“How did I get where I am?” Those that have helped me get to this level...
Since I started this journey 13 years ago (May 1999), I have had several personal trainers, and they were all very different with a unique training style and technique. Each one was instrumental on taking me from the level I was at, at the time, and getting me to the next step….
My first trainer, Teri Edwards, took me from obese, to losing 75 pounds in 3 years… She got me started, was very patient, and believed in me when I didn’t think I could do it. She also took me past my initial goal of losing just 20 pounds , to teaching me to set small goals of just 5 pounds at a time instead of one big goal.
My next trainer, Lynn, got me into spinning, and really trained me hard on core strength… Lots of planks and slow rep ab work. It really strengthened my abs! Then came Antoine Robinson, who got me focused mostly on strength, and cardio endurance in the form of sports conditioning. He was an Army Ranger and trained me like a recruit. Then there was Zoa Linsey, a Canadian bodybuilder, who taught me in great detail the concept of eating clean, eating 6 times a day, and staying above my BMR.
And, Chris Myers, who I have been training with for the past 8 years, and is now my boyfriend.... he gave me the confidence I needed to convince me I was ready to do my first show, and took me step by step through that whole entire process. He not only trained me daily, he also put together a small "team" for me, that helped with diet and posing as well, to help me get to where I needed to be for contest. In addition to all that, he has really taught me a lot about the sport and about a lot of the competitors from over the last 20 years.
Lisa Aukland, winner of the Pro International in Atlantic City, and top finalist in the Ms. Olympia for many years, did my diet and contest prep for 2009. I had the privilege of training with her weekly and learn from a true PRO!
For my contest season 2011, I worked with Chris Myers again. Having just come off a major injury (shattered C6-7 vertebrae), I definitely needed his encouragement to get me out of "post surgery" mindset, and into "contest prep." Once again, he did an awesome job getting me on stage and winning another state show! It was definitely different getting used to having him as my trainer, AND living with me, but we made it work.
In 2012, I trained for the MD NPC alone, but with Chris's guidance until the last 6-8 weeks. A good friend of mine, Maria Acevedo Holt, helped me get ready the final weeks and got me in my best shape ever.
In 2013, I met Debbie Bramwell at the Arnold. She was a retired pro bodybuilder out of Birmingham, Alabama, and we hit it off right from the beginning. I hired her as my coach for my first national show, and I had a lot of goals I wanted to meet. The most difficult was getting in better shape than I was in the previous year, because that had been my best shape. But, she totally revamped everything, and I fought a lot of it! I asked a lot of questions but she explained everything to me. Best of all, she considered what I wanted, and what Chris thought was best and allowed us the opportunity to give input all the time. I beat my old weight by 6 pounds, had the best shape ever, and broke the top 10 in my first national/continental show....
In 2014, I switched to trainer Robert Masino, renowned muscle photographer, former competitor and former trainer of Denise Masino that placed 2nd in the Ms. Olympia. He got me to my lowest weight at 168 pounds and my highest placing in a National show... 8th out of 17 girls in the Masters Nationals. I think I couldve done better and placed in the top 5, but I rebounded early (held water) and came in on stage a little flat.
In 2015 I was on my own again, with Chris, and did not feel good enough to get into the top 5 at the Masters Nationals, so I did the Lenda Murray classic instead, where I competed at my heaviest ever, at 187 pounds, and came in first in the Heavyweight and Masters Divisions.
In 2016 I took a year off to deal with health issues and injuries, and hope to make a comeback in 2017 with Melody Spetko as my coach!
The most important thing about having a coach/trainer, is that you always keep evolving, you never settle for where you are, and you always learn new ways to get to your goals.