Eastern Illinois University; my events were the 4 x 400 relay, 400m hurdles, and Long and Triple Jump.

Unless you are going to the Olympics there really isn't a place to go after college in track and I started searching for an outlet for my athletic love. Last year I ran a marathon, and even though I finished I knew I would NEVER win a race or be at the top, I needed a change.

That is when I decided I would compete in a figure competition... well needless to say I fell in love with it. Lifting has always been one of my favorite things and although I love my food, competing has taught me more discipline than I thought possible.

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

I have found that I need to change my routine frequently to achieve the best results. Normally I will keep the same rep/set routine for two weeks and then change it. I prefer lifting heavy while keeping my reps around 6-8 and never going beyond 12. I get in the weight room 5-6 days a week.

In college I did cardio 6 days a week but now I really focus on hitting the weights hard. On a normal week in the off season I will do one track workout and try to incorporate plyometrics or hills every other week.

Only when I am training for my shows do I incorporate more cardio into my routine, adding 2 to 4 45 minute sessions of low intensity work in the morning. Other than jogging I really like doing the stairmill for these sessions.

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What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

When I am in training I keep very strict to my diet... I have found that I don't have to do nearly as much cardio if I don't cheat. Though I don't follow any one diet plan, I keep my carbs low (about 50 grams a day) and eat very "clean." I do eat a lot of protein, probably around 175 grams a day. It can be frustrating to prepare 6 meals a day but for me it was necessary

In the off season I give myself a break but I still avoid all fast food and most processed foods.

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

Really I didn't take supplements going into my shows this past year. I did use protein powder and vitamins but no supplements. Because I wanted to make some major gains in my muscle size I started taking Pride Nutrition's Ammunition. I have seen a big improvement in my stamina at the gym; I have more energy and have seen great gains in my lifts! This gets me even more excited for next year.

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

It's a passion. Fitness in general has always been a major part of my life, my life has revolved around and gravitates toward it. Part of the attraction is the competition aspect, I love challenges and the dedication it takes to be the best.

Also, it has changed my life. As I stated earlier, I had fairly bad asthma as a child (I still am on 3 medications) and my asthma held me back from playing tag and soccer with all the other kids. In junior high I ran the mile as hard as I could, followed by an asthma attack, and couldn't break 10 minutes.

High School is where it all changed. I joined different sports and started working out religiously. As I got stronger, so did my lungs. Finally, when I was a senior I could run the mile in under 7 minutes, and not have an asthma attack! Fitness, and being fit, really saved my life and allowed me to do the things most people take for granted.

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What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

To earn my Pro-Card! I am taking off until next June and trying to gain about 5 pounds of muscle. Next year I want to compete in a few Pro Qualifier's and hopefully I will have put in the work to earn one. If not, I will have a better idea of what I need to do. In the meantime I am hoping to do some fitness modeling.

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

Ask questions... I asked sooo many questions before my first show. Don't be scared to approach people at the gym that you know have competed and ask. Most will offer advice or turn you in the right direction. It can be scary, but everyone goes through it, and the end result is worth it!

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

ally they are all amazing, but my favorites to watch are Jenny Lynn, Mary Elisabeth Lado, Zena Collins and Jamie Franklin.