“I always knew in the back of my head that I wanted to do a Bodybuilding Show. Powerlifting was a family sport. My dad participated in a World Powerlifting meet in Italy. My cousin went to Africa for a Junior Powerlifting event. My sisters and I were involved in the sport in high school and I won state my junior year.”
After years of working out and being fit, Leah found herself living a lifestyle that was not healthy. She wasn’t feeling good in her own body-she was cranky, she cried at work. She knew that she was the only one who could change that.
About 3 years ago, she began working out again regularly at Xperience Fitness. A fitness routine combined with a return to the competitive arena (Powerlifting) helped, but she still wasn’t happy with how her body looked. She considered doing a Bodybuilding Show, but knew that this would require a total lifestyle change for her.
Enter Steve Jilot from Xperience Fitness in Green Bay. Steve coached her on her diet and workouts; he worked with her 2-3 times per week.
“His motivation was a big part of making a lot of this happen. He is an awesome, awesome guy.”
To accomplish a goal of this caliber, Leah had to change her whole life routine. She knew that if she were going to do this, she had to put everything into it. If she strayed from her recommended dietary plan, she was only cheating herself. The changes she made included eating at the right times, getting enough sleep, weighing out her food, prepping on-the-go meals for work, making time for two workouts everyday, and not going out with her friends as much as she used to.
Leah says she never really felt unmotivated during her journey, in fact, she was pretty excited about it.
“There were times I’d work 12 hour days and knew I still had to make my food and do my cardio, but I had to push through it. The only person it would hurt would be me. I didn’t want to let myself down, but I certainly didn’t want to let down my coach who had put a lot of time and effort into this either.”
Some recommendations she has for others making their own lifestyle changes include:
Set goals for yourself; when you are unmotivated, envision achieving that goal
Surround yourself with others who are goal-oriented, when you are around these types of people, they help push you to continue your goals
Keep a positive attitude-when you begin feeling bad for yourself (missing out on meals or activities you enjoy to hit your goal), your PMA (positive mental attitude) will help you through those moments
Eat small frequent meals (6/day) and include lean meats and rice (carbs). Leah also avoided all sweets for the 20 weeks she was training for competition.
Her results came from not only changing how she ate, but how she worked out. Her routine consisted of workouts 6 days per week-5 days of lifting/resistance, 1 day of cardio, then split body workouts; 1 day of back strengthening, 1 day of abs, then focusing on other body parts the rest of the time. Her coach had her switch up her lifting routine every 2-3 weeks varying the repetitions or amount of weights she was using.
Leah plans to do more shows, and will maintain this rigorous routine if she’s competing, but in between she plans to track the amount of food she takes in and plan out her meals wisely to keep from straying.
“Working out releases endorphins and makes you happier anyway. Seeing the results from my work made me feel better emotionally, gave me more confidence. I’m happier and less irritable knowing I’m doing something good for myself.”
You’d think that achieving her goal would have been the highlight of her fitness journey, but Leah says that it was when her mom gave her a hug and told her how proud she was of her.
“My father passed away 4 years ago, and my mom said she knew he was looking down on me and was proud of me as well. She told me he had wanted to do a show too, but never made it there. I knew that I made it up there for the both of us.”
Leah’s words of advice? DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS-there are a lot of knowledgeable people out there. She highly recommends getting a coach or working with someone, especially regarding nutrition to get the best results. Additionally, the accountability factor of having a coach working with you keeps your motivation stronger than if you go it alone.
Congratulations Leah! We’re so happy you’ve made your dream a reality!