Competing Again at Age 50

At a Glance: Laurie Foote

Age: 50

Occupation: Salesperson & Co-Owner at Equal Exchange- a fair trade, organic food organization; Certified Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor

Current Residence: Doylestown, PA

Family: husband, Jeff Celia (he’s also an amazing stage manager, keeping me organized and sane on show days!)

Years training (total): 30

Height: 5'3"

Weight: Off-Season: 130, Contest: 114

Favorite Bodybuilding Meal: Organic grass fed beef & asparagus

Favorite Supplements: UMP is a staple; I rotate between flavors for variety, but Rocky Road is my favorite. Lean Out and 7-Keto MuscLean are essential precontest!

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? Lean Out and 7-Keto MuscLean really helped me to jump start my fat loss; if you plan on competing, get both of them, now!

Music: 80s rock and singer-songwriter classics

Most Inspiring Book: My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor

Hobby or Interests outside bodybuilding: Gardening, going to farmer’s markets, vintage dress shopping, making cheese, mission work with my church, knitting

Words to live by: Gratitude is the cause of happiness

Contact: Email: lauriefootefitness@gmail.com, Instagram: @lauriefootefitness

 

At almost 50 years old, it wasn’t the first time I stepped onstage in a Figure competition, but it was certainly the first time I stepped onstage with a clear sense of who I really was. I last competed in my early 40s, and did pretty well, including winning Ms Natural Illinois Figure. At the time, I was a successful Real Estate Broker in Chicago, living on Michigan Avenue and enjoying philanthropic and social events in the city.

But a lot has changed over the past ten years. Depression, chronic headaches, a thyroid condition, and a failed marriage led to some serious soul searching.

So I sold my condo, gave up my business and moved to a farm in Pennsylvania where I milked goats, made cheese and yogurt, and sold my products at a local farmers’ market! At first, I had no idea what I was doing, but it felt right to be working with animals and the land. Through my contacts at the market, I eventually wound up working at an organization that partners directly with farmers to grow and market fair trade, organic products. The pieces fell into place.

My husband (who I also met at the farmers market!) and I have similar values. In addition to my work with food, I am also a personal trainer and group exercise instructor. Finally, I feel like I am working for the health of the individual (myself and those I teach and train), the community (here in my town at the YMCA, at my church, the farmers and communities my company partners with), and the earth (by growing my own food, eating organic and local when possible, and bringing fair trade, organic food to consumers).

Last Christmas, my sister Jenny, who is a triathlete, asked me if I would ever compete again. I laughed and said no; it was fun, but it was really hard! But the more I thought about it, the more fun I remember having, and the more I realized that “because it’s hard” is a really dumb reason not to do something! So, I made up my mind to compete once again. In January of 2019, I started as a “normal”, if fit, 130lb 49-year-old. I knew the hard work and dedication it takes to compete, and as a Certified Personal Trainer, I followed my own training and nutrition strategy to prepare for competition.

I have always been a natural athlete, and competed in drug-tested shows, so I knew I needed high quality, clean supplements to support my diet and training. Beverly International was the first - and only - supplement company I turned to. Beverly products are clean and natural, and their company values match mine. Unlike some supplements I had tried in the past, Beverly products made my body feel strong and healthy in a natural way. I felt good mentally and physically about what I was putting into my body, just like the foods that were now part of my everyday diet. Beverly products have become an integral and natural fit into my diet, training, and lifestyle.

By mid-May, I was ready. I competed back-to-back in 2 OCB shows, came in 1st in the Masters Figure category, won my pro card, and came in 2nd in the Open Figure A Class - in both shows! Many people have been asking me how I did it. In this article you will find example plans that I followed leading up to my competitions.

Presentation Tips

If it’s your first contest, go to as many shows as you can beforehand, and study what works and what doesn’t! YouTube is also a great resource; you can find videos of competitions at your level, and really study the posing. Then, practice, practice, practice! Take videos of yourself practicing, and watch them. Find a posing workshop (in person is best, but online can work, too), and use the leader’s guidance & expertise to improve. Then, practice some more!

