Meredith Merriman - Figure Competitor

I have always worked out and been active. I was in the gym one day and someone came up to me and asked if I competed. Not knowing anything about it I started to research it and learn more. Then one day while in a store I saw a muscle and fitness hers magazine and that was my deciding moment I loved seeing these fit strong confident women and what they represented. That was my deciding moment about looking into competing. I found my first coach and decided to compete in the bikini division 10 weeks after that. At that show I came in 2nd but was told I had more of a figure frame and that's when I decided to look into figure and I fell in love with the more muscular look.

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Diet off season vs. pre contest: I have gotten really good results keeping my food choices the same meaning same lean Protein sources clean carbs and the right kind of fats. While on off season it's still a lifestyle and I think just as important as contest prep. My calories and carbs are much higher but it's from sources my body is used to and digests well such as oats, rice, potatoes etc. I have a weekly cheat meal such as a burger and sweet fries or sushi but even they are strategically placed for improvements. For my upcoming show my coach "bill anger" wanted to see how my body reacted to keto and I'm actually loving it the energy is far better than going very low carb and I really feel I'm improving still in my physique leading up to this show.

I really actually love the grind of prep I tend to like regiment and my body likes to lean out much better than it likes getting heavy so up till this show vie just always done low carb which worked but it always left me a little to flat and stringy on stage.

I lift 6 days a week on both prep and off season I usually work each body part once. I use alot of volume and rep ranges for the most part reps are around 8 to 12 four to five sets for 5 exercises per body part. sometimes ill go as heavy up to 6 and sometimes go up to 20 reps a good mix of both I think is key to optimal muscle growth. On weaker body parts we will work them 2x a week. As far as cardio in off season I do pretty minimal never over 20 mins and its just done low intensity steady state. on prep I am doing cardio 7 days a week and both steady state and HIIT are being used it just depends what the goal is.

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I am not naturally a look at me kind of girl but seeing women I looked up to just have such strength and grace intrigued me and it made me really push out of my comfort zone to get up on stage and be judged. I am an extremely competitive person so it seemed right when I could combine the gym and competing. This being said I was super nervous my first show I remember trying to knock out bikini poses shaking in my heels lmao from that moment my first pre judging I was hooked! Competing has really opened me up and I'm far better for it when you look and feel good you present, yourself better in everyday life. Being able to step on stage and be critiqued has made me more confident in handling everyday situations and learning to truly love your body whether you're shredded for a show or bulking in off season.

My last show was last April it was my first figure show and I was so excited to be there I had competed in bikini years before but had taken a few years off to get my career and life a bit more established. It was JAX physique and it was a very well run show. All the figure girls were so nice. That's the great thing about this sport you want to win and be completive but you know the other girls have worked hard to, you can make some good friendships because these girls can relate to the lifestyle. I had a great show I came in second by a point and it's only fueled the fire for this competition season coming up. Getting that second made me want to work harder and bring a totally diff package this year to the stage.

Life as an athlete: If I said it was always easy I would be lying in order to do this sport well I really feel like you need to be ok with the idea your life will never be totally balanced. Off season is slightly easier because you can have meals here and there that are more socially pleasing with your friends and family members but in order to make improvements you still need to be regimented. I still eat every 3 hours I train about 2 hrs a day, I work and try to manage to get rest so I can recover for the next day

While on prep that regiment gets even stricter now the diet is very strict. I try my hardest to keep training while depleted as intense as it can be. I'm a little more tired and emotions aren't always balanced. One minute I can be totally fine and everything is great catch me at about 2 weeks out right before a meal and who you may get the brain dead tired hungry me. Especially on prep I find myself more secluded I try to keep life simple during this time and focus on prep. I am very lucky to have a good support system from my husband and family who know how important it is and know in a few months life will be normal. But being a competitor it's not just a 12 week prep it's the other 9 months that can either make those 12 weeks easy or difficult. It's a matter of if you can commit to the competitor lifestyle not just a competition prep.

Future plans- If all goes well in the short term I would like to get to nationally qualified this year. My first show of the year is in 7 weeks in Daytona FL. My goal would be to get qualified and then have another good off season and then hopefully next year getting to a national show and being competitive as possible. As a competitor I definitely want to be able to put IFBB pro to my name in the future and compete in pro shows and ultimately the Olympia. I just went into partnership this year on a private studio and started training clients full time which was a huge goal for me. I just want to get as involved as I can in this industry and see what opportunities arise.


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