Rachel Reife - Figure Competitor

In high school after being the chubby girl I began my interest in the gym. I started going to a local gym but I had no clue about working out. I graduated shortly after and during my college years was part of group fitness, cardio, and eating what I thought was healthy food. I would consistently go to the gym and then wait tables at /outback and eat the unhealthiest protein bar you could think of and that would be my meal for hours while going out after work late into the night drinking and eating unhealthy. As you can see I was intrigued by health and fitness a while back, but just never got to the point where I am today. I was always on the edge of making it a priority, but never committed simply because I was uneducated about how to eat, what to eat, and when to eat coupled with how to exercise properly.

I would read Fitness Magazines all the time and admire those last few pages featuring the winners in the different competition categories. During the early 2000ís, I hired a trainer for the first time and had a goal of hitting a certain weight. It was not much of a weight loss goal, but it was a goal. I had already made diet changes and now I started to learn techniques. I still wasnít fully committed to giving up all foods, wine etc. but I just didnít know how much this affects your changes. My husband and I at the time had been trying to conceive for over 1.5 years and I knew just as I reached my goal I would get pregnant. Sure enough it happened. I took a different approach once I found out we were expecting and committed to eating healthy for the baby. I still worked out and did cardio, but because it was my first, I treaded very lightly. I didnít want anything to happen to my baby. I also had a husband very unsupportive of the gym or protein in the house for that matter. I had a healthy baby girl in 2007 and I would walk/run, do home videos, etc. to lose my baby weight which came off very slowly. I resumed back to the gym and started following Jillian Michaels program doing her workouts at the gym and making huge improvements both physically and emotionally.

After my daughter was a few years old my marriage started getting rough and rocky. The gym became my outlet, my stress relief, and one of the most important things to do each day. In 2011 I filed for divorce and it was at this time I committed to my first show. I took all my pain and put it into the bar. As I lifted heavy or pushed through a rep occasionally a tear would fall. Not because of sadness but because I knew the emotional pain would be tough and the journey ahead was a long road but that no matter what I no longer lived under the control of someone else, I could be who I wanted to be and teach my daughter that if you put your mind to something anything is possible. I did just that, in September 2011 I competed in my first show taking 1st place in Novice. Winning that show earned me a free entry to the next show in October which I competed in and then also decided to do a 3rd one in November that year. From there it continued into 2012 and thru today.

Over the past few years I have had some setbacks and humps to overcome including a broken tibia/fibia at the ankle resulting in a knee scooter for 2.5 months with no ability to use my left leg and a second pregnancy. My show in November 2014 I won second place earning an opportunity for nationals but it was shortly after this show on Christmas morning 2014 I found out I was pregnant and 15 weeks along. I did the math and I was about 6 weeks pregnant on stage and lost my chance for being able to compete at nationals that year. I nurtured my pregnancy like the first except this time I was in a different state of mind regarding fitness. I worked out and taught spin class all the way up until 1 week before the induction. I did not change much on my training, just modified the weights on squats. I had a very easy and amazing delivery and it was November 2015 that I decided to make my way back to the stage.

Couldn't get the other picture to post with out half of it cut off so here is another beautiful shot taken by the talented @jenny4penneys LIVE * DREAM *INSPIRE Some more being posted to Facebook stay tuned #sarahlong #fitfam #trainhard #drive #noexcuses #girlswithmuscles #postbabybody #fitmom #fitness #motivate #spininstructor #businessdevelopmentbyday #traindirty #powerlifting#bodybuilding #npcfigurecompetitor #figure @sarahteamlong @donlongifbbpro @teamlong_tl @israelhernandez_jr #workoutmotivation #inspiration

A photo posted by Rachel Reife (@naturally4you) on

This journey was not easy. I had to start from scratch, go through a few coaches due to unforeseen circumstances and put in the work, commitment, and time with a 9 year old, newly married husband, 6 month old baby girl, full time job, and a lot of hurdles. I began my prep the day after my birthday November 22, 2015 and the first goal was to lose body fat from the pregnancy and gain back lean body muscle with my first coach this prep. Day in and Day out I followed my plans and cardio schedule. After my second coach was not working for me I had to make a change. I joined Team Long (Sarah and Don Long) in July 2016 and finally felt amazing and headed in the right direction. With their guidance and coaching, I was completely changing my physique. It was my amazing coach Sarah that brought me into my first competition this year November 5th 2016. My goal was to beat the girl on stage in 2014 and I did just that. I decided to compete once again November 26, 2016 just two days after Thanksgiving. My goal that show was to beat myself from two weeks ago and earn 1st place which I took home 2 first place wins and one overall earning my shot at nationals once again.

