Jen Burak-Shultz - Figure Competitor

Like lots of young girls I was insecure and awkward in my own body from a very young age. My mother was overweight and always trying some new fad diet to shed unwanted weight. In my late teens early twenties I met and befriended many bodybuilders and loved how they could change their bodies. I signed up at the gym with the idea like many women that I needed to get skinny first, so I did hours of cardio! I read some magazines and started to add some weight training. I met a woman at the gym who I thought looked amazing! I approached her and asked her exactly how much cardio she did to look the way she did? She said “none”, and I was intrigued. She gave me the number of her coach and I made the call… I started the following week with a coach who gave me my daily food plan and workouts. I was off and on this for years but never really had a desire to compete.

I got married to a soldier and with him being gone all the time my insecurities came back along with disordered eating. The healthy eating turned into anorexia and bulimia and I would starve myself, or if I ate I would chew the food and spit it out or purge through excessive exercise. His first tour of duty I got dangerously thin so the second tour I decided to have a plan before he deployed. I decided to train for a figure competition. It would keep me focussed on healthy eating and weight training while he was away for 8 months. It was great until I found out 3 months before the competition that I was pregnant! Competition plans went on the back burner again.

I am so super proud of the results I am getting! Makes all the hard work seem worth while! 9 weeks out from #lbmc2017 this pic is only 1 weeks difference!!! Things are starting to happen! Thanks to my training partner/bff/coach @rockabilly_barbie and also her partner in crime @schwarzeginger ?? #clonearmyfitness #bodybuilding #bodybuilder #fitfam #preplife #hockeymom #fitmom #fitnessmotivation #figurecompetitor #bcabba #bcabbaathlete #willpowerwilloverpower #fitmomof2 #momswhosquat #momswholiftheavy #womenwithmuscle #gainz #mutantisosurge #aminocore

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Over the next 10 years my love of the gym was still there but 2 children and a Canadian soldier make life hectic. We were posted to Vancouver Island away from all of my family and friends. I never really knew that I was getting depressed, but not having a home gym or anything to occupy my mind made me cry daily. I knew something was missing in my life and realized it was the gym! I found a gym but I felt out of place and overweight, but I decided to go anyway, even if it was just for cardio. A few months later I was admiring a woman's physique. I approached her, we confessed we had both been eyeing each other up and laughed. That day my world changed and that woman became my coach and one of my best friends. We set a plan for me to train for a photo shoot, then the next year’s figure competition.

She set up my off season diet and the plan was set into motion. I tend to eat fairly healthy during my off-season, with only two or three cheats a week. My off-season calories are around 2800 to 3000 cal a day 40% carbs 40% protein and 20% fat. My prep started with 2000 cal similar ratios to my off-season, they will continue to drop in carbs and increases that’s closer to the show. I eat six meals a day all of the time, never more than 2 ½ to 3 hours apart. My boys both play hockey so travelling always includes my six pack bag and my 2.2 L mammoth mug.

I have worked with a few different coaches over the years, some put me on too low of carbohydrates, and not enough daily calories. Some coaches didn't keep fats high enough, or total calories high enough. My body responds very well to high carb, high protein clean eating. When your calories are not high enough and your macros aren’t right, you don’t have the fuel to push the workouts or make any muscle gains. You need to find a coach that knows proper nutrition and how it fuels the body. Not just somebody who’s using an old program that they had from their coach.

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I’m still struggling with the confidence to get on stage. I’m absolutely terrified! Honestly, I’m not worried how I do or how I place. If I can get up on that stage and carry through my routine without falling on my face, I will consider that a win in itself. My coach and meet weekly for posing practice and I practice like a crazy person in my mirror every day. I have amazing friends around me they continue to boost my confidence every day. My plan is to just ignore who’s in the crowd and focus on hearing my coaches voice in the audience.

I train heavy 5 to 6 days a week at various times a day. Sometimes I go at five in the morning sometimes at 10 AM after dropping the kids off at school. I have a treadmill at home that I do my fasted cardio on, which right now is 35 minutes 5 times a week and 20 minutes a day post workout three times a week. The only thing that I ever do fasted is my cardio, weights I always had at least one meal including carbs and protein before I train. I always consume a fast absorbing carb and fast absorbing protein like an apple and a protein shake post workout.

I guess my future plans will all depend on how I do at the LBMC and whether or not I win the overall or place for Provincials, LOL. There’s always the possibility of doing Provincials, maybe even Nationals! But what I would also really love is to help others! My struggle with body image and food has made me want to reach out and help others! I plan to further my education in personal training as well as nutrition so I can help others follow their dreams and be the person they always dreamed they could be. I would love to do this via social media, online articles, modelling, as well as one on one client training and counselling.

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There aren’t that many challenges for myself personally. I love the food, I love the training and the end result is amazing!! I think the biggest challenge I face is society! People tend to judge and make comments about how I look, how I eat and the time I spend in the gym. I'm a mother first, but we all still need “me” time! Many view this as selfish, but I never let my gym time interfere with my boys schedules or commitments. I guess the only other challenge is the food prep and traveling for sports or activities. This sport is a major time commitment and requires planning. Anytime I leave my house I need to make sure I have my vitamins, supplements, water and all food for the day!

I love everything about bodybuilding and if I can do anything to help anyone else out I would be honored.

Jen Shultz
Poksahontas on Instagram

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