Abby Ball - Bikini Competitor

I started my bodybuilding career when I was a sophomore in college. I saw a girl at my college gym that was competing in her first show and I was instantly fascinated by the lifestyle. I loved the glitz and glam of the actual bodybuilding show, but not only just that, I loved the grit and grind of the competitor lifestyle as well. I didn't compete in my first NPC show until October of 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I had no idea what I was doing, but during my first show I placed 5th in my class and from that point on I was hooked. I have now competed in six shows and I live, sleep, eat, and breath bodybuilding. I am so fortunate to be able to live this lifestyle and I am excited for a long career in the health and fitness industry.

Diet and Training

I am an advocate of flexible dieting, which is the tracking of macronutrient totals from day to day. My off season and pre contest diets are very similar, however during my pre contest dietary period, my macro nutrient totals are decreased to primarily shed body fat. I do not like to refer to flexible dieting as a diet, because it truly is just being aware of what you putting into your body as fuel. The most effective way to lose weight and build muscle is to build your metabolic capacity to a point where you are putting on lean muscle mass, and when you are to the point where you want to cut for a specific event, you make sure you are in a caloric deficit to do so.

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I have tried ketogenic diets, which are great for a short time in my opinion but it is not a sustainable "lifestyle" diet. Another form of "dieting" that I have tried is a "bro diet aka eating clean" and this was something I struggle with for a long time because I wasn't able to keep myself from binge eating once this dieting phase was over. I have found that the most sustainable diet for myself is tracking my macronutrient totals because it not only keeps me from labeling foods as "good" or "bad" but it has taught me about balance, which is essential for everyone.

I am currently two weeks out from a show and I am lifting 5 days per week and two full lifting rest days. However I am doing four days of low intensity steady state cardio which for myself I love doing a slow walk on the stairs or a fasted walk in the morning outside. I encourage every female to dedicate the majority of her time to LIFTING and spending more time building lean muscle mass onto their physique versus always doing cardio. Yes there is a time and a place for cardio, but in order to gain lean muscle mass and drop body fat you must TRANSFORM your body with the weights. I am a personal trainer so balancing the diet and training for myself go hand in hand. I love lifting and I see nutrition as the fuel that keeps my body strong and powerful. In order for my training to be spot on, so does my nutrition. Therefore, when I think about it from that scenario personally, it helps my mind not see it as a dieting phase. If you can teach your mind to see the positive in the situation, you truly can transform the way you view the situation.

On stage

Self confidence: It took me a long time to build my self-confidence not only for bodybuilding/competing but just in life scenarios in general. I was always a chubby girl in school and never felt "pretty" or "good" enough like the other girls in school. Through my teenage years I struggled with body image and went to see a therapist when I was in college who helped me deal with a lot of inner struggles such as self esteem issues and perfectionism. I can now confidently say after years of healthy self talk and being my own best friend, I am confident in myself and the package I bring to the stage every time I step onstage.

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My most recent competition was the Pittsburgh Championships and I was really excited to compete in this competition because it is always high caliber athletes that grace the stage and it creates a very competitive atmosphere. The athlete check in, prejudging, and finals are all ran smoothly and very efficiently. The number one thing I can recommend to anyone competing is to enjoy your competition weekend, because it will FLY by. This past weekend was an amazing experience, I learned more about myself, was surrounded by a supportive community, and was able to network with others who are passionate about health and fitness.

My future plans include competing at Jr. Nationals in Chicago this June 2017. After I compete in Chicago I plan on competing at Team U, USAs, and Nationals in Miami. I will continue to compete this season until I receive my IFBB pro card :) I am one determined female, and I believe if you believe you CAN do something, you put all your mind, body, and energy into something you are passionate about, then you WILL accomplish your dreams. My dream is to become a IFBB bikini pro and compete on the Olympia stage, and I won't stop until I make that dream a reality.

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Abby Ball

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