Occupation: Office Manager – Chiropractic
Where are you from: New Jersey
Height: 5′ 2″
Current weight: 115 lbs
Improve Your SELF Image Transformation: Overcame eating disorder; gained 15 lbs. to healthy weight.
Background on eating disorders
Ever since I was a kid, I loved playing sports. I fell in love with lacrosse when I was in the 8th grade. During high school I started training rigorously to enhance my lacrosse game. I wanted to be the fastest person on my team, if not one of the most athletic – as a way of contradicting the stereotype of goalies being “fat” and “slow.” I lifted weights 3 times a week, which changed my body shape. I was starting to look more fit and athletic, and people started making comments about my new physique.
I think because I was a young teen I was very impressionable then. People’s comments about my muscles started to get to me. I slowly stopped eating as much and my weight started to drop (but so did my athletic performance). Then the compliments came back, “Oh you look great, Amanda!” “Have you lost weight?” “Keep up the good work!” I was stuck because I knew I couldn’t keep starving myself and perform at the collegiate level in lacrosse. I chose to be thin and to succumb to the norms of society that thin is beautiful and had to leave my dream of being a college lacrosse athlete behind.
When I got to college, I overwhelmed myself with my schoolwork, focusing too much on getting perfect grades and being the perfect college student. This insatiable drive ultimately led to unhealthy restrictions on my diet and by the end of my first semester of college I had gotten down to 85 pounds, with the lowest number I saw on the scale being 81 lbs.!
One day during my sophomore year, I was surfing the internet and came across a YouTube video of a figure competition. I was amazed. I was watching these women on stage exude confidence and physiques that were exceptionally fit! As I dug deeper, I found out that these women who had beautiful physiques ate at least 5 times a day! I was floored – how could these women be so petite and eat so much? I understood it calories in versus calories out, but I wasn’t thinking rationally during this period. I was emotionally sensitive and in a debilitating physical state. My warped perception of what was beautiful and healthy slowly began to transform as I learned more about these female athletes. Ultimately, it was these women who generated my desire to become a female fitness and later bikini athlete.
Starting weight working with Angela
My starting weight working with Angela was 103 lbs. I was what you call “skinny fat” because I was thin, but also with little muscle tone. I had made a huge change since college, but I was still not in great physical condition – and my emotional state was still not good. I wanted to change my body and refocus my mind to be healthy inside and out. Angela helped motivate me and show me the way that I could integrate effective training and diet regimens into my life and keep me on the road to progress. It showed me how to be positive all the time.
Detailed fitness program (days, body parts worked, sets, reps and weights)
Angela set me up on a 5 day weight training and cardio plan
My Workout Plan
Day 1 – Chest & Triceps
I began my workout warming up my muscles with some lighter weight dumbbell chest presses. I would then follow up with barbell chest presses, flyes with dumbbells, pec deck machine, dips, and over-head press with one dumbbell on the stability ball.
Day 2 – Back & Biceps
I’d start out with some lat pulldowns, seated rows, standing single pull rows, hyperextensions (another favorite of mine!), preacher curls, barbell curls and incline curls with dumbbells.
Day 3 – Legs
where I targeted my glutes, hams, and calves. Exercises on this day consisted of leg press, hack squats, leg extensions, standing ham curls and calf raises.
Day 4 – Shouder & Abs
I started with Arnold press, should press, front and side raises with cables, abs with cables, anterior rows, and upright rows.
Day 5 – Legs AGAIN?!
Another leg day but concentrating more on quads and calves. I did exercises such as walking lunges, sumo squats, calf raises, and dumbbell squats.
For each training day, I started out doing 3 sets of each exercise with 10-12 reps each. As my body shape began to change Angela altered my workouts (sets, reps, weight) accordingly.
Angela had me eating 5 times a day, with a 6th meal left for post-workout. After my workouts, I was sure to drink Probolic-SR to keep me anabolic throughout the day and/or night depending on when I worked out.
In the beginning I struggled with the diet; that is, I struggled with the idea that I was going to be eating 5 times a day! Angela gave me a great tip. Instead of jumping into the diet, going from eating once a day (if that, which I was doing!) to 5 times a day, I set weekly goals for myself. My first goal was that I was going to make sure I would eat breakfast every day. Soon enough I was happy to get those 5 meals down.
My Diet Plan
Meal 2 – 1 green apple
Meal 3 – 5 oz grilled chicken, Small salad
Meal 4 – Tuna in water with whole wheat/low carb tortilla wrap, ½ cup steam vegetables (broccoli or asparagus)
Meal 5 – 1 scoop Probolic- Sr (post workout)
Meal 6 – 5 oz grilled chicken, 6 asparagus
Angela also gave me some great tips to help me stick to the diet at night:
- Try to have your meals as I suggested….every 3 hours (small portions)
- If you eat during the day….you will not be so hungry at night and you will just have a regular meal
- Think about your goals (competing)
- Think about other girls that are preparing for the same show you will be doing
- Visualize yourself on stage, in front of hundreds of people, 10 judges, your family, your friends…they are all proud of you
- Think about how strong you are getting, how your body is looking amazing because of your hard work
- Love your body, love your workout sessions, love the food that you eat
- Drink lots of water before you sit down to eat your dinner
- Think about how beautiful, how good you look, how great you feel now that you have incorporated weight lifting and healthy eating into your lifestyle
Probolic-SR, ISOFAST 50, XPEL, Activite and Glutamine-SR
How you feel now that you’ve transformed your body and your self-image
Transformations does not always have to be about losing weight. “Improve Your Self Image” speaks to this idea. I succeeded in transforming my distorted self-perception into a truer image of myself. I wanted (and needed) to go from thin to fit. Learning about the body building lifestyle is essentially what saved my life. My reality check occurred when I traveled to Florida with my mom and youngest sister. We went to visit my grandparents. It was an epiphany since my grandfather wouldn’t look at me because I was so emaciated while my grandmother cried to my mother fearing for my life. Not only was I hurting myself, but I was hurting people who meant a great deal to me. I wasn’t going to allow myself to become another statistic.
At the time, I was on the verge of collapsing. The lifestyle of eating to stay fit and be healthy was one concept that I could rationalize, but not internalize. Nevertheless, years later and after enduring the self-transformation process I can say with honestly and candor that for the first time in my life I am physically, mentally and spiritually in the best health, ever.
I think that this process has taught me that to improve one’s self-image you have to establish a positive self-image- thinking you are the best you, believing you are the best you, and telling yourself that you are deserving of the best you. Once you allow yourself to accept this mantra, you can continue to develop and improve the best version of you, not a version that has been crafted by the ideals of others.
I want to thank Angela Mraz and MHP for allowing me to participate in this program. It has been an honor for which I am most grateful. Perhaps someone else will read my story and have a glimmer of hope that change is possible.