Grace Haecker - Bikini Competitor

Grace: I have always been into staying fit as I was a competitive cross country runner in high school. I started lifting early in college when a friend introduced it to me. After I joined the military and gained a solid 10-15 pounds of muscle from Army boot camp I realized I could really change my form. It was not until years later I decided to take it to the next step. I was introduced to a great trainer at Independence Gym in Scottsdale AZ. He really pushed me and believed in me to challenge myself to get on stage. I thought lets have fun what do I have to lose? My very first competition was Dennis James in 2014 and took first place in my class. This opened my eye to wanting to go further and eventually earn my national qualification. Last year I traveled all over from Pittsburg to Vegas competing at a national level for my pro-card. Ultimately I have fun and each time I learn something more about my body and how to fuel it properly.

A photo posted by GHealth•n•fit (@ghealthnfit) on

Diet: It is not possible to “gain muscle while losing weight” it just cannot happen. So during off season I eat mindfully balancing out my macronutrients and cut back a bit on cardio so I can build. Nice part is my body actually goes back to the same weight so this is how I know when I diet down I’m doing it right. I have a very different method that I have learned for show prep. I watch my caloric intake very carefully and place my macronutrients specific to times and meals. I then do NO cardio!! Shocker to most people. I see great results this way and really only start adding the cardio in 3 weeks out. This allows the body to have little to no inflammation and stress so that when cardio is introduced you lose body fat quickly. My first time trying this I lost body fat almost too quickly so I will know this next time and increase my calories a lot more.

Low calorie/ extreme low carbohydrate / carbohydrate cycling / ketogenic / diets will vary on the individual, their medical history and the amount of cardio they are doing. For me more of a ketogenic diet worked when I was not doing cardio and when I was I carbohydrate cycled and this worked except I didn’t feel the greatest all the time.

Once I add back in cardio I continue to lift daily (this is ongoing even with no cardio) I would have 2 run days, 2 HIIT days on the stair master

Building self-confidence to compete: Practice!!! Confidence in myself and really not caring what others think of me! My physique is not who I am and I would step on that stage knowing I gave it 110% each time so I was satisfied. I still get nervous every time.

Stage experience: Feelings of excitement, the whole competition because my last show was so large. I went with a group of friends also competing along with my coach so I did feel at ease. Because of my height and often only competing once in my height category sometimes I feel the judges are tired and I get passed up too easily.

Future plans: This year spent on training, growing my private practice and unsure right at this moment when my next show will be. For sure in the future I want to inspire through being a dietitian helping people reach their nutrition and fitness goals along with continuing to be a fitness model.

Instagram: @ghealthnfit

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