When you do compete, get all the information you can from the judges. At some shows, you will get copies of the actual score sheets, or have a mix-and-mingle with the judges afterward. Sometimes the truth is tough to hear - but the feedback they give you can be invaluable to your future success! Also, scrutinize photos and videos from your shows. Your strengths and weaknesses will be clear, and you will gain insight into what the judges are looking for.

Besides exercise, nutrition, and supplementation, there are several things that I believe have been crucial to my competition success. One is sleep. It’s my other secret weapon! It is like a drug for making changes in your body. Sufficient sleep is essential for fat burning, cellular repair, and muscle growth. The mental and emotional benefits of sleep are key for competition prep, too. I like to be in bed before 9pm every night, so I can get at least 8 hours of quality sleep.

The other necessary component of competition prep is your mindset. You have to make up your mind that this is something you are going to do - and that’s it. You can do it; you will do it!

Diet

We eat pretty clean at our house; my husband even more so than I - he preps and packs his food every week, just like a bodybuilding competitor! I’m lucky that I have the flexibility to work from home, so I can keep my kitchen stocked with good, clean food and the Beverly supplements I need to make my nutrition plan a no-brainer. Every Saturday we go to the farmer’s market in our town, and stock up on fresh, local vegetables, and there is a local heritage livestock farm where we get all of our meat. As a rule, I don’t eat sugar, even in the off season, and I get most of my carbs from vegetables – but I eat LOTS of vegetables! I also drink 1.5 gallons of water a day.

 

Here is a sample contest prep meal plan, which I follow anywhere from 8-16 weeks prior to competition:

Meal 1: Breakfast “Smash-UMP”
1 scoop Vanilla UMP and 1 scoop Glutamine Select mixed into 5oz nonfat Greek yogurt - then I add a variety of 2 or 3 of the following ingredients: 1tbsp almond flour, 2 tbsp hemp protein, 2tsp coconut flour, 2 tsp organic cocoa, dash of cinnamon, 1 tsp of peanut butter or almond butter, 10-12 frozen blueberries… and lately, believe it or not, grated cauliflower for bulk and texture without lots of calories! I mix it all up like a batter, and it’s a real treat.

Meal 2: 3-4 cups raw veggie mix*

Meal 3: 3 free range eggs scrambled with spinach, peppers, mushrooms, and hummus OR a big salad with greens, veggies and herbs from our garden, 5oz tuna or salmon, 1tbsp olive oil and 3tbsp balsamic vinegar

Meal 4: UMP Rocky Road shake, blended with cold brew coffee, lots of ice, and 1/2 teaspoon each of vanilla and almond extract. Frosty mocha deliciousness!

Meal 5: 3/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese, 3-4 cups raw veggie mix*

Meal 6: 4-6oz grass fed lean beef (London Broil and liver are my favorites, but I know liver isn’t for everyone!), and 3 cups fresh asparagus or green beans OR stir-fry of scallions, eggplant, zucchini and 4-6oz chicken or pork loin

*My raw veggie mix is my secret weapon! This is the one thing I ALWAYS have prepped in my kitchen. My current mix is 2 bunches celery, 2 fennel bulbs, 2 large cucumbers, 3 bunches broccoli, 1 head cauliflower, and 8 bell peppers (different colors). Cut everything up into bite-sized pieces and mix together, then divide into Tupperware containers. It usually makes 10-14 good-sized portions. I typically eat 2 portions per day. Also, if I am really craving something I know I shouldn’t have, I will tell myself that I can have it AFTER I eat a container of veggie mix. Then, 9 times out of 10, once I eat the veggie mix, I’m full and don’t have the craving anymore!

When I’m not competing, my diet is similar to the above, with the addition of cheese and nuts, and more volume - I can eat a LOT of steak! And once in a while, I do allow myself an order of onion rings or a glass of wine, but not too often.

