I’m fairly sure we all have some preconceived ideas pop into our minds when we hear the words “bodybuilding challenge.” Let me put a few of them to rest right now.
I am not prepping to participate in a bodybuilding competition. The program I am participating in will not culminate in my strutting precariously across a stage on six inch stilettos. I will not be wearing sparkly butt floss and matching nipple pasties and I will not be sporting a spray tan resulting in a radioactive smile for me and an odd pumpkin craving for everyone else.
Nor do I have the intention or desire to look like the Hulk. As a female I have a distinct LACK of the testosterone necessary to look so “manly.” So, let’s not worry about that outcome either. Ok? Ok. I’m so glad we got that out of the way.
Now I can share with you what I AM doing and how I am doing it.
The program I’m participating in is hosted by a competition body builder and the winner of the Sweedish Biggest Looser, Pauline Nordine and her company The Fighter Diet. She hosts different challenges throughout the year with different focuses. This particular program is called Build & Burn and the goal is building muscle and burning fat simultaneously. There are 2,500 women from all over the globe participating in this challenge and they include every fitness level from complete beginner to seasoned pros. We interact through a private Facebook page and there are moderators to answer questions (of which there are many) and Pauline herself interacts with us and does periodic group coaching videos as well. My registration fee paid for access to the Facebook page and all the support and guidance it offers as well as PDF files of the challenge guide, a menu and a twelve week lifting plan. The lifting plan is five days a week with two cardio/rest days.
Here’s a pretty typical breakdown of a Build & Burn day in my life.
I eat my first meal at 7 am and my last meal at 9 pm. The meal plan is around 1700 calories. I’m actually eating closer to 2000 because of my higher cardio levels. This was something the moderators helped me calculate. For those of you interested in the macro breakdown it’s roughly 40% protein, 25% fat & 35% carbs. On this particular menu I’m eating over 3 pounds of vegetables every day.
There WILL be an overall winner chosen based on the most progress made over the course of the challenge. That woman will get a trip to LA to meet Pauline and have a professional fitness photo shoot. In order to be eligible for the grand prize we need eat the menu, do the workouts and submit three, weekly, relaxed pose photos, in a two piece, so they can track and monitor our progress.
Although it would be crazy incredible to win, I’m doing this for myself. I’m doing this to see what my body is capable of. I’m doing this to see how much I can improve and I’m doing this simply because it brings me joy. Life is just too short for anything less. So this is me, from week one to week two, chasing my joy and loving every minute of it.
Stephanie Neher is a Tennessee belle living in Minne-SOH-ta with her very own Paul Bunyan. She home-schools their 2 little blue oxen and keeps her figure red-flannel-ready through teaching Zumba classes, lifting heavy pieces of iron and anything else physical that strikes her fitness fancy.