Name: Jennifer Collum
Location: Kemp, Texas
Why I decided to transform
My journey started in 2009 when I was at my heaviest weight of 165 pounds. It took me 18 months of consistent healthy changes to drop 40 pounds. In 2011, I ran many 5k and 10k races, two half marathons, and finished my first full marathon in December 2012. At the end of my marathon training, I became a cardio junkie and was skinny-fat.
As a cardio junkie, I didn't eat healthy and had many cheat meals as rewards. After the marathon, I injured my knee and couldn't run for nearly three months. During this time, I really focused on weightlifting and discovered clean eating.
In February 2013, I decided to compete after I attended the Ronnie Coleman Classic to support my trainer. I started officially prepping for the NPC Central Texas Showdown in May 2013. The competition was on August 31, 2013, in Waco, Texas. I placed first in open women's figure and qualified to compete at the 2014 Arnold Amateur Classic in Columbus, Ohio.
My fitness journey has been much more than a physical change. It taught me how to be confident in my body. My transformation inspired others to transform and start their own fitness journey. My husband and I are gym rats now and eat very clean and healthy. We use food as fuel for our bodies and have a weekly date night where we go out and enjoy ourselves to keep balance in our lives. I'm glad to live this healthy lifestyle and share my passion for fitness with my husband.
How I accomplished my goals
I accomplished my goals by changing my eating habits, adding in cardio, and getting serious about weight training. I started out doing cardio 5-6 days per week and lifting 3-4 days per week. I eventually changed to lifting 5 days per week and doing cardio 3-4 days per week when I realized you burn more fat through weight training.
There were many days when I felt like quitting or giving up, so I started taking weekly progress photos to compare and was amazed at the improvements in my body. I looked at my before pictures and told myself that I wasn't going back to that stage. I sucked it up, worked out hard, and stuck to my meal plan.
I got lots of inspiration from quotes. It sounds cheesy, but I love motivational and inspirational quotes because they're accessible during down moments and deliver serious self-empowerment.
What aspect challenged me the most
The most challenging part was the diet because people don't understand why I won't go out to eat and turn down sweets. Practice, discipline, and determination make it easier. I do great when I prepare meals in advance. Eating on a schedule every three hours helped keep my cravings to a minimum because I didn't feel hungry all the time.
It was hard when my family didn't understand my choices and criticized my healthy habits. It's a hard for others to grasp because it's unfamiliar but they eventually realized that health and fitness was a big part of my lifestyle.
My future fitness plans
I recently competed in my first figure competition on August 31, 2013, won women's figure open, and qualified for nationals at the Arnold Amateur. My plan right now is to lean bulk and put on more muscle mass so I can win a pro card. I want to get my personal training certificate and help others reach their fitness goals.
Suggestions for aspiring transformers
- Believe in yourself.
- Trust the process.
- Take progress photos.
- Don't give up.
- It's about effort.
- Remember why you started.
How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals
I use Bodybuilding.com often to reach my goals. I always go to the workout database to make sure I use proper form for a particular exercise. I order supplements from the Store for great prices and fast shipping. When I have questions, I search the site for an article and find my answer every time.
Jennifer's Top 5 Gym Tracks
- "I'm Legit" by Nicki Minaj (Feat. Ciara)
- "Work" by Iggy Azalea
- "Wake Me Up" by Avicii
- "Roar" by Katy Perry
- "I Can't Stop" by Flux Pavilion