Brandi Ambrose - Physique Competitor

I'm Brandi Ambrose and I am a nationally qualified women's physique and figure competitor. I've been competing for 3 years while working for Dairy Queen.

I began lifting weights in 2009 while in college as a means to pass the time. I worked all throughout college and never really had much time to go out and socialize. It was my way of alleviating the stress of school. The idea of competing on the bodybuilding stage was brought to my attention early on, but was quickly dismissed as I was uncomfortable about any perceived negative attention brought onto myself as a potential future elementary school teacher. The idea was revisited in 2013 after a suggestion by a close friend and coworker. After some consideration, I decided to give it a shot and began competing in the spring of 2014. I didn't think I'd like it at all, but became hooked like most people do.

Walked away with a 2nd place trophy in Women's Physique, and a 5th place in Figure! #canonlygoupfromhere #pittsburghchampionships #npc #npcpittsburgh #npcnewsonline #pittsburgh #figure #physique #crossover #backtothedrawinggboard #gotsomegrowingtodo #nowieat #dairyqueen #dq #bendingredspoons #littlemissDQ

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As far as off-season/contest season diet goes, I try to keep it simple. I will still keep the basic protein and carb sources I use throughout a prep, such as chicken, eggs, rice, and sweet potatoes. Only thing that changes is how it's prepared or seasoned and portioned. My body loves food and I need food to grow. I've tried carb cycling and carb loading, to ketogenic diets. I'm still learning how to eat, what to eat, but more importantly--- when to eat. The keto diet didn't work very well for me and perhaps I didn't execute it correctly. My body loves and needs carbs!

I train 6 days a week with 1 day of rest. Each daily workout is dedicated to a specific muscle group. For example, I like splitting my leg days into a 2 day split with a day focusing on the quads/calves and another day focusing on the glutes and hamstrings. My training split is a mix of weights, cable machines which involve drop sets and reps until failure. I also include fasted HIIT cardio during contest prep.

It's not entirely difficult balancing my diet with my training. With that being said, I have to balance those things, especially the diet, with my job. One of the most challenging aspects is not what I'm surrounded with while at work, it's finding the time to be able to eat my meals when I'm supposed to!

When it comes to confidence, it didn't always come easy for me. In fact, I was very shy and disliked being around people in public places. I dreaded public speaking classes in college. I dreaded teaching lessons in front of people. However, those courses as well as my job, assisted in making me more comfortable around strangers. Building confidence takes time. I almost become a completely different person on stage. I couldn't stop shaking and stumbling at my first show. I would say just to have fun with it, smile, and breathe!

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I recently competed at the NPC Pittsburgh Championships. I chose this show because it was my first NPC in 2015 and I remember it being a huge show. I did not even crack the top 5 at that show, so this year I came much better prepared. Overall it was a great experience except prejudging moved too fast and as the first division up, we were not given much time to pump. It rained and we were waiting for the tanning company to arrive to touch us up and they were running behind a bit. I got a 30 second pump and looked flat on stage. And I also felt I was too dark, which can be detrimental to your placing if the judges can't see lines in the muscles. My body soaks up spray tan unusually as well as unpredictably.

How does being an athlete change my life? I'm more conscious of the ingredients I am putting into my body and has taught me how to cook. 4 years ago, I microwaved everything, was a picky eater, and didn't know how to use a skillet. Now I bake, boil, and grill all kinds of food for contest prep.

Being an athlete has also changed my job. Most people come into Dairy Queen for a cheat treat, but I am the person people go to if they have a question regarding some of the healthier options on the menu. In a pinch, I can come up with something relatively clean. You can still enjoy eating out, but you can eat smartly. Also, the idea of "Ice Cream with Muscles" came about after a year into competing because I work for Dairy Queen and I started to get better with each competition. The nickname started at work, which stuck because I also love all things Dairy Queen. I lived in Minneapolis for about a year to receive work-related training and upon completion of that training, I got a red spoon tattooed on my neck. My friend, Jessica, who works at their corporate office, started calling me "Spoons" and it stuck.

I think I finally found a good place for curly the cone.... surrounded by lovely bronzed beauties. Talk about a #ladiesman ?? #dairyqueen #curlythecone #conewiththecurlontop #trophies #surroundedbyladies #npc #fitness #figure #physique #lol #icecream

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As far as future plans go, I plan on continuing to eat cleaner and put on some more size to continue with Women's Physique. I have been competing successfully in both Figure and Women's Physique for the last year and a half. I would like to train harder and smarter so I can continue to bring my best look to the stage in one division. Outside of competing, I plan to keep myself up to date on training at work with new methods and products and eventually someday buy or build a Dairy Queen store for myself.

You can find pictures of me in the gym and onstage as well as photos of my work-related antics on my instagram- icecreamwithmuscles.

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