Body Transformation: For The Love Of Lifting

Neika needed cadaver bone, a steel plate, and screws to fix degenerative discs in her neck. After recovery, she made her way into the weight room and threw every excuse out the window!

Name: Neika J.Mayo
BodySpace: nmayo

Neika J.Mayo Neika J.Mayo
AGE 41
142 lbs
AGE 41
120 lbs

Why I Decided to Transform

I have always been relatively active with at-home workouts, but I never committed to a program completely. In October 2010, I was introduced to the gym and quickly learned to love lifting.

On October 31, 2010, I pulled something in my neck at the gym. This started months of excruciating pain that the doctor couldn't pinpoint. I continued to try and workout, but it was too painful. Five months later, after seeing many doctors, physical therapists, and chiropractors, I went to a neurological surgeon because the pain was unbearable and completely interfered with my daily life.

The neurological surgeon confirmed my suspicion; I had two completely blown discs in my neck, a severely pinched nerve, bone spurs, and arthritis in my spine. He said that I had degenerative disc disease and although lifting in the gym may have accelerated the disc problems, lifting didn't cause the problem. I had surgery one week later where both discs were removed and replaced with cadaver bone using a steel plate and screws. It took many months to recover.

In November 2011, I got back in the gym and decided it was time to make a change and compete. The doctor cleared me for normal life with no restrictions and I started a bulking regimen at the gym. My family wasn't supportive at all in the beginning. They just couldn't understand. My husband finally got onboard with the idea when I started my competition prep. The rest of my family became supportive about eight weeks into my competition prep.

My life is different now. I love the way I feel and the way eating clean makes me feel. I don't care to drink anymore because of how it affects my body. I feel healthy, happy, and proud of what I achieved.

How I Accomplished My Goals

I bulked in the gym from November 2011-June 2012. I contacted Steve Poynter and he set me up with a competition plan that included workouts and meal plans. On July 12, 2012, I started my 16-week competition prep.

Of course there were days I wanted to quit, but this was a challenge and I was determined to prove to myself that I could do this. My inspiration came from Steve mainly, and I often watched videos on and communicated with BodySpace members.

What Aspect Challenged Me the Most

The hardest part is the diet. My husband and daughters don't like to eat how I do, so there are sweet and tempting foods in my house constantly. It's a constant mind battle when it comes to dieting. I was committed to my goal and didn't want to let my trainer down.

I drank more water or had a plain rice cake when times were hard. Sometimes just having something crunchy (rice cake) to chew on did the trick.

My Future Fitness Plans

I competed in my first natural figure competition on November 3, 2012, and took second place in debut and novice. I enjoyed the experience, but realized I'm slightly bigger than the figure girls I competed against. If I compete again it will be in physique/bodybuilding.

However, I intend to continue my weightlifting and gym routine. My focus right now is to build more muscle because that's what I enjoy.

Suggestions for Aspiring Transformers

Never say never. No matter how old or overweight you are, it can be done. You must have faith in yourself. The main lesson I learned during this journey is that the majority of people don't understand this type of lifestyle, which is why you need to believe in yourself.

I need a goal and a specific plan, which is why I love my trainer. Make sure you do your research if you intend to hire a trainer. There are many who claim to know what they're doing, but simply possess a certificate.

To those of you who are on your journey, it's the best thing you will ever do. You should be very proud of your choice. There is nothing more gratifying than doing this for yourself. You will feel on top of the world and proud.

How Helped Me Reach My Goals

I use for the majority of my supplements. I often read the training articles and other members' posts for inspiration, but I use mostly for workout videos. These were invaluable to me. When I was told to do a specific exercise and didn't know how to, I looked it up on and watched a video that showed me.