Sandy Smith - Physique Competitor

Although I grew up playing softball and cheering and was very athletic, unlike most competitors, this is not something I just knew I wanted to do. I didn't set foot in a gym until I was 30 and now I am 34. When I first started working out I only went around 3 times a week and didn't watch my diet at all. After moving jobs and joining a new gym, I got introduced to a few people who competed. I've always been dedicated and ambitious and I have a lot of drive so I decided this was something I wanted to do, but didn't want to step on stage until I was ready. I got in touch with a coach (this was Nov 2014) and about 6 weeks into training we decided I had what it was going to take to succeed in this industry. We decided to compete at a local show in May 2015. In my first show I won overall in women's physique.

Next year I need to be somewhere between these two girls. #beawinner #lookahead #havegoals #q#alwayspushforward #wpd #womenwithmuscle #shehulkjr #femalmuscles #trainhard #transformation #girlswholift #goals #girlswithmuscles #neverstoptrying #keepworkinghard #femalemuscleworld

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I think it's very important to remember that everyone's body is different so what works for me may not necessarily work for the next person and vice versa. My diet in prep is very strict. I generally do a 12-14 week prep, getting really serious around 6 weeks out. My foods stay exactly the same each day with one planned cheat a week up until about 6 weeks out where I generally go to fish only and no carbs with the exception of days where I get a carb load. Off season I generally still stick to a pretty strict diet, but I definitely try to enjoy life more. I do allow myself more food, and more cheats (2 per week) and I also do high carb on leg days. What I have found is most effective for me is staying somewhat low carb throughout the week and high carb on my lower body days.

I haven't been bodybuilding very long so I really haven't tried any of the different diets. I don't believe in all of the fad diets. I stick with the basics and that seems to work best for me.

My training pretty much stays the same year round. I workout 6 days a week and I try to go twice a day. I am a mom of 2 so sometimes that can be very difficult to do. I like to switch up my routines very regularly. One week I may go heavy for less reps and the next I may go lighter for more reps. I also like to use drop sets and pause reps a lot. I take all my training to failure. During prep I average an hour to an hour and half of cardio a day and in offseason I do 20 min 3-4 times a week. Although currently I am experimenting with manipulating my diet and my training so that I can take a break from my cardio.

In all honesty going on stage wasn't that big of a deal for me. I've never been a very shy person. Was I nervous backstage at my first show? Absolutely! But the moment I took that first step on stage, that all went away. When you're up there everything goes by so quickly. I just concentrated on the judges and what they were saying and keeping my physique tight.

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So I currently have only done 4 shows total. The first show I did was a local show where I won overall and it was exciting but it wasn't big and there wasn't a ton of competition. The second show I did was the Kentucky Muscle where I also won overall out of a much larger group of girls. I can remember being in pre-judging and being asked to leave the stage, when all the other girls were still being judged. I was ecstatic and so proud of myself. My 3rd show was Jr USAs in 2016 where I placed 4th. I was so excited I got 1st call outs but also secretly hard on myself because I wanted to win so badly! The most recent show I did was Jr nationals this year. My intentional reaction after this show was disappointment. At Jr USAs the year prior I was told I was too small so after working really hard to put on size, I placed 8th and was told I was too big. It was hard to take, but that's life. We are not always going to get the results we want but we just have to keep working and stay focused on the prize.

Being an athlete and competing is very hard for me to balance with my life. I'm a single mom with two teenagers and I also work a full time job. During prep I sometimes have to get up at 4 and not go to bed until 12 or after. It's exhausting but it's something that I love so I do what I can to make it work. Mentally though, being an athlete helps me through so much. It keeps my mind strong, and gives me so much endurance to get through anything.

Right now my focus is on improving my physique and putting a lot of extra effort into my lagging body parts. Next year I will have to get re-qualified so I'll do a local show early on in the year for that and then I will most likely do Jr USAs or Jr nationals again and if I don't get my pro card at one of those shows I'll most likely go on to nationals and compete in masters.

Ig: @she_hulkjr

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