How did your fitness journey begin?
Growing up in the 90s in Baltimore, Maryland, there wasn't much to do but play outside, so I joined my older brother and his friends to play football and tag. At age 13, I started lifting with my brother who was a natural bodybuilder and trained in our basement.
By age 16, I squatted 135 pounds for 12 reps and deadlifted 150 pounds for 12 reps. Working out at least four days per week in our basement helped me build respect for athletes that dedicated themselves to a life of fitness.
As a high school senior, I joined the track and field team. Without any experience, technique, or coordination, I became the lead sprinter in our program only because of my sheer athletic ability. After a successful and exhilarating year of sprinting, I found my true calling and continued my track and field career into college.
The transition from high school to college was an experience. I knew that short sprinters needed lots of muscle, so I spent more time lifting, ate plenty of protein, and was 145 pounds with 22 percent body fat to start my freshman year of college. I was strong, explosive and had lots of muscle, but it didn't occur to me until after I placed second at championships that I had too much muscle. It was a tough pill to swallow.
At age 19, I cleaned up my diet, ate smaller meals more frequently, spent more time on the track than in the gym, and retransformed my body into a lean machine at 135 pounds that could squat 150 pounds for 15 reps and deadlift 170 pounds for 20 reps.
I decided to build a more streamlined physique at age 20 to reach a new level. My first step was to change my diet, so I started eating more protein, fruits, and vegetables with less carbs. This was hard for me because I was a cardio fanatic who needed energy. By summer 2013, I was a lean 120 pounds with 9 percent body fat and was pleased with the fact that I kept my muscle and got rid of unnecessary fat.
My family suggested I enter a figure competition, which I contemplated for awhile but finally entered. Learning how to prepare for a show was exciting. On August 3, 2013, I walked on stage, placed first in my height class, and won the overall figure show with the best abs trophy. The event that I did for fun lit a fire in me and I can't wait to get back on stage. My goals are to compete throughout 2014 and earn a pro card.
How did your passion for fitness emerge?
My passion for fitness emerged because I knew that I had untapped potential to compete with the best.
What/Who motivates you to live a healthy lifestyle?
Following a strict diet and workout plan to make my body feel and look better keeps me going back for more.
Where did you go for inspiration?
When I need motivation, I visit Bodybuilding.com and read the articles from successful figure competitors. The articles and tips remind me that I don't want to let my hard work go to waste.
What are your future fitness plans?
My future fitness plans are to continuing competing in both track and field and figure to earn my pro card.
What is the most important fitness tip?
Never be completely satisfied. There's always something to learn and improve.
Who is your favorite fitness competitor?
My favorite figure competitor is Erin Stern. Her physique personifies what feminine and muscular athleticism looks like.
How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?
Bodybuilding.com is the best. It's the only place I purchase supplements from. I used articles on figure competitions to develop specific dieting, posing, and workout plans. I also use BodySpace to record and store my progress.
Julie's Top 5 Gym Tracks
- "Crooked Smile" by J Cole
- "Tom Ford" by Jay-Z
- "I'm On One" by Drake
- "Lose Yourself" by Eminem
- "Live To Rise" by Soundgarden
- 2013 NGA Mr. and Mrs. Natural Philly - 1st Place Figure B Class, Overall, and Best Abs
- To my sisters Mia and Elisa and my brother Victor. I couldn't have done it without you.
- To Bart Ruzik for the track photos. His unique style is unlike any other.