Robyn Kimsey - Figure Competitor

My first figure competition was in June 2015. Honestly, if you told me the year before that I would be a in a figure competition, I would have said “Yeah, right.” At the time, I didn’t think about competing. I just liked doing my own thing at the gym and watching my body change. People at the gym started to take notice of me and my improvements. Soon, people were asking me which competition I was training for, and my reply was “I’m just doing this for myself…” Not long after that, I starting thinking about competing. Then I thought “Well, why not?” You see, most of my life I didn’t have the type of body to strut across a stage in a sparkling two-piece…. I was obese. I actually would hide behind people in group pictures, and other times refused to have my picture taken. I really didn’t like the person I saw staring back at me in the mirror. I stopped stepping on the scale to check my weight after I saw 219.5lbs being flashed at me. Filled with self-loathing, I still did not get off my lazy butt to do something about it.

Back in October of 2011, just five days after my birthday, my mother had a stroke. This stroke left her with minimal use of her left side. It was a pretty hard blow to the whole family. My father and I stepped up to the plate to help take care of her during this time. We weren’t really prepared for the road that was ahead of us, but we knew it would be a long one.

After her stroke, she was in and out of the Doctors offices having multiple tests taken to find the cause of the stroke. My father, he had some blood work tested as well. When the results came back, my mother’s stroke was mostly caused my having high blood pressure. My father’s results showed he had high blood pressure and his cholesterol was through the roof. And well me… I already knew I had high blood pressure. It was obvious we all needed to make a change and we knew the best place to start was to change our diet. I knew I would not be able to stick to the same diet my parents were doing, so I did some research on what would be the best diet for me. I didn’t go for one of those ‘Fad’ diets, but I did find one that has been around for a while and known to be very successful. Next thing I knew, the pounds had melted away. It wasn’t until my pants and underwear (yes, my underwear) fell off my butt that I actually took the time to look at myself in the mirror again. What I saw was a thinner and healthier version of me. Happy with what I saw, I actually started crying. At that moment, I had lost over 100 pounds from my max weight.

Robyn Kimsey

Not long after that moment, I found a flaw. I thought “Oh no! What is that?!” My arms had flapping wings of loose skin! How do I hide that?! That’s when I came up with the idea to fill it in with muscle. Whether it would work or not, it was worth the shot. I needed to start working-out anyways. That’s when I started weight training. I really didn’t know what I was doing, but I was doing it. I also started watching training videos and befriended a few people that the gym. They gave some pretty helpful tips on muscle isolation exercises. That was also the time I met my boyfriend. He helped push me even harder in the gym. I give a lot of credit of my knowledge on weight training to him. Two years after training with him, I strutted my butt across the stage in my first figure competition. I competed in three more competitions since then, the most recent being a National Qualifier to which I ended up qualifying for Nationals.

For 2016, I searched for a Prep-Coach. I had a hard time deciding who I wanted to work with. My decision was made after reading a very informative post about fats and their role in the body on Facebook by IFBB Pro Mike Horn. Even though I had decided I wanted to work with him, I really did not know how to go about asking him. It was his beautiful wife, Jan Horn, who contacted me. She reached out to me to schedule a posing practice appointment. Yeah, I was nervous. And, the drive from Albany, GA to Mobile, AL didn’t help calm me either! But, I had the pleasure of meeting them both, got in a good workout, worked on posing, then talked about furture contests and nutrition. From that day forward, they both became my coaches. I followed the well structured diet plan Mike Horn set up for me. It consisted mostly of high protein, low fats and low in carbohydrates. The diet was pretty easy to follow. The hardest part was the food cravings. They were maddening! I honestly felt like I was having sugar and

carbohydrate withdraws. The off-season diet is just slightly different. I have increased my carbohydrates and fats just a little. In the off-season, it is okay to live a little; I just try not to go overboard when I do treat myself.

Before, for my first year competing, I tried following a Macro-system. It did not work so well for me. The prep-coach I had at the time gave me a range of macros to follow. She had me logging in the foods I consumed into a journal, along with the macros per serving. According to what I was told, as long as it fit the macros, it would be ok. After my first season, I came to the conclusion that I would need to find a different coach. Not saying the coach I had was not a good coach, they were just not the right fit for me and what I wanted to accomplish.

