Paula McBride came to me as a friend of Bonnie Mintz. I met Paula about a week or two after meeting Bonnie. Paula was motivated by Bonnie’s idea to start a fat-loss diet and improve her physique. Paula told me she was not interested in competing in a bodybuilding contest like Bonnie but she did want to follow the diet along with Bonnie to lose some fat and look better.
Paula was an athlete all her life. She had been lifting weights as a means of staying fit for many years and she was currently teaching spinning classes at a local fitness center. She was in great shape but she was really looking forward to improving her body with a personalized training and nutrition program.
After about a week of following the diet and workout, Paula changed her mind and decided to compete after all. The NPC Natural Grand Prix featured a Masters Bodybuilding division so Paula, at the age of 44, decided to enter that competition. She was very psyched up and excited about the concept of getting onstage. Paula is very outgoing and she just wanted to compete for the fun of it and have a good time. She didn’t even care where she placed in the contest.
As with Bonnie, I told Paula that she needed to weigh herself and take measurements every week as a means of monitoring her progress. If her measurements were not going down, then I would have to look at her diet and make some changes so she would make progress each week all the way up until the contest. These are Paula’s measurements on January 30th, 2005, approximately 14 weeks before the contest.
January 30th, 2005
I had Paula training four days a week along with four days of cardio. We had to make some concessions with her spinning classes as Paula was normally doing the spinning along with her class while she was teaching it. I explained to her that doing that much intense cardio along with her weight training and her reduced calorie diet would probably lead to overtraining. Paula eventually eased off the spinning and started to teach the classes without actually getting on the bike.
With Paula’s diet, I had her eating 1924 calories on her training days spread out over eight small meals. On her days off from training, I reduced Paula’s caloric intake to 1674 calories over seven small meals. I kept her protein intake high on both days but I changed her carb intake from her off days to her training days. On the days Paula weight trained, I had her eating 149 grams of carbs but on her off days, she reduced her carbs to only 104 grams. Her fat intake on both days was relatively high (50 grams) due to her reduced carbohydrate intake.
Paula and Bonnie stayed in touch with me every week to ensure that they were both making progress. After about a month of dieting, I decided to make a few changes to the initial diet. This was necessary because the girls told me that their measurements were not dropping every week. I brought the calories down a little more by cutting back slightly on their carbohydrate intake. I made these adjustments by looking at every meal they were eating and then deciding what carbs I was going to cut and how much. Each change I made only resulted in an overall reduction of about 150-200 calories. Any more of a reduction than that and I risked slowing down their metabolisms.
Paula made this easy for me because she was very meticulous about recording her diet each and every day. At one point, when I was looking over her diet, I noticed that she was eating 100 grams of sweet potatoes every day. I didn’t know if she was just writing this number down without actually weighing the food so I asked her about it. Paula explained that she would cut the sweet potato each day until it weighed EXACTLY 100 grams. That’s total and complete dedication!
By April 7th, 2005, Paula took some pictures again to record her progress. Here are the measurements and bodyweight she recorded on that day.
April 7th, 2005
There was only about a month to go until the contest but Paula was actually making better gains now due to her increased metabolism. I made a few more changes in her diet so she could keep making progress.
I also started helping Paula with her posing routine. Believe it or not, either Paula or Bonnie had ever even seen a bodybuilding contest before. They attended their first competition about one month before their actual contest just so they could see how it would be run.
I began helping Paula with the relaxed round and the mandatory poses, the two rounds that make up the pre-judging in the afternoon. This is where the judges decide where all the contestants will be placed in the contest so it is a critical part of the competition.
When Paula began posing, I was shocked at how much muscle she was hiding beneath her subcutaneous bodyfat. Now that the fat was being reduced, Paula’s muscularity was coming out in clear detail. When she turned around to hit her rear double biceps pose, I remember thinking, “She can win this thing”. Of course, I didn’t say anything to her because I didn’t want to give her any false hope.
Paula continued to train and diet very hard for the last month before the show and with only a couple days left until the contest, she recorded these measurements:
May 5th, 2005
On the day of the contest, I arrived at the pre-judging late so I just sat down in my seat when Paula came out on stage. I was shocked at how great she looked! With her lime green suit, perfect coloring and radiant smile, Paula lit up the stage when she came out to perform the mandatory poses.
Paula had decided to enter both the Novice and Masters divisions in the competition. She was there to have a good time so she wanted to do both events and enjoy her time up on the stage.
At the night show, I was overjoyed to see Paula win her weight class (heavyweights) in the Novice division and then win the overall title against all the other class winners. Soon after the Novice division was finished, Paula entered the Masters division and easily won her class and overall. Two overall victories in her very first contest! It doesn’t get much better than that!!
The intermission took place right after Paula won her second overall victory. It was great to see Paula in the lobby surrounded by her husband and her kids as well as all the other relatives and friends that came to support her. She was overjoyed with happiness and her friends and family were so happy for her. It was a night she will never forget!