From Complete Beginner to Figure Champion

At a Glance: Shala Singer

Age: 30

Occupation: Personal trainer, co owner of Muscle Head Nutrition

Current Residence: Evansville, IN

Family:  I live with my husband Brandon and my dog Kaylie

Years Training:  1 and ½ years with weights. Trained as a gymnast for 10 years.

Height: 4′ 11″

Contest Weight: 97 lbs

Favorite Fitness Meal: Oatmeal, with vanilla UMP and natural peanut butter

Music: I like a little bit of everything from rap/pop music to Christian and country.

Most Inspiring Book: The Bible

Hobby or Interests outside bodybuilding:  Makeovers! I love anything to do with fashion and the beauty industry. I used to be a hairstylist and love reading up on all of the new trends and trying them out on my friends. I also like to be outside, and occasionally my husband will talk me into riding on his Harley

Words to live by: "You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win." ˜ Zig Ziglar

My diet 16 weeks out from the show

I started training for figure competition when a good friend told me about a local show that was six months away.  I was a complete beginner. I hadn’t really done any weight training to speak of but I did have a foundation from my gymnastics background.

My gym time up to that point had been limited to the various cardio equipment. And, I knew vitually nothing about figure; in fact I had just recently heard that figure competition even existed. However, the thought of competing sounded like fun so I agreed to give it a shot. Upon committing to the contest I started weight training and cleaned up my diet with the help of Eric Schmidt, owner of the gym where I trained. I ended up placing 4th at the show. I realized that to be competitive, I was really going to have to add some muscle. I loved the stage though; I had been bitten by the competition bug for sure.

Immediately after that show I set my sights on the NPC KY Muscle 33 weeks away

Intermediate Training Program

Five day workout including supersets
Monday: Legs
Leg Press 3 sets 10-15 reps
Squats 3 sets 8-12 reps
Hack Squat Machine 3 sets 10-15 reps
Stiff-Legged Deadlift 3 sets 12 reps
Leg Esetstensions 3 sets 12 reps
Abs 8 sets of 25-50 (use any variety of exercises you want)
Tuesday: Back, Delts, Biceps (light day)
One Arm DB Row 3 sets 8-10 reps
Pulldowns 3 sets 8-12 reps
Seated Cable Row 3 sets 8-12 reps (or do any seated machine row)
DB Lateral Raise 3 sets 10 reps each way (bent-over lateral, side lateral, front raise)
Cable Curl 3 sets 8-12 reps
Incline DB Curl 3 sets 8-10 reps
Calf Raises 6-8 sets of 15 reps on any combination of machines
Wednesday: Chest, Triceps
Incline DB Press 4 sets 6-10 reps
Flat Dumbbell Press 4 sets 8-12 reps
Pec Deck 3 sets 8-12 reps
Tricep Pushdowns 4 sets 8-12 reps
Lying Tricep 4 sets 10-12 reps
Abs 6 sets of 15-25 reps
Thursday: Legs (glute emphasis)
Romanian Dead Lift 3 sets 10-15 (superset with next exercise)
Wide Leg Press 3 sets 10-15
Leg Curl 3 x 6-8 (superset with next exercise)
Walking Lunge 3 sets 12-15 steps with each foot
Leg Extension 3 sets 12 (superset with next exercise)
Smith Machine Squat 3 sets 12 non-lock
Calf Raises 6-8 sets of 15 reps on any combination of machines
Friday: Delts, Back, Biceps, Triceps
Shoulder Press 3 x 6-10 (superset with next exercise)
Lat Pulldowns 3 sets 8-12 reps
Upright Row 3 x 8-10 (superset with next exercise)
Straight-Arm Pulldowns 3 sets 10-12 reps
Bent Over Laterals 3 x 10-12 (superset with next exercise)
Seated Cable Row 3 sets 8-12 reps
Barbell or EZ Curl 3 x 6-10 reps (superset with next exercise)
Close Grip Bench Press 3 sets 6-10 reps
Concentration Curl 2 sets 10-12 reps
Dips or Triceps Dips 2 sets 10-15 reps
Abs 8 sets of 25-50 (use any variety of machines or exercises you want)
My favorite exercise is squats.

They help to strengthen both my quads and hamstrings.