My self-confidence had developed over time. In the beginning, I was not doing all this to walk the stage. I was doing it all for me and how I felt in my own skin. As time passed, I would get compliments on my progress and being told that I was an inspiration to others because of my journey. This motivated me to push myself even harder. And the harder I pushed, more people started to notice and actually thanking me for what I was doing. They would tell me I have inspired them to push harder as well. It was those that were thanking me that had inspired me and gave me the confidence that I needed to walk the stage. I wanted to show them that anything is possible, just do not give up.

My workouts consist mostly of weight training. Occasionally, I will do some HIIT training. Certain days of the week will depend the area of the body I will train. To me, changing it up every now and then helps. That’s why I like a good mix. On the plus side, besides muscle development, it keeps the training interesting. When your gym time starts to get boring, that’s when motivation starts to slack. A trick I use to fight getting into a ‘comfort-zone’ is by doing exercises that I do not like. Trying to balance my diet with my training program is not that difficult for me. However, finding energy during contest prep can be a little tough. During prep, the body is being depleted of energy sources that we get from good fats and complex carbohydrates. The body tends to tire out quicker and easier. To me, that is when you take in all the motivational resources you can get to help you push through.

One of the better resources of motivation that helped is the gym I go to, Anytime Fitness in Leesburg, GA. By far the best gym I have been to where everyone ,from fellow members to the staff, have been 100% supportive of me and my training. I'm still blown away with the amount of support the owner, Philip Beeson, has shown me. It took me by surprise when he told me that he and Anytime Fitness would like to sponsor me. This means a lot to me because this shows that not only he and Anytime Fitness are supportive of me, but they believe in me as well.

For my most recent figure competition, the experience was a little different to me compared to the others. This one was a National Qualifier, which was the biggest show I have done yet. To me, I was doing this show more for the experience, stage time, and to have fun. I wanted to see what it was like and I wanted to know how I compared to others. I thought this would be a good way for find out which areas I needed improve on. At the show, I took the time to scope out the competition, and wow… these ladies looked great. That’s when I looked over to my boyfriend (who was also competing with me in the same show) and said, “I may not place, but I sure plan to have fun…” What was different about this show was that I came into the show humbled. The game plan was to have fun, smile, and strut. My parents were there to show their support. My boyfriend’s mother was there to show her support. And we had room full of spectators who wanted to see a show. So, I planned on putting on the best show I knew how. I didn’t feel nervous, I just felt grateful to share the stage with other beautiful women.

Then it came time when they started to call out the placements. While standing to the side of the stage, I watched the ladies take their medals. While still standing and smiling, all I could think of “You go girl!” I was very proud of them, because they all looked so beautiful. Then it came time to announce the winner of that class… called out MY name. WHAT?! It was the first time I had placed first. Instantly, all air was sucked out of my lungs and could not breathe. Cotton-mouth had hit so hard my lips got stuck to my teeth! It took quite a bit of will power to not to start crying on stage. I knew if I started crying, I wouldn’t be able to stop. And knowing that I would have to be back on stage a few more time, I really didn’t want my makeup for run. Next thing I know, I standing behind stage holding three first place medals! My main thought at that moment… “Well, can’t have junk food just yet.” Why? Because, I had to compete in the Overall. With stiff competition, I continued strutting my stuff. I was happy and honored I had made it that far.

With my quads on fire, they finally announced the name for the Overall winner of the Open Figure… me. It took every ounce of my being NOT to cry on stage. Me… The girl who was once full of self-loathing for being overweight, who was picked on for being over-weight, and needed to make a life change for her health. Now, that former fat girl is an Overall Figure winner at a National Qualifier. I really don’t know what hits harder, being an overall winner or the chance to compete at Nationals. Just seems all too surreal.

What are my plans for the future? To keep going. Why stop now? Competing at the Olympia and the Arnold are on my bucket list. It is a dream of mine to walk the same stage as my idols. I want to be able to inspire others as my idols have inspired me. It may be a long and difficult road ahead, but I’m ready for it. My true ultimate goal is to inspire and help change lives for the better.


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Robyn Kimsey