Kristen Mulligan - Figure Competitor
I always knew my body was able to grow muscle well, as I had been training for about a decade, and I had always wanted to compete as a personal challenge. At first, I had a lot of baby weight to lose, and then I trained for muscle and strength. After training for so long without accomplishing much other than a fit body, a friend recommended me to speak to her contest coach, and that I would do well. I hired her and competed in my first show in August 2015, winning my master figure class, and placing third in my open figure class. After that I competed at the Vancouver pro/am show, winning my master figure, open figure, and taking the master figure overall award. I held my shape for 5.5 weeks to compete at the CBBF Nationals, where I won my master figure class, and placing fourth in my open figure class. I have my sights set on competing at the Arnold Amateurs in March 2017.
During off season, my diet allows for a little variety such as red meat, different kinds of vegetables, and a treat here and there. Otherwise I still eat what I do during prep like rice, fish, and chicken, I just eat bigger portions. During prep, my fats decrease, my carbs decrease slowly, but my protein stays high to keep as much muscle as possible while still losing body fat. I eat 6 times a day, some days I would have around 1100 calories, and other days it dropped to 900 calories. Thanks to my new coach, Lisa Giesbrecht, who has competed at Olympia twice, she has made my prep diet as healthy as a prep diet can be.
My first coach gave me a prep diet I felt failed me. It was very close to a keto diet, high fats, little to no carbs, and moderate protein. This diet did not meet my expectations because my body did not get the nutrients it needed to keep my muscle for show day. While I still did well at my first show, I felt that my muscles have atrophied quite a bit. I looked more like a bikini girl. I hired Lisa after that.
I am quite a shy person and pretty introverted, so stepping on stage in just a figure suit, in front of all those people, being judged, was really out of my comfort zone. I was quite nervous during my first show but I faked it until I made it! Provincials felt differently to me. I was much more confident with the package I brought to the stage, and I found a trick to force me to make eye contact with the judges and smile. I pretended like I was introducing myself to them. When I introduce myself to someone new, I don't shy away, instead, I smile and try to give a good impression, so that is what I did at Provincials, and it worked. From that point on, I became quite comfortable on stage. I felt like a pro!
I had my coach, Lisa, to help me balance my training with how I was looking, and how I wanted to look. Even though I am a personal trainer, anyone who is wanting to compete needs another set of eyes, a different perspective, and different training ideas to make you a more well rounded competitor. Lisa had me doing fasted cardio every day. Half of it was HIIT and the other was steady pace. This gets your heart rate to a good fate burning zone to make the most of steady pace cardio. I lifted 5 days a week to start, and bumped it up to 7 days a week for the last few weeks before the show. When I had time in the mornings, I would also lift fasted, to help with my conditioning. We always made sure that I was training at a caloric deficit to lower my body fat percentage, and that brings me back to having a high protein diet to keep as much muscle as possible while always being at a caloric deficit.
During the athlete's meeting at provincials and nationals, felt so surreal to me. I was excited and nervous all at the same time. There, you have the opportunity to size up your competition. Pre-judging was always a great experience. It is my favourite part of the show. It is when I feel the best and most confident with my hair, tan, make up, and suit all coming together, allowing me to present myself well on stage. Finals are a little harder for me. Both provincials and nationals shows were long shows, and I didn't get on stage until very late. It was much harder to present myself feeling very tired, but during those times, you have to push through, and present as well as you can because even though the judges usually know who is going to place where after pre-judging, they can change their minds during the night show if you present differently or look differently than in the morning. However, it was very cool to be in the top 5 and exciting to win and place.
I am wanting to continue to compete and would love to compete at the Arnold Amateurs this spring. My goal is to win my pro card! If I don't make it at the Arnold's I will plan on doing nationals again in July 2017. I would love to one day step on stage as a pro. I am not sure if I will ever make it to the Olympia stage, but that is always a goal in the back of my mind.