Transforming My Body: From Hating P.E. to Competing in Bodybuilding Shows

At a Glance: Emily Barnewolt

Age: 34

Occupation: Nurse Practitioner

Family: My husband of 9 years, one son and one stepson

Current Residence: Deer Creek, IL

Years training: 11

Height: 5'6"

Weight: Off-Season: 155, Contest: 142

Favorite Fitness Meal: This is my favorite protein drink; I love using Provosyn to make iced coffee! I brew coffee over ice, then use a hand frother to mix Provosyn with water and a splash of almond “Nutpod” creamer. Sometimes, I’ll add some of Jordan’s Skinny sugar-free syrup for flavor. It tastes just like an iced coffee without the calories.

I also love making a pudding with UMP and water, melting peanut butter over the top, and freezing it for 10 minutes. It is definitely a treat during prep!

Favorite Beverly International Supplements: UMP Vanilla and Chocolate are always my favorites! UMP helps keep me full and mixes
so great with water, never having a chalky consistency. 7-Keto MuscLean helps maintain lean muscle while dieting, and there is no crash, which is a plus!

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? Try them! You will not be disappointed! I recommend UMP to everyone; the taste and versatility blow them away.

Music: Anything by Rob Bailey and the Hustle Standard while lifting!

Most inspiring book: The Bible! I also love my daily devotional, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young.

Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: I recently opened a cosmetic injection office for Botox and filler; I also love reading.

Words to live by: I have this tattoo on my arm of this scripture – Luke 12:25-26

Who of you, by worrying, can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?


I was not an athletic child. I remember writing in my journal, “I hate P.E.! Why do we have to do it?” Every year, when we had to take the presidential fitness test, I failed at pull-ups. I couldn’t even get one. It was embarrassing. I wasn’t super overweight, but I was definitely chubby in grade school. I will never forget a boy in my class calling me “Twinkie girl” on the playground. My response was, “I don’t even like Twinkies!”

In junior high, I got into dance and cheerleading, and in high school, I continued cheerleading and played soccer. I also enjoyed running and worked at a local gym where I had the keys to lock up and work out alone. My boyfriend at the time gave me some tips on lifting weights.

After graduation, I went to community college for two years and continued to work at the gym and lift, but not seriously by any means, and my diet was definitely not on point. I remember thumbing through magazines such as Muscular Development and Muscle and Fitness, seeing ads featuring the likes of Jamie Eason and Larissa Reis. I wanted to look like them.

When I moved away to Illinois State University, I found a Gold’s Gym nearby to work out at. I saw the fittest trainer I had ever seen in person- Judy Weichman and I thought to myself, “Wow! I want to look like her! What a great figure!” She inspired me to take my body to the next level and compete. I knew absolutely nothing and looked to Judy to help me. At the time (2010), bikini was a new division, and she thought it would be a good fit.

It was tough. Being in college and having a healthy lifestyle/diet while prepping for a show do not go hand-in-hand. I did everything she told me, including using Beverly products, especially Lean Out, 7-Keto MuscLean, and UMP! I stepped on stage twelve weeks later and won my first bikini show. After that, I was hooked! I did two more shows that year.

After graduating, I immediately enrolled in nursing school. However, during this time, I was diagnosed with Cushing's disease and a pituitary tumor. I underwent brain surgery and gained weight throughout this period, but I still tried to remain active.

Three years later, I was a full-time nurse and engaged. (By the way, my husband and I met at the gym. How cool is that! He is my rock and always supports me). A year later, I was pregnant and in nurse practitioner school.

I have always followed the IFBB professional league, and last year, watching the Olympia inspired me to try and compete again after 9 years.

I questioned myself, can I do this again? I am older and now post-baby.

Once again, I turned to my friend and coach, IFBB pro, Judy Weichman. Using Beverly International products, I prepped for 16 weeks and stepped on stage. It was great! But I knew I could do better. In the second half of this year, I took 20 weeks to prep for the Mid-Illinois Winter Classic in Figure.

I won the Novice class and received 2nd place in the Open.

Looking ahead to next year, I plan on competing in the fall. I am excited to use the off-season to build more muscle.

I want to point out that I do not work in the fitness industry. I work full-time, 12-hour night shifts as a nurse practitioner. Fail to plan, plan to fail. I prep my food in Ziploc baggies and have my own drawer in the fridge so I can grab everything and go. It is a challenge to get meals in and do cardio/lifting, but it can be done. I have a plate-loaded machine I use on the days I work, so I don’t have to drive to the gym. I go to my local Gold’s Gym on days I am off.


I weigh/measure all my food and put it in Ziplock bags. I write the measurements on them with a Sharpie. Some of my bags might hold 1/3 cup rice, and others ½ cups. This makes it much easier and takes up much less room than Tupperware in the fridge. It also saves washing dishes.

Before work, I consolidate all the bags containing that day's meals into one container. I simply retrieve the necessary bags corresponding to that specific meal during meal times.

Here's a look at my diet 8 weeks out from a show.

