Fitness Competitor Deirdre McKinnon
My name is Deirdre McKinnon and I am twenty-three years old. I grew up in Massapequa Park, New York, home of the famous Jerry Seinfield and the Baldwin brothers. I am currently a second grade teacher in Manhattan, New York.
Growing up as child I never really gravitated towards organized sports. I participated in very few organized sports when I was a child, such as softball and soccer, however never really enjoyed playing sports. My passion was always dance. When I was 7 years old my mother enrolled me in Schade Academy and the rest is history. I danced competitively for fourteen years, both regionally and nationally. I did well and continued to dance when I attended Boston University. Unfortunately, in college I found it extremely difficult to stay active. I would go to dance practice once a week. The rest of the time I spent studying and socializing (PARTYING). As a freshman and sophomore I would go to the gym sporadically, but was not consistent. Junior and senior year my sedentary lifestyle finally caught up with me. I found myself completely unhappy with my unhealthy look and needed to do something about it.
I was talking to some of the girls at the show and told them that I had done Irish dancing for a number of years and they immediately told me that I had to do fitness and incorporate it into my routine. I thought they were nuts...I had no idea how to do a proper pushup never mind an entire 2 minute routine! In November Cathy and I talked and she was in love with the idea. Fast forward to March where I performed my "Riverdance" routine on stage in South Beach. It was something I thought I could never do. However, Cathy always says that you have to use what you do best and incorporate it into your routine.
I continued to train after South Beach and competed in fitness and bikini at the Fitness Atlantic in April. I placed 5th in bikini short and was in the top 10 in fitness! I was on cloud nine that night. To share the stage with veterans such as Dawn Butterfield, Toneka Pires, and Linda Rose Murphy was just unbelievable to me! and now I can call them my friends!! I had such a great time at that show. I received feedback and know what I need to work on in the future. I am currently training for the Fitness America show on August 20th in Staten Island. I will be competing in both fitness and bikini short class.
Whoever said fitness was an easy sport was dead wrong. The training and dieting is hard work, however it is a lifestyle change for the better. I eat 5-6 small meals a day, usually consisting of a protein (chicken, fish, tuna, etc) and a carbohydrate (oatmeal, sweet potatoes), tons of fruits and vegetables and healthy fats.
Since I am pretty small and petite, I need to try and build muscle, especially in my off-season. In the off-season I usually train chest/tris, back/bis, shoulders, and legs on a different day. I try to maintain 30 mins of cardio in the off-season 4-5 times per week to keep my endurance up.
When I am training for a show my training is catered around practicing for my fitness routine and I train 3 body parts every other day. I also up my cardio to 45 mins 6-7 times per week depending on how far I am from a show.
I am so happy that I was able to get into the fitness world. It has brought me so much happiness. Not only did I meet Jamel out of this experience, but I have met so many girls that I can call family and friends. It is not about how well one performs at a competition, it is about all of the lifelong relationships you form along the way. I hope to see all of you come out to the show on August 20th! I would have never thought a year ago that I would be where I am today. This sport has completely changed my life and hey, I'm only 23...I definitely see myself competing for a very long time!! Seeing girls like Dawn Butterfield, Jodi Cohen, and Dawn Heger really inspire me. In my eyes fitness and bikini competitions are like fine wine. You just get better with age.