In September of 2012, my daughter was almost one year old and I realized that I was in the worst shape of my life. I wasn’t eating well. I wasn’t exercising. My weight was the most it had ever been. My energy was poor. The only clothes I could fit into were my maternity clothes. At one year postpartum, all I wanted to do was fit back into my clothes. I was working full-time as a Pediatric ER/ICU nurse and busy being a mom when I wasn’t working. I knew that I needed to make a change. A BIG change. I hired a local trainer who I knew of through Facebook. He gave me a diet plan that consisted of 5 meals a day, high protein, only good carbs and good fats. I cut out sugar, white flour, and processed foods. I also began drinking a gallon of water a day. The trainer also created a workout plan for me that included weight lifting 5 days a week, split into different muscle groups. And cardio 4 days a week. I began this plan with the goal of losing between 10-15 lbs and wanting to be in the best shape of my life as a 27 year old mom. The results I began to see were amazing. My body responded SO well to these changes in my lifestyle. By 3 weeks I could see a huge difference in my weekly progress pictures. By 5 weeks it was noticeable to everyone around me. My energy dramatically improved. My motivation skyrocketed. I had never been so excited about eating healthy and exercising regularly before. Seeing such amazing changes propelled me. The depression that I had battled since I was 11 years old was now non-existent even without medication. I literally had never felt happier. I became interested in trying to compete in a fitness competition as a goal to help me get into the best shape of my life. It seemed like a cool “bucket list” thing to do. I had no idea it would lead me to where it has today. 7 weeks away from my first NPC Bikini competition, I switched trainers to someone with more expertise in contest preparation, Shane Heugly of Team Heugly. With some changes to my diet and training style, my physique continued to improve dramatically. 6 months after my first day of training and eating a healthy diet, I stepped on stage at the local NPC competition in Utah and placed top 5 in all 3 categories I competed in. Two weeks later, I took first in my class in Denver, Colorado. I was hooked. I went on to compete in 3 National shows that year and earned my IFBB Pro Card at my 5th ever Bikini competition, at NPC Nationals in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in November 2013 (just over 1 year since changing my lifestyle and only 8 months of competing).
My own progress greatly motivates me. I set goals for myself and then work very hard to reach them. Since living this lifestyle, I have become more ambitious and productive than I have ever been in my whole life. There is nothing like seeing the actual change that I am able to create with my own hard work.
I love the stair-master and stationary bike. I used to only do HIIT for short periods of time. But have lately been experimenting with fasted steady state cardio.
I love to make a healthy Turkey Chilli. I also love to make protein pancakes.
I eat a high protein diet, including a lot of chicken, turkey, and eggs. I choose to eat whole grains and fruit as my carb sources. And nuts or nut butters as my fat sources. I eat a TON of green vegetables!
A lot of my cravings can be dealt with mentally. If I’m bored, I notice that I feel more “hungry”. And the more I think about junk food, the more I want it. So I make a point to keep my thoughts on track as much as possible. However, I have found many alternatives for junk when I’m wanting something sweet or salty. I will make healthy protein cookies or air popped popcorn and fit it into my diet as I am able. That way I can satisfy my craving for these foods without ruining my diet.
Squats, straight-legged dead-lift, and shoulder lateral raises. Nothing better than strong legs/glutes and shoulders!
I listen to a mix of fast beat music like Calvin Harris, David Guetta, and Armin van Buuren.
Currently, I have been competing in many IFBB Pro Bikini shows. From May 10-June 14th I competed in 5 IFBB Pro shows. My short term goal was to gain experience on the Pro stage and to improve my physique with each competition. I of course would have liked to place in the top 5 at these shows but I haven’t achieved that yet. I will continue to compete this year with the goal of placing top 5. My long-term goal is to be a current competing IFBB Pro and to inspire others to live a healthy and fit lifestyle while juggling being a mom, wife, and nurse.
I am most proud of the fact that I have not given up or gotten discouraged despite how many different roles I play. Being a full-time RN and mom while competing and travelling a lot has NOT been easy. But it has brought so much happiness to me.
One of my biggest obstacles is how boxy my middle section is. Many other bikini competitors have very small waists. Many of them wear corsets or “squeems” to get that small waisted look. I refuse to use unhealthy methods to get my goal physique, so this has been a great challenge for me. At the same time, I am continually trying to build my glutes to be as competitive on stage as possible.
My coach and I measure my progress by how I look. I send him progress pictures often. I do personally weigh myself to notice my trends in fat and water gains/loss, but I do not let that determine what I eat or how I train. It’s all visual.
I personally use the NLA for Her Ultimate Stack for Her. It contains a Whey Isolate Protein powder, an all natural thermogenic Fat Burner, a pre-workout, BCAAs recovery drink, and an Omegas supplement. I absolutely love the stack and have had great results with it. I also take a multi-vitamin and CLA.
Eat plenty of protein, drink at least a gallon of water a day, and LIFT HEAVY!
Amy Suzanne Updike
Year of birth: 1985. Weight: 108lbs. Height: 5’1"