Justine Vierdag - IFBB Physique Pro. A model of success and strength
Turning Pro update!
Since I last talked with www.modelsobserver.com in 2014, I have had some big changes and accomplishments to update you all on!!!
In 2015, I managed to place 2nd in the Women's Physique Division at Wings of Strength in Chicago. Despite a major life change of a divorce situation developing in the middle of my prep for the show; I managed to stay on track and come out with a 2nd place finish. I felt in my heart though that I could have come in a little better if I had not been under so much stress. Nonetheless, I was proud that I had stuck to my plan and made the top 3. That was the only competition for 2015, as I had things to deal with in the aftermath of a divorce.
But 2016 has been a very different story for me!!! I started prep for July's Wings of Strength show again in January. I knew I needed to gain some more muscle so I started early to gain and slowly lean out. Lifting heavier and actually cutting the length of each workout as well as adding an extra rest day made my early months of prep seem relatively easy compared to my slight tendency towards overtraining -which was limiting my potential for more size. I continued with heavier weights throughout but did add in a few burnout sets on areas I needed to carve a little detail into. I really felt I was in the sweet spot with my training this year.
My diet started out pretty typical 4oz protein, 1 -2 cups veggies, 4 oz of sweet potato or equivalent carb (rice, quinoa, aots), small amounts of healthy fats for each meal. I was really struggling with my energy levels and having almost narcoleptic episodes of falling asleep while driving, at work....it was pretty scary. I knew I could not continue like that so I talked to my trainer/coach about it. He changed my diet drastically by adding more protein, cutting out all starchy carbs, allowing only veggies/fibrous carbs and increased my healthy fats quite a bit. This worked for me like a charm and also curbed any carb cravings I had after a week of my body adjusting to it. This approach may not work for everyone; but for me the macro combination we found was perfect for me.
I ended up taking 1st place and the overall award at this year's Wings of Strength show July 2nd and was coasting into Masters Nationals in Pittsburgh on July 22nd for this year's shot at a Procard!!!
The experience of going into Masters nationals was one of excitement for sure but also of a personal peace and true satisfaction of where I was physically as well as mentally. I had a different confidence than ever before and I believe that came through on stage. From check-in time at the hotel until finals were over, there had been a good spectrum of emotions. At check-in, you always find yourself trying to check out your competition and that can cause some doubt to creep in. I decided to keep my eyes off everyone else and not let any negative thought come in to break down my confidence in what I had accomplished this last year. Click to view photos.
Pre-judging was a long process as Master Nationals is a very large show and WPD was after the large figure division. It was a little challenging to time the carb-up/pump-up backstage. Knowing my body needs quite a bit of pumping up to look my best when I hit the stage; I was worried I was tiring my dehydrated body out and would not be able to hold my posses. As I went on stage for my classes; I had enough energy and felt calm and confident - more so than ever before. I felt like I hit every pose just how I had practiced and was ecstatic being in the first callouts and positioned in the center for comparisons.
Finals were just as exciting and rewarding!!! Once I got past the shock of almost missing getting in the line-up on time to go up for routines; I regained my composure and felt I nailed my routine really well. I knew awards would be presented soon and although I had such a strong feeling that I had the first place in my classes; I really tried to not let myself be overconfident. There was a lot of impressive athletes at this show. True satisfaction came when I placed first in 35+ Class A and 2nd in 40+ Class A, essentially earning a procard twice. This goal was 9 years in the making and I was so proud of myself that I had persevered until I had achieved it- even after some big up-hevels in my life.
Looking back on the whole prep process this year; I had a few different issues to overcome. The financial challenges of being a single mom and competing can be very stressful and takes a lot of planning. The energy crisis that was happening was another big problem until we found the resolution in my diet. All in all, I actually really enjoyed the prep process this year. I felt like everything really flowed well and I didn't feel like I was struggling for results.
I do not plan on any Pro Show debuts this year as I have events for all three of my daughters I really want to be involved with and truly present in. My plan for next year is to do the Pro Show at Wings of strength in July 2017. After that we will see what the best strategy seems to be as we come to that point. SO! Happy Heavy Lifting and I'm looking forward to updating you all again after my first Pro Show!!!