What I will implement for my next contest prep:

1 or 2 high carb days per week, to see how my body responds. Also, I will rearrange my schedule to eat before I work out. I know it will benefit me to fuel up prior to lifting, but this is tough, since I have a thyroid condition and have to take medication 1/2 hour before I eat, so I will need to get up REALLY early to eat before that 6am gym time!

Supplements

UMP: In my Breakfast Smash and in a shake for my afternoon Favorite flavors are Vanilla and Rocky Road. I love coming up with different shake combinations, like a scoop of vanilla with 1tsp orange extract blended with lots of ice for a creamsicle. The extracts add flavor, and help to emulsify the shake so it’s really smooth and creamy.

Lean Out: 1 capsule

7-Keto MuscLean: (2 capsules) and Energy Reserve (1 tablet) – before meals 1, 3, and 5.

Glutamine Select : 1 scoop after workouts and in my Breakfast Smash with UMP

FitTabs: 2 tablets in the morning and 2 with my evening meal

What I will implement for my next contest prep:

Quadracarn: Starting with 2 tablets at breakfast and 2 tablets before bed

Cardio Schedule

I teach Group Exercise at the local YMCA, so I either teach or take some type of Group Exercise Class for 60 minutes, 5 or 6 times per week, year round. For me, first thing in the morning is the best time for cardio; it helps me get my day off to a good start. A typical week of cardio training will look like this:

 

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: Indoor Cycling

Tuesday & Thursday: Kettlebell, TRX or Interval Training Class

Sunday: Off (from cardio)

Once or twice a week, if the weather is nice, I will walk during lunch with a friend. I also love yoga, and sometimes take a yoga class instead of cardio, especially if I need the stretching and recovery; it’s a great counterbalance to intense cardio and lifting.

What I will implement for my next contest prep:

Sprints! I strained a hamstring several months ago, so I’ve had to work around that, but it’s finally healed.

Training Schedule

Here is a typical workout plan that I follow in order to add or maintain muscle mass as I go into contest prep mode. I do some form of abdominal or core work every day:

 

Sunday: Shoulders & TricepsAmount 
Handstand Pushups against a wall50 total (as many sets as necessary; usually 4-6)
Superset
Dumbbell Press4x10
Bent-over DB Rear Delt Raises4x10
Kettlebell Upright Rows 4x10
Triceps Pushups4x10
Triset
180 degree Lateral Raises (lift arms laterally all the way overhead) 4x10
Triceps Dips4x12
Front Raise with Plate4x10
Cable Lateral Raise3x10
Cable Lateral Raise 3x10
Hanging Toes-to-Bar Leg Raise 3x6-10

Monday: Off

Tuesday: Legs (heavy, lower reps)Amount
Barbell Squats4x8-10
Superset
Kettlebell Swings4x10
Kettlebell Sumo Squats 4x8-10
High Box Step-Ups4x10
Banded Side Steps4x10
Sissy Squats 4x10
Glute/Ham Raise4x8-10
1-Leg Calf Raises4x10 each leg
Decline Crunches3x15
Wednesday: BackAmount
Pullups 50 total, as many sets as it takes! *
Superset
Reverse Rows hanging under a fixed bar4x10
Reverse-Grip Pulldowns4x10
Bent-Over Kettlebell Rows 4x10
Swiss Ball Hyperextensions 3x15
Swiss Ball Reverse Hyperextensions3x15
Kettlebell Windmills3x10 each side

* Start with assisted pullups, and gradually lower the assistance weight until you can do them It might take time - but that’s OK! It took me about 8 months of training until I could do all 50 unassisted - and now I’m doing weighted pullups! I love watching the jaws drop when I do those.

