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Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Olivia Burgess

Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Olivia Burgess! - Pics and info and more!

How Did You Get Started?

I've always enjoyed challenging both my mind and body, because I believe each compliments the other. This became especially important to me in the Fall of 2003 when I entered a Masters/PhD program in English at Texas A&M University, and discovered that keeping myself active and healthy also kept me grounded and sane during intense semesters of study.

I've tried belly dancing, yoga, swimming and running, but lifting weights has always my favorite activity. Ever since I was little I had a great admiration for the fit, muscular female body, but, like most of my girl friends, I was intimidated by weights and fearful of getting "bulky" and masculine.

For a couple of years I lifted light off and on, but focused mostly on running and aerobic endurance. I ran my first marathon in under four hours in February 2007. At that time I was also studying for my preliminary exams and preparing my dissertation proposal.

Olivia Burgess.
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Olivia Burgess.

It was actually my love of fitness and the human body that inspired my dissertation thesis. My research argues that there was a shift in late twentieth century utopian literature: the "ideal world" has become the pursuit of the "ideal body." Rather than imagine new societies, people (both real and fictional) turn to the body for renewal and transformation.

The more I wrote, the more passionate I became about my own ability to create a new physique for myself. In January of 2008 I started training for my first figure show under the guidance of Bobby Warren, owner of the San Marcos Athletic Club.

After 8 months of dedicated lifting and 13 weeks of dieting, I competed in two competitions, placing 6th out of 14 at a national qualifier in October and then taking 2nd out of 18 girls a week later. That year gave me an appetite for competing and the desire to improve for 2009!

Olivia Burgess.
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Olivia Burgess.

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

I try to make every week different and challenging. I typically work with heavier reps (8-10) for 3 weeks then switch to lighter reps (12-15) for 3 weeks, throwing in supersets and pyramids whenever I want to add something different. I typically go 4 sets per exercise.

If I want to bring up a body part I will work it twice a week. In the off-season I typically do about 30 minutes of high intensity cardio everyday, such as interval training, sprints or plyometrics. When I am getting ready for a competition I will do pre-breakfast cardio several times a week.

    Monday: Back And Abs

Tuesday: Cardio

Wednesday: Shoulders


  • Seated Dumbbell Press: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Lateral Raises: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Rear Delt Raises: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Upright Barbell Rows: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Thursday: Legs And Calves

    Friday: Biceps And Triceps


  • Preacher Curls: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Dumbbell Kickbacks: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Superset:

  • Concentration Curls: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Reverse Pressdown: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Saturday: Rest

    Sunday: Chest

    What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

    Meal 2:

    Meal 3:

    Meal 4:

    Meal 5:

    Meal 6:

    If I need a snack during the day I will eat a scoop of peanut butter, some apple slices or a handful of high-fiber cereal.

    Olivia Burgess.
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    Olivia Burgess.

    What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

    I love Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein in any of the chocolate flavors, as well as Scivation Xtend in watermelon or lemonade. I never workout without Xtend!

    I also take Omega 3 pills daily along with a multivitamin. And for that extra boost I always keep Gaspari Nutrition's SuperPump250 on hand. Raspberry lemonade is so, so tasty.

    Why do you love Bodybuilding?

    I love that I am constantly learning new training techniques and new things about what my body's abilities. Training and competing have taught me to think of my body as full of possibility.

    I now use weights I would have been scared to death to pick up two years ago. I am thrilled whenever I impress my trainer with improvements or hear him bragging about me.

    Over the past couple of years we have developed a strong respect for each other, and I am so thankful that I have such a positive support system from him and my gym.

    Olivia Burgess.
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    Olivia Burgess.

    By far, the most rewarding part of lifting and competing is developing these relationships and meeting people who share my interest. I have made amazing friends and workout partners right here on BodySpace!

    What Motivates You To Follow A Healthy Lifestyle?

    Definitely my mirror! I remember my body before I started lifting and now I have so much more shape and tone. When I treat my body well it shows, and that gives me a boost of confidence in all areas of my life.

    I love it when people assume I'm a trainer! But working out and eating clean is great for everyone, not just competitors, and I plan to make it a life long habit no matter what I'm doing in life.

    What Made You Want To Achieve Your Goals?

    When I hear supportive words and encouragement from people at my gym I feel that I am not just competing for myself, and that makes it so much more worthwhile.

    Even before I started training and competing I knew I had found the best gym in the world, and I am so proud to represent my gym and my trainer when I am on stage. Positive feedback and kind praise keeps me fueled and ready to go all year long!

    Olivia Burgess.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Olivia Burgess.

    What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

    I focused more on school this Spring but I have continued training every week and maintaining a mostly clean diet. I will be competing again in September and October.

    I would like to place in the top three at a national qualifier and compete on a national level in 2010, the same year I will graduate. That would make for a wonderful year!

    I hope I always have the opportunity to compete, but no matter what I plan to continue training and eating clean. Nothing beats having a physique that I enjoy and an activity that never fails to make me excited to wake up every morning!

    What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

    Love what you do! There are days I have let negative comments and self-doubt make me question how I look and what I love to do. Not everyone will understand your passion or why you aren't eating "normal" food and drinking with everyone else.

    Have confidence in what you know about your body and the goals you have set for yourself, because ultimately it is your life to lead and your body to enjoy. If you are letting others decide how you should look, you will never be happy.

    If you start to feel lonely, find people with your interest who will give you positive feedback and support, and then you will feel like nothing can hold you back!

    Olivia Burgess.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Olivia Burgess.

    Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

    Jamie Eason! I was actually on the fence about competing until I saw pictures of her beautiful body and amazing arms. Who wouldn't want to look like that?

    I have also found a lot of inspiration and motivation from Pauline Nordine. Her dedication and determination inspires me daily.

    And honestly, my absolute favorite fitness competitors in the world are my friends and fellow competitors who keep me on my toes and focused! You girls rock!

    What Features Do You Use On

    BodySpace has been incredibly helpful in keeping me motivated and accountable. People on BodySpace are incredibly supportive, respectful and friendly, and I have made some incredible friends since I started my profile page about a year ago. People are very willing to share tips and experiences. I recommend it to people all the time!