Tracy Argo - Bodybuilder

Background: Involved in sports in school and always competitive. Immediate family involved in sports and blessed with good genetics (the athlete frame and muscle tone). With that said, I always admired athletes due to their discipline and, of course, their bodies. Grew up in a very small, country town that did not have health clubs or gym facilities. I did not start participating in actual gym fitness until my college years. I joined a health club that was predominately weights at the advice of a female bodybuilder competitor and friend. I dabbled with lifting weights for a short period of time and then “fell off the wagon”. Over the course of time, growing up and doing the things we do in life, I eventually found my way back. So for the past 29 years, my gym life was sporadic at best (on one year, off a couple and so on) due to multiple changes in life, relationships, employment.

I believe it was a magazine, more than likely, Muscle & Fitness that I came across and pictures of the then popular female bodybuilder Cory Everson that sparked my curiosity. In 2006, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and went through both radiation and chemo treatment. After years of follow-up and post-treatment, I decided that I would do everything on my “Bucket List” if and when the opportunity presented itself. Over the past 5 years, I became more consistent in the gym. With piles of bodybuilding mag’s at hand and internet surfing, I came up with my own workout routine. My mind set over those years was strictly to “stay in shape” and lean. Last year I was on the hunt for a personal trainer/dietician to put on the path to compete. I picked up a business card at a local supplement store and I was off and running…for 3 mos. First choice, poor choice and the saying, “Everyone thinks they are a trainer” holds true.

By chance, a young man approached me at the gym one day and asked if I competed. My response, no but I would love to. I told him of my unfortunate experience and he gave me a recommendation. After a free consult with a local husband and wife team (who both have competition experience), I hooked. My true journey began in November of 2013 when I applied their workout program and nutrition plan to compete in Women’s Bodybuilding. May of 2014, at 48 years of age, I competed in my first competition and won.

Diet: Off-season vs Pre-Contest:

Based on my needs and goals, I do not have the typical off-season as most competitors do. My trainers (Team Iron Addiction in Roseville, CA) preach clean eating equals clean muscle. My objective for season 2 was to add muscle and compete at least a minimum of 5 lbs. heavier than my first show and god willing, 10 lbs. Fortunately for me, I have been one of those lucky women who could eat most anything, anytime and not gain weight. The downfall is that I’m a “hard gainer”. Nevertheless, I am carrying a descent amount of muscle so I had a good foundation in which to work from. To obtain my goal, off-season this past year, I was trying to consume 4400 calories on workout days (consisting of 6 days on, 1 off) and 3900 on non-workout days. I have never been a big eater, so that was a challenge in itself and I struggled in my attempts to get that much food down on a daily basis falling short most times. I’m not a fan of alcohol, so drinking off or pre-contest did not present any issues. Consuming water, on the other hand, was a whole new ball game for me. Minimum consumption to be a gallon a day and thank god for flavored water enhancers. Pre-contest dieting typically starts four month out from a show and due to my fast metabolism, my daily calorie intake only dropped to 3900-3700 and about one week out, it was dropped to 2600-2300 with no water depletion. Typically (depending on needs) 40% Carbs, 40% Protein, 20% Fats.

In all honesty, I never did struggle with a pre-comp diet because I never tried to apply any other than the one provided by my trainers. With that said, I had no expectations. I just had to trust the process and believe in them and their success as trainers and competitors. “Diet dialing” is not only a huge component for competitors but is something that takes time and adjustment based on your own specific body’s makeup and chemistry and what you will and won't respond to. That’s where the professions come into play with tracking, measurements the final product at show time.

She so fine#LightWeight

Posted by Sylvia Njomo on Sunday, December 21, 2014

Tracy on the smith machine, 225 lbs.


I always take a good womens multi-vitamin/mineral daily along with flax seed, complex B, Vitamin D and Omega 3 Fish Oil. My pre-work consists of a mixture of BCAA, pre-workout energizer and natural time-released complex carbohydrate (glucose). Consumed 30 min. prior to workout.
BCAA: Kat-a-lyst Nutraceuticals Instantized Advanced Hybrid.
Pre-Workout: Mesomorph by APS or Mr.Hyde by Pro Supps. (Alternating monthly)
Carbs: Carbo Max by MaxMuscle.
*Post-Workout which is consumed within 30 minutes of completion of training is as follows:
Protein Powder: Grass Fed, Precision Blend Whey Isolate by Biohealth.
Carbs: Carbo Max as noted above.

