I had the pleasure of meeting Kendra through my website. She was the winner of the maxi dress in our giveaway contest last month! One chat led to another and I learned that Kendra is a pre- and post-natal personal trainer as well as a fitness competitor. How awesome is that? But at one time Kendra was just-your-average post-baby Mama like you or me. She’s been very inspiring to me personally, showing that anything is possible post-baby. And I am proud to say that I now include her as a “personal” Facebook friend… And hope one day to meet her in person!
Although I’ve never been overweight or really thin, I’ve never been happy with my body for any period of time. I always strived for that number on the scale, “my ideal body weight” – without any consideration for body composition.
I’ve done Weight Watchers (and achieved lifetime member status!!) yet my weight has yo-yo’d for as long as I can remember. I was too skinny at my lightest and uncomfortable in my body at my heaviest. My biggest challenge has been finding a weight/body shape that is healthy and sustainable. Also – accepting that the number on the scale is just a number!
Getting Started Competing in Fitness
After my second child was born I started working out with a fitness coach to help me take off some of the baby weight. After six weeks of clean eating and working out I was seeing some amazing results. A friend and my coach both asked why I wasn’t competing in fitness. I gave it some thought for a couple days and decided to proceed with the training for the competition… Even though I didn’t commit fully until a month out! My first competition was in October 2011. I competed in Novice Fitness and Figure Model.
Fitness Competition Training Schedule
I start training for a fitness competition sixteen weeks prior. At the beginning of the training period I do cardio six times a week for 30-45 minutes per session. I lift weights five days a week. Each weight-training workout targets a specific muscle group – biceps/triceps, chest, back, legs, and shoulders.
I train first thing in the morning (5:00 AM!) at the local gym before my husband and children wake up. Near the end of the training period (about 2 -3 weeks out) I do cardio twelve times a week (twice daily six days a week) at 45 minutes each session. I continue to lift weights five times a week. When I add in the extra cardio session, I do it at home after my children are in bed.
Fitness Competition Diet
What people may not realize is the biggest factor in obtaining the competition physique is clean eating. Any person’s fitness results are 80% diet, 10% training, and 10% their genetics.
I would eat every 2.5-3 hours (six meals a day) and only clean meals. One meal a week I had a reward meal where I ate what I wanted. I ate a lot of chicken, egg whites, vegetables, brown rice, yams, oats and quinoa. During the pre-competition diet phase, there is absolutely no alcohol consumption and sugar and sodium are limited. In the last two weeks prior to competition, carbs are cut completely out of your diet as is salt and reward meals.
What people may not realize is the biggest factor in obtaining the competition physique is clean eating.
What Happens Competition Day
Competition day is a roller coaster of emotions – excitement, nervousness, anxiety, pride, relief, and finally…. Can’t wait to do it again!
Near the end of the sixteen-week training period for my first completion I swore I would never compete again. It was very taxing physically and mentally.
Competition day arrived and the most exciting part was adding carbs back into my diet, starting the morning off with oatmeal and a shot of vodka! I also had rice cakes with peanut butter and jam just prior to walking the stage.
After the long anticipated meal the prep for the day begins – second application of spray tan, hair styled, and makeup application; then it’s off to the venue where the competitors get suited up in the little itty bitty custom creation bikinis and 5” clear heels. The look is finished off with some dream tan (a dark pigmented shimmer cream) and the suit is secured with Bikini Bite (a body glue to hold things in place).
While standing back stage trying not to compare yourself to the other competitors, the anxiety and nerves kick in. The thought of strutting on stage half naked in front of a bunch of strangers all while being judged and critiqued for your looks is very nerve racking. My first time out on stage I shook like a leaf.
Standing in front of a panel of judges trying to remember and hold the mandatory poses, keeping a smile on the face and flexing the abs, all while listening for the judge’s instructions is very fatiguing! It’s a workout all on its own! But trying to control and conceal your nervous, shaking body is exhausting.
Fortunately, after the first stage walk experience, the rest are a piece of cake! This is where the pride comes in. I have never felt so good about myself as I did when I walked the stage showing the body I had worked so hard for only seven months post-baby. My goal was accomplished!
After being on stage and completing the pre-judging there is a sense relief. There is nothing more you can do change the outcome of the day.
I competed in my second competition in May 2012. My proudest moments in the fitness competition world have been following through to the end, walking on stage very proud of my success and bringing home my first two medals EVER!
The Key to Kendra’s Fitness Competition Success
My husband and children are absolutely the pinnacles to my success. My husband supports me in the choices I make. Although he does not like the competition world he has never asked me not to do it. He has picked up the pieces I had to drop around the house so that I could run off to the gym and train. He accepted that for sixteen weeks our life would revolve around my competition. Our dinner dates would be limited and quality time would be slim. Movies dates no longer had popcorn and candy, family outings no longer ended with enjoying ice cream, and relaxing after a long week with a glass of wine or a bevy of choice not an option. His time with me was shared with the gym and my crazy emotions.
My oldest son had to accept that unlike the other kids in his class he would not be treating mommy to a home cooked Mother’s Day breakfast because it was not in the meal plan.
Kendra’s “Perfect Body” Vision
I don’t know what my perfect body is – in fact I don’t believe in the perfect body! My competition day body was great as far as physique goes, but certainly not the best for me mentally. I believe there is always something one can improve on. I have yet to find MY best body. It will be the one that I can accept for how it looks, one that I can sustain, and one that allows me to live happily without guilt or obsession.
Staying Healthy for Life
I now have my Personal Trainer Specialist certification, and I’ve also specialized in pre and post-natal fitness. There are three things that help me stay on track:
• The quest for my best body physically and mentally.
• Wanting to be a role model for my children and have them grow up healthy both physically and mentally.
• My clients – it would not be right to ask a client to do something I wouldn’t/couldn’t or don’t do myself.
I love inspiring women and showing them that they can do what they didn’t think was possible. I love helping them achieve their goals because ultimately it changes their lives!
Kendra is Mama Lion Strong’s second celebrated Mama Lion. We will be featuring a woman we find inspiring (fitness related or not!!) once a month. If you would like to share your story or nominate someone else, get in touch. The story will be shared with thousands and who knows? You may help to change a life!