Bonnie Mintz and her friend, Paula McBride, are two of my most successful clients. Both of them decided to compete in a natural bodybuilding contest even though neither of them had even witnessed a competition before. However, once they made the decision to get onstage, they both trained and dieted with complete focus and dedication. They did exactly what I told them to do and they surprised themselves with the incredible results.
Bonnie came to me in January of 2005 with a big goal in mind. She was going to turn 40 years old later that year and she wanted to do something spectacular with her body. An accomplished runner, Bonnie’s original goal was to compete in her first marathon at 40 years old. However, she was beginning to suffer from plantar fasciitis which made her goal of running a full marathon impossible.
Since Bonnie was always naturally muscular with wide shoulders, she decided to compete in a physique competition. She was unsure if she should enter a bodybuilding contest or a figure competition. I explained the difference of physique vs. figure to Bonnie and, after evaluating her physique, we decided that figure would probably be the best option.
Bonnie was not overly muscular but she had good muscle tone and was actively working out with weights in addition to her extensive cardio training. I thought that if I put her on a fat-loss diet designed specifically for her body, she would retain her muscle mass while reducing her bodyfat. By leaning out, I thought Bonnie would have a good chance to compete successfully as a figure competitor.
I had Bonnie take a “Before” picture so we could evaluate her progress as she dieted over the next few months. Her plan was to compete in the NPC Grand Prix Natural contest on May 7th, 2005. She came to me in January and began her diet on January 30, 2005, leaving her 14 weeks to get ready for her contest.
After the first week, Bonnie changed her mind and decided to enter the bodybuilding competition instead of the figure. Bonnie has been an athlete her whole life and she actually felt uncomfortable wearing the high heel shoes that are a part of the figure competition. She wanted to do something more athletic and liked the challenge of transforming her body so she could flex her muscles onstage and compete as a bodybuilder.
On January 30, Bonnie recorded the following measurements:
I told Bonnie she needed to record her diet and workout everyday in order to gauge her progress. I personally like taking my measurements every morning on an empty stomach before I begin my day when I am dieting but I told Bonnie she needed to measure herself at least once a week so we could see if the diet was working or if we needed to make any adjustments.
I designed a workout program for Bonnie that was created with the goal of holding onto her muscle tissue while reducing her bodyfat. Her new program required her to weight train four days a week along with 4 days a week of cardiovascular training.
I told Bonnie that she needs to push herself each workout so she is using heavier weights in order to hold onto that muscle mass while she is reducing her bodyfat. Too many competitors lighten up the resistance when the dieting gets tough but if you don’t keep challenging the muscles, your body will sacrifice the muscle tissue.
Bonnie also had to learn to hold back while doing cardio. As an endurance athlete, Bonnie was used to pushing herself during her cardio workouts but I warned her that performing her cardio too intensely could result in a loss of muscle tissue when combined with a reduced calorie diet. It took a bit of explaining but I finally convinced Bonnie to reduce her intensity so she could burn fat and not muscle during cardio training.
By April 7, 2005, after almost 10 weeks of steady dieting, Bonnie recorded the following measurements:
This was fantastic progress! Bonnie lost ten pounds but, even more impressive was the inches she lost. Her waist went down 5 inches, her hips came down 6 inches and her thighs lost an inch and a half. Best of all, she still had one more month to go.
It wasn’t an easy process, however. The diet really became difficult for Bonnie at times despite the fact that she was eating at least 6-7 times per day. I constantly monitored Bonnie’s progress each week and if her measurements were not moving, I would make adjustments to her diet. At one point, I even had to cut out her beloved single teaspoon of peanut butter to reduce her carb and calorie intake a little more so she could continue making progress. Although she protested loudly, she finally acquiesced and gave up her peanut butter.
Bonnie was really worried about losing enough weight so she could make the middleweight division in the contest. I explained to her that it doesn’t matter what she weighs and she should just compete at whatever weight she looks best at. However, Bonnie had talked to the promoter of the competition and found out that if she entered the heavyweight division, there would be a total of six competitors in the class. If she was able to make weight for the middleweight division, she would be one of five competitors.
Bonnie’s reasoning for trying to get down to the middleweight class is that she had quite a few family and friends who were going to travel to the show to see her. She was worried that if she competed as a heavyweight, she might be the one person who would not be allowed to pose if she didn’t make the top five in her class (only the top five competitors were allowed to pose at the evening show). I assured Bonnie that she was looking so good that she didn’t have to worry about not making the top five.
On May 7th, 2005, Bonnie stepped onstage at the Natural Grand Prix Novice Women’s Bodybuilding Competition. At this point,
her measurements looked like this:
As for the final result, Bonnie placed a very close second place in the middleweight class. Not bad for her first bodybuilding contest. What was even more remarkable was the incredible progress she made in only 14 weeks. Check out these statistics! Most people cannot make this type of improvement to their physiques in a year, let alone in just a few months.
|January 30, 2005||April 7, 2005||May 7, 2005|
|Thighs||21 3/4"||20 1/4"||20"|