Ali Schuetz - Bikini Competitor

Ali: Throughout my childhood, sports were always a big part of my life, as I played them year round. After graduating high school, I went on to play college soccer. Once I was done, I felt there was a competition void that needed to be filled. For so many years, I was told how to exercise in order to improve my skills catered to the specific sports I played. For the first time in my life, it was my turn to choose how I wanted to exercise. A friend of mine suggested I check out From there I checked out some of the free training programs they offer online. Once began to immerse myself in the health & fitness community, I was hooked. I loved how I looked and felt, and wanted to share those feelings with the world.

I decided to compete because I wanted to challenge myself, and get back to some sort of competition. My mind and body ached for something challenging, and I wanted to be an inspiration to others that may struggle sticking with their exercise and diet plans. I wanted to be an exuding example that this lifestyle is truly enjoyable, and that fostering encouragement and being a honest example was a great place to start when it came to helping others along their journey.

My off season and in season meal plans are much different. In my in season I stuck to a strict meal plan and would eat generally the same things each day, and similar times. It was pretty monotonous, but was successful. My body responded really well to the nutritional foods I was feeding it. Once I transitioned to my off season, I allowed myself some more variety in what I ate, but I slowly increased my calories in order to avoid major fat gains. I wanted to get my metabolism back to a point where it felt comfortable taking in more food and burning it. Many people suggest eating 6 small meals a day, which I do think it has some validity to it, but I also think that as long as you're eating the right foods in the proper amounts, you can divide your meals up how you please. In terms of quantities, I'm a big proponent of 1 gram of protein per lbs of body weight. Many people lack proper protein intake which is essential when it comes to building muscle. As far as fat and carbohydrates, everyone's body responds differently to each. For example, my body responds better with increased carbs than it does fats. My body does not particularly love fats, so I try and limit those and increase my carbs. It's all about experimenting and observing how your body responds, and taking it from there.

A photo posted by Ali Schuetz (@ali_leefit) on

I wouldn't necessarily say I've tried any diets that have failed. Like I said before, I've tried the strict bro-diet meal plan where I ate the same things every day, and I just got sick of it by the time I was done with my season. For the longest time, I couldn't stomach the thought of eating chicken and rice. So in a sense, that failed me as I had outgrown that style of eating. I've gone from intuitively eating, to macro counting, to now just being mindful of what I'm eating. Through all my experimenting and gaining nutritional knowledge I've learned what a well balanced meal plan looks like, and when I'm going overboard or underrating. I don't personally love the idea of macro counting 24/7 for myself, because it becomes an obsessive habit. As long as I'm honest with myself about what I'm eating, and consciously make good food choices, it's easy to mentally track what I'm eating. This relives my mind from food stress and allows myself some flexibility.

Currently, I'm on a plan heavily based on long distance running, with 3-4 days of hypertrophy lifting, 4 days of long distance running, and 2 days of HIIT sprints. Recently moving to Southern California has made me fall in love with long distance running again, as the weather is always beautiful and it's a mode of training I've previously loved before competing. I choose to do hypertrophy style weight lifting to help sculpt my muscles, but also foster those endurance muscles I need for long distance running. I incorporate 2 HIIT days a week to keep those fast twitched muscles still engaged, surprise my body with a different mode of training, and to really kick start those fat burning mechanisms. I balance this with my diet by making sure I eat carbs a few hours before I run long distances to keep my energy storages up, and high carb and protein after my runs/lifts. It's important to eat carbs after exercise to get those blood vessels open to receive that protein straight to the muscles.

Building up the confidence to step on stage in a tiny bikini and suspect heels is a challenge, let's be honest here. I would have never dreamed of doing that, what would people think? When I first began my fitness journey, I was so touched by how caring and supportive the fitness community is. Having people I didn't know lift me up and encourage me on social media is partly what help me learn better self confidence. Mainly though, pushing yourself to the limits and really committing to something makes you truly learn what you're made of. I learned who I am down to my core and when you get that deep, you begin to learn just how awesome of a human being you really are. Every single one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made, so if you commit to truly pushing yourself to your limits - despite the fear and the agony - you'll learn who you are, and you'll love yourself for it. Everyone else's opinions melt away when you begin to learn that you're the one living your own life so doing the things you enjoy should be top priority over other's opinions. BE YOU.

The competing process is an interesting one, and long at that. Be prepared for lots of down time and waiting. This waiting process can foster a lot of anxiety for first time competitors, so being prepared for that anxiousness is key. When I stepped on stage for the first time, I was shaking like a leaf. I was not prepared for that experience and was truly terrified. Haha! But the second time around I truly let loose and loved showing off my hard work! My advice would be to relax and enjoy every aspect of the process: from the freezing cold, naked spray tans, to meeting everyone back stage, to stepping on stage, to eating, etc. The day goes by SO fast, so soak up every memory you can.

As of now, my future plans are to currently just enjoy life and do the style of training that I enjoy at the moment. I want to work right now to inspire others to find the mode of exercise they love and encourage them to work hard at that. I want to eventually become a full time online personal trainer and fitness model. I also have hopes to compete again in a year or so, and eventually step on a national stage. The sky is the limit for me!

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