Thursday: Legs (light, higher reps)Amount
This workout will be similar to my Tuesday or Saturday leg workout;
with lighter weights and 100 reps total per exercise.
Superset
Kettlebell Swings4x25
Kettlebell Sumo Squats, going parallel or below4x25
Romanian Deadlifts 4x25
Walking Lunges4x25 each side
Cable Rear Leg Raises4x25 each side
Swiss Ball Glute Bridges4x25
Swiss Ball Pull-Ins4x25
Single Leg Standing Calf Raises 4x25 each leg
Ab Superset
Swiss Ball Pikes3x15
Swiss Ball Stir-the-Pot3x15 each way
Friday: Chest & BicepsAmount
Superset
Incline Barbell Bench Press 4x10
Incline Dumbbell Bicep Curls4x10
Decline Barbell Bench Press4x10
Cable Flyes4x10
Cable Bicep Curls4x10
TRX Triset
TRX Chest Press4x10
TRX Chest Flyes4x10
TRX Bicep Curls4x10
Swiss Ball Crunch Combo
Crunches throwing & catching medicine ball50
Quick Pulse Crunches 50
Crunches, Pause Halfway50
Saturday: Legs (heavy, lower reps)Amount
Sled Leg Press 4x8-10
Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts 4x8-10 each side
Walking Lunges 4x8-10
Smith Machine Glute Bridges4x8-10
Single Leg Swiss Ball Pull-Ins4x8-10
Leg Extension 4x10
Seated Calf Raise4x10

What I will implement for my next contest prep:

Planned recovery time. When training at a high intensity, it’s important not to overtrain, so I want to be more conscious of that. Symptoms of overtraining include trouble sleeping (and I LOVE to sleep!), headache, exhaustion, joint & muscle aches.

The Sky Is the Limit with the Right Training, Nutrition and Supplementation

At a Glance: Kathy Kiefer

Age: 51

Occupation: Client Manager/Contract Writer for a healthcare software company

Family: Married for 28 years and have 2 fabulous kids, Ryan-27 and Heather-25

Current Residence: Potomac Falls, VA

Years Training: 28 years active; 6 years of competitive training

Height: 5′6″

Weight: (Off-Season)140lb / (Contest)125lb

Favorite Fitness Meal: Oatmeal and chocolate UMP

Recommendation regarding Beverly Supplements: First of all, have peace of mind knowing these supplements are tried and true, standing the test of time. I have used the Beverly supplements for six years experiencing great results, both with training outcomes and the fact that I have a sensitive system and have never had a compatibility issue with anything from Beverly.  To maximize muscle, you need to dial in on the optimal stack for you and your training so you have the option to call Beverly and talk to a consultant.  They are super helpful and just a phone call away.

Music:  For cardio, I listen to podcasts about health and bodybuilding.  My current favorite podcast is “Muscle Expert Podcast” by Ben Pakulski.  I don’t listen to anything during my strength workouts because I focus on the mind/muscle connection and the task at hand.  During post workout recovery time, I will frequently listen to classical, spa, or meditation music to come down from the workout and let the mind and muscle growth begin.

Most Inspiring Book: My favorite right now is “Maximum Muscle Bible” by Christian Thibaudeau and Paul Carter.

Hobbies and interests outside bodybuilding:  Gardening, shooting at the range and playing with my dogs.

Words to live by:  “Panic slowly”, Dr. Lincoln Gray, distinguished professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at James Madison University.

Regardless of Age or Disability

It has always been about strength and competition for me. My father built us a barn in our back yard and I got my first pony at the age of seven. From that point, it was immediately about how many hay bales I could throw/stack, how many 50lb bags of feed at a time I could push in the wheelbarrow, etc… I started competing in horse shows immediately. Shortly after that, I became a trainer for dozens of ponies and horses, which continued until I was 21.

All or nothing was my mantra. In 1990, I replaced the 24/7 horse lifestyle with marriage and had two fabulous kids in the following years. I joined a gym to fill the strength and movement passion that I had developed during my horse years. I had this dream of being a bodybuilder but wasn’t sure how to go about it. There wasn’t much info out there in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s, and no Google, but the dream had taken root.

And then something went wrong, very, very wrong. I received the diagnosis that I had Multiple Sclerosis. I had a couple of exacerbations, one of which in 2001 left my right ankle, quad and hamstring permanently damaged (can’t lift it well or hamstring curl it).

