Fitness Amateur Of The Week: Lauren Irick
Lauren always struggled to gain weight. Eating disorders and excessive cardio held her back, but with bodybuilding, nothing can stop her!
Name: Lauren Irick
Location: Portland, OR
Weight: 113 lbs.
Years Bodybuilding: Lifting for 1.5 years, bodybuilding for 4 months.
Years of up and down weight fluctuations worried Lauren Irick. She struggled with an eating disorder, which kept her frame slight. She moved to Germany and put on weight, then lost it in an unhealthy manner. She could never put on or keep any muscle tone.
Her struggle weighed on her until 2013, when she started to reverse her unhealthy, party-driven lifestyle. The gym slowly became more than a part-time hobby. HIIT cardio replaced treadmill excess. Weight training became a staple in her weekly schedule, but something was still missing.
The final piece of her fitness puzzle was hiring Amber Orton as a trainer. Like so many before her, Lauren took well to the advisement of Orton. The balance of healthy eating, weightlifting, and a goal-oriented program finally gave Lauren the positive mental attitude she'd sought for years. Once she made an honest commitment, happiness and healthfulness finally became normal for this aspiring bikini competitor. Learn how she did it!Q
How did your fitness journey begin?
I am the youngest in my family, with four older brothers. We were always active, and they were big influences on me playing sports growing up. After high school, I wanted to stay active and keep an athletic look. Unfortunately, I wasn't educated in the benefits of weight training and how to properly fuel my body. I struggled for years with an eating disorder and was absolutely convinced that the only way I could stay thin was by being a cardio bunny and undereating.
At the age of 18, I reached my all-time low weight of 94 pounds. I had no muscle, no fat, and an unhealthy mindset. I did eventually put on some weight and stayed between 112 and 116 pounds. I loved running, but still had an unhealthy relationship with food. I worked out in the gym for hours. I looked decent, but I didn't feel great and lacked muscle. I ate too little and drank entirely too much.
In 2013, I got serious about working out again, and began doing HIIT and lifting weights. I started to focus less on what my body looked like and more on what my body could do. Seeing an increase on my lifts gave me a great feeling of accomplishment! I was much happier focusing on these numbers than the ones I was seeing on the scale. Naturally, my body started to look better too, but in retrospect, my diet was still terrible.
I hired a trainer and kept lifting heavy. In February of 2014, I decided to clean up my diet. I started working with my coach, Amber Orton, with just nutrition. She agreed I was undereating and increased my calories with a clean-eating meal plan. Almost immediately I had better workouts, more energy, dropped weight, and—most importantly—felt better.
I committed to working out 5-6 days a week, and I planned and prepped my meals ahead of time. I was finally ready to go to the next level and take the plunge into bodybuilding. I started a 12-week prep with Amber and competed in my first bodybuilding competition in 2014. I won first in my class, which put me up for the overall. I was flabbergasted when I won the Oregon State Women's Overall bikini title.
How did your passion for fitness emerge?
I love the mental and physical challenge! Fitness has always been somewhat of a meditation for me. It's my opportunity to focus on goals to regain mental clarity. You can't cheat the lifestyle! You get what you give, and it's such a gratifying feeling to see hard work and persistence pay off. In my experience all the focus, drive, hard work, tenacity, and positivity that goes into bodybuilding starts extending into all the other areas of your life and only perpetuates itself.
What or who motivates you to live healthy?
I am self-motivated and enjoy the mental and physical challenge—the whole process! I am capable of so much more than I thought. I am motivated to stay happy, healthy, be my best self, and hopefully inspire others to do the same!
Where did you go for inspiration?
I use Instagram for a lot of inspiration. There are so many quotes and awesome stories out there. I just focus on what needs to be done and I do it! I know I won't feel happy if I don't do my best.
Lauren Irick 2014 NPC Oregon State Bikini
Watch the video - 13:25
What are your future fitness plans?
I will continue to compete in regional shows, and next year I will take the stage at a national competition. I would also like to transition into personal training. I would love to work with all age ranges, but I really want to work with women to help them gain confidence in the gym. I want to see more women lifting!
What is the most important fitness tip?
Set goals, work hard, and never give up!
Who is your favorite fitness competitor?
My coach Amber has been an inspiration before she even knew! I admire her physique, but also respect the hard work and dedication she has put into running her own business. She is incredibly honest about her lifestyle and any challenges that arise. The balance she has found is something I strive for. Beautiful on the inside and out, she is proof that hard work pays off! She also has a great sense of humor.
How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?
BodySpace and the message boards are awesome! I am not active on the message boards, but I read them a lot. People are always asking great questions, sharing their knowledge, and posting great links for information. It's a supportive community. I also know I can get all of my supplements at a competitive price. My order always arrives so fast; I'm in awe every time. Seeing one of those boxes on my porch after coming home from work is like Christmas!
I want to thank Amber Orton for mentoring me, coaching me, inspiring me, and giving me the tools to live a healthy and happy life; my friends, who have shown and provided their support throughout the last year and a half; my friends and "fit fam" on IG; and my family, for giving me so much unconditional love and support. I am very lucky!
The photos watermarked with AlwaysEvolving were taken by Skyler Lee Stutzman. The DreamQuest watermarked photos were taken by Justin Card or Derek Kaneshiro.