Suzanne Davis - IFBB Physique Pro

* Recent placing: 6th, 2017 IFBB Europa Dallas

Growing up, I was more into academics, than sports. I never played sports in high school nor in college. I did do a lot of swimming and played tennis but mostly for fun. Then, I hit college and corporate America where I gained weight due to a sedentary lifestyle (my start weight was 190 pounds with 44% body fat. In contrast, my current, off-season weight is around 135 pounds and 12% body fat).
I got a “wake-up” call when I attended a health-fair at work. Based on my height and weight among other tests, it indicated that I was obese and was close to being diabetic with stroke-level high blood pressure. I tried on my own to lose the weight, mostly through cardio. One year I ran three full marathons and six half marathons. Yes, I did lose some weight, BUT I was still overweight as I did not clean up my diet. Fast forward to 2012….

Dallas Europa IFBB Womens Physique show. I brought my best package YET! Competition was fierce with 18-20 beautiful ladies. . I got 1st call-outs on both days, but did not place top 5. It is, what it is. I am grateful that I am able to compete at this level AND as a top Pro Powerlifter..... I'll be back! Thanks for the support all!

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I began weight training as a way to lose weight and get in shape. My co-worker told me about Die Hard Gym in Peoria, Arizona and to check it out. That was my first time stepping into a gym (outside of my high school gym). I began weight training with Tim Sparkes (owner of Die Hard Gym). After about a year of consistent weight training, my Trainer suggested that I come train with the Powerlifting team. Two weeks later I entered my first, full, powerlifting competition (05/25/2013 - squat, bench and deadlift). I did pretty well and I was hooked!

Two months later, my Trainer suggested I enter a NPC Physique show “just to see where I would place”. On 07/19/2013, I competed in my first NPC Physique show and placed second and I was hooked! I have since become a pro Powerlifter (currently ranked top three in the 132 pound weight class) and earned my IFBB Pro Card at the Team Universe competition in 2015. I have been competing, professionally, in both sports since.

I follow a typical, bodybuilder diet, with 6 meals –
* breakfast – egg/egg whites, oatmeal
* lunch & dinner – lean meat, complex carbs, lots of green, non-starchy vegetables
* 3 protein shakes
* fresh fruit (snack)
I have found that carb cycling works for me. On days that I weight train heavy, I increase my carbs and calories to handle the energy I will need to not burn out. So for me, that means extra oatmeal in the morning and an extra portion of complex carbs about an hour or so prior to a weight training session.
Since I compete regularly in powerlifting, I try to maintain my weight (as I have to weigh in at or below 132 pounds for powerlifting competitions).
In the off-season (which generally lasts 4-6 weeks, depending on my competition schedule) I add back my weekly cheat meal and do not feel guilty with the occasional cheat treats (donuts & key lime pie are my weakness). Otherwise my “clean eating” diet has become a lifestyle for me.

Failed diet: I tried the keto diet. It was NOT for me. It just made me feel unhealthy (the high fat and meat/protein content was too much for my system to handle).
In my opinion, there is no all-around-diet plan that can be applied to every person. Individuals train differently, have different goals and have different metabolic rates. There is no one-size-fits all. Even the diet plan that worked great in Year One may not work in Year Two as we grow and develop.

Friday FLEX! Putting in the work.... ARMS are looking CRAZY! #prep2017 25# dumbbells, 12 reps, 3 sets Who else weight trained this week. #diehardgym #girlswithmuscle #girlswhopowerlift

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I weight train four times a week. Each weight training session focuses on a body part.
Day 1) arms & chest
Day 2) back & shoulders
Day 3) legs
Day 4) heavy deadlifting and miscellaneous accessory work
If my training cycle is focusing on a powerlifting competition, I lift progressively heavier weights with lower reps (3-6). For a Physique competition training cycle, I will lift lighter weights with higher reps (8-12 reps)
I start most mornings with cardio:
2-3 days a week - HIIT on non-weight training days (Shaun T & Insanity is my favorite)
2-3 days a week - Low to moderate cardio on weight-training days (I will switch it up between walking, swimming, or the stair master),
1 day a week - Endurance training session on the weekend (1-3 hours of road biking or hiking)
Balancing diet with my competition schedule, work and life is definitely a challenge. I generally meal-prep on Sundays and pack my protein in freezer safe containers. Then it’s easier to just grab my lunch from the freezer and go. I also use a crock pot to cook my proteins overnight and a rice cooker to help make diet prep more manageable.
I also listen to my body. If I feel a bit run down, or my recovery time is taking longer, I will usually increase my calories/complex carbs as needed.

Building self-confidence: Practice, practice, practice posing! I practice posing in a group setting which helps because you become accustomed to having eyes on you. In addition, starting the competition prep process early enough helps to build self-confidence. And just own it! If you start early enough, you know that your diet was on point, your weighting training & cardio was on point, your posing practice was on point….. Then, you know that you are bringing your best “package” to the stage. The preparation definitely helps to build self-confidence which is definitely needed to shine on stage.

My last Physique contest was the Dallas Europa IFBB Pro Show this past June. I had a great experience. I view contests these as adventures. I was in a new town and knowing that I would get to try some famous Dallas BBQ was my contest ‘reward’.
Athlete check-ins - are usually fun. We get to see the newbies doing their Pro debut and get to see old friends and competitors and meet new ones. The check-ins are also informative. Every IFBB Pro show check-in I have attended has always been well-organized and efficient.
Prejuding– This is it! This is where all the training, dieting and prepping pays off! It’s the most stressful part of the contest for me. While I’m in the warm-up area, I just go through my poses and routine in my mind. Basically, I try to remain as calm as possible, which is difficult since there is so my energy in the air.
Finals – I just tell myself that I brought my best package to the stage, no matter how I place. No matter how I place, I use this as a means to improve for the next contest.

Being an athlete affects almost all aspects of my life. Prepping for a contest definitely affects my personal life – I can’t eat what everyone is eating (or yes, I will bring my prepped meals with me). This is definitely a challenge during the holidays when it is extremely tempting with the barrage of deserts and food generously provided by my job, friends and family events. I have learned that being BALANCED is essential if I want to continue. I have also learned that it’s easier to tell people that “I have made a lifestyle change” versus telling people that I am on a diet (they’ll be more tempted to say, “oh just have 1 slice, you’ll work it off).
And to be honest, prepping for a contest can be tiring (both physically, mentally and emotionally). Wake up early to do cardio, spend a long day at work then weight train after work – ALL while dieting down for a contest can be down-right exhausting. It’s not always easy, but I have learned to reward myself frequently (no, not with food, but with a new pair of sneakers, a new tube of lip gloss, or a vacation after a competition, etc. something tangible)

To finish off 2017, I am doing a powerlifting competition at the Mr. Olympia Expo, and two IFBB Physique shows. My future goals would be to one day compete at an Arnold Sports Fest and of course, the coveted Olympia stage. I will compete as hard as I can to hopefully make these dreams come true.

Thank you!
Suzanne Davis

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