Melody Ohling - Physique Competitor

Melody: I hated gyms. I had always been an active person. I was continuously involved in something. Aerobics, cheerleading , roller derby, etc. I loved being active and the thought of bettering oneself in any way was thrilling to me. But being indoors utilizing stationary equipment seemed boring and ineffective. I thought of gyms as a place for women to do cardio in an air conditioned space. Seemed pointless. As a woman, I never thought of picking up a weight.

A few years ago I found myself a very unhealthy individual despite my failed attempts at endless hours of cardio and what I thought was “healthy” eating. I just kept getting sicker. I spent thousands of dollars on doctor bills and the tests that they ran just trying to find the cause of my ailments. I was sick of being sick so I took my life back one small step at a time. Without doctors.

I quit smoking. Hardest thing I had ever done in my entire life. During the 1st few months of this uphill battle, I researched. And in my research I inadvertently found countless ways to naturally “heal” your body with food.

Now, my husband, Courtney, was just beginning his journey that is bodybuilding during this time. He had been begging me forever to quit smoking, go to the gym with him and preached healthy eating habits. I, being pretty stubborn, swore I knew more than him about how to eat right and exercise properly. And as I mentioned earlier, I hated gyms.

Finally, I relented. Grudgingly. I joined him during one of his gym sessions. And instead of walking the treadmill or spinning a bike’s wheels round and round, he made me lift weights. Heavy weights. I was instantly addicted to the way this made me feel. Mostly the feeling of strength and power this gave me. I left the gym that day feeling more accomplished than I had ever felt during any one workout. And it helped that my husband was just as proud of me, if not more so, as I was of myself. So the life of a physique competitor began.

At 1st I was very adamant about not ever competing. I just wanted to feel good and get muscular. Plus I was a very picky vegetarian and didn’t believe I could diet-down properly without meat and egg whites. Courtney decided to enter into the men’s bodybuilding division and found himself a coach. Noel Fuller.
This is where the fun began. We found ourselves a new little family at Foster Fitness aka “The Jungle Gym” I agreed to do a show and fell right into prep without egg whites and chicken breast at first. I drank rice protein shakes for all my protein. Until I got hungry. Noel was very patient with me while I played the stubborn client and only drank the shakes but I could tell how happy he was when I started eating “real” food. Having been a vegetarian for over 25 years this was a new experience for me. And a healthy one at that. Not that there is anything unhealthy per se about being a vegetarian. It was how I personally ate as a vegetarian. The road to my 1st show was challenging of course but I gave 110% and with Noel and Courtney’s guidance I finished 2nd in both divisions; women’s physique and novice figure. Not bad for a newbie. I was extremely proud of myself and this accomplishment.

My diet in the off-season consists of high protein, moderate carbohydrates and moderate fats. I eat every 2-3 hours every day and the meals are always the same at the same time each day. I prefer routine and don’t usually get very fancy or creative with my meals. I allow myself some indulgences throughout the week during the off-season in order to satisfy those niggling cravings. And on the weekends I make sure to hit all my necessary protein macros but eat a little more freely. Pre-contest diet consists of minimal fats high protein and moderate carbs. Vegetables are free during this time so I tend to eat a LOT of cucumbers. Carbohydrate intake is reduced as necessary during this time and cardio is only introduced near the end if needed.

I made the mistake of not getting enough protein and carbs prior to my 1st show so the months leading up to contest were a bit rough. My carb intake was already low and I was not getting nearly enough protein so when I began prep the scale went up rather than down. I gained muscle and was tightening up but the fat was very slow to come off and my body required a lot of cardio and lower carbs near the end than should have been necessary had I done a proper off-season diet. Although I was more than happy with my conditioning when it was all said and done, I will not make that mistake ever again.

Year round I take a small handful of vitamins. I take a women’s multi-vitamin, milk thistle for liver and kidney health as I have always been predisposed to urinary and kidney infections, cranberry/probiotic for urinary/digestive health, and vitamin C. My go to protein is ISO-100 by Dymatize (birthday cake flavor of course). I drink one shake upon awakening and one post-workout every day. For daily energy I drink Optimum Nutrition’s Amino Energy which also contains BCAAs and aids in muscle recovery.

My training consists of 1-2 muscle groups per day and is performed with high-intensity. My workouts never go over ½ hour every day. I train with lighter weight and focus more on the squeeze with time under tension and shorter rest periods. I could throw around some heavy weights but at my age my joints and tendons suffer and I would like to be able to train every day for the rest of my life without the burden of nagging injuries.
My training program is as follows:
Monday – Biceps and triceps
Tuesday – Hams/Glutes and calves & lower lumbar
Wednesday – Shoulders & Traps
Thursday – Back
Friday – Off
Saturday – Chest
Sunday – Quads

I incorporate abs in 3 times a week. Cardio is very minimal in the off-season and only done for heart and lung health. I try to do a 20 minute walk 3 times per week just because it makes me feel better overall.

I have found this lifestyle to be very satisfying and the absolute BEST part is that I have been able to help my kids and other loved ones to live a healthier lifestyle. My family is now very health conscious and able to make healthier decisions for themselves with food, exercise and most importantly everyday life occurrences. The mental aspect of this and learning how to prioritize for yourself and only take on what is most important to your overall happiness and well-being is very valuable.

I plan to compete again this upcoming spring in 2015 along with my husband. We will compete in at least 2 local shows: Oregon Ironman and the newest Cascadian Classic. I will bring a bigger and better package this next year and even better conditioning with the help of Noel Fuller and Courtney Ohling.

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Melody Ohling

Melody Ohling

Melody Ohling