I was a former collegiate athlete and coach. I maintained an adequate level of fitness, but not to the same degree as an athlete. After joining a gym in May '04 and getting a membership that included five training sessions, I remember thinking, I don't need a trainer. But after seeing the physiques produced by trainer Jolene Carter, I agreed to sign up to train and compete in my first figure competition.
The training regimen and work ethic were not new — but the diet was. I began my transformation at 148 pounds and 21% bodyfat. I ate six clean meals daily, incorporating one hour of weight training five days per week and one hour of cardio six days per week. I included a lot of plyometrics and track workouts. The changes in my physique were immediate and amazingly gratifying. I felt good, looked awesome and the diet was great. The key is to find foods you enjoy, and then learn to prepare them healthfully.
During my competition diet, I eat chicken and shrimp fried rice, Southern-style potatoes, steak fries, crab cakes, chicken fajitas and twice-baked potatoes — but I know how to prepare them the right way.
Sixteen weeks after my journey began, I was 128 pounds, 6% bodyfat, and the winner of my class in my first figure competition: the 2004 NPC John Sherman Classic. I have been competing ever since, including several national-level NPC contests.
I have since learned how to successfully maintain, adjust and manipulate my body type through proper diet and exercise. The secret? There is none. There is no magic pill. There is no quick fix. There is only hard work, dedication and education.
FLEX welcomes letters from readers. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Talkback, FLEX, 21100 Erwin St., Woodland Hills CA 91367. Include your name, city, state, phone number and age. We welcome photos, but no cell phone pictures, please. To be our inspirational "How I Did It" story, include an essay of 250 words or less, detailing what training and nutrition methods you used to make the transformation and how you were inspired to do so, plus the above basic information and "before" and "after" photos. FLEX reserves the right to edit and condense for publication.