Juli Sorenson - NPAA / IFPA / WNBF Figure Pro

I have always been drawn to the sport of body building, and I have always been interested in competing but I didn't decide to compete until after my first son was born in 2011. I had been working as a personal trainer since I graduated from college in 2004, but I don't think I realized how much having a baby would change my routine and my body. I could no longer go to the gym whenever I wanted, which is where I previously did all my workouts. At first I would still try to go to the gym but I was nursing and leaving to drive to the gym and drive back would make it so difficult. It got to the point that I was getting depressed because I couldn't train like I use to. My husband had to also work, and we worked shifts as community support aids in our building at night so I couldn't even pass the child off and leave the house for a couple hours. I hated that training became a stressor instead of my stress reliever.

NPAA ELITE PRO and IFPA FIGURE PRO CARD! #freakingout #procard #yesterdaywasamazing #npaa #ifpa #pro #figure #figurecompetitor #competitionprep #preplife #fitness #dedication #sofreakinghappy #instafit #yyc #npaa2016 #yycfitness #ymca #mru

A photo posted by Juli Sorenson (@soren_jj) on

I finally decided to try to workout in my house. At that time we lived in a small 2 bedroom apartment, maybe 700 sq.ft. total. I set up my chin up bar, got a couple weight plates, and a short Olympic bar, and stored them under my bed (because that's the only place they would fit). Everyday that my son would take his daily nap, was my designated workout time. I did as much as I could with what I had. Sometime I would have to leave my legs day for the evening when my husband was home so he could put the bar on my back for squats because I didn't have a rack. I got into a great routine and started seeing results.

I enter myself in a fitness competition because I wanted a goal to work towards. It was too tempting to just take a nap or just sit down and watch a tv show or just simply rest when my son went down for his nap. I also wanted to get my body back to square one before I committed it to having another baby (Because let's face it ladies, that is one of the hardest thing your body goes through.)

So 15 months after my son was born I Competed for my first time in Oct. 2012 and won my novice category in figure. The self gratification that I felt after accomplishing something that difficult and recovering my body after my first pregnancy was so significant I knew I would compete in this sport again.

After my first show in 2012, we planned to have our second child and I became pregnant shortly afterwards with my second son. That pregnancy was very different than my first. I felt sick and nauseous and SO tired. After he was born 5 weeks early he developed colic which is just a term you hear when your child screams for no apparent reason for hours at a time. I'm not going to go into the reason's I was tired but, nonetheless I WAS TIRED.

It took me 22 months this time to compete after the second pregnancy, this time I did 6 shows. I currently have my Pro Card with the NPAA, IFPA and the WNBF in the Figure division.

A photo posted by Juli Sorenson (@soren_jj) on


I eat a wide variety of foods in my off season, from cookies to broccoli. When I competed for the first time I followed a very strict "clean" diet that had little to no variety and/or change in the regime. It obviously got me stage ready, but I was left with a bad relationship with food. The next 6 shows I followed a IIFYM diet and still had favorable results and better relationship to food. I don't really consider IIFYM a "diet" since I filled my macros with the foods of my choice. It's not that I ate junk food all day that 'fit my macros' but I had the ability to put a greater variety of foods in my contest prep. I actually found the IIFYM diet more effective for me because it was easier to adhere to and stay within my limits and not feel restricted to boiled chicken and unflavored protein powder. Adherence is key.

My macros change closer to the show obviously, but if I have given my body an appropriate off season I don't have to go to any crazy extremes to get stage lean. Carb cycling techniques have been effective in the past, as well as carb loading pre/post weights. Each Prep has been different, depending on where my body and metabolism was at the time.

I am a natural athlete and always will be. I do usually take EFX Kre - Alkalyn Creatine. I don't have to load it or cycle it and I don't feel any adverse effects from it, like bloating. I would usually take it before and after my weights and in the morning on my rest days.
I also found taking a straight Arginine and Citrulline supplement before my weight training would give me a good "pump".
I have large breaks where I am not taking anything at all besides protein powder because I obviously don't intake anything while Pregnant or Breastfeeding.


The components of my weight training program really depend on where I am at in my off season or contest prep. In my off season I do little to no cardio, and if I do it's usually HIIT or Plyo. I also get more specific in my weight training, for example, I will devote a whole training sessions to specific body parts that need to be built up. When I am in contest prep I will utilize HIIT and steady state cardio to bring up my conditioning and my weight training will become less specific.

My weight training program also changed from show to show because 5 out of my 7 show preps were done at home. I have less equipment at home so the exercises become more basic. I don't have a cable machine and so I incorporate a lot of pull up variations in my back day at home.

Since my youngest stopped napping my last 2 show preps were done at the gym at 5:30 in the morning. I enjoyed using the Olympic platforms, cables and all the other machines to build up my weaker body parts. I have utilized a lot of hip thrusts and deadlifts lately to build my posterior chain.

When I am "cutting" for a show I try not to change too many factors all at once, as to not send the body into stress mode. I may adjust cardio one week and then macros the next.

On Stage

I have had an array of feelings pre/post competitions. It's always a rush to step on stage and display all the hard work, the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into your current physique. I have felt great disappointments after a show and I have felt unsurpassable joy after a show. Each experience has helped me become the competitor I am today.

Currently I am in the process of building a tiny human, yes my third child is due in March. So my short term goal is to stay active while trying to hang on to as much muscle mass as possible throughout this pregnancy. I know it will be hard to step on stage again, but my goal is to "get my body back" a third time and step on a pro stage for the IFPA or the WNBF. It's definitely NOT going to be easy, but I've done it twice before I can do it again. I want others to know that having kids is not a death sentence to your fitness goals, it just changes the game plan a little.

FaceBook: Juli Sorenson
IG: @soren_jj
Email: juli_little@hotmail.com

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