Stephanie Pond EchoHawk - Figure Competitor

I have always been interested in fitness ever since I was young, I was a cheerleader and was on the track and dance team in high school. I started lifting weights on a regular basis about 20 years ago. As I would do my cardio I would watch the girls that had the muscles I was striving for and incorporate those lifts in with my own. I studied up on how many sets and reps I needed to do and made my own workout plans. I stayed consistent in my workouts but did not know how to eat to grow muscle back then. I had a photo of a cover model of Oxygen Magazine (2003 Mandy Blanks) taped in my pantry for motivation, I wanted my body to look like hers, I had my goal! I stayed in good shape through having 6 kids, even a set of twins. It wasnít until my youngest was 2 Ĺ and I was going through a divorce that I decided that I wanted to push my mental and physical limits. I decided to do my first show in August of 2013 and 8 weeks later I was on stage in the NCP Utah show October of 2013.

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My diet stays pretty similar on and off-season, however on season I am very strict with my meals and macros and allow myself to eat one cheat meal a week. I typically eat the same food daily, itís easy and I like them. Off-season I still make and eat my prepared food but I increase my carbs and fat macros, but I incorporate IIFYM so I can have some treats when I want to. I also keep my protein the same on or off-season. I am defiantly not as strict off season and allow myself more cheats. For me, lowering my fats and carb cycling seems to work the best for me. I eat a lot of egg whites, fish, chicken and lean turkey. The last few weeks I am down to around 1,900 calories.

I have not had any competition plans that have failed me. I pretty much stay on the same meal plans throughout all my contest preps changing up my carbs and fat a bit to see what looks better and makes me feel better. What changes and where I experiment is peak week and how to carb deplete, carb load along with my water and salt intake to get the best look for stage. Iím always fine tuning my diet.

I do 30-40 minutes of fasted cardio each morning getting my heart rate up to 130-135 beats per minute either on the step mill or on an inclined treadmill, sometimes doing lunges for 20 minutes of it. I eat breakfast then head to the gym and hit the weights. I lift 6-7 days a week taking a rest day as needed. I train 2 body parts a day, except leg days- back/biceps, shoulders/abs, front of legs, chest/triceps, back of legs. I typically do abs for about 5 min most days. I do HIIT after I lift for 20 minutes.

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Building self-confidence: Haha this is a good one. I actually really didnít have much fear of the stage before on stepped on it for the first time. I did have a little talk with myself before the very first time I went on for the night show, I knew I had done everything I could on prep for this show and had given 110% so I said to myself, Steph, you just need to go out there and OWN IT you in a tiny figure suit and 5 inch heels and I did! I love the feeling of being on stage, there is nothing like it and I can't wait to be up there again!

I have to say that itís just pure excitement during all of it. Heading into check- in, seeing all the competitors looking around at the venue I so exhilarating. At North Americans, my first national show. I was felt a little nervous, it was clear across the country for me and I didnít know what to except. But once I got there in the morning and got everything set up I felt at ease, this was like all the other shows I had done. Once I get my first rice cake with almond butte and honey on it, I couldnít wait to set foot on stage. The pump up area at nationals was full of amazing looking women all ready to earn their pro cards. I met a lot extremely nice girls, which is always one of my favorite parts of doing shows. I look forward to stepping on stage and savoring every minute of it, not wanting it to go by too fast. I donít feel nervous, but at National I felt slight adrenaline. By the end of the day when finals roll around I am very tired, show day is exhausting! I usually know I placed by morning call outs and I am always ready for round 2 at the night show in case I am up for Overall. The night show is more relaxing and not as taxing as the pre judging and itís the best feeling in the world to place and get that trophy, itís such a high!

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Future plans? I just competed in my first National show, IFBB North Americans in September of this year. I took 6th place, just one off the medal stand! Hoping to go for my pro card again next year! At this point I am striving for Nationals again next summer.

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