Stage-ready body – with no gym membership! How this Fitness STAR transformed her body in two months for her first fitness model competition without stepping into a gym.What started out as a question – “Have you ever competed in a fitness competition?” – and a suggestion to consider competing from what was then a stranger to me from the fitness industry, ended up with me on a stage competing for the first time in my life at this summer’s Fitness STAR Model Search World Championships. With only ten weeks to prep and train, I knew that I would have to find smart ways to get from fit to ‘stage-ready’ fabulous fast, and find no excuses not to train on any given day. With my increasingly busy life, I knew I had to turn to methods that would give me the best results, in the most convenient and cost effective time. This is the story of how I got ‘stage ready ‘ for my first competition – from the comfort of my own home.
Weight training, sports, running and swimming has never been an option for me – it is me. Another part of who I am is my admiration for natural body builders and fitness models. My admiration goes back to when I was a little girl. I remember watching in awe as male and female bodybuilders posed and flexed on a stage, thinking to myself that they were beautiful, strong, and ‘super-human. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to compete “when I grow up” and bring home trophies and have my photos published in fitness magazines just like them – but as the years went by this dream was put on hold as life circumstances got in the way or took precedence. It was around the time of my daughter’s third birthday that I began to feel that desire to compete again. Suggestions from friends and colleagues to consider fitness modeling or competing re-ignited that voice within me saying ‘you have to try this’, but it just didn’t seem possible as I was not sure I could find the time to train or commit to such an endeavor as a single mom at the time with a full time job. Fast forward a number of years later with friends and loved ones encouraging me to compete this summer and my inner voice telling me “this is your time, it’s now or never” – I decided to register for the August 2013 Championship and give it my 100%
With only eight weeks to work on getting my body stage-ready, I had no time to waste. Knowing that I would need at least two hours of combined cardio and weight training each day, I had to figure out a way to train that wouldn’t take me away from my family all night during the week. You see, I already had limited time with them during the week due the time I get home from work. I had also committed this summer to being the assistant coach for my daughter’s soccer team, so I had to find time to fit everything and everyone into my life. I refused to find another excuse to not compete so I decided to hammer out my workouts in my home-gym and follow a program designed specifically for me.
I had no idea how to train for the FS model search competition, in fact I had no clue to prep and train for any fitness/figure competition so I signed up for a FS competitors workshop and secured four training sessions with a personal trainer. The trainer put together a program that I could do from home based on my body type and areas that I had to focus on. I was also provided with a 7-day nutritional plan that I would follow daily up until the last week before the show.
With my new diet and training program, I was ready to begin. I also picked up some new equipment for my home gym which at the start included only a yoga mat, a set of 5 lb weights, an elliptical, a resistance band, stepper and a disassembled Bow Flex machine (that remains disassembled). What I added to my gym were 8 and 10 lb dumbbells, a kettle bell, ankle weights, a medicine ball and mirrors. I also used other areas of my home for cardio and strength training workouts. I utilized my kitchen island as a stabilizer while I did calf exercises, a dining room chair for one legged squats, as well as the steep hill I live on for leg and glutes workouts. .
Early morning runs before work and intense weight training in the basement after 9:00 pm during the week was not easy at first (weekends were easier), but it become a routine after the first week and it also became positively addictive and fun once I got use to my program and took notice of how my body was transforming. I began to see changes weekly, sometimes daily. I also began to ‘multi-task’. On the nights that I would rather be with my family watching TV rather than working on my fitness, I would join them upstairs and exercise in the family room while we watched our favorite shows. Other than watching my family snack on munchies, it was easy. I had the room for squats, lunges, arms with free-weights, sit-ups, etc. I even found it useful when my Yorkshire terrier would lay himself beneath me as I stayed in the plank position for as long as I could.
I also trained at work. I used my breaks to put in some squats and lunges (behind closed doors) as well as work on my biceps/triceps/shoulders with the use of my resistance bands and/or an office chair.
I do have to say that although I trained hard, I could not have done as well as I did on stage without the help of a number of important people. I received tips, advice, encouragement and constructive criticism from pro athletes, my posing suit designer and from an incredibly professional and radiant posing coach who met with me for a one on one posing session the week before the big day. And it should go without saying that the training sessions with a certified personal trainer were extremely important as well, in fact they were integral to my physical transformation and health.
Training for the Fitness Star Model Search World Championship was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. It was also one of the most empowering as it showed me that when there is will there is a way. I ended up placing 4th out of a stacked fifteen Level-1 athletic competitors and was honored with the ‘Audience’s Favorite Female’ title. Not bad for a first time fitness competitor, just two months shy of my 40thbirthday, using nothing more than my home gym and office.
I plan to compete again. I also plan to train from home again. My home gym works best for me and my family, for now. That said, perhaps it’s time we assemble that Bow Flex machine too.
With kindness and good health,
~Susana Andres Fall 2013
p.s. Check out more at: pg 34 of http://issuu.com/fitnessstar/docs/fs_mag_fall_2013_-_multi