Name: Kristen Adamson
Why I Got Started
In 2007 a pivotal moment changed my life forever. In the blink of an eye, I went from walking across a side street, minding my own business, to suddenly waking up in the middle of the road in a pool of my own blood - I had been struck by a car.
The car had sent me soaring 10 feet in the air, slamming my face into the ground. When I woke up I remember screaming, noticing the large gap inside my mouth from where my front teeth had been shattered, and realizing that I couldn't feel my legs from the waist down.
As I lay on the pavement staring at the blood fall from my face, I watched the driver of the vehicle flee the scene. And I knew at that moment my life was never to be the same again.
A few months went by and of course, I thought I was handling things well - the doctors were impressed with my physical healing and I worked hard to be able to get back to normal. Then one day I just broke. My strong outer shell gave way, and all of my buried fears, nightmares, flashbacks and depression came to the forefront.
So, after much convincing from my boyfriend and family, I sought professional help. And eventually, this propelled me towards a better way of thinking and helped me decide what was most important to me in life - family and friends.
Although I still battled (and continue to today) stiffness, aches, pain and muscular tension, I found that I had a renewed focus and clarity in life. My goals became about living life to its fullest, being true to myself and about focusing on getting married and starting a family. Granted, I was pretty young to be thinking about my future as a mother, but I was happy to have realized how important it was to me.
About a year post accident, my symptoms began. I started having mood swings, cravings, hot flashes and night sweats - nothing you'd expect at the age of 19. So, naturally, I went to the doctor and got some tests.
The day I received those test results, was the day I thought my heart had stopped beating. To my absolute devastation I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI - a.k.a. Premature Ovarian Failure), and told I have a 0 - 5% chance of conceiving naturally. How could this be? Why me? I'm meant to have children, was all I could keep thinking.
I tried to hold it together, I really did. I put on my brave face, sucked back my tears and tried to convince myself that there was still a purpose to moving on. It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to accept.
I would love to say that at this point in time things started to look up for me, but unfortunately, the old saying, "bad things happen in threes" held true.
During my continued doctor visits, another test was carried out to determine the potential cause of my POI. And right when I thought things couldn't get even more complicated, they did. I was diagnosed with an extremely rare genetic disorder called, "Small Supernumerary Marker Chromosomes" - which only exists in about .5% of the world's population. To this day I still don't fully understand how this may affect me.
So what did this all mean? I felt like my life was spinning out of control.
One bad thing after another kept happening to me - so much so that people made jokes about me being 'cursed.' I had lost every ounce of control I thought I had over my life. I felt helpless.
Then, one day while surfing the net, I came across Bodybuilding.com. Little did I know, that day I had found something that was going to grant me back a sense of control and transform me into a healthier, happier and more knowledgeable me.
From that point on, bodybuilding, training and fitness became my passion. I learned how to control my health and well-being, and how to use training as a way to de-stress and re-focus. Fitness became my answer - the sunshine that cleared my grey skies.
How I Did It
I started by reading the transformations of the week on Bodybuilding.com. Since I was 10-years old I had slowly packed on the pounds and no matter how hard I tried, I could never figure out how to shed them permanently. But after I read those articles, and stared at those before and after pictures, it gave me hope and the belief that it just might be possible for me too.
I remember reading stories about people who had overcome adversity and I felt inspired to do the same. I was tired of feeling like I had no power over anything in my life, and because I knew that there were other people out there who were able to turn their lives around through fitness, I felt empowered.
Next I started researching the articles on Bodybuilding.com. I learned about calories, macronutrients and the importance of a strong diet. Then I learned about training and muscle groups, and the myths about women and weightlifting.
Bodybuilding.com became my university for health and fitness, and I made sure that I attended every day!
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I Knew That There Were Other People Out There Who Were Able To Turn Their Lives Around Through Fitness.
After a couple of weeks of reading articles and watching videos, I finally took the first step to achieving the body I wanted; I set up a BodySpace account. I recruited my sister to take embarrassing 'before' pictures of me and then I logged all of my stats and information into my new profile page.
To my surprise, rather than getting hurtful comments about my 'chubby' body (something that terrified me), I received countless welcome notes and messages from other users, extending the offer to help me succeed.
So, after feeling motivated and ready to make a change, I started planning. I did all of my calorie and macronutrient calculations and then I designed a handful of meal plans for myself to follow over the next few weeks - this ensured that I was hitting all of my numbers.
Then I designed a 6-week weightlifting plan, which was designed to hit each of my muscles groups across a 6-day schedule. I also incorporated a combination of H.I.I.T. and steady state cardio sessions 3 times a week.
Instantly, I noticed a difference in my mentality. And my family noticed a difference in my spirit. I was smiling often and I was laughing more - two things that had disintegrated from my life over the previous couple of years.
Then I began noticing the scale change, followed by my clothes getting loose and my progress pictures getting better - there is nothing that feels better than this! The next thing I knew I was 20 pounds lighter and I was feeling amazing!
At this point in my journey, I began getting serious about competing in the future - something that would've never crossed my mind before. But I wanted a new goal, a goal that seemed almost unachievable, so I could prove my own insecurities wrong. So, I ventured into the women's forums on Bodybuilding.com to learn more about the road to competing.