Diet and Training

I always follow my coaches prep plans both off season and in season. Unfortunately, I have had to go through several coaches to find my current coach who not only works with my nutrition that is best for me and works for me, but also believes in keeping calories as high as possible without sacrificing muscle loss. During my pregnancy I ate healthy but I wasnít concerned with how many carbs etc. When I decided to prep for the stage I had hired a coach who believed in detoxing the body through a lemonade drink only for up to 10 days. I did it and felt great and from there his goal was to have me gain muscle back and eat a balanced meal plan including foods like yogurt, fruit, etc. He ended up having a family emergency and could not focus on coaching me so I was left to find another coach. I ventured out and hired a new coach from Chicago who seemed to do really well with all his girls but his diet was definitely not for me, it began with a mix of fruit, proteins, carbs, and foods like quest bar bagels, etc. This just doesnít work for me so we switched midway and I ended up going way below the calories I need especially while training and doing cardio fasted. When I was feeling really sick and lethargic I knew this could not be healthy and a change was needed. This is when I reached out to Sarah and Don Long and made the best change to date since competing in 2011. Not knowing me we kept calories the same until the very end (last week before show) and we tried different combos of carb rotation, keto, etc to see what works best for me. Low carb/keto seemed to kickstart my metabolism but because I had come off of two bad coaching experiences we were starting in a tough spot. Right before peak week my calories came down just a little taking me into peak week with a few low carb days and then the carb up cycle before show.

Post show we are doing an off season plan keeping with the clean foods and having decent carb intake all from good complex carb sources with small amount of fats. Weekly we do one cheat meal as well. Calories are the same as when they were before peak week. Our goal is to build using our foods to bring a better package for nationals. We will be doing this plan for a while before cutting. As you can see each person is unique in what works for them, I am a true product of that going through several coaches and different diet plans to find something that works for me.

I follow my coaches training program which is 1 rest day (just cardio) and the rest of the days are a split of legs, working mostly hams and glutes, chest and arms, back, shoulders, and legs again. My cardio off season is 35-45 minutes and during prep it slowly increases in time as I get closer. I also switch things up by incorporating power lifting techniques.

Let Goals and determination lead the way and results will happen #goals #powerlifting #fitmomof2 #npcfigure #npcathlete #bodybuilding #drive #determination #postbabybody #followyourdreams #hope#passion #teamlong @teamlong_tl @israelhernandez_jr @donlongifbbpro @sarahteamlong

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On Stage

To this day I still get nervous if I will be ready, but I know I put in the work and to trust the process. Before my first show I was so nervous. I am one of the most modest people out there and the thought of being in a bikini with barely any coverage at all in front of tons of people scared me so much that I knew I had to do everything per plan perfectly and I had to trust my coach that I would be ready. As I continued to see results and get closer and closer to the show I knew the work and posing was done day in and day out and now itís time to have fun. I loved the feeling of being on stage and when I was up on stage it felt amazing, donít get me wrong I still had flutters and the nervous bug just being on stage, but my adrenaline rushes and itís the best feeling walking across the stage showing off all the hard work you have done.

I have never felt so good about going into a show. Through all my coaching experiences the past year and coming off a pregnancy taking my time and not rushing into a show, I really felt prepared and ready to hit the stage when I did. It was slow and steady process but at the end it paid off.

I am currently following my off season plan and soon will begin prepping for my first national show which will be in May to get my feet wet. We are really prepping for July where I plan to bring my best package and rock the stage with my goal of earning top 5 in a very difficult competition. For now I am lifting heavy again, training consistently, doing my cardio and staying on track to attach the year ahead.

Email rreife@interplanllc.com
Facebook www.facebook.com/rachelreife
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/naturally4you

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Rachel Reife