I also wore a path in the gym floor doing walking lunges; by far the best glute exercise in my opinion.

Morning cardio

My cardio machine of choice for my morning cardio was the bike. I usually chose the stepmill for evening cardio. I kept it interesting though, by mixing in the elliptical or the treadmill whenever I needed a change.  I did about an hour and 20 minutes a day divided into two sessions.

Dawn Reichley

Supplement Program

I knew that to gain quality muscle, naturally, I needed a good line of supplements.

Our gym carried Beverly
Ultra 4 (multi vitamin/mineral)
2 in am and 2 in pm
Lean Out (fat transporters)
2 with each meal
Density (essential amino acids)
2 with each meal
ZMA (nighttime recovery formula)
2 before bed
Ultimate Muscle Protein
(time released protein formula)
at meal 1 and meal 5
Muscle Provider (fast acting protein) after cardio and before and after workouts
Up-Lift (awesome energy but didn’t keep me up at night)
before workouts
Creatine Select (strength and energy)
after workouts
Glutamine Select sipped throughout the day for extra energy

I later added 3 Quadracarn at meals 1, 3 and 5. I could tell a difference right away in my mood and in the pumps I felt in the gym. Toward the end of my competition prep I also took 2 Energy Reserve prior to my evening cardio, I could really feel the energy boost from it about half way through the session.

I was spending so much time in the gym that I decided to get a job there and start studying for my ACE certification

My husband and I also started an internet supplement company in which Beverly is now one of our top selling supplement lines.

At 16 weeks out from the show I really tightened up my diet.  I began eating 5 small meals a day.
They usually looked like this:
Meal 1: Protein pancakes (1 scoop UMP vanilla; ½ cup oats; 4 egg whites; and cinnamon)
Meal 2: Chicken or fish; sweet potato; and broccoli
Meal 3 (usually pre workout): Protein shake made with Muscle Provider and water
Meal 4: Chicken or fish; big bowl of spinach; and sweet potato
Meal 5: 1 and a half scoops UMP vanilla mixed with water into a pudding consistency.  Sometimes I froze it and ate it like ice cream

I trained with weights four times per week (5 if you count abs and calves).  I am going to give you two versions of my workout program. One for beginners and intermediates, the other for advanced athletes. Choose the one that best suits your situation.

Posing Presentation

I started practicing my posing as soon as I decided I was going to compete at the KY Muscle.  I met with my trainer Kori Propst, WNBF Figure, Fitbody, and Bodybuilding pro, a couple times each month and practiced on my own a 3 to 5 times per week.  As the show got closer I began holding each pose longer and longer – up to a minute for each mandatory pose. One minute doesn’t sound very long but trust me; you will start to shake by the end of it.

Finally it was Friday the 13th, not usually a day people look forward to, but I couldn’t have been happier that it had finally arrived. My husband and I packed up the car and we were on our way to Louisville.  I feel so blessed to have such a supportive husband. He was truly amazing and helped me every step of the way. When I was tired and didn’t want to go to the gym he was right there pushing me to keep going.

When we got to Louisville, my mom, grandma, cousin and even my mother and father in law all met us at the hotel.  I was so excited to have my own little cheering-section.

I woke up early Saturday morning so that I could take my time getting ready.  At 11 am we headed down to the convention center for prejudging. My nerves were going crazy, I had to take a couple of deep breaths and remind myself that the hard work was done.  Now it was time to have fun and show ‘em what I’ve got.

Backstage I met some of the other competitors who were all so nice, I even got to talk with a couple of the IFBB pros who were also competing.  Soon it was time to hit the stage.  I went out and did my quarter turns and presentation poses and had a blast.  There were 24 girls in my class so we were up there for quite a while.

Later that evening it was time for the finals.

Class A went onto the stage and we were all introduced.  The announcer called out the top five competitors, I was the last of the 5 to be called I was so excited to hear my number.

All five of us stood there while they called the placings, 5th splace wasn’t me, then I wasn’t called for 4th or third either, wow I had butterflies, then they called 2nd place and it still wasn’t me, Oh my gosh I won!! I was ecstatic! I could hear my "CHEERING SECTION" and I was overwhelmed with emotion. I could not be happier with my experience.
Thank you so much to my husband, my family, and my "gym family" at Nitro Fitness for all of your love and support.

 

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