Real People, Real Results: Alyson Webster
Alyson dreams hard, works to make it happen, and is living this life on her own terms. That's the kind of positivity we can get behind!
Attending a fitness competition gave Alyson a reason to take her training away from sports and to tailor it to the needs of the stage. She'd been an athlete and a runner, but she lacked the muscle of the competitors. She wanted it, and she went out to get it.
Alyson attacked the project in an organized manner. She started by bringing up her legs, training them twice a week to start building mass on her slight frame. She rebuilt her body in a stronger, more confident mold. She's set her sights on a WBFF diva pro card and wants to work in the business of contest prep.
Name: Alyson Webster
Location: North Reading, MA
Weight: 115 lbs.
Years Bodybuilding: 1 year
How did your fitness journey begin?
I have always been active in sports. I played basketball, field hockey, and track throughout middle school and high school. I took dance classes, karate, and gymnastics when I was young. I grew up in Maine, but left to attend Merrimack College in Massachusetts on a field hockey scholarship.
I read many fitness magazines and was always fascinated with the science behind nutrition. I developed a great admiration for the ladies in the magazines. My mother and my late aunt competed in bodybuilding competitions when they were younger, even into their 40s. My mother has been a promoter for New England competitions. The amount of dedication and commitment I saw from them inspired me.
I reached a point where I wanted to take control of my life and follow my dreams. At 23 years old, I graduated from college and worked full-time, but something was missing from my life. I was not the typical college kid. I was never into the party lifestyle and was conscious of how I spent my money. It didn't make sense to me to work 50-plus hours a week and still be broke at the end of the weekend!
In 2013, I attended my first fitness competition as a spectator to support a friend. From that moment on I began weight training. I found Bodybuilding.com and started reading more about a healthy diet and training programs. I was inspired by the hard work and dedication of the athletes I read about. The lifestyle of a fitness competitor is so inspiring! I decided I was going to make that my life.
I was already an avid runner and ran multiple road races; I completed my goal of running a half marathon. I started my fitness journey as "skinny fat." I weighed 118 pounds and had little muscle. I dedicated much of my time to cardio, not paying attention to my protein intake. It took me a bit of time to learn, but I eventually cut back on cardio and focused on weight training.
What fitness regimen delivered the best results?
During contest preparation, I keep the rep ranges high, with moderate to heavy weight. My favorite workout programs consist of isolated body parts. In my most recent offseason regimen, my primary focus was building my hamstrings and glutes. I put considerable focus on those areas because they were my weaker areas.
I trained legs and glutes twice per week, for the most part. I set mini goals and worked on reaching them during each workout. I did a bit of squatting and deadlifting. Once each week I pushed myself for a new personal record. I enjoy pushing myself! It's motivating to beat my previous weight max. I try to keep the rep range within 12-15 reps to maintain symmetry, and my last set is always the heaviest.
I once considered myself a cardio queen. I loved road races and spent all my time at the gym on the treadmill. Once I joined my competition team and acquired a coach, I stopped doing as much cardio. I learned that while cardio made me lean, it took away from my muscle-building.
I focused on weight gain in my offseason. I tried to keep myself at a weight range of 130-135 pounds. When I competed in my first fitness competition, I weighed 107 pounds and weighed about 114 pounds for my second show. My coach does not have me doing much cardio, even during prep. I do about 20 minutes, three days per week. I love doing cardio and know it is necessary for overall health. However, I am fortunate enough to lean out with minimum cardio and clean eating.
I have a lake down the street from my house and enjoy the 3-mile walk. During show prep, I do fasted cardio before the show and do 20-30 minutes of walking on the treadmill during my lunch break. I try to get in about two days of HIIT when possible.
How did your passion for fitness emerge?
I have always been an anxious person. I have to be organized and have everything planned out in advance. I noticed that after a workout, my level of anxiety would almost evaporate. Fitness to me is a detox and stress reliever. Fitness drives me to better every aspect of my life. Clean eating and active living is the best thing I can do for myself. Fitness doesn't judge me and I get the rewards for what I put into it. If I work for it, I earn it—that is something no one can take from me.
