Amanda Parsons - Bikini Competitor

I was very athletic growing up. I was a tomboy and always loved outdoors and hiking. Hiking the Appalachian Trail has always been a goal of mine and after becoming a single mom I decided to begin section hiking the Appalachian Trail. During a 100-mile hike, I suffered a shoulder injury that caused me to pull off the hike early. Unfortunately, it was an injury that caused permanent damage and required weeks of rehabilitation.

I was emotionally defeated and my body was left in the worst shape it had ever been. A friend I worked with joined a bodybuilding competition team and hearing her talk about it sparked my interest. Initially, I had no desire to compete; however, my body required dramatic changes and I felt the training required could accomplish the fastest results. Looking back, it was the perfect storm, I was broken enough to feel I had nothing to lose by stepping out of my comfort zone, and through a healing process I fell in love with the sport!!!

Diet: Being new the sport, I am not sure I have experienced a complete off-season. I have done back to back preps for three shows with only short breaks in-between. This prep included a building stage, which included different workouts and dieting than I had been accustomed. It has been a lot of change, but great gains. It makes me excited to begin a new building stage and off season gains after my October 28th competition!

I have found that the best investment I have ever made is in a great coach. The longer I am in the sport the more I realize there is so much I have to learn. I trust my coach, and the process. It is always a learning process in how my body responds to diet changes.

In the past, I followed very redundant diets and was nervous to change what I knew. My coach has taken me through many changes in diet and workouts that are designed for me and my individual goals. I have gotten very good results. His experience, knowledge and passion for the sport have been my biggest blessing in this sport.

I do cardio 5 days a week. Initially, when I started competing I did tons of HIIT, and found results, however, over time I have learned that the high impact cardio can tear down muscles when done too much. I think everyone’s body responds differently in each stage of training. People also have an innate preference in what they enjoy. For me, my love is always in the lifting.

No matter what your preference in training is the quote, “you can never out train a bad diet” is 100% true. You are only as good as your diet and finding how your body will react to specific combinations takes a lot of time.

I put all I have into training. When I am in the gym I am 100% there. If I know I gave everything during prep, I can have no regrets when I walk across stage! There is something empowering about giving the needed discipline to make it to the stage. Although my goal is to take home hardware, there is a respect I have for anyone, including myself, in the effort it takes to progress during prep. One of my favorite competitors just posted an email she wrote to a client, it stated: “It’s not for everyone. Prep is hard. Prep isn’t healthy in the last weeks leading up to your show. Want to get into true contest shape? Gonna have to suffer. No other way to sugar coat it!” It is true. It never gets any easier in my training, only harder. It isn’t easy but it is worth it and the results make it addictive. Consistency and hard work will always result in achieving reasonable goals. In my opinion there is no better way to showcase your handwork and results than all iced in sequins and rhinestones.

Self-confidence is gained and sustained through overcoming obstacles independently. No one will hand you results in this sport, no one will carry you, you have to work for them. Your results come from the consistent disciple, hustle and heart you put into it. I give all I have with the faith that I will beat me each show. I am my only competition. This is truly a sport where it is You vs. You! For me learning to overcome obstacles and depending only on myself for the energy, endurance and strength built me from the inside out. It built a self-confidence that I carry on and off stage, in the gym as well as life.

I am a single mom so time is very hard to manage. I have two active boys both involved in afterschool activities and also work full time teaching high school. This sport requires lots of time management. Bodybuilding is so much more than lifting, it is diet, meal prep, training, mental endurance, and sustained stamina of your spirit. There is nothing I have ever done in my life that has required so much of me. Regardless of my results and self-image people come at me with all their opinions about what you do. I have always had good self-confidence, but it took me weeks of training to get to the place where others opinions didn’t affect me. I have been told I was too thin, I was too manly, no man would want to date a competitor.

The worst attracts were not the ones about my image, but the attacks on my parenting. I had some that attacked me for spending time at the gym away from my boys. My entire life I have always wanted nothing more than to be a great mother. There is no other job I take more serious. Because I felt this way it really hurt me. My greatest lesson in mothering is that you must take time to fill your own cup before you can ever fill someone else’s. My boys participate in my meal prep and encourage me to put in the hard work. The most significant impact my training has had on them is teaching them to have the courage to step outside their comfort zone to try new things, and during the process when things get hard. . . quitting is never an option.

I am very excited to return to the stage. I have now competed in NPC as well as received my pro card in the ANBF. I love this sport and competing in both federations. My next show is the NPC Mid-Atlantic in Charlotte on October 28th. After that I will start a building stage in planning for the upcoming year. Next year I plan to continue competing in both federations.

Amanda Parsons
The Perfect Storm Competition Team
Trainer and Coach: Darron Glenn
Posing coach: Katie Kopfle

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