Sandra Copra Peaty - Physique Competitor

Sandra: I am originally from Yugoslavia Sarajevo city I was born and raised there before I came to the USA as a war refugee. My childhood was perfect till the age of 4 when the war started on my birthday I will forever remember that day. During the war I was kidnapped, raped, tortured, and had experiments performed on me and then left to die afterwards. I was rescued by US Marines and US Navy and taken to the hospital in Sarajevo.

I was in there for 14 months and the soldiers that rescued me came to visit me and brought me American magazines one of which was a female bodybuilding magazine and another women's physique world, and I looked at these strong muscular women and thought to myself if I looked like that no one would ever be able to hurt me again. And this is where my dream started. After I was out of the hospital I was told by the doctors that I would never be able to be normal and that I may never do any strenuous activity and certainly not to exercise. When I graduated from high point university I finally decided to make my dream a reality and I have been pushing toward this dream ever since.

Diet: Off season is a term I don't know because for me there is no off season I only know of pre contest or contest prep a trimming phase and a building phase. In my building phase currently my diet is really flexible because of my fast metabolism I have to put down a lot of food. I eat 7 meals a day sometimes 8 depending how hungry I am and each meal I have 6-8 oz of protein and one cup of rice cooked. But my diet is not always lean protein and rice. For protein offseason I eat it all Beef, Bison, Kangaroo, Salmon, chicken, turkey and for my carb source rice, potatoes, pop tarts, bread, cereal, oatmeal. My favorite is Bison hot dogs and s'mores pop tarts.

I don't keep track of my calories a day because I have done this for so long it's like second nature to me. The only key I follow is the oz of protein and the grams of carbs a meal stays consistent. I drink over 2 gallons of water because I do live in Vegas and it's super dry here.

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Now for contest prep things change a lot at first not the amount of food I'm eating but what kind of food I'm eating during my cutting phase I eat only lean proteins and stay more to red meats and fish obviously my salmon goes to orange roughy, cod, tilapia but only bought at whole foods there tilapia is grown to be a top feeder not a bottom feeder. This little change is usually enough for my body to burn fat. Than during the last few weeks I water load 3 gallons and more of water and I carb deplete by only eating fish and asparagus so before the show I can fill out nicely and water deplete and really dry out. In my diet I don't use a lot of supplements I always rather eat real food. If I do use anything it will be an isolated protein and vitargo for my intra shake. I use BCAAS and EAAs my favorite is pill form but I do use the mixing powder Compete sometimes.

Failed diet: be honest I have always listened to my body and have done things my own way and why I believe works best for me. We're all different and our bodies all function differently so I have never been too eager to try someone else's diet or let's say like a carb back loading diet or an all meat and fat diet. I know my body needs every source of food there is especially with my metabolism if I don't eat enough I lose weight really quickly. I also believe that the more different we can keep our food the better absorption we have. For instance every protein has a different amino acid strand there all amino acids but there slightly different so our receptors don't get overfilled with just one. And yes people always ask me but if you don't try different dieting than how do you know you have found exactly what works for me and the answer is I don't know, I'm not sure there might be a diet out there that works for me maybe better but why waste time and try to fix something that is not broken if something works for me than I have no reason to go look for something better.

My training program is always changing but similar to a point I normally will train for two days in a row and then take a day off and let my central nervous system re set. In my building phase I lift heavy and my repetition range stays from 8-12 I don't do any cardio during my building phase if I walk by a treadmill I lose weight. During my cutting phase I lift medium heavy and my repetitions are in between 15-20 this is the time I'll do 20 min of cardio empty stomach and then eat my first meal after than I have my first lifting session where I try to still lift heavy and than in the evening I go back and have a second training session where I lift lighter weight and go to failure.

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My training techniques are always controlled movements and I have some limitations of what I can do just because according to doctors I should not step foot in to the gym. During the war in Bosnia my body has been through everything from a shattered lover back to my knee getting mangled and put together to a traveling bullet still in my thy and every year it moves closer to my knee. But despite all of it the human body is a strong creation. With our brain being the most powerful organ. The reason I am able to train like everyone else and my body is able to deal with its pain is because of my thoughts because I believe I can do it and that my body is strong enough to push through its obstacles. With a positive attitude and positive thoughts we surround our self with positive energy and with that kind of strength were capable of everything.

Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words, keep your words positive because your words became your behaviors, keep your behaviors positive because your behaviors become your habits, keep your habits positive because your habits become your values, keep your values positive because you values become your destiny! This is the quote I live by By Gandhi.

When you have been through as much stuff as I have in life you realize that other opinions do not matter. We as humans should do exactly what we want as long as it is not hurting others. Life is to short not to! My confidence comes from the lack of caring of what others think of me this world if full of all types of people and I just surround my self with the ones that support me and what I want to do. You will always have people that will look at me like I'm crazy or that will talk bad because they don't agree and these people have every right to think this way and I will never judge anyone for what they think. My job is to worry about me and what I want.

The last show I competed in was the Tournament of Champions in San Diego California. I remember walking in to the room for checkins the night before the show so sleepy and tired from all the preparations the week before and listening to the promoters explain all the rules and how the show will be run. I made some small talk with the girls around me and found out that there were another 3 girls competing in women's physique besides myself. After checkins we all went to get spray tanned and then it was back to our rooms to prep for tomorrow. That night I did not sleep much since I was so thirsty and carb loading most of the night since it takes so much for me to fill out.

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The morning came and it was time for me to get hair and makeup done and I don't really trust people so I always do everything myself after this it was time to go in for pre judging and this is when I started feeling like something was off. I started getting dizzy if I was on my feet for a longer period of time and nausea started setting in and pre judging was less than an hour away! This was the first time for me contest prepping for a show on the west coast and I later realized that I got to dehydrated since there is no moisture in the air here on top of that I made my own grape preserves to use for my carb up and did not think about the fact that here in the USA all fruit was treated with pesticides and when I was making the preserves the pesticides were cooked in to it so that created a problem as well!

Regardless I was determined to compete. I went to line up to get on stage and realize that the 3 other women I meet at checkins were not there I suddenly thought that I missed my turn and after I asked one of the expeditors I found out that I was in the right spot but they knew nothing of the other girls that were supposed to do women's physique.

So I went out on stage on my own and did my routine as soon as I was done and got of stage the sick feeling overthrew me and I had to throw up in the closest trash can. I got myself back to my room and just sat there trying to tough through the next few hours to night show. Either way I pushed through throwing up most of that day and did my routine for the night show and won the overall but received no overall trophy since there was no one else competing against me which was disappointing but I was so sick I just needed to be done so I could go get myself on IV fluids and get hydrated!

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Future plans: My plan this year is to get to 200lb by Christmas. I have decided to take an entire year off and build more on my frame. I will be competing in the Jay Cutler Classic in 2017 where I will win overall from there I will go to Charlotte for the junior USAS to try to get my pro card. If I do not win there I will do the USAS in Las Vegas if I fail there I will do the North Americans, the year 2017 is the year I will get my pro card the question is just when and what show. January 2017 I will start a blog of my journey to obtain my professional card so others can follow me along.

After I get my pro card I will then prepare for my first professional show and then my Olympia qualification because the overall goal is to compete on the Olympia stage. In my journey and process I am hoping to inspire other people to follow their dreams and achieve the goals they want to achieve no matter where they came from or what obstacles come in the way, in life everything is possible as long as we try.

Instagram: @sandracoprapeaty

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