Shelace Shoemaker - IFBB Figure Pro

Iíve been an athlete my whole life and am very goal oriented and competitive. When high school and college sports were no longer an option, I turned to the gym as a way to stay fit and active. Often being spotted in the gym teaching classes or working out, I had several members and trainers ask me if I was getting ready for competitions. At that time, competitions were the furthest thing from my mind. But, I met with one of the trainers, whom happened to compete in bodybuilding, and inquired about competing. So, in 2009, I competed in my first figure competition after recovering from 3 recent knee surgeries for a torn ACL and meniscus. The last one just 6 months before the competition. I placed 2nd place in that show and was hooked. However, I decided to pursue my Masters degree and also had Lisfranc surgery on my foot, so was unable to compete the following years.

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At the start of 2016, I started feeling the hunger to compete again, so I began the journey once more. In 2016, I started in Contra Costa, where I earned 2nd in both Open and Masters 35. I followed that up with the Nevada State Bodybuilding Championship where I earned 1st in Open, Masters and Overall Figure. And then went on to compete at the Tahoe Show where I also earned 1st in Open, Masters, and Overall Figure.

In 2017, I competed in Governorís Cup and earned 3rd place in Open and 2nd place in Masters and was incredibly disappointed. So that fired me up to push hard towards Nationals at the Teen, Collegiate and Masters National Championships in Pittsburgh where my dreams came true and I earned my pro card!

Honestly, no prep has ever been remotely the same. Iím pretty sure every theory/philosophy has been tested out on my body. However, generally my offseason nutrition is higher carbs, still low fat and moderate protein. I still stick with leaner meats for the majority of my meals, but may include one meal with a fattier meat like beef, whole eggs or salmon. I know my body does best with carbs and Iíve been very successful at building the physique I have with a high protein, moderate carb, low fat plan, while progressively putting me in a calorie deficit closer to my shows.

My self-confidence on stage will be a constant work in progress. Iím an introvert, so being the center of attention is a struggle for me. Strange that Iíd pick this sport, right? I know that my stage presence is my weakest area when it comes to everything we do to get ready for a show. I will follow a meal plan, workout plan, cardio plan, whatever it is and struggle and be tired and grind through exhaustion and I still think itís easier than stepping on that stage. Donít get me wrong, I love the day of the show and canít wait to show off all that hard work, but itís still the one thing that causes me the most anxiety. But what I tried to do to get over that fear of being the center of attention was just start practicing my posing right in the middle of the gym with everyone watching. Iíd hit a pose in between sets or, while walking to another piece of equipment, Iíd do my stage walk and hit a pose once I made it there. I would get strange looks occasionally, but I needed to get over the anxiety of having eyes watching me. I will say, the most fun and least nervous Iíve ever been on stage was my pro debut in St. Louis this year. I had an absolute blast on that stage! So maybe hitting those random poses in the gym really did help!

During prep, I do cardio twice a day and lift once. I do my fasted HIIT/LISS cardio in the morning and lift in the afternoon after work. Lifting was followed up with another session of HIIT and LISS. I used to lift one body part each day of the week but changed it to shoulders, back, and quads/hammies twice a week. I would mix bis/tris with shoulders and back and then glutes/hammies had their own day and Iíd mix in accessory glute work on other days. During and off prep, I plan my carbs around my workouts.

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My pro debut experience is so hard to put into words. Itís cliche, but the whole experience was surreal. I shared the stage with 27 amazing women, 8 of whom I had been following, admiring and aspiring to be like for the last two years and 5 who were on the Olympia stage last year as I sat in the crowd. My cheeks hurt from smiling and I constantly had to look at my husband and say, ďDid that really just happen?Ē It was the first time it truly sank in that I was an IFBB pro. The whole experience as a pro is just so different than the NPC, that I just sat back and took it all in. The athlete check-ins were very different than NPC, as they called us all up by name to receive our numbers and swag and we had a little face time with the judges. It gave me chills to hear Bob Cicherillo say my name at the athlete check-ins as well as when he announced me coming on stage saying, ďMaking her pro debut, from Sparks, NevadaÖĒ I will never forgot it! It still gives me goosebumps! It was hands down the most fun Iíve ever had at a show. I didnít feel any pressure or stress and went up there having the absolute time of my life.

When people talk to me about my schedule and what competition prep is like, I immediately tell them itís another full time job. You must expect to be 100% committed, consistent and dedicated to what youíre doing and sometimes that can mean you do have to sacrifice some things along the way. There has to be a balance between your life and being an athlete, but I think for the few months that you are focused and committed to reaching a goal and have an end date, you have to be willing to sacrifice a few things (favorite treats, passing up parties or dinner dates, etc) and your friends and family have to understand that itís all because your dedicated and committed to reaching that goal. My day starts at 3 in the morning and Iím usually heading to bed around 9 pm. I start with cardio in the morning, I work my job as a middle school teacher, head to the gym after work and train myself and a few clients and then back home to cook, eat and prep for the next day. Iím on a very tight schedule every day and itís very structured. But thereís a part of me that likes it that way. And because I donít expect my husband to eat the way I do all the time, being a competitor requires a lot of dishes and meal prep containers! We both cook breakfast and dinner separately and eat our other 4 meals away from home, so the dishes pile up quickly! Thankfully, I have his full support and patience because heís awesome about doing the dishes as I drag myself to bed. LOL. Even our weekend schedules revolve around training and eating, so we definitely have to plan accordingly when trying to make plans with friends or family over the weekends. It takes a lot of careful planning, organization and preparation to make sure youíre staying on track.

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Iím currently taking 2018 off from competing and will be spending time with family and friends and building my clientele as a personal trainer, while I continue to train and build my body to be competitive at the pro level. Iím looking into coming back better in 2019 and have a few shows back east that I am looking forward to. For now, I continue to communicate with my coach, IFBB Figure Pro, Julie Mayer, to make sure Iím staying on track and remain focused on the goals we have for me next year. Iím really excited to get back up on that stage and show the judges that Iíve been using this extra time to build a better version of me.


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