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Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Issa Otten

Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Issa Otten! - Pics and info and more!

  • Name: Issa Otten
  • E-mail:
  • Age: 40
  • Where: Anchorage, Alaska
  • Height: 5' 3"
  • Weight: 128 Lbs., Contest: 117 Lbs.
  • Years Bodybuilding :3
  • Favorite Bodypart: Arms
  • Favorite Exercise: Legs
  • Favorite Supplements: MGF-2 and Muscle Milk

How Did You Get Started?

I found myself sitting at the mall crying because I couldn't find any pants in any of the stores that fit me. I was 35 and my weight had ballooned all the way up to a size 16. I felt like a big fat pig. After I stopped crying I called a trainer friend and he proceeded to turn my "diet" upside-down. I don't really care for meat and don't eat seafood. I would go weeks and not even notice that I hadn't eaten any protein. Carbs, carbs, carbs, that was my life. Kenny, the trainer, drastically cut my carbs down to 100gr per day and insisted that I eat meat. I thought I was going to die.

I had to completely re-train myself not to pick the meat out of my meals, stop eating the potatoes and bread first, and cut back on the sugary fruits. He had me lifting 3 times per week and doing cardio 2 times per week. My first goal was to loose 2 pant sizes. After I achieved that, my mom talked me into running a 5 mile race. The next summer I competed in a triathlon. I really enjoy training for an event and having a goal. After the triathlon my trainer suggested I try a fitness competition. I've been hooked ever since.

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

I lift 3 times per week for 30min. I am constantly changing up the exercises and muscle groups. Even though I don't have a personal trainer or spotter, I try and utilize the free weights as much as possible.

When I lift, I go to failure which is a max of 8-10 reps. I'll do one exercise then switch to another and go back and forth for 2-3 sets. Then I'll move on to the next pair. When I do the movement I contract the muscles for a 10 count up and a 10 count down. No rest between sets. Sometimes I'll change it up and do 8 reps, then increase the weight and do another set to failure. By the third or fourth exercise I'm breathing hard.

After lifting, I hit the stairmaster or elliptical and do intervals for 20-30min. At night it's the treadmill for 30-45min. of cardio. When I'm contest prepping I do a lot of cardio so I have to keep my protein intake high. I take in a minimum of 130 grams per day. If I don't, I loose mass. In the past I didn't do as much cardio and now I think it is extremely important for leaning down.

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What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

Jon at does my diet. He is amazing. I've never meet him face to face, but he is remarkable. We did everything via email and phone. He taught me about carb-cycling, pre/post workout shakes, and how to eat at restaurants and still eat clean. He even had a schedule for me (down to the minute) on competition day that insured I had enough energy to do my fitness routine and still come in lean.

On the mornings I lift, I have a pre workout shake and after lifting and intervals a post workout shake. Then I eat every 2-3 hours. Every meal has lean protein and green veggies and depending on the carb cycle I may add oatmeal or yams. On my off days, the food is the same.

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

I am completely addicted to MGF-2 Choc. Its low carb, low fat, and has a fantastic flavor. I also love Muscle Milk Strawberry Milkshake. I swear, sometimes it's the only reason I can drag myself out of bed at 5a to go to the gym. I have also had good luck with N-Large as a post workout shake. In addition I take fish oil, BCAAs, CLAs, and a multivitamin. Nothing else, I train naturally. No steroids, no ephedrine, no diuretics.

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

As I train I see changes in my body, it feels great! It is such a positive motivator. And the "high" of actual competition can't be beat. I look my best and feel invincible. It's the grand finale. That day is the pay off for all those months of training and depriving myself of fun foods and time with my family.

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

My next comp is right around the corner in LA, and then 2 weeks later I'm off to Ms. Fitness USA in Las Vegas. Fall 2006 Plan of Attack: compete in 3-4 National fitness competitions, launch my website, recognize and obtain sponsorship and endorsement agreements, and build my photo gallery for future marketing.

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arrow Competition History:

    3rd place Masters Figure, NPC St of Alaska Bodybuilding Championships - Alaska

    3rd place Fitness, NPC St of Alaska Bodybuilding Championships - Alaska
    3rd place Masters Figure, NPC St of Alaska Bodybuilding Championships - Alaska
    Competed in Ms. Fitness USA - Las Vegas Nevada
    10th place Fitness, Fitness Universe -Los Angeles California

    2nd place Figure, Lee Priest Classic - Alaska
    2nd place Masters Figure, NPC Anchorage Bodybuilding Championships - Alaska.
    1st place Fitness, Natural National Championships - Reno Nevada
    Qualified for Ms. Fitness USA

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

Patience. It takes a long time to change your body. When building muscle and loosing fat, time is measured in months and years. Preparing for a competition is like a 2nd job, be prepared to invest the time.

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

Dena Weiner, Karla Kirkgaard, and Paige Levy. I have competed against all of these women and each is inspirational in her own way.

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