Currently, I'm working to shed a bit more body fat and then I am going to work on building a little bit more muscle on my upper body to help balance out my physique.
Next, I plan to compete at the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012 with my best body yet!
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At This Point In My Journey, I Began Getting
Serious About Competing In The Future.
Currently, I am still in a cutting phase. The numbers below represent what I have very slowly worked my way down to in terms of caloric and macronutrient breakdown. Over the 12-month period that I slowly manipulated my diet, I incorporated refeeds and I also took a 4-week diet break - bringing my numbers back up to maintenance.
These numbers below represent what is reflected in my meal plan example, but obviously, when I begin to build, my caloric intake will be much higher, as will my allocation of macronutrients.
- Calories: 1510
- Fat: 50g
- Carbs: 95g
- Protein: 170g
- 150g Egg Whites
- 1 Whole Egg
- 1 tbsp sugar free Ketchup
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- 15g Oatmeal + Sweetener and Cinnamon
- 2 slices Ezekiel Bread
- 28g Avocado
- 4 slices natural selections Turkey Breast
- 1 slice light Provolone
- 1 cup Lettuce
- 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
My training routines vary every 6-8 weeks to ensure that my body never gets used to one particular plan. This workout plan below is an example of what I did during my recent 4-week dieting break. The purpose was to take advantage of the higher caloric intake and use it as an opportunity to strengthen some of my weaker muscle groups - back, chest and shoulders - which is why I tried to hit them twice per week each.
Since my lower body is already strong and defined (for the body fat percentage I am currently sitting at), I decided only to concentrate on it one day each week. Currently, I am back to a fairly balanced lower and upper-body routine.
Day 1: Shoulders/Triceps/Traps
- Bent Rear Delt Flyes: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Shoulder Presses: 3 sets of 10 reps
- One Arm Rear Delt Rows: 3 sets of 10 reps,each arm
- Bench Dips: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Front Raises: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Upright Cable Rows: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Tricep Cable Extensions: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Dumbbell Shrugs: 3 sets of 15 reps
Day 2: Chest/Biceps/Abs
- PM Steady State Cardio: 20 mins
- Incline Dumbbell Presses: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Bench Knee Tucks: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Bicep Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Cable Curl: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Chest Press Machine: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Hammer Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Jackknifes: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Abdominal Pull Ins on the Ball: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Dumbbell Pullovers: 3 sets of 12 reps
Day 3: Cardio
- AM Steady State Cardio: 20 mins
Day 4: Shoulders/Chest/Back
- One Arm Rear Delt Rows: 3 sets of 10 reps, each arm
- Dumbbell Chest Presses: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Wide Grip Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Alternating Front Raises: 3 sets of 20 reps, each arm
- Bent Dumbbell Rows: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Dumbbell Pullovers: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Presses 3 sets of 10 reps
- Bent Rear Delt Flyes: 3 sets of 10 reps
Day 5: Legs/Glutes
Day 6: Abs/Back
Day 7: Rest
Suggestions for Others
Over the past year, I've learned a lot about myself and about health and fitness in general, but there are certainly some key pieces of advice I'd like others who are trying to transform their bodies, to consider:
- There is no 'quick fix' for weight loss. Anything that promises super fast results is only going to do more harm to your body, metabolism and self esteem in the long run.
- Weight loss should be a journey to health - prepare yourself for the long road ahead and enjoy every minute of it.
- Losing weight and transforming your body starts with your brain. You've got to change the way you think before you can change the way you look. That means:
- Figure out what your staple excuses are and call yourself out when you use them
- Do some research to abolish myths - there are tons of them out there (especially for women).
- Eliminate negative thoughts and feelings. They do nothing but bring you down.
- 4. They key to success is planning for it. Have a plan for everything:
- Meal Plans
- Training Plans
- Motivation Plans - yep that's right! How do you plan to maintain motivation? (often overlooked)
- Dining Out Plans
- Build a strong support system. If you're not getting it from friends and family, get your support online from the many others on Bodybuilding.com!
- Prepare yourself for the 'success saboteurs.' Over the course of your transformation, you will face people who envy the progress you've made and the dedication you amplify; don't let their comments bring you down. Value feedback from other bodybuilders/fitness professionals and from your doctor before taking to heart the feedback from your uneducated peers.
- Remember it's you vs. you - don't embark on this journey just to prove others wrong. You have to want to do it just for you.
- Always set goals and record your progress. This is why Bodybuilding.com is such an amazing tool. It held me accountable for my results and it forced me to continually want to post better numbers for all my bodybuilding.com friends to see.
- For the ladies: drop the 5 and 10-pound weights and get your butt off the cardio machines! If you want a fit physique, you need to lift heavy weights and concentrate on a strong diet - NO, you will not get bulky! (if this is news to you, read more of the articles on Bodybuilding.com)
- And lastly, don't forget to live life! Sometimes we 'fit-aholics' can get so engrossed in our goals that all we can think about is our diet and training. But don't forget, you only live one life, so don't beat yourself up if you decide to go out for drinks and chicken wings one night. Just make sure that you've made a conscious decision and that you have the willpower to get back on the horse tomorrow and move forward.
Remember everyone, live each and every day to the fullest and take time to notice all the things that make you happy - you never know what day might be your last.