Body Transformation: Even Pros Need Coaches

Kelley should have known better. Her background educated her on fitness, but she got busy and her body slid. Once she righted herself, she ripped her body fat in half!

Name: Kelley Handy
BodySpace: BundyGirl

Kelley Handy Kelley Handy
AGE 41
163 lbs
AGE 41
137 lbs

Why I Got Started

I have been in the fitness and wellness industry for almost 20 years as a personal trainer, college athletics coach and licensed massage therapist.

In late 2009, I took a long break from fitness and starting working mostly in massage. Over a period of a year and a half, I had managed to gain considerable body fat and lost a lot of lean muscle.

I simply got busy with my massage career, started eating on the run and making bad nutrition choices.

This, coupled with much less exercise than I was accustomed to lead to the weight gain. It was easy to go unnoticed since I wore scrubs most of the time.

The wake-up call was when I had to put on jeans and I couldn't remotely fit into anything in my closet.

For me, I had no excuse … I knew better.

How I Did It

I have always been goal-orientated and quite competitive, so I chose to enter my first figure competition as a way to get myself back into shape. Contest preparation is an area of fitness that I was not too familiar with, so I hired a figure coach.

My coach structured my diet and helped me with the particulars on contest preparation (e.g. suits, shoes, posing and all the little details required for stage presence). I created my own physical training program and asked for any sport specific suggestions from my coach.

My fitness background is in weight/medical issue management, sports conditioning and endurance sports. I was an avid competitive marathoner and coach for years.

As an endurance athlete, carbs were not always an issue for me and encouraged. Not true for bodybuilding, which at times was a huge culture shock.

The pressure to get on stage motivates anyone to change.


Since I was competing in a natural body building competition, I used minimal supplements. I used Optimum Nutrition brand whenever possible.

Pre Workout
Pre & Post Workout
Intra Workout
Post Workout
Before Bed


During contest preparation, I was on a strict macronutrient management plan. Early phases' calories were in the 1600 range and had a 40/30/30 plan (40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat) broken down over 6 mini-meals per day.

Approximately 10 weeks prior to contest date, I started carbohydrate cycling where there were cycles of 3-4 days low carbs, about 70 grams per day with an increase of healthy fats to 60 grams) and then a high carbohydrate day where carbohydrate intake up to 180 grams of carbs, lower 25-30 grams of fat.

Protein levels stayed constant at 120 grams and overall calorie intake stayed the same. Fours week prior to show, daily calorie intake went to about 1300 calories.

Timing of nutrients was key. For example, I did not ingest fats pre or post workout. Carbohydrate intake lessened as day went on. No dairy, breads, refined foods or any kind. No diet sodas and limited dressings/condiments for food.

Example of High Day:

Meal 1
Meal 2
Meal 3
Meal 4
Meal 5
Meal 6


During this particular contest prep, my goal was simply to shred body fat fast and maintain as much muscle as I could. When your goal is 2 pounds per week or more, no matter what you do, you will end up catabolizing some muscle.

I used drop sets and high volume training loads of 20 repetitions at moderate weight for 3-4 sets. Strength sessions usually lasted 60-90 minutes.

HIIT sessions were intervals that brought heart rate from 130 bpm to 160-180 bpm. Weight sessions varied each time, exercises noted are some of the staple ones I did.

Day 1: Cardio/Chest/Triceps/Core
Day 2: Cardio/Back/Biceps
Day 3: Cardio/Legs/Core
Day 4: Cardio/Shoulders/Hips/Calves
Day 5: Cardio/Make-Up

Make-Up: Extra work on random muscle groups that I need to bring up.

Day 6: Cardio Only
Day 7: Rest/Light Cardio Only

Suggestions For Others

Bottom line: If you want something bad enough you will always find the time, money, etc. to get it. All things truly worthwhile take effort and commitment.

The only thing stopping you from achieving your goals is you. If you need help staying on track or to become educated on how to do it, then seek a credible professional.

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