Pushing Through Challenges: My First Contest Prep
No Nonsense Magazine Volume 24, #3
By: Adrienne Schroll
At a Glance: Adrienne Schroll
Occupation or Education: B.S. Microbiology from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. M.S. Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance (Drug Development) – Temple University School of Pharmacy. Currently, work as the Director of Quality for a medical device start-up that is developing an implantable neuromodulation device used to treat chronic migraines.
Family: I have a 13-year-old Yorkie, Jack, and a ginger cat, Gus.
Residence: Minneapolis, MN (but born and raised in Wisconsin)
Years training: 1.5 years specifically training as a bikini athlete, but I have been lifting most of my life to support other sports I have participated in.
Weight: 120-129 (off-season), 110-116 (contest)
Favorite Fitness Meal: UMP Protein Pancakes
Favorite Supplements: UMP Protein Powder – Used to meet protein intake goals, post-workout repair. Glutamine Select – Helps with recovery (Wild Berry tastes great!). Muscle Synergy – Pre-workout supplement.
What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before: UMP Protein Powder – It is unlike the other products on the market. It is truly something you can enjoy drinking. Not only is it a great protein supplement, but for anyone looking to lose weight, it has been my go-to for those late-afternoon and evening cravings.
Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: I love the Midwest weather. During the summer months, I spend time with my family and friends out on the lake, waterskiing, and wakeboarding. I play soccer a few times a week and also enjoy running half-marathons. I have learned to embrace the frigid Minnesota winter months through cross-country skiing.
Words to live by: “Nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy.”
In the Fall of 2019, I finished my third marathon and completed graduate school. The anticipation I was feeling for a comfortable life without the stress of graduate school and marathon training was short-lived. I needed something new to challenge me and give me purpose. My career has always been fulfilling, but I knew there had to be more. I wanted to compete in a bodybuilding contest for as long as I can remember, but it was always something I put on the backburner, as I did not know where to start. That all changed as I began to verbalize my goal of competing to friends and family and kept getting positive reinforcement to pursue it. It finally became a reality when I was at a birthday party in January of 2020 and told a friend I was going to start training. I did not have a plan, nor did I have a coach, but I found myself committing to making my dream a reality. Verbalizing my goal was the first step; the second step was finding a coach I could trust.
When I first was looking for a coach, I wanted it to feel as though there was a person invested in helping me and not a robot behind the screen. I also wanted someone that was going to hold me accountable and push me to meet my goals. I found Julie Lohre after failed attempts at finding a reliable trainer locally. I had identified Julie earlier in the process as someone I was interested in learning more about and decided to work with her after our initial phone call.
Working with Julie took my level of understanding of my own body to a much deeper level. I learned how my body responds to certain macronutrients and which types of protein worked best for building lean muscle mass-specific to my metabolism. She varied my training programs as needed to maximize lean muscle and overall leanness while avoiding overtraining. You’ll find the diet and training programs that Julie formulated for my competition journey a little later in this article.
The Hardest Part of My Competition Journey
I went through a very tough breakup about two months before my competition. I felt like my world had been flipped upside down. I moved to a new city and was living alone. The little things that gave me comfort and stability were gone, and I had to establish a new normal. All of this and being in the middle of a pandemic with limited time to spend with friends and family made everything seem a lot harder, including training. I felt physically and emotionally drained, and the thought of competing felt so far out of reach. I could not eat or sleep, and I was struggling to complete my workouts each day. As time passed, I slowly found a new daily routine, and my drive to compete intensified, and I was able to regain focus. It did not happen overnight, and I had my share of bad days, but I took it day by day and knew if I completed my workout(s), it would numb the pain for a while. The week before the contest was one of my worst. I was full of emotion and felt angry and sad about everything that had happened. But all of the emotional pain I was dealing with was a blessing in disguise as what happened at the competition changed me for the better.
I placed first in both the Open Bikini and Debut Bikini classes of the 2020 OCB Sugar Maple Classic (Green Bay, Wisconsin). I was overcome with a rush of emotions! I feel like I accomplished something I never thought was possible and did it at a point in my life where things seemed to be at their worst. The best feeling of all was realizing I did this on my own (with the support of my amazing friends, family, and Julie Lohre). That day was one of the best days of my life.
Below is my workout plan at the eight weeks out from my last show:
Day 1 Lower Body & Abs
Glute Kickbacks (w/band) 4x10-12
Hand to Elbow Planks 4x10-12
DB Push Press 4x10-12
Hamstring Ball Curl-in 4x10-12
Hanging Knee Raises 4x10-12
Plie Squat 4x10-12
Medicine Ball Oblique Twists 4x10-12
Day 2 Upper Body
Bench Triceps Dips 4x10-12
Incline DB Flyes 4x10-12
Triceps Pressdown 4x10-12
Bent over BB Row 4x10-12
Lateral Raise 4x10-12
Barbell Curl 4x10-12
DB Shoulder Press 4x10-12
Day 3 Rest
Day 4 Lower Body & Abs
DB Deadlift 4x10-12
Walking Lunges 4x10-12
Floor Glute Pulses (w/weight) 4x10-12
Upward Hip Thrusts 4x10-12
Bench Step-ups 4x10-12
Squat w/ Side Leg Lift 4x10-12
Ball Crunches 4x10-12
Day 5 Cardio/Endurance Circuit Workout
Complete the following circuit as many times as possible in 30 minutes.