Typical of me, I plowed forward and laser-focused 100% on my kids, as they had stellar athletic careers from a very early age. I coached fastpitch softball during my daughter’s early years and then spent the rest of her pre-college years traveling the country with her while she played in softball tournaments most weekends.

My biggest mistake was writing myself off. I saw myself as “worthless” and “broken.” I couldn’t run. I couldn’t jump. I couldn’t play sports. My list of “couldn’ts” was endless. And I had gained too much weight from doing not much.

When my daughter, my youngest child, left for college in 2011 I had a large amount of spare time on my hands. I had no more softball practice, games, workouts, training to take her to. I had time. I needed a replacement.

And then something went right, very, very right. I changed my perspective. Instead of focusing on what I couldn’t do, I decided to set out on a new adventure called “what can I do”. 90% of my body was still fully functional and being held prisoner by my 10% of disability. Well, a leg is maybe more than 10% but this is how I conceptualized it.

I was a bumbling tripping mess who could not walk on a treadmill without holding on for dear life. But I persevered and hired a personal trainer at my local Gold’s Gym. My goal was not weight loss, but just gaining function. However, I figured out how to lose weight along the way and dropped 60lb in just six months. I honestly had NO idea I had that much to lose but did not argue with that result!

With the rapid weight loss and progression from lifting weights, I was hooked and living full-on in the bodybuilding lifestyle. And my physical disability was diminishing! People started telling me I should compete. Wait, what?? I had written that dream off years ago. But why not go for it. I got an online trainer for my first competition and that is where I got introduced to Beverly Supplements. I jumped right into Super Pak, as well as Glutamine Select and UMP daily. These supplements made an immediate impact on my performance and development, and I am still taking them today. Other Beverly supplements come and go in my program depending on where I am in my competition prep schedule but are just as impactful for me when it is time to add them in each season.

After my first few competitions in 2013, I fell in love with the challenge of the stage. It was then that I had fortune of finding an incredible competition prep trainer I could work with in person – Jason Fuller with Xtremely Fit. I am not a typical client with my unique training limitations, but Jason works through this. We train all year round and he has seen me through several shows each year including the thrill and excitement of competing at the NPC Masters Nationals in 2016 and 2017. Currently I am full steam ahead- body under construction working for the 2019 Figure competition season. I am so pleased with the significant progress I make each year. Although disability and age are not in my favor for stellar results on stage, I am living my dream. Every day. And Beverly supplements have helped me every step of the way.

Diet

Note: I have some food intolerances and sensitivities so this may seem boring, but I just don’t need variety. I have a formula of simple food that provides me with optimal performance and that is all I need. The food stays pretty much the same all year; the amount is adjusted depending on the time of year.

5 days week

Meal 1: ¼ cup oatmeal, 5 egg whites, spinach, grated ginger & cinnamon

Meal 2: ¼ cup oatmeal, 3 oz. cod, ½ c blueberries

Meal 3: 4 oz. wild salmon, ½ cup rice (black or jasmine), 1 c broccoli

Meal 4: 3 oz. cod or haddock, ½ cup blueberries

Meal 5: 5 oz. wild salmon, ½ cup rice, 1 cup Brussels sprouts or green beans

Meal 6: ¼ cup oatmeal, 2 oz. cod, tsp fish oil

2 days week

Meal 1: ½ cup oatmeal, 2 eggs, 1 cup cauliflower

Meal 2: 3 oz. cod or haddock, ½ cup green beans, ½ grapefruit

Meal 3:4 oz. orange roughy, 1 cup green beans, spinach

Meal 4: 5 oz. orange roughy, ½ cup blueberries

Meal 5: 4 oz. wild salmon, 2 cup broccoli

Meal 6: 3 oz. cod, 1 cup broccoli & spinach, tsp fish oil

UMP is substituted for a protein in any of the above meals, added before or after a workout, or as a treat before bed.

