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Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Kristi Larsen

Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Kristi Larsen! - Pics and info and more!

  • Name: Kristi Larsen
  • E-mail:
  • Age: 28
  • Where: Phoenix, AZ
  • Height: 5'6"
  • Weight: 130 Lbs.
  • Years Bodybuilding :1
  • Favorite Bodypart: Shoulders
  • Favorite Exercise: Legs
  • Favorite Supplements: Glutamine, Creatine, and ECA

How Did You Get Started?

July 11, 2000 I was on an operating table, cut open head-to-toe, having 7 vertebrae fused together to correct idiopathic scoliosis. July 12, 2003 I was on a stage at a bodybuilding/fitness show competing in my first figure competition.

Diagnosed with scoliosis at age 12, I endured 2 years of unsuccessful electro-stimulation treatment on my back muscles. Fortunately, I never had to wear the ugly Milwaukee brace commonly used to treat scoliosis in teens. I was under the care of my orthopedic surgeon for 3 years, from the time of diagnosis until my hips and wrist bones fused- a sign that growth has stopped and the curvature stabilized. Although the curvature of my spine was quite severe, it stabilized and I avoided spinal fusion to correct it. The next 10 years, I finished high school and college and began working full-time.

I spent the year 1999 in unbearable back pain, visiting doctors, urgent care, physical therapists, orthopedic surgeons, until finally the decision was made to have the spinal fusion procedure (regularly performed on severe scoliosis patients in their early teen years). At age 25, I had seven vertebrae fused with 2 Harrington rods and a bone graft from my hip. I spent 8 days in a Children's hospital and the surgery went off without a hitch. A month later I was back to work. Two months later I was back in the gym. Six months later I had resumed all of my normal activities- except my 5 mile a day running habit. At 1 year post-surgery, I finally felt 100%.

My recovery was relatively uneventful. There were no post-surgical complications or infections. Since I was strong and in great physical condition at the time of surgery, I was able to bounce back rather rapidly.

My quest for fitness and optimum body weight began at age 16. I worked out 5-6 days a week religiously since ninth grade. I obtained a BS Degree in Kinesiology and became ACE certified in personal training and just recently passed the NSCA CSCS exam.

Natural bodybuilding has long intrigued me. I subscribed to all the health, fitness and bodybuilding magazines. And when I saw the Fitness America Pageants on ESPN, I was really interested, as it was much more feminine than the traditional bodybuilding look, but with an added gymnastic component. I had visions of doing a fitness competition, however, gymnastics was, and is, obviously impossible for me. The new Figure division really caught my attention--the same feminine muscle--yet WITHOUT a gymnastic routine.

But I had let my weight creep up a little during late 2002. January 1, 2003, I listed my goals and decided the time was NOW to pursue figure competition! I needed a motivating goal and the upcoming March 2003 NPC show was in my sights.

I began training for my first NPC Figure show Jan 1st 2003 and steadily dropped fat...until I was blindsided with a traumatic shock--a phone call in the middle of the night. My dad died suddenly and totally unexpectedly on January 26th, 2003 in Texas where my retired parents spend winters. I let my goal slide due to several trips to TX and MN to help my mom settle the affairs. The last week of April, I returned from my last trip to MN to assist in family affairs. I was 10 weeks out from the July 12th NPC show. I weighed more than 140 lbs with slightly higher than 18% body fat. Ignoring the few trainers who told me I did not have enough time to lean down, I found a trainer who thought I could do it in time, signed up and got to work immediately. To add to my stress, I was laid off without notice from my job of 4 years on July 1st, 2003. By Friday, the day before the competition, I was at 9.4% and 130 lbs- by far the leanest I had ever been in my life. I far surpassed my 'realistic' goal of 12%. I participated in the competition, but did not place in the top five. Considering all the obstacles I faced during the past 6 months, I am very happy with my achievements.

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

Weight training was heavy, each body part once per week, and usually 3-5 exercises of 3 sets of 10-12 reps with 2-minute rest periods. I had a trainer who brutalized me. I did cardio approximately 45-60 minutes per day, 6-7 days per week.

What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

I am insulin resistant and very carbohydrate sensitive, so I follow a customized NHE (Natural Hormonal Enhancement), CKD (cyclical ketogenic diet) type plan. No carbohydrates (except 2x a week, I do a carb-up meal or high protein, moderate fat.

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

I swear by Glutamine and ECA. I just added Creatine and I am seeing amazing results.

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

Basically I workout because I am addicted to the endorphins and I love muscles! Fitness is a HUGE part of my life.

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

I am competing in 3 more shows this fall--two in Phoenix and one in Dallas with a friend--at a lean 8% body fat. I am currently pursuing fitness modeling, fitness freelance writing, and hope to be a published author soon. I have 3 fitness books that are nearly complete.

What One Tip Would You Give Other Fitness Competitors?

Don't let anyone tell you you can't do it and don't let anything get in your way.

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

Don't let anyone tell you you can't do it and don't let anything get in your way.

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

Beth Horn and Tom Venuto.