15 Butterfly Sit-ups
20 Air Squats
50 Jump Rope Single-Unders
10 Inch Worms
Rest 2 minutes
Day 6 Full Body
DB Snatch (alternating arms) 4x10-12
Barbell Thrusters 4x10-12
Seated Cable Row 4x10-12
Incline Bench Press 4x10-12
Day 7 Rest
I perform 2-3 HIIT training sessions per week. I find that 20 minutes of HIIT training with an additional 5-10 minutes for a warm-up and cool-down are ideal for me.
- Warm-up (5 min) Speed
- 3- 3.5mph and gradually increase to 4.0
- Varied incline throughout to help take your mind off the pain.
- Jog 1 min
- Walk 30 sec
- Sprint 30 sec (Max intensity, you should not be able to have a conversation)
- Walk 30 sec
- Repeat Sprint/Walk for 20 minutes
- Cool-down 5 min
This workout can be tailored to the advanced trainee by increasing the incline during the sprint. This type of workout can also be done on a bike, elliptical, stair-stepper, rower, etc.
For someone not as advanced in cardio or just getting started, trade the “sprint” for a “jog” and work your way to the sprint.
On the other days of the week, I usually throw in a longer cardio session if I am training for a race. I will do a low-intensity run for 45-60 min. I do this on a day that I don’t lift, and it usually helps as an active recovery session.
Posing is not something to take lightly. Hire a posing coach and start practicing at least two months before the competition. You need to practice posing daily, just like a workout, especially in the final months of contest prep. You can bring your best physique, but all those long hours in the gym will be wasted without the proper posing.
Nutrition is, of course, super important, and getting into the best shape of my life has taken a lot of consistency with diet. Here are some tips that have helped me and I’m sure they will help you too.
Set up a weekly meal plan. Remember that there is no quick fix. Diet is all about being consistent over an extended period of time. Don’t let one bad meal or lousy day derail your overall goal. If you cheat, get back on track with your next meal. The sooner you get back on track, the sooner you will be back on the pathway to achieving your goals.
There is no benefit to starving yourself to lose fat, especially if you are trying to build lean muscle mass.
Eat clean, unprocessed foods every two-four hours and drink 1-gallon of water per day. Veggies are unlimited, so keeping them in your refrigerator, prepped, and ready to enjoy is vital.
Determine your macro targets and make that your focus. If you are just getting started, your first step is to add a protein supplement such as UMP. FitTabs and Glutamine Select would also play a beneficial role as you start increasing your workouts to get in shape.
During my contest prep, Julie modified my nutrition plan every two weeks to take into account how my body was reacting to the current calories and macro range and to keep it fresh for me. The following is my nutrition plan at eight weeks out from my show:
Breakfast Bowl – ¹⁄₂ cup oatmeal, 1 tbsp flax seeds, ¹⁄₄ cup almonds, 1 cup strawberries, and 1 whole egg
Protein Shake - 2 scoops UMP, ¹⁄₂ cup fruit
4oz lean turkey breast, 2 slices Ezekiel bread, lettuce, onions, tomato, 2 tbsp hummus, 3oz carrots, apple
3oz lean steak, ¹⁄₂ cup brown rice, 2 cups mixed veggies
Stack 1 - Pre-contest Rapid Fat Loss
Lean Out - 2 with three meals
FitTabs - 2 per day (AM)
7-Keto Musclean - 2 with two meals (AM and Lunch) UMP - 1-2 scoops per day
Glutamine Select - 1 scoop before training
Stack 2 - Post-Contest Lean Muscle Building
Density - 2 with three meals
Ultra 40 - 2 with three meals
Fit Tabs - 2 per day (AM)
Muscle Synergy - 1 scoop before training UMP - 2 or more scoops per day
The supplements that gave me the most noticeable impact were Muscle Synergy and Glutamine Select. The daily UMP was also essential in meeting my protein goals. It also ended up being the one thing I looked forward to during contest prep. I would mix UMP (vanilla) with cinnamon, water, and ice together in a blender. It tasted a lot like ice cream.
I feel amazing, even after my show. I have a strong desire to continue to compete and see how far I can go in this sport, as I know I have more room to improve. I crave the discipline this sport requires as it creates stability in my life. I have continued eating the way I did when I first started training. I’m now lifting heavier weights than I ever have and cannot believe how much stronger I am. I’m honestly in the best shape of my life!