 

Dawn Reichley

Kathy NPC Masters Nationals

Supplement Schedule

  • Density – I take Density starting 8-10 weeks out from a competition. I take 3 with breakfast, 3 with lunch, 3 pre-workout and 3 before bed and continue for a few weeks post competition to get rebalanced and transition back into a more plentiful diet.
  • Glutamine Select – I take a scoop after morning cardio, after lunch, and again after workouts. It is a great midday pick-me-up and gives me assurance I am getting the BCAA spike and some glutamine throughout the day.
  • Mass Aminos – I take 3 with breakfast, 3 with lunch, 4 pre-workout and 3 before bed during off season, and replace with Density 8-10 weeks before a competition
  • Quadracarn – I take 3x daily during contest prep season to assist with leaning out, on the same schedule as Density starting 8-10 weeks out and then a few weeks post competition.
  • Super Pak – I take daily with breakfast. I train super hard and have a narrow diet with various food sensitivities and intolerances and I know Super Pak has me covered. I think of it like back when I was pregnant. If I missed taking my prenatal vitamin in the morning I was exhausted and doomed for the day. Super Pak is like my prenatal vitamins! A must have!
  • UMP – I take as a meal replacement, around workouts and sometimes as a treat before bed. This is a fast acting and sustained release protein but it goes way beyond just the need for protein. UMP is an incredible fit for my training and lifestyle. It is the best tasting, best textured, easiest to blend, easy on my stomach, no bloating protein supplement I have ever found. I add just enough water to stir into a pudding and that is it. It is so easy to travel with. Just put a scoop of UMP in a Ziploc bag, along with a bottle of water, a disposable coffee cup and a plastic spoon and take to meetings, car rides, ball fields, airplanes, everywhere! It has truly been my simple go-to for years. My favorite flavors are chocolate and graham cracker. Sometimes I blend them together, sprinkle with espresso granules or sprinkle with cinnamon. I keep it simple.

Cardio Schedule

Note: We believe with my age and disability, I do best to keep moving and move often. I have a sedentary desk job so high frequency of workouts and movement are key.

Morning: Fasted cardio every day, most often using the stepmill. Yes – every day, all year. Duration is usually somewhere between 25 and 50 minutes, just depends on the time of season and competition prep. I use this time to absorb into a podcast to make dual use of this wonderful time each morning. It provides a great mental flow of energy, as well as the desired training effect. After cardio, I do some body weight functional training and mobility work like bosu squats, walking lunges, and band work for back and shoulder mobility. I also add some ab work a few mornings a week.

Pre workout: Row for 10 minutes.

Post workout: Depends on time of year. Sometimes we add additional cardio during prep season.

Training Schedule

Lift 6X per week, group conditioning 1X week, Bikram Yoga 1X week, and graston/ART (soft tissue mobilization and active release technique) 1 or 2X week.

Most lifting sessions are 5 sets of 12-15 reps each, although we periodize reps and have heavier sessions with 8-10 reps and lighter sessions with 20 reps. However, most leg work is in the high rep range.

Monday & Thursday – I train with Jason and most of these days are a mix of back/biceps on one day, chest/triceps on another, and shoulders added in. Most often, I have a training partner so we super set or giant set many of our movements. Drop sets are also used. This training split is very effective as we hit body parts several times during the week with a variety of exercises and angles. On Tuesdays, we do group conditioning following the workout.

Wednesday – Leg workout with Jason, again a mix of quad/ham/glute each week. Typical movements are squats, lunges, leg extension and seated ham curls.

Thursday – Bikram Yoga

Friday – Shoulder workout, usually consisting of barbell or rack presses, as well as high rep supersets and drop sets with cables or dumbells doing front raise, lateral raise and rear delts.

Saturday – Back workout usually doing rack pulls, and a variety of pull ups, pull downs and row variations. And sometimes I add another yoga session.

Sunday – High volume leg workout with squats, leg press, hack squats and reverse hack squats.