Meal 1: 4 egg whites, 1 egg, 3 rice cakes

Meal 2: 4oz chicken, 8 asparagus spears

Meal 3: 5oz tilapia, 1/3 cup jasmine rice, 1 cup green veggies

Meal 4: 5oz beef, ¼ cup jasmine rice, 1 cup green veggies

Meal 5 (post-workout): Muscle Provider shake

Meal 6: 3oz chicken, 2 rice cakes, 1 tbsp peanut butter

***One day in mid-week, I’ll add some carbs by eating one additional rice cake at meals 1 & 5 and increasing the rice serving to ½ cup at meals 3 & 4.



7-Keto MuscLean: My secret weapon as I cut foods and lean down. I start at 12 weeks with 2 capsules when I wake up, then 2, 30 minutes before my second meal. As prep goes on, I increase it to 3 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon.

Lean Out: Start at 4 capsules daily and slowly increase to 2 with each meal.

Quadracarn: 9 tabs/day on training days, 6 tabs/day on non-training days.

Glutamine Select: Drink one scoop while lifting, and if I am really hungry, I’ll take it to work and sip it throughout the day as it helps blunt cravings and gives water some flavor.

Provosyn: I take it as a muscle-building creamer for my iced coffee in the morning.

UMP: Anytime! I use it as a meal replacement. My favorite time for an UMP shake is before bed. Also, I use this in bars and make many recipes as it is very versatile!

Muscle Provider: 1 scoop after lifting.

Ultra 40 Beef Liver: 14 tabs/day divided among meals.

UMP Pumpkin Bake Bars


  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup Kodiak cake protein pancake mix
  • ½ cup UMP - vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp Stevia or maple syrup
  • Chocolate chips as desired


Preheat the oven to 350F. Add the pumpkin purée, eggs, and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.

Combine the Kodiak Cakes Mix, UMP, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a separate bowl. Mix until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until smooth—don’t overmix! Add the chocolate chips and stir. Sometimes, I just put the chocolate chips on top instead of stirring them in.

Bake for about 30 minutes.

Presentation Tips

Everyone says this, but practice, practice, practice! Even if you aren’t in your best shape, practicing is important so you are comfortable with the flow. You can also consider hiring a posing coach for valuable tips and insights. Autumn Cleveland, an IFBB figure pro, is an excellent resource who can help you with your posing techniques. Another helpful tip is to walk around in your stage heels at home!

Training Routine

As I’ve gotten older, I've come to appreciate the power of the mind-muscle connection. It's not just about lifting weights; it's about honing in on the specific muscles you want to work and focusing on contracting and squeezing them.

Here is an excellent workout for the figure competitor or anyone who aspires to look like one. I often perform two warm-up sets on many of the exercises in addition to the work sets listed.

Day 1 Legs
Leg Curls 4x8
Leg Press high and wide stance, 3x15
Barbell Squat 3x15, focus on negative
Abductor Machine 3x15
Standing Calf Raises 10x10

Day 2 Chest / Shoulders / Tricep
Dumbbell Bench Press 3x10
Incline Smith Machine Press 3x10
Incline Flyes 2x8-10
Military Press on Smith Machine 5x25,20,15,12 pyramid up in weight. On the last set, rack the weight, count to 5, lower it to the midway point, and do an isometric hold for 8-10 seconds.
Reverse Pec Dec 4x12; cut the weight 50% after the last set and try for 12 more reps.
Rope Pushdowns 5x10

Day 3 Back, Biceps, Glutes
Wide-Grip Pulldown 4x20,15,12,10 going up in weight each set
Dumbbell Row 3x8
Wide Grip Seated Row 3x10
Good Mornings 3x15
Barbell Hip Thrusts 5x10
Machine Preacher Curls 3x8

Day 4 Off

Day 5 Glutes/Hamstrings/Upper Back
Cable Pull-Through 4x15
Stiff Leg Dumbbell Deadlift 4x8
Good Mornings 1 set to failure (at least 30 reps)
Pull Ups 9 sets to failure - 3 with a medium grip, 3 with a neutral grip, and 3 with a wide grip.

Day 6 Arms
Seated Dumbbell Curls 4x6
Machine Preacher Curl 4x6
V Bar Pushdown 3x8, superset with dips to failure
Cable Overhead Triceps Extension 3x15
Cable Kickback 4x12

Day 7 Off

I train abs three times a week doing 3x15-25 on a crunch movement and 3x15-25 on lower ab movement


I love the stair mill and recently have enjoyed the bike as something different. I usually do 20-30 minutes of low-impact cardio 4 days/week in the off-season. During prep, I start with 20 minutes daily and then go up from there. I have an elliptical at my house. It’s so easy to roll out of bed, get on it in the morning, and get my fasted cardio out of the way. It was a great investment.

In Closing

Competing is not for everyone. Even if you are not a competitor, Beverly supplements are an excellent tool for obtaining the physique/goals you want—lean muscle gain, fat loss, energy, or weight gain.

If you put your mind to something and truly want it, you can do it. You will make it work. God gives me strength, as do my family and friends. Having good people around you makes all the difference because this sport is 24/7.

Posted in Fit Figure / Bikini.