Being fit isn't just about the way a person looks physically; it's also about how incredible one can feel mentally. There was a time when I worried more about taking care of others, thinking I would be able to help smarten them up. Once I started my fitness journey, I took on another role. Fitness gives me confidence and courage. The fitness community is like a family to me, and competing has given me the best experiences.
It is such a positive feeling to share the same passion for fitness, to eat right and stay as active as others I surround myself with. I feel so much love, support, and encouragement in this industry. I cannot begin to explain how great it feels to hear I am a role model for someone else. Knowing I inspire other people to take control of their lives keeps me going every day.
What or who motivates you to live healthy?
Living healthy isn't a choice anymore; it is something that is necessary. I find my motivation comes from waking up and feeling healthy. I don't have the hangover or the regrets from the night before.
Seeing changes both physically and mentally is what life is all about. It motivates me when I see changes in my body and my life. The more active I am in the gym, the more productive I am at work, and the more I accomplish in my life. I become more motivated every time I compete. I encourage my friends and family to get back into the gym. Seeing the positive changes in their lives is one of my best motivators. It motivates me when I look back at the previous year and see everything I accomplished. I know others enjoy seeing me on this journey. That motivates me to continue.
Where did you go for inspiration?
I am part of a wonderful competition team. I look to my team for encouragement on the days when I am drained. It is important to surround myself with people who share the same dreams as me. Over the past year I persuaded old friends to join the team with me; it has been amazing to rekindle those friendships. I realized that competing isn't just about the show. It is about all the wonderful things that happen along the journey.
What are your future fitness plans?
It will mean everything to me to earn my pro card with the WBFF as a diva bikini pro. I will compete in April at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut; I am working hard to make that dream come true. I have bigger dreams down the road. I would like to take time off to develop more muscle, to give myself a chance to compete on the stage in Las Vegas as a diva pro.
Eventually, I would like to utilize my personal trainer certifications and use what I learned about health and nutrition to help others begin a similar journey. I enjoyed learning about stage presence, posing, and the confidence to get up on stage. I hope to inspire others to have confidence, improving their overall stage presentation.
I have always wanted to start my own business. I would love to have my own company, offering show-prep-friendly meals and weekly prep services.
What is the most important fitness tip?
One of the most important fitness tips I could give is to believe in yourself and trust the process. This journey is for you and you can't compare yourself to someone else. If you have the heart and believe you can do something, go after it and don't let anything or anyone hold you back.
Everything worth attaining will seem impossible in the beginning. The journey to better yourself will never get easier; you just get stronger along the way. If you have faith in yourself, you can never fail. You need to remember that it doesn't matter what place you come in, how much weight you lose, or how many times you want to give up—you aren't perfect, so do your best.
Who is your favorite fitness competitor?
Dana Linn Bailey. Dana became the first women's physique pro in the NPC/IFBB. Dana is an inspirational role model to me; she is real and down to earth. Dana remains true to herself and cares about others' successes. Dana has had a successful career and made a positive impact in the world of fitness. I have never seen someone train so hard. Dana is humble and giving and deserves all the success she has and will continue to achieve.
How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?
Bodybuilding.com offers the best variety of supplement brands and great articles; it provides knowledge on a variety of topics. When I was getting started in the fitness industry, I watched videos and read a number of articles from bikini competitors.
I read a great article that told me what to expect when I compete in my first show and provided tips so I would know if I was ready to take the leap. I believe Bodybuilding.com has the best resources available on the Internet and it is a trusted resource for everything in fitness.
I would like to thank Janelle Nicolo for being my role model, trainer, and coach, and also for being a great friend. I have to thank my Body Ambition Team for being such a wonderful support system and motivation to me throughout this journey.
I cannot forget Austin Heckman and Freedom Stills Photography for capturing some of my most treasured moments throughout my journey. Thank you so much for the fantastic photos and for being there for me. I want to give a huge thank you to my family and friends who supported me. I am lucky to have you all!