Presentation Tips

Understand the criteria for the organization you are competing in. Deliver what the judges expect to see. But most of all, be yourself. Practice, practice, practice several times a week for weeks leading up to your show. For several weeks out, I wear my heels around the house, I cook in them, do chores in them. With my disability, walking in heels is very difficult so I just make heels part of my daily routine. Don’t be shy about shooting video of your posing practice. Watch yourself over and over. I have also found it helpful to set an interval timer onmy phone to practice quarter turns. Smile, be confident and deliver your package that you have worked so hard to prepare. Be on point with your suit selection, tanning, makeup, nails, jewelry and hair. This is as much a beauty contest as it is a physique contest. Don’t cut any corners. And just shine.

Final Thoughts

I have competed in many Figure shows, a few each year for the last six years. I have learned that every competition preparation is different, so keep an open and flexible mind and be ready for the curveballs that are always coming. Keep educating yourself on the process and keep learning. And remember it is you vs. you, keep working hard, be consistent. The stage has taught me so much about self-confidence and self presentation which has translated into my everyday life and to my job. It has forever made a positive change in my life. But most important for me, is my time in the gym each day. That is where the real win is. Each day is like Christmas morning, you never know what package of delight will come with that day’s workout. I am stronger and more fit and better than ever, better every day. With the right training, nutrition and supplementation the sky is the limit regardless of age or disability.

Dawn Reichley

Competed in my first figure competition – Loving it learning more age 45

At a Glance: Rachel Payne

Age: 46

Occupation: Lawyer

Family: Ava 15 and Edwin 12

Current Residence: Ft Thomas, Kentucky

Years Training: 4 years

Height: 5’ 1″

Weight: Off season 115, Contest 109

Favorite fitness meal: Breakfast! Cream of wheat and a burger made with ground sirloin (no bun). Second favorite: orange roughy and asparagus.

In my iPod: Pittbull, AC/DC, Aretha Franklin, Daddy Yankee, with a lot of Salsa and Reggaeton

Favorite Book: Charms for the Easy Life, by Kaye Gibbon

Hobby or interests: My children

Words to live by: "That’s how we do it."

Shortly after I turned 45, I gave myself a hard look in the mirror and was very discouraged with what I saw. The size was ok and my weight was not a problem, but everything was soft and, very frighteningly, I could see the beginnings of "the mom butt." The tush had most definitely begun to droop. It was a sad day.

I said to myself, "Is this it? Is it just time to give up and let nature do its damage?" Turns out, it was not time to give up. Six months later I competed in my first figure competition, and came home with some hardware. That was a great day, and things kept getting better. Clearly, my fun as a figure competitor had just begun.

At the time of the sad day, I had recently been released to resume physical activity following 5 months of recovery from surgery. Prior to that time, as an adult, I had been very active with running, teaching group fitness and dancing. I did work out with weights as part of an overall fitness routine, but I was just guessing at what was right. I wanted to recover properly and see what I could do before I just totally gave in and invested in mom jeans So, for the first time ever, I contacted a personal trainer.

Goal lift the booty

My goal was very specific, lift the booty. From the first training session, I was loving it and learning more and more. Very simple instructions at first: eat more, lift heavier. It was not long before I was seeing changes that propelled me on. Since high school, when I would go in and out of working out, I had always admired the women bodybuilding pioneers such as Rachael McLish and Lisa Lyon. (Yes, this would have been in the 80’s). Their bodies were beautiful and muscular and symmetrical. Reaching that level was always a far, far away impossible dream, one that I certainly did not think was attainable at 45.

Then, three to four months into the training, sometime in August of 2011, my fabulous trainer turned fabulous friend, Brenda Gabbard, commented that we should work to get me on stage. I gasped and tears welled up in my eyes. It was one of the nicest things I had ever heard and I jumped on it! "Really? Me? You think I can do that?" Yes, said she. We teamed up with another fabulous trainer and fabulous friend, Marie Gibbon, to train for the competitions and for me to learn to pose. We were off with a diet and workout plan to get ready for the NPC Monster Mash at the end of October 2011.

