WEIGHT 155 lbs
BODY FAT 25%
WEIGHT 125 lbs
BODY FAT 10%
I don't think there was a moment when I "decided" to transform. It happened naturally based on a sequence of events and experiences in my life. I had no idea I looked the way I did in my before pictures until I posted a side by side photo of my transformation on Facebook. My dad sent me a message that said, "Amazing! Where did you get those pictures? I don't ever remember you that way." My response was, "Neither do I!"
Health and fitness has been a lifelong passion that came naturally when I was young, but became harder to maintain throughout college and into professional living. As a three-sport high school athlete, I was healthy and fit. Throughout college and after, I maintained an active lifestyle, but desperately struggled to maintain my petite, athletic figure. I ran several half marathons, competed in sprint triathlons, and continued my favorite sport in adult gymnastics classes. Yet, I couldn't comprehend my dissatisfaction with the way I looked and felt.
After successfully losing 14 pounds on WeightWatchers in college and working at a summer weight loss camp for women, I continued to gain the pounds back as soon as I left the isolated environments that allowed me to stay on track. The year after college, I taught English in South Korea, ate three rice and carbohydrate-filled meals per day, and hit my heaviest weight at 155 pounds. I needed a lifestyle change.
I returned from my year abroad and slowly dropped weight until I hit a nutritional and workout plateau. I started lifting weights a couple days per week on a few machines I could comprehend. I came back down to a healthier weight for my height and gained some of my gymnast muscle back. Eventually, people in the gym asked what I was training for, to which I always responded, "Life!" That's when I started looking into competitions.
I saw photos from a college acquaintance who participated in a figure competition and asked if we could meet up so I could hear her story. I was immediately intrigued and driven to face a new fitness challenge. In January 2013, through a mutual friend, I was directed to my current coach, Bodybuilding.com athlete Brandan Fokken, and began training under his tutelage. I gained nutritional knowledge necessary to finally make the lifestyle change.
On March 23, 2013, I competed in my first figure competition and placed third in my class. Two weeks later, I competed in physique and placed second in my class. Just 13 weeks from training with coach Brandan Fokken, my body went from 14 percent body fat and 131 pounds to less than eight percent body fat and 116 pounds. I didn't notice the numbers. It was passion that drove me and the confidence I gained in so little time. When I stepped on stage for my first show, I knew I was in for a continued transformation and more competitions.
After my first show, I got messages on Facebook from people I hadn't heard from in years who followed my training and competition journey. They asked for fitness and nutrition advice and to be my "training guinea pigs." I responded to each individual, and their messages stimulated more passion for me to help others transform their lives. With two shows under my belt, I'm hooked on this new lifestyle and cannot wait to see what my future holds.
Brandan Fokken's passion around the sport and drive to see his athletes succeed kept me focused on my goals. From day one, I had to send pictures, and every week forward, I was expected to send progress photos for accountability—and to get my plan.
At the beginning of every month, Brandan sends me an individualized lifting plan based on my progress pictures. He also sends my exact diet each week to make the preparation and training as simple and stress free as possible. I train 5-6 days per week with morning cardio sessions (before work) and evening lift sessions (after work), and I always rest on Sunday.
I fell in love with the diet and training and never felt like quitting. I never missed a workout and stuck to my diet 99 percent of the time. There were days when I was tired or didn't want to go back to the gym, but I wanted the satisfaction of knowing that when I stepped on stage in a tiny, sparkly bikini, I gave it my all. So I continued to focus. Other sources of inspiration were my weekly progress pictures, the encouragement of my Fokken Strong team through our athlete Facebook page, and the support of my co-workers, friends, and family.
On March 23, 2013, I competed in my first figure competition, placed third in my class, and realized my body was transforming faster than anticipated. Two weeks later, I competed in physique and placed second in my class. The same passion I felt in high school as an all-around, three-time state gymnast was back. I'm completely hooked on this new lifestyle and cannot wait for my next competition.
Now that I'm in an "off-season" from competitions, I focus on maintaining the clean lifestyle, a healthy weight, and building muscle for my next show. The reality, which I learned over lunch with Felicia Romero is that, "There is no off-season." To stay healthy and continue feeling great (emotionally and physically), it must become a lifestyle.
Now, I stick closely to my coach's diet and allow myself 1-2 cheat meals per week and the freedom to have occasional treats (fluffy caribou coffees, ice-cream, and more fruit) that I enjoy and miss while training.
Working out has never been the obstacle. It was the nutritional education that I lacked and it became my biggest hurdle to maintain weight. I understand why people have trouble making the lifestyle change. There's much information floating around the media and new diets coming out every day. It's overwhelming and impossible to know what will bring lasting results. I quickly realized I couldn't make the change on my own, which is why I hired Brandan Fokken.
Transforming took time and effort. The most challenging aspect was skipping dinner with friends/family and making a healthy choice while everyone ate foods from my "past life." I wanted to indulge, but remembered my goals and progress. During show training, I'm allowed and encouraged one "cheat meal" per week, and I always enjoyed it to the fullest extent without going overboard.
When I told people I was training for life, I meant it. I plan to continue a clean lifestyle with healthy diet and exercise. I believe the motto, "Everything in moderation," so unless I'm training for a show I focus on enjoying life with my friends/family and maintaining my current physical and emotional state.
I still work with my coach and plan to compete in physique again at a local show in October and possibly a national show in November. I want to utilize my gymnastics background and get into the fitness category within the next year.
My dream job is to own a gym with a spiritual component, but I love my current profession, so that's a few years away. If I don't make that happen, I plan to become a certified trainer for personal education and to train an intimate group of individuals.
- Everything is possible. You don't have to look like a competitor to live a healthy lifestyle.
- Get a coach/trainer. They hold you accountable and make your life simple.
- Consistency is key. Stick to your diet/workouts and it's impossible not to see change.
- Be patient. The transformation takes time.
- Be honest with yourself. If you cheat, get right back on track.
- Life is meant to be enjoyed, so allow yourself freedom to indulge in your favorite foods.
- One bad day won't take away from your progress, but one good day can't transform you.
- Stick with it! Like everything in life, the more you do something, the easier it becomes.
When I first started to think about competing, I thought I could train myself, so I Googled "bodybuilding programs" and was led directly to Bodybuilding.com. I found Jamie Eason's LiveFit Trainer , and while I didn't use it, she and many female athletes on the site became a source of inspiration. The articles were a great source of information and education to get me started.
A Bodybuilding.com athlete became my coach. I was given Brandan Fokken's name through a mutual friend and discovered that he was a team athlete when I called him for my first coaching consultation. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have a personal connection with Bodybuilding.com. Brandan is passionate about the sport, the success of his athletes, and our overall wellbeing.
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