Liz Johnson - Figure Competitor

I have been in a gym, with the intent to develop as a bodybuilder, for 17 yrs but I only started competing about 8 yrs ago, after the birth of my daughter. I knew I would have to really kick my workouts into gear and get onto a solid diet plan in order to get my body back after pregnancy and as I had always had an interest in competing, I felt that there was no better time than then to get started. 9 months after my daughter was born, I stepped on stage. I placed 3rd out of 10 and was hooked!

My contest diet preps are usually about 8 weeks - my body reacts quickly as the muscle has excellent memory (my child hood years as a competitive gymnast really helped lay the foundation for this industry) and my metabolism stays relatively high, even as I approach my 40s. My off season meals stay fairly clean, but I do allow myself to enjoy drinks and dessert more often. I don't like to get over 12 lbs from my stage weight in the off season, another reason I can do a shorter prep. I don't think it's very healthy to get as lean as we do for a show, then allow ourselves to pack on too much weight in the off season. It's too much of a yo yo diet for me. also, staying lean lets me monitor how much lean muscle I have put on, I can really track my gains.

Liz Johnson

I find that my prep diet can stay pretty basic, really. For the first 4 or 5 weeks, I stick with chicken, rice, sweet potatoes, egg whites, and I keep my fats up too. I like to have half an avocado with my egg whites (and franks hot sauce!) for breakfast, and I use coconut oil on my rice or sweet potato, and in my coffee in the am. The last 3-4 weeks of my diet I usually drop all carbs. I will eat chicken with bell peppers and/or asparagus (again with coconut oil, and I also cook the veggies in Braggs soy aminos). I still do my egg whites for bfast and will add in almonds if I need a snack during the day. I get at least 4 meals a day in, occasionally get a 5th meal in. I like to eat the exact same thing for my prep, I rarely change. I'm not a great cook and by eating the same for the duration of my prep, I can cook in mass quantities and not have to worry about checking portion sizes. I just go on auto pilot and eat. Nice and easy! People ask me all the time about calories but honestly I don't track them. I watch my body and make portion adjustments as needed. The only diets I tried that truly didn't work were the ones I didn't follow strictly! lol! I do find I must have fats in my diet - I had a trainer at one point that wouldn't add extra fats and my muscle bellies weren't as full and my joints didn't feel so good. Aside from that, as long as I kept my discipline in check, my body has always responded well.

I have never been nervous to step on stage. Even my first show gave me no sense of anxiety or nervousness. By the time I step on stage, I know I deserve to be there and I am so proud of what my body is able to do, I enjoy showing people what they could do as well. I love being an inspiration, not only as a woman but just as a human, to my daughter and my son. I love when people come up and say that because of me they have gotten in the gym and had their own successes. Everyone is capable of achieving their own personal best - some will include competitive levels of fitness, while others may just get the body they wanted and improve their health. And it's all good, because what's right for me may not be right for everyone else, but taking themselves further than they were not only inspires them but also inspires me.

My training is fairly meat and potatoes style training. I love weights. I like the standard, but truly effective, movements, like dead lifts, shoulder presses, hack squats, etc. I do also enjoy employing some "hybrid" type lifts, those that work for my body specifically - and I love super sets. Not just in one body part but, for example, when training arms, I will do one set for bis, then an immediate set for tris. And by the time I get thru with my training, my arms are super full and spent. When I'm in contest prep, I add in some plyo work for my legs. My cardio in the off season is just used to stay on top of any bad foods I have eaten, but for contest prep, it goes to a solid 5-6x a week, for at least 30 mins, max being an hr. my trainer prefers to control body changes with diet rather than tearing down the body too much and I love his train of thought.

My experiences with competing have always been positive, at least from being around other competitors - they are almost always friendly and kind. I "grew up" in the npc, but made the switch to the new organization, the NSL and am loving it! They truly have made the show experience fun, transparent, and always give the atmosphere of family. I finally made it to the pro ranks and plan on giving the industry all of me that I can afford! Now that I have "made it", I feel like I'm only truly half way there and NOW my work is really getting cut out for me! I will continue to compete and model as long as there is demand for me and my body hangs with me as my partner. My future plans hopefully include getting some sponsorships and endorsement where I can really help promote a great product or service!

Liz Johnson
cell 423.883.3262
Gym: grit house in Cleveland TN
Trainer: Nathan King

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