At the age of 15, I moved across the country to attend a ballet boarding school. After two years there, I realized I wanted to push myself physically in another area that focused on a healthy body image and the beauty of strength.
From ballet to boot camp, I soon found myself at the United States Air Force Academy. The intense workouts in boot camp and military training reinforced my love for physical fitness. Crawling under barbed wire in the mud, shooting rifles, running in combat boots and skydiving were such a drastic change from ballet, but I found the physical challenge enjoyable and familiar.
I then transferred to Arizona State University. I naturally found myself in the gym after class and began to research ways to improve my workouts. With the encouragement of my husband I entered my first figure competition in June 2010. After just one competition I was hooked! I love the physical and mental preparation required for competitions and seeing progress from one show to the next.
I believe the most important aspect to my workout plan is to believe in what I am doing. Over the past two years, I have found that it is best to allow my workouts to evolve - from the exercises, intensity, repetitions, type of cardio, etc., so that my body does not get used to any one specific thing. In general, lifting heavy has provided the greatest muscle gains for me. I am scientific about the way I approach my workouts and track everything.
I eat clean Sunday - Friday and have an "earned day" on Saturday.
It's not only a physical journey but a mental journey too. I feel grounded and happy after taking time for myself each day for weights and cardio. Competing in figure has really taught me that embracing the small victories is what this sport is about.
My husband is a major source of support and motivation. He eats clean with me and is by my side for every workout. He keeps me focused!
Other major sources of motivation and support are friends and family. Most competitors are extremely hard on themselves, and it is our support groups that remind us to embrace our progress.
I want to live a long healthy life. I do not want poor eating habits or inactivity to be debilitating factors as I get older. I love lifting weights and feeling strong. Balancing strength and femininity is something I aspire to learn more about each and every day.
May 2011 - NPC Jr. USA's, South
October 2010 - NPC Mid Atlantic Classic,
North Carolina: 1st
August 2010 - NPC Excalibur, South
August 2010 - NPC SC Upstate Classic,
South Carolina: 1st
June 2010 - NPC Gold's Classic, North
I plan to compete in more national level NPC figure competitions and obtain my IFBB Figure Pro Card. I hope to inspire and educate other men and women along the way.
Figure out what motivates you and never lose sight of that.
My favorite would have to be Frank Zane. He had accomplished a statuesque physique through his scientific approach to training. He had always emphasized proportion and symmetry over bulk and size. His push for aesthetics and science driven training are things I apply in my own workouts.
When I first started working out consistently, I frequently visited Bodybuilding.com's exercise guide. I found the descriptions and videos essential to my training. I also love Bodybuilding.com's customer service, as they have always helped me find just what I need. Last but not least, I love their photo galleries from competitions and back stage photos.
Amy Harrington and Isaac Hinds