Carrie Hartley - Figure Competitor

When I was 15 I was diagnosed with a rare form of muscle Cancer and one of my surgeries, at 15, was a mastectomy, followed by radiation, two years of chemotherapy and countless surgeries. So the ability to compete and be a personal trainer is a blessing! I do not complain about having to go to the gym but rather I am grateful I CAN go to the gym.

Besides being a Cancer survivor and personal trainer, I am a wife, mother, grandmother, police officer, business owner, NPC judge, figure and physique competitor since 2007. My normal day begins at 3:30 am. I go to the gym for my first lift at 4:30. I head to the other side of town at 5:45 and train two of my partners at our PD gym before working 7 am to 7pm. Then it is either back to the gym to train a client or home to do cardio on my spinning bike.


A post shared by Carrie Hartley (@carrielhartley) on


My training style is high volume, old school pyramid lifting, mixing in drop sets now and then. My normal split is Monday, legs, Tuesday, chest and light shoulders, Wednesday back, Thursday glutes and hamstrings and Friday arms. The weekends I am usually teaching spin classes or holding posing seminars. I incorporate more cardio into my show prep. When I am not in prep, I usually only do cardio 3 times a week for 30 minutes. I am usually training with my husband who has been competing for 30 years. He has been my trainer, biggest cheerleader, and we run a successful personal training and nutrition business together. We are both prepping for the same show which takes more patience and a good amount of balance. We have both prepped for enough shows to know we do not take anything personally during this time and remember to love and appreciate each others strengths and weaknesses.

For my diet, I follow a Ketogenic diet plan. My normal caloric intake is around 1800 off season and 1200 to 1400 during prep. When I am prepping for a show I simply drop my fats and increase my proteins. I also use intermitted fasting, usually 16 hour fasts with an 8 hour window to eat my two to three meals. I am very insulin resistant and my body just does not respond well to carbohydrates. I am not sure to be honest, if this was long term metabolic damage from bad trainers or just bad genes, but Keto works well for me. So please, if you are hiring a personal trainer, make sure they know what they are doing with nutrition! I had a trainer who had me on basically a 600 to 800 calorie diet, for weeks. This is obviously not sustainable, leads to major metabolic damage, and you will catabolize and lose any gains you achieved. Just because someone is blessed with good genetics and won a show does not a trainer make!


No excuses!!! 330 am fasted cardio, 5am lift, jump in the phone booth, fight crime for 12 hours, back for another cardio after work, feed and rest! Repeat every 24 hours! Make it happen! #gramawithguns #pf_fitness_nutrition #completenutrition #oldmuscleguy #npc #ironviking #thinblueline

A post shared by Carrie Hartley (@carrielhartley) on


I learn more about my own personal strengths with each show. It is more mental strength than physical strengths that get you through prep. Saying no to indulgences, missing out on birthday cakes, drinks with friends, being stronger than your urges all play a big roll in a successful prep. As I mentioned, I am no spring chicken and what worked well the last show may not be optimal this time. The body is a magnificent thing and you become your own science project.

I have no plans to quit anytime soon. I will be 50 in three years and as long as I can pull it off, I plan on competing into my 50ís! My plans between shows is to build our business, Perfect Fit Fitness and Nutrition (contact through Facebook), and continue to motivate and inspire people to compete in this amazing sport. My personal goal is to work at bringing a better package than the last show and always be confident but humble! Be kind and respect everyone in this industry, we all have a story.


A post shared by Carrie Hartley (@carrielhartley) on


Dream, believe, achieve!

Carrie Hartley
Nationally qualified NPC figure and physique competitor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carrielhartley
Facebook: Perfect Fit - Fitness and Nutrition


Competition Prep e-Books