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Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Erinn Tilley

Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Erinn Tilley! - Pics and info and more!

  • Name: Erinn Tilley
  • E-mail:
  • Age: 26
  • Where: Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Height: 5' 4"
  • Weight: 118 Lbs.
  • Years Bodybuilding :6
  • Favorite Bodypart: Legs
  • Favorite Exercise: Legs
  • Favorite Supplements: Met-Rx Chocolate Protein, Optimum Nutrition Protein, Creatine

How Did You Get Started?

I've always been athletic growing up, my main sport was soccer, but I also did cross country and softball. My dad was a huge influence on me because he was big into squatting and lifting weights and had a weight room set up in the basement. I don't know how many hours I spent down there just looking at muscle magazines and piddling with the weights as a little girl.

I pretty much was hooked to the bodybuilding lifestyle from early on, but I really got "serious" about 7 years ago and I have not stopped training since.

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

At first I was your typical overtrainer. I didn't ever give myself time to recover! Then I started working a schedule that forced me to take 3 days off from the gym (I'm a nurse and I signed on to work 3 12-hour shifts in a row on and then 4 off). At first I was worried about how my body would react to not being in the gym for 3 days in a row, but no worry was needed!

My body responded to the time for recovery and I started gaining muscle and actually lost bodyfat (with less cardio!) Now I'm a reformed overtrainer! I appreciate what rest can do and only work out each body part once a week, maybe even go 8 days in between. And in the off-season I do about 4 days of cardio for 20-30 minutes, usually with intervals.

My workout plan is: back/shoulders, chest, legs, and Bi/Tri. Abs I do every other workout and I do forearms once a week. I do have to be flexible because now my schedule at the hospital dictates what days I can make it to the gym. I work random days throughout the week now, so I just keep rotating the next body parts that are up. I vary my reps, some days are heavy days with reps at 5-8 and other days are 12-15, it also depends what exercise I'm doing.

I believe in using free weights more than machines, but I definitely think machines have their place. I like to shake things up with drop sets, super sets, pauses and superslow sets.

Sample Workouts:

(This is precontest)

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What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

I used to eat very low carbs, but never had any energy to get in a quality workout (imagine that). So now I don't eat low carbs, but I do cycle my carbs and time them. For me, I feel (and look) like a water buffalo if I eat too many carbs, so I have to keep an eye on them.

I’m a firm believer in writing down my calories and carbs each day so I can be accountable and have the numbers in front of me.

Carbs: mostly complex in the early day and then by evening hardly any carbs. Simple carbs pre and post workout. Broccoli and lettuce carbs do not count in my book. Also, cycling carb days: High carb days, for me is 140-170, and low carb days 60-80.

Protein: aim for your body weight. Calories: this is something I have to work on. I only take in 1600-1900 and I have to really get myself to eat in the off-season to get those calories up to put on muscle.

I eat every 2-3 hours. I try to drink a lot of water >2000mls, but that's also something I need to be better at.

Staples in my diet:
Albacore tuna, egg whites, oatmeal, broccoli, lettuce, mushrooms, triscuits, soynuts, natural peanut butter, ground turkey, chicken, protein powder. Nothing too fancy! Just consistency.

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

Before I answer this I just want to say that sometimes people, especially new to the fitness world, want the secret answer and buy all sorts of supplements. I believe supplements are very important, but only after natural nutrition has been perfected and exhausted.

I believe protein powders are a must for putting on muscle as well as creatine. Both have helped me tremendously. I especially love my Met-Rx extreme chocolate protein! I've used it for years and it is the best tasting and has the nutrient count I want (They seriously are not paying me a dime to say that!).

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

I love the way I feel after a workout: invigorated and like I conquered something. No matter how my life is going, it is my constant escape, my little world. I love the fact that one has control over one's body, meaning: if you really want to change enough, it is possible.

I have a favorite saying: "Genetics may get the vote, but you have veto power". I love this saying because, yes genetics totally plays a role in one's body, some are lucky and put on muscle easily, or have naturally fast metabolisms (hello, Dexter), but I do believe if one works hard enough, the body can be molded. I feel like I'm proof of that.

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

I hope to win my Pro card and someday compete in the Figure Olympia. I do plan on competing for a number of years because I love the challenge of it.

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What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

Not to be too hard on yourself if you don't "win". It sounds cheesy, but it's true: just being there and knowing you given your all is winning enough (Easier said than done, I actually have a hard time taking my own advice on this)!

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

Ronnie Coleman, Markus Ruhl, Lee Priest, and Jay Cutler.