Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Luck, Manipulation, Research, & Common Sense

I've been weight training for the better part of 13 years. And I've only paid for a trainer for 2 of those 13 years. How did I manage this? It's a combination of luck, manipulation, research, and common sense.


When I first started lifting weights in college (for cheerleading, of all things!), I was fortunate enough to have one of the football coaches take one of the other cheerleaders and me under his wing and teach us proper lifting techniques and exercises. It was during this time that I discovered I could grow biceps, and I fell in love with the weight room. For that, I will forever be grateful to Coach Raeford.


After Coach Raeford moved to coach at a different university, I pestered Exercise Science majors to write up training programs for me as "practice" for them (or at least that's the phrase I used to convince them to write me programs for free). I didn't have any set goals at this point; I just wanted to get stronger.

After college, I joined Gold's Gym and manipulated one of their trainers into writing out a program for me during the "free initiation training session." I haughtily informed the poor guy that I already knew how to use all of the machines, so he didn't need to waste his time demonstrating how to use, say, the leg extension. When I signed my contract, I was told I got a "free training session," so I demanded that he use the session to write up a program for me. (To all of my trainer friends, I totally apologize for your horrified expressions right now, cuz looking back, I realize I totally took advantage of the system, and didn't value the time and knowledge it takes to write a good training program.)


When I started training for my first figure competition, I didn't want to spend the money on a trainer or nutritionist, so I devoured articles on the Internet and talked with some bodybuilder friends. And while I did win a trophy that year, I also managed to completely destroy my metabolism and gained 20 lbs in the weeks following the show.

Professional Help

Two years later, as I was preparing for my third show, I realized I needed professional help. (No, not THAT kind.) And for the first time in 10 years, I actually paid for a diet and training program. I followed it for about a week before deciding I didn't like the diet. So I hired a nutritionist. And proceeded to win shows. But the next year, his diet and training techniques didn't work for my body, and I didn't place as well as I wanted to in a couple shows.

 Winning the Contra Costa Overall

Common Sense

When I met J last year, I wasn't completely convinced he could successfully train a figure girl (yes, he knows this, and we both laugh about it now), but the more we talked about training and diet, the more I realized that he really knows what he's doing! (I have no idea why that surprised me, since he's a very intelligent guy, and has been competing himself for over 17 years.)

When I moved out to DC last year, I asked him if he'd train me, and in the span of a year, I've made more progress than I had in the previous couple years. I've reached my best conditioning and stage presentation yet, and continue to make improvements in my physique.

J & I competed at the Lehigh Valley Championships together

I get a lot of questions about whether J and I have any issues with this arrangement. Of course we do! But that's the topic of my next blog ... so stay tuned!


  1. love this post!!!! i too have been my own trainer,prep coach,dietician,etc,etc...
    looking forward to the next post

  2. Love this post....cant WAIT for the next one! :)

  3. What an amazing pic of you two!