Amy Battles - Physique Competitor

Amy: I was in my late 30’s, overweight and recently divorced. It was then that I decided to start taking better care of myself. I began weight training in 2011 with a couple of friends. We trained together 6 days a week. I made some progress and became very excited. However, I knew that if I wanted to take it to the next level I would need to hire a trainer. To me the next level was competing in figure. So, in October 2011 I hired my first trainer to prepare me for the stage. My first competition was in March 2012 as a figure competitor. I have been competing ever since, albeit I have changed divisions from figure to women’s physique. I competed in my first women’s physique competition at the Big Schott Classic and All Women’s Weekend 2014 where I placed for a national show. My first national level show was the IFBB North American Championships 2015 were I placed 7th. I am very pleased that I broke the top 10 at my first attempt at the national level. My plans are to get bigger and leaner for next year Nationals 2016, after I compete in the Big Schott Classic and All Women’s Weekend 2016.

Diet and Training
During the off-season I eat every 2 ½ hours. My meals are primarily fish (4 oz) and brown rice (1/4 c). A couple of meals a day are chicken (4 oz) and sweet potato (1/2 large). I have a green with every meal. Sometimes is asparagus, other times it broccoli.

Shifting my diet to pre-contest prep is not very drastic. I eat every 2 hours, change my carbs to white rice and white potatoes and my last meal of the day has no carbs. My green vegetable is only asparagus. I can get away with so many carbs because I keep my body fat to a minimal amount all year. Only during the last 3 weeks will I pull carbs out of my diet for a carb cycle (several days no carbs and a day of carb loading).

In the past I have tried 12 weeks of no carbs. My expectation for this diet was to get lean and hard for stage. However I was disappointed. I felt tired and sluggish. My muscles were flat. And I ended up losing some muscle mass that I worked so hard to acquire during the off-season. Another diet that was disappointing was a very low calorie off-season and contest season diet. On this diet I even counted the number of blueberries I added to my tablespoon of cooked oatmeal. I did not gain size, but I sure did loose fat.

I train 6 days a week, which requires time management. I work a full time job and have a family, so finding a balance is crucial. With my demanding schedule I have to prepare my meals days in advance. Every Sunday I spend the afternoon cooking all my meals for the week. That way I am not spending my entire evening meal prepping for the following day and can spend time with my family. My training consists of focusing on a single body part then adding in auxiliary work, a typical bodybuilder training regimen. Sunday is leg day, emphasis on squats and deadlifts. Monday is chest day with shoulders and biceps. Tuesday is back day with traps and triceps. Wednesday is shoulder day. Thursday is back to leg day. Friday is a push-pull routine, chest and back with shoulders. In order to keep my conditioning 3 hours a week of cardio has been added to my routine.

Contest Experience
My confidence to get on stage and be judged comes from my progress. I take progress pictures every month. I compare the current progress pictures with the previous. My confidence builds when I see changes in muscle size, shape and definition. These changes are also my motivation to train hard in the gym. I can see that all that work is paying off.

My last contest was my first national level show, the IFPP North American Championships 2015. The experience was very exciting. During check-in everywhere I looked were bodybuilders, both competitors and their supporters. Backstage during pre-judging everyone was friendly, like a big family. The entire time backstage I was smiling, even during the pep-talk/pump-up with my coach. There is no other feeling than being on stage for my 60 seconds of fame. It is just exhilarating.

Future Plans: My personal goal is to gain more muscle, and be bigger and leaner for next year’s competitions. I will continue to do what is necessary to qualify for national level shows, so that I can continue to compete on the national stage. My plans for 2016 are to compete at the Big Schott Classic and All Women’s Weekend 2016 then compete at Nationals 2016 in November. Once I win my IFBB pro-card (fingers crossed) I will continue to compete. I will never stop trying to improve my body or stop challenging myself.

Follow me via my Facebook athlete's page: Amy Battles Women’s Physique
Twitter: @amybattles42

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Amy Battles

Amy Battles