My First Contest

Following a trail of chicken, tuna, sweet potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, four thousand gallons of water, Beverly UMP, Lean Out and 7 Keto, my trainer and I made our way to Harrison, Ohio, for the Monster Mash. So many amazing bodies, beautiful suits, fancy shoes, and the earrings! My purpose there was to learn and to observe and to enjoy the process. Surviving the challenge of the pre-competition diet and all the other contest prep was satisfying in and of itself. It was a personal challenge simply to do the competition.

I was not nervous, or so I thought, partly because my expectations were not high and partly because walking across a stage was not a new thing for me. Having been a Theater major and dancer in college and a lawyer for a profession, I have performed a lot and have been in the hot seat many times. So, walking across stage and doing a few key poses, with no lines to speak, no songs to sing, no choreography to remember, and no client to represent, I thought the stage presentation was the easy part. However, when I got to the middle of the stage, I forgot which way to turn and which hip to hike up! I was a bit befuddled, but I made it through and just laughed at myself for my boo boos.

I did not expect to place and certainly not to win. Did not even know what "first call out" meant until I was backstage and someone told me I was in the first call out. I had thought they were being nice to let me try again because I was so clumsy the first time. To make a long story longer, yes, I was in the first call out for all three categories in that competition. I placed second in Masters 40+, second in Pure Novice and fourth in Figure Open Class A. I smiled from ear to ear for days following that competition, and I was ready for more.

Nutrition and Supplements

My nutrition and supplement program evolves depending upon where I am with training and how my body is responding.
This is the basic pre-competition diet I have followed previously at about 4 weeks out.
4 weeks out:
MEAL 1:
1 serving cream of rice or cream of wheat, 3 oz. chicken and 3 oz. lean red meat
MEAL 2:
3 oz. tuna, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1 cup veggies
MEAL 3:
UMP protein shake, ½ apple
MEAL 4:
5 oz. chicken, 4 oz. sweet potato
MEAL 5:
4 oz. white fish, asparagus spears
MEAL 6:
UMP or Muscle Provider protein shake, 1 cup berries, 3 oz. sweet potato
MEAL 7:
5 oz. chicken or turkey, 1 bell pepper, 1 grapefruit 2 gallons of water
At about 2 weeks out, the diet altered to the following:
MEAL 1: 5 egg whites, 1 cup green beans, 1 serving cream of rice
MEAL 2: 5 oz. white fish, 1 bell pepper
MEAL 3: UMP or Muscle Provider protein shake
MEAL 4: 3 oz. tuna, asparagus, 1 cup green beans
MEAL 5: 3 oz. tuna, asparagus, ½ grapefruit
MEAL 6: 3 oz. lean red meat, ½ grapefruit, asparagus 2 gallons of water at first, then dry out as directed afew days before competition

Supplements stayed the same through the competition prep until the last week or two prior. The staples of my supplements are always Beverly International products including 7 Keto MuscLEAN, Lean Out, Glutamine Select, GH Factor, Quadracarn, Energy Reserve, UMP and Muscle Provider. My favorite is vanilla UMP. That stuff is wonderful any time of day or night. I also include vitamin C, B-12, B-6, and a multivitamin.

The Future

I am looking forward to competing again in the fall in a few yet to be determined competitions. I don’t know what to do with myself if there is no diet plan on the front of my refrigerator. Even more so, I find that the discipline for competing carries over into the discipline to do my best with family and work. Once you become accustomed to that level of focus, it becomes a part of your life. I am 46 and with triceps as hard as a brick, I’m not going back.

Each competition was different and fabulous. By the time I would actually get to the competition, my objective was to enjoy the process, enjoy the people, and do the best I could. It is impossible to predict who is going to show up right next to you, so I saw no reason but to simply give all you’ve got and make it fun. I’m often the wacky one backstage, getting psyched and trying to make others smile with crazy dancing (as much as I can without disengaging the bikini bite!) and cracking jokes. Next time, join me, it’s good to smile and laugh before taking the stage.