Training Program:

My training program consists of 6 days on / 1 off. I do not do cardio while attempting to put on lean muscle mass until roughly 6 weeks out from show. Due to my objectives, my routine consists of heavy lifting. Typically 4-6 exercise per body part with reps ranging from 8-10, 12.

Body parts that I consider lacking, I will hit twice in a one week period. My trainers adjust and change my workout program monthly in regards to the exercises, although predominately sticking to your basic powerlifter-type moves of squats, bench & deadlifts. A huge training component for me is a need for a workout partner. I have had a few over the past two years, however life and its obstacles makes is hard to consistently train with one person. Fortunately for me, I met my current partner at the end of last year, who is a male competitor. Due to the fact that we share the same goals and have the freedom in our schedules, it has been a match made in heaven. For me, it isn’t about having to depend on someone or know that someone is waiting for me at the gym but rather the need for a “spotter” and the safety factors that co-exist. And, since both of us are trying to increase our muscle mass in order to compete, we need each other for spotting and motivational purposes. In regards to balancing training with dieting, it has become second nature. Personally, training is the easy and fun part. Dieting entails so many other factions that balancing that can be the greatest challenge and work. Grocery shopping, constant cooking, measuring and packing food becomes a second job.

Experiencing contest check-in, pre and post judging:

My first competition had me feeling like a fish out of water. Although my trainers were there to meet me backstage prior to pre-judging, I was on my own during the athlete check-in portion of the event the night before. It is the unknown that creates the most anxiety and everything was unknown to me at that point. I remember sitting in a large hotel conference room full of tanned, very fit athletes, divided by sex. At the front of the room was a long table consisting of the shows promoter, photographer, DJ, NPC card salesperson and check-in staff. We all sat in anticipation of the shows schedule announcement and rules and regulations. The check-ins in exactly when you see who your competition will be and how many will be competing in your class.

Women’s Bodybuilding Open Class was called up first, which was my division. There was only 3 of us competing which was somewhat disappointing but we all seemed (under clothing) to be relatively the same in stature. With a lump in my throat, there was no turning back. So, without hesitation my inner voice said, “lets do this”. Oddly enough and in disbelief since I am somewhat modest and not one to get up in front of a crowd, I was not nervous during pre-judging or the evening show. The night was mine and one checked off my bucket list with a 1st place trophy in hand.

My most recent show was quite opposite. I trained a year in hopes of obtaining additional muscle, especially in my quad area. I gained more muscle weight than I projected and was pleased to go on stage roughly 8 lbs heavier than the previous year. However, the downside is that during athlete check-in, it was determined that I was the only female bodybuilder that would compete. So, for the sake of experience and financial expenditures in this sport throughout the year, I did what I came to do…compete against myself. This year I was extremely nervous and I have yet to come to the conclusion of why, other than all eyes would be on me and that I was the only female bodybuilder in a dying breed. I struggled with my nerves and exhaustion at the evening show consisting of a 60 second routine to music. I am type-A and perfection (although not attainable or factual) always wreaks havoc with me mentally. So, during my performance, I missed a few of my routine poses and my routine song which did linger past 60 seconds was cut at 60 seconds, taking me by surprise. Nevertheless, I made it through and again with a 1st place trophy in hand, this time unfortunately by default.

In regards to my future completion plans, I am in a quandary. I have to have a small surgical procedure that will put off my training for an unknown period of time and unfortunately has come at the wrong time. I had planned to go to Masters Nationals in Pittsburg, PA in July or even possibly the North American’s short thereafter, but in order to do so, I would not be able to miss any portion of training until then. With much disappointment in the “timing” of all this and the lack of bodybuilding competition in my area and the slow elimination of my division, I am considering down-sizing my muscle mass and entering into the Womens Physique division. It is a battle I am waging that weighs heavy on my shoulders and mind. I love muscle and “big” muscle at that. My passion is lifting and lifting heavy. The change will be significant and excessive in order to be competitive in that class, so at this juncture it is still unknown to which path my heart will lead me. Should I stay or should I go…


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Tracy Argo

Tracy Argo

Tracy Argo