Lifestyle Prior To Change
What was your lifestyle prior to your transformation?
I was a gym rat in my twenties, always working out. I even dabbled in a few bodybuilding competitions, although very clueless in the process, especially the diet. Then my thirties hit. I went from being a lab tech to a sales rep. I was flying around the world and had little time to work out. Food was becoming an afterthought, as well. My job stresses were increasing along with my territory and responsibilities. They had us running all day/night if they could. During this time, I encountered several fertility issues that resulted in two surgeries and five miscarriages. Needless to say, I was becoming a stressful mess.
I finally got pregnant but needed to supplement with hormones, which did not help weight issues. Twelve weeks after my daughter was born, my job did not have compassion and had me flying all over again with even more responsibility. A new mom, nursing for two years, hormonal and tired, constantly working and no working out (who had the time?) = disaster for me physically and mentally. To make matters worse, when my daughter was nine months old, she tried to wriggle out of my arms. To prevent her from falling, I torqued the wrong way and fully ruptured my L5/S1 disc. I could barely walk for a while and was in severe pain for months. Depression was definitely kicking in.
What was your low point or turning point?
After help from physical therapy and chiropractic manipulation I was getting better. My back was getting better but my body was a mess; soft and fat. I never even got a chance to get my abs strong again from pregnancy. I knew I was fat. I was tired, frustrated and embarrassed for me and my husband (a true hero who never put me down and always supported me).
The last straw for me was on vacation at the beach in the summer of '08. I had seen pictures of myself in a suit and I was truly disgusted. I had ENOUGH of how I looked and felt. I was exhausted trying to keep up with it all-work, my ever growing and physically active daughter. I knew it was time for me to be good to me. I had put myself last and the results showed. I also knew it was time for a change because I need to be a good role model for my child and a partner again for my husband.
I had always kept up with the gossip, events on-line in the bb/figure contest world. I knew Nancy Andrews for a long time and always wanted to go to one of her Pro Camps. I kept reading about Dr. Joe. I made the decision to check him out - if Nancy recommended him, he must be good. At the same time, I started picking up copies of NB&F magazine and read about Melissa Kelley, who was also an inspiration to get going again. I officially started with Dr. Joe on 7/2/08 at 189.9, the highest I have ever been. The hardest thing I ever did was posing in that bathing suit for those pictures, especially since my husband took them.
One goal I had told Joe during the process was to be onstage for my 41st birthday. I was 39 in July of '08. If I was going onstage in a teeny bikini-it was go time! I ended up at 129 onstage and have been maintaining 132-134, thus far.
Liz's Training And Diet Approach?
What was your weight training approach and split during your transformation?
Training is finally getting back to the old days, with modification. It took a while to get strong enough with my back to throw the weight around again. There will be machines/exercises I can never do again (leg press), so I have to be creative and come up with alternatives. The neurosurgeon/PT all said the old days of training and my extreme lack of flexibility (I NEVER stretched) were the probable cause of the rupture; pregnancy and weight gain just tripped it off. I love weights.
I love feeling/being strong. I made a promise to myself to never deny myself the right to be good to myself-exercise is good for me physically and mentally. I usually do back/biceps, shoulders/hamstrings, chest/triceps and quads/calves. For cardio/stretching, I have to say one of the hardest and best workouts I have ever done is "Insanity". It is especially good for my core. Otherwise, I have a treadmill in my home.
What was your diet plan?
To say it was easy is true. The daily communications by e-mail (with Dr. Joe), the opportunities to see him at seminars - all wonderful. I even get a cheat meal once a week! The weight was steadily coming off and I was feeling better about myself. I wasn't starving, I ate what I wanted and I never felt that I was deprived. I started at a "tight" size 12. Now a few months after contest, I am still wearing a size 2. (I am 5' 6").
Even contest prep was great. He was there every step of the way. The best part is that you eat what you want, as long as it fits in the numbers that are given especially for you. You learn to become your own nutritionist. He teaches you so that when you "graduate" you can go on for the rest of your life continuing to be healthy. You won't regress because you are the master. You don't need anyone to guide and hand hold you from then on.
What supplements did you use?
Dr. Joe gives you so much food you really don't need any. You get everything you need the natural way. Being a sales rep, I am on the road a lot, so for meal replacements and for convenience I use Joe's Diet Doc Protein Powder and Revolutionary Techology Bionic Edge Powder.
I take a daily vitamin. I may replace a shake for a protein bar, usually a Balance Bar. Since I am in new territory body-wise and want to compete even leaner in June, I am taking Joe's Control-4 to help curb hunger while he regulates my metabolism to handle even more carbs!
What Is Your Life Like Now?
Fantastic. First, I have strength and energy back. I feel like me again. For the first time in a VERY long time, I feel good about myself. I am even more excited to see the potential to where Joe and I can go. My next competition is in June. I have prioritized my life the way I should have before. My family is number one with me a tie for first. If I'm a mess, what good am I to everyone around me? I reached my goal on 11/07/09. I had turned 41 in October and placed 1st in Master's Figure and fourth in Novice Figure in November.
It is amazing the reaction of people around me, especially people who haven't seen me in a while - they didn't even recognize me. A good friend I hadn't seen in over a year started to cry. She was that elated for me. People are very happy for me and all want to know my secret, lol. I just tell them when they are ready to make a real and permanent change, call Dr. Joe.
I am living proof he works. Diets fail because they are diets. This is a lifestyle change, so YOU have to be the one committed to change. I would love to have my husband's hummingbird metabolism but I don't. Joe had said at a seminar - "Deal with the hand you were dealt with and move on". That sticks to me to this day. I can't cry that it's not fair, it's just life-grab the helm and control it!