Natural Bodybuilder Lisa Watson
About 25 years ago- I went to a professional bodybuilding show in Montreal. The women back then were exactly how I think professional women bodybuilders should like. I remember thinking that some day I would love to compete. I always enjoyed exercise.
I had been on the track team, swim team and had a few years of gymnastics. Then came a teaching profession, coaching, motherhood, 20 extra pounds and that dream was just a fun thought never to be thought about seriously again... Until 3 years ago - I made a bet with a friend at work who said something about women being too weak to stick with a diet long enough to see significant results.
I lost almost 30 pounds in 5 months from eating clean calories, cardio 4 times a week, and going heavier with weights. It was awesome to lose weight and see muscles come out in places I never thought I would again, that I wanted to take it a step further and compete.
I wanted to take on more challenges - go heavier with the weights, learn new training principles and learn more about nutrition. I checked out a bodybuilding competition and knew right away I was going to do it. I picked out a show 5 months down the road in the spring. I hired a trainer for 10 sessions, had a knowledgeable and enthusiastic workout partner, and hired a female trainer for 3 or 4 posing sessions and nutrition tips.
I read everything I could from books, magazines and internet. The hardest part was being told that I was too lean and in order to put on some size, I would have to take on more calories. I knew I had to be lean for onstage but wasn't sure how or if I wanted to put weight on again. That is when I learned about proper nutrition, getting enough protein, pre and post workout supplements and nutrition.
MUSCLEMANIA FITNESS ATLANTIC, 4/24/05
East Haven, CT
2nd place masters
3rd place overall open
ORGANIZATION OF COMPETITIVE BODYBUILDING, 5/6/04
1st place masters
2nd place overall open
Best Poser Award
1st Middle weight class
MUSCLEMANIA FITNESS ATLANTIC, 4/23/05
3rd place open
2nd place masters
2nd Place Masters
Best Poser Award
INBF NORTH EAST CLASSIC, 5/14/05
2nd Place Heavy Weight
3rd Place Masters
My workouts are planned at the same time of day. Fortunately I can workout from 3:30-5:00 and be home in time to make dinner and help kids with homework. Cardio sessions are done at 5 am. I'm showered, home and ready to have breakfast with the family before 7:00am. Planning a schedule with your family allows for consistency and makes a big difference in getting it done.
My workout partner has a similar schedule and similar goals, so we know what each other needs to do in order to obtain those goals.
I do chest on Mondays, back and hamstrings on Tuesday... Wednesday is upper body rest day, so it is a leg day. Thursday is bi's and tri's and Friday is shoulders and traps. Saturday is a reserved for a body part that was missed due to whatever unforeseen circumstances that may have occurred that week or extra cardio needed. Sunday is definitely a rest day. I will do abs and calves 2 or 3 times a week in the A.M.
Off-season I prefer the hard-core basics as squats, dead lifts, bench press, pull-ups, etc. doing 8-10 reps for 3 or 4 sets. I love the overload and forced rep principles at this time. After 6 weeks or so I like to change exercises, techniques, sequences, poundage, sets, machines, etc. - also known as muscle confusion training principle for a few weeks then go back to the basics - (heavy) again for 6 weeks.
About 4 months before competition, I incorporate more training principles into each workout. I will use supersets, strip-downs, slow negatives and more cable work. A training log is great to have. You can record maximum weight, techniques and exercises used so you know what works and what doesn't, and when it may be time for a change. Naturally any cardio time outside the gym is a must. I love long bike rides and hiking!
People always ask me "What's the best exercise for you?" Whether you are a bodybuilder or just want to be healthy; the answer is any kind you are willing to do!!
I am constantly learning more and more about proper nutrition. I suggest bodybuilders read and research as much as you can. You need to pick brains of nutritionists and other bodybuilders. You need to learn about low and high glycemic index carbohydrates and when your body benefits most from which kind. You need to learn about pre and post workout supplements. You need to learn about the importance of fats and which kinds are needed.
My first year of dieting, I think I lost too much valuable energy and muscle by not eating enough carbohydrates and significant fats. Depending on your goals, age, weight and intensity of daily exercise, we all have different nutritional needs.
Off-season I try to eat clean calories as much as possible so I don't have to do too much cardio. I don't worry about an occasional ice cream sundae, potato salad or strawberry daiquiri. 4 months before competition, I focus basically on various ways to cook chicken, veggies and oatmeal. My absolute favorite breakfast that I love is 7 egg whites beaten with a ½ cup of quick oats. Spray frying pan with Pam and pour it in. Flip it over and pour a little sugar free maple syrup over it or a little splenda and cinnamon.
Sometimes I make one and wrap it up for a morning snack too. I log every calorie on fitday.com. It breaks down daily percentages of carbs, proteins, and fats for you. (A 40, 40, 20 ratio works well for me.) It is a free and time saving web site. Counting your calories is the only way to get it right. If you lose too much in a week or not enough, then you adjust your calories. It's that simple.
Dieting down is the hardest part of bodybuilding. Most people love to go to the gym, pump iron, socialize and get a good workout. It is rewarding and you feel good after. The diet is a 24 hour challenge. At times you have no partner watching what you eat, motivating you, and encouraging you. This where the discipline comes in.
Planning is essential!! I know the night before exactly how many calories I will take in the next day and plan the meals accordingly. I will bring my own food at church potlucks, picnics or to a friend's house or party. I eat every 2-3 hours to keep the furnace burning consistently.
I give up any occasional beers or wine for 4 months too. They are wasted calories. I also have my homemade, economical post workout shake in the car in case I can't get home right away. It consists of protein, pure dextrose, maltodextrin, creatine and crystal light. The key to good nutrition is weekly weigh-ins, a log, planning and lots of Tupperware.
What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?
Whey protein powder is my favorite morning and afternoon protein meal. Off season I use skim or soymilk, frozen fruit and a little fat free whip cream. I will also freeze a little container of the shake and it's a homemade sherbert or ice cream.
A tablespoon of peanut butter a day when dieting down helps my energy and tastes so good on anything. I will use creatine up until a month or so before a show. I constantly sample and try new supplements and continue to learn what benefits are gained. I also use multivitamin's, salmon oil or flaxseed oil and calcium supplements.
I plan on competing this spring 06. My goal is to win an overall. I also plan to become a certified trainer. I would love to help older women (over 40). Realize that it's never too late to get back into shape. I also want to encourage and promote competitive bodybuilding for all women. I would love to see as many women up on stage as there are men.
To future bodybuilders - Don't underestimate the importance of good nutrition. Read, research, ask questions, and pick brains. You try to make every workout count so should your calories too.