Karee Payton - Figure Competitor

Growing up as a child in the 80s I was no stranger to cardiovascular activity as I was a regular fixture in my mother’s aerobics and “Jazzercise” classes. As a student being involved in sports such as track &field and basketball committed me to regular exercise and nutritional habits that I lost transitioning into adulthood. Working full-time, commuting and social events led to a moderate amount of weight gain once I graduated college and entered the workforce. All my years of being active and an athlete I had an obvious aversion to strength training because I unknowingly feared, like many women, it would make me “masculine” which couldn’t be further from the truth.

But finally, after years of being inconsistent with cardiovascular exercise, fad diets and avoiding strength training, I decided to make a lifestyle change and build the physique I always wanted. In 2012, I entered the weight room at my employer’s gym and started a 12-week strength training program I downloaded free from www.bodybuilding.com. After a year of learning my way around the weight room, learning and executing proper form I hired my first trainer/coach and entered my first amateur bodybuilding competition in 2013. To date I have competed in six shows, most recently the August 2017 NPC Delmarva Classic in Wilmington, DE where I won 1stplace in 2 categories.


Speechless! 1st place in Open Figure B and Masters 35! At the Delaware State/Delmarva Classic @todd320howe put on an amazing well run show! I don't even know what to say but everyone will want to know what's next so after talking with my trainer @legionfitnesselite and coach @icandyfitbeauty I'm gonna get these legs diced up for Miami in November!!!! #noexcuses #legionfitnesselite #icandyfitbeauty #becausegoals #contestprep #bodybuilding #npcfigure #fitchicks #fitfam #girlswholift #girlswithmuscle #healthtips #fitlife #npcmaryland #marylandnpc #instafit #bodybuilding #instagramfitness #shelifts #fitfemales #2ndgenerationironaddict #prep4greatness #npcdelmarvaclassic #npcdelaware

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Competition History
2013 - NPC Jay Cutler Baltimore Classic (6th Place Novice, 7th Place Open)
2014 - NPC Maryland State Championships (2nd Place)
2014 - NPC Maryland State East Coast Classic (1st Place)
2014 - NPC Max Muscle Mid-Atlantic Open (1st Place)
2014 - NPC Jay Cutler Baltimore Classic (8th Place)
2015 - NPC Jay Cutler Baltimore Classic (3rd Place)
2017 - NPC Delmarva Classic (1st Place Open, 1st Place Masters 35+)

Typically during contest prep I have the most success with carb-cycling. I find a 3:1 ratio works best for my physique, 3 low days of less than 50grams and 1 refeed day of 100-150grams. I tend to start my pre-contest dieting 12-16 weeks out so initially we start with a moderate amount of carbs around my workouts and as the contest date approaches switch to an aggressive carb cycle rotation. Carb cycling allows me to maintain my lean muscle mass providing the minimal fuel necessary for my workouts while maximizing fat loss.

During the off-season I have to work hard to gain muscle so I often exceed what my body needs for growth and maintenance purposes end up with a higher than optimal body fat. In the past I’ve made the mistake of resuming pre-contest eating habits without properly reverse dieting which has led me to substantial fat gain in my off seasons. I’m currently reverse dieting in preparation to resume contest prep for my upcoming attempt at my first National show this November.

My last prep I did more HIIT style works mixed with steady state cardio for most of my sessions. Because I had a large amount of body fat to lose I did 2 cardio sessions a day the majority of my prep. My cardio was a mixture of HIIT plyometric workouts alternating with low-moderate intensity steady state. I have recurring shin splints so I prefer to do HITT and steady state on the StairMaster as my first choice. I love HIIT workouts as I previously did long steady state sessions that slowly chipped away at my lean muscle. My new approach allows me to maintain lean muscle while dropping fat.

I lift 4 days a week with my trainer following a typical split of:
• Shoulders/Chest/Triceps
• Back and Biceps
• Legs – 2 times a week (Quads Hams Glutes)
Other days during the week are reserved for detail work such as Glutes and Hamstring and Abs and Calves.


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To step on stage you have to step outside of yourself. For me I have an alter ego “Renee”. I look at bodybuilding competitions as beauty contests. The hard work, grit and sweating is all done in the gym. The judges don’t see that on stage, your family and friends don’t see that all they see are the results of all the hard work. After training, cardio and dieting those for weeks, picking myself apart and being my own worst critic, adrenaline takes over every show and “Renee” takes the stage. I have confidence when I step on stage because I know that I trained hard and prepared well.

My last show I felt very ill-prepared. My prep was full of challenges to include a 5 multi-day work trips over 4 months which consequently impacted my gym schedule and diet. Traveling is tough and always stressful on the body but even more so in preparing for a competition. I felt like due to demanding work commitments and diet pitfalls I didn’t lean out properly. While this could have been fixed the added stress I put on myself by constantly over analyzing and over thinking took the focus off preparing and put it on variables outside of my control like the past. Even until the time I stepped on stage I was unfocused and mentally unprepared thinking of all I didn’t do right instead of being in the moment.

Bodybuilding is a lifestyle for me. Going to the gym consistently gives me peace of mind and a way to therapeutically, relieve tension and frustrations In addition, competing teaches you how to focus and dedicate yourself to tasks. You learn how to stick to a plan and be consistent with following through on schedules and actions to achieve your goals. Through competing I’ve learned so much of what my body is mentally and physically capable of. The major lesson I learned from competing is setting goals and keeping those goals top of mind at all times. This allows me to not revert to old habits and lose controls of my activity level and nutrition as I once did.

After competing in six shows locally the past three and half years, I have decided it’s time for a new challenge and will compete in my first national show this November in Miami, Florida where I will compete against over 1000 other competitors all vying for their pro card. Every competitor dreams of getting to this level, and coming out on top. The competition will be top tier but I am up for the challenge.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ahdelta18
Email: karee.renee@gmail.com


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