Ronda Hossfeld - Figure Competitor

I am a very active person, from playing sports to working out and enjoy being busy, I am not the type to just sit and be idle. I heard about a local competition taking place and the guest poser was to be, Mr. Olympia’s first women’s physique champion, the one and only IFBB pro, Dana Linn Bailey, who just happens to be my favorite fitness idol. I had the opportunity to meet her and Rob, while we discussed her accomplishments, it was at that point I decided this was something I wanted to try. I did tons of research on posing, dieting, checked out suit designers and finally found a coach.


In the past my diet changed significantly from prep to off season. The hardest part of competing is the week after the show. Your metabolism is on fire and now that you have the green light to eat, you want to eat EVERYTHING in sight. My first two years competing the post-competition rebound was horrible. I spent months trying to reverse the damage that I did. I ate jars of peanuts, and tons of candy along with my regular meals, there were a lot of extras. This time I allowed myself a week to eat like a normal human being. I ate my regular scheduled meals and allowed a few extras. If I wanted a Caesar salad wrap I had it, If I wanted steak and eggs with a waffle I allowed myself to have it. I finally realized after depleting myself for prep I can have somethings in moderation and not beat myself up about it. I will need the extra calories to grow and improve my physique for whatever the future holds. That is a very hard thing to me to do. I want to look like I am a figure competitor, and extra weigh doesn’t exactly convince people that you are. Ultimately, my body reacts better to low carbs during the off season. High protein and low carb.

I have tried many competition diets, from salads and fish to chicken and rice. I have tried macro dieting, which was effective early on, I switched to a standard competition diet closer to show. I personally cannot allow myself to have to much variety. I am a very structured person and do best at the standard chicken, eggs and rice. I believe I succeeded this year as I have an amazing coach who has an immense amount of knowledge and experience. We kept my protein high and allowed my body to grow. I was able to lift heavy and push my body in ways I was not able to in the past. One cannot expect to grow and gain muscle if you do not have the calories to support growth and recovery.

Self-Confidence is required for this sport. Off stage I am a very shy and quiet person. I do not like the spot light. There is something about the stage that makes me smile. Feeling beautiful from head to toe and knowing I look my very best; it could be the gorgeous suit, having my hair and makeup done. Self-Confidence is different for everyone and is built early in life, as an adult I believe self-confidence is lost and sometime you just need to find the right opportunity for yourself to “let it shine”.

My training program has changed throughout the years. I keep a journal and carry it around with me at the gym, it helps me focus. Again, I am a very structured person and can’t just think of a work out on a whim. My workouts change from low weight, high reps to high weight low reps. I have tried multiple plans from magazines, the internet and whatever I found on Instagram. I tried a DUP plan (Daily Undulating Periodization) in preparation for deadlift competition, which increased my strength and physique. Using the main lifts, squat, deadlift, bench and OHP (over head press) my physique really changed. This last year I changed my workout plan to best utilize my time in the gym. There was no need for me to spend hours in the gym. My coach designed a plan and helped me with my form. Using proper form can make all the difference. In the past I was just going to the gym to workout. Yes, I would complete my workouts and see some results. However, by using proper form you can really change and utilize different muscles that have been neglected. I still do my cardio, typically fast cardio 20 minutes in the morning. During prep I will do 45 minutes fasted cardio. I have found fasted cardio helps my physique change rapidly.

I took a few years off and returned to the stage 2018. I had a new coach, new mind frame and completely different package. Athlete check-in can always be nerve racking. You are checking out your competition, if you haven’t already stalked them on social media. Realistically, there is nothing you can do at this point, you have worked hard, dieted down, but you still are nervous and don’t know what to expect. Pre-judging is always hard. You have been up all night getting your food in. You have your hair, makeup and nails done, your suit is on and now you just have to get your “pump” backstage before stepping in front of the judges. First show of 2018 I struggled back stage, I was sick and was just trying to make it through my class. My posing was off and I had a hard time focusing, but I did it. My placement was decent but I still was not happy, I knew if I was on 100%, I could do so much better. Even knowing I was a wreck and I know what I did and didn’t do, I still asked for feedback from the judges, you can never have too much input especially from the people who are judging your physique. What you need to work on for off season, or even focus on during one competition to another.

My coach and I worked hard the week between shows, I focused on my end and all I could do with fasted cardio and workouts and my coach tweaked my diet. Going into the second show I felt amazing, I was fuller, could keep a pump and had practiced my posing so much my legs and back were sore. During the competitor meeting I couldn’t sit still, I was anxious and ready to get on stage. Sitting backstage waiting for your class to be called there is so much preparation and people watching. All the girls you saw on social media, the “ones” that you were concerned about, the touch competition, all their posts, you see them, check them out and think to yourself, “maybe, just maybe, this might be my day, they have their weaknesses also.” Once I stepped on stage, I had so much going through my mind and trying to focus on the posing tweaks my coach and I discussed. It was a huge help having him in the crowd, hearing his voice and reminding me “big back”, “hamstrings”. I believe that made all the difference. I was kept in the center and the judges moved competitors around me. After prejudging, I stepped off stage feeling good and knowing the hard work was done and I did everything I could. In between prejudging and finals I relaxed and ate more food to fill up a little more.

Finals started and it was a whirlwind, the show was moving fast. I had to focus on pumping up and getting ready to shine, the night show is for fun. My class was up, the MC called my name, read my bio, I smiled, did my poses and returned to the side line in hopes of being called at least top 5. The MC dismissed the full class of 10 off stage and called top 5 back out. I stood there smiling, hoping my name would be called, one by one, I was left standing there with another gal. Cold it be I made top 2. The MC called her name…. I did it… I got first in my class for Masters and again later for my open Class. I would not be competing with the top placements for other classes. I walked backstage and returned to my coach with the biggest smile on my face, so proud, I finally did it. I finally got first place! Now to get ready for overall. There was some tough competition, I stayed focused, got a little pump in my back and shoulders. I knew I would have to be on point, for this moment would be the most important moment of the night. Top competitors returned to stage, the judges instructed us to do our quarter turns. The judges moved a few girls around, I stayed in the middle. The MC took over, it was a split decision… The MC was about to announce the winner for the overall….OMG, did I just hear my name?! I closed my eyes and couldn’t believe this moment. I have worked so hard for this, all the time in the gym, sacrifices of time with friends and family, heart breaking moments from previous shows. I did it, I finally caught my ever-elusive unicorn.

Every athlete makes sacrifices, if they want to make it to the next level they practice and develop the skills needed to become the very best. In this sport the sacrifices and hard work is to make you the very best you can be for this sport it is all about you vs. you. The mental aspect of this is probably the hardest. Second guessing everything you did or didn’t do, the “If I’s” or “should haves”. Ultimately, this is a subjective sport, it is judged, the only thing you can do is go 100% all the time and put in your work. You might win shows you shouldn’t win and you might lose shows you should have won. You just never know what you are going to get. There were a lot of events I missed out on, I couldn’t eat, or drink, but that food will always be there. That wasn’t the last brownie ever to be made. You have to find a balance that works for you with life, everyone has a story and a struggle. If you want it bad enough you can make it happen.

I will continue to build and grow, I do not have set plans at this point. I would like to move onto the next level, however, I know the competition is tough. Mentally, I know I need to change my physique in order to compete with the girls on a national stage. We will see what the future holds for me. I will continue to workout and eat right, enjoy this time with my friends and family.


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