Issue #5


by HardFitness

California NPC and IFBB Championship Results

California NPC and IFBB Review

Video: Self Tanning an Alternative Part 2
by Shelly Leversage

ATTENTION Professional Make up for USA's Vegas
by Brittany Thorsch

Video Interview: Andrea Giacomi New HardFitness sponsored competitor

My Emerald Cup Experience
by Amanda Ogden

Video Interview: with IFBB Fitness Pro Stephanie Worsfold

Pre-Contest Abs Training by Katie Szep

20 Questions With Our Cover Model

Video Interview: Nancy Hirsch Pro debut at the Cal Pro

Prepare Yourself
by Shelly Pinkerton

Video Interview: Vicky Oates Amateur Figure: A mix of class and sex appeal

Women: Competing and their Menstrual Cycle
by Tanya Pennington

The Transitional Athlete
by Katie Madden

Training Video Jane Awad talks about working out legs

Ephedra and Estrogen
by Darlina Acampora

Stephanie Worsfold, Christine Moore, Karina Nascimento, Jane Awad, Amanda Ogden

Video Interview: Bodybuilder Christine Moore at the Arnold speaks about her upcoming shows

Down the Wire
by Shelly Pinkerton

Video Interview: Amanda Ogden upcoming Fitness Star

A Month After Pittsburgh
by Kristi Wills

Ephedra and Estrogen by Darlina Acampora

This is my own personal story that I feel is important to share with other women especially since ephedra is back on the market.

I had been using Ephedra based products for quite sometime before they were banned and now that they are back, I'm on board once again. So, I am not here to bash them in anyway, shape or form. In fact for me, they are essential in competing and I truly believe that as long as they are not abused, you are in good health, and you have discussed it with your physician there is nothing wrong with them.

First let me tell you that I am a professional fitness/figure competitor with the IFBB. I am in great physical condition and have been working out intensely since 1997. I have been using Ephedra based products all this time with no problems until a couple years ago.

Here is my story…

Out of nowhere I started having dizzy spells and vertigo. I brushed it off as headaches, allergies and so on. Next came sudden shooting pains that would run up the sides of my temples like lightning bolts. If you had to imagine being executed, I think this is quite close! Then the weirdest symptom of all, one pupil would dilate so big that almost no color could be seen and I have light green eyes. When this occurred I would feel like passing out, my heart would race and my blood pressure would get real high. I had been dealing with these episodes for months. Then one morning at the gym I worked at, these things began to occur so I finally called my doctor. He wanted to see me right away because it sounded like I was at a high risk for a stroke.

At the time I was only 30 years old and in fantastic health. Unfortunately, I didn't make it to the appointment because I passed out in the gym and 911 had been called. At the emergency room, every blood test was performed and they found nothing. They asked me what supplements and/or medications I had been taking. Of course the first thing they said was to stop using Ephedra. Within a few hours all symptoms went away and I was feeling pretty much back to normal. The emergency room doctor advised me to see a Neurologist to have a brain tumor or migraine’s ruled out.

I went to the Neurologist and all tests came back negative. So, then it was onto an eye doctor to find out if something was going on with my eyes. Again, negative. However, this doctor was so intrigued with my condition that he started doing research even on his own. He would call me regularly to ask questions about medications, supplements, my childhood health and other questions related to what had been happening. Then one morning while at work he called my job to speak to me. He said “I know this may seem inappropriate for me to ask but are you on birth control and fat burners?” I told him “Yes, I have been on both for numerous years”. Then he asked if there had been any changes with either within the time frame that all these problems arose. I had to think for a moment and then realized that there was. I had been on Depo Provera, a Progestin type of birth control for awhile and that I had recently changed back to an Ortho/Estrogen pill because it is doesn't mess with your hormones as much. After telling him this he told me to call my gynecologist and explain what had been happening. Apparently, he had read that there were a few cases where older women had experienced similar episodes while on a fat burner and taking Estrogen for Menopause.

I called her and she asked me to come right in. As it turned out I was having every warning sign of a stroke. I just couldn't understand how this could be true. I am a walking advertisement for health, fitness, and wellness. Anyway, she wanted me to go off the pill and anything else that I was taking. I was so puzzled because I had used the same pill prior for several years with no problems. I only switched when I started to compete in fitness so that I wouldn't get my period as often.

I went off of everything except the fat burner. Call me stubborn but I liked to use it for my cardio sessions.
Within a week everything was fine. I had no more shooting pains, dilated pupil, vertigo, etc. Until after five months, I went back on birth control pill (estrogen type) and it started all over again. This time I stopped the Ephedra fat burner. Within days I was fine again. So now I knew that for some reason I could only take one or the other not both. The following month I went back to taking a Progestin birth control pill along with my fat burners and I've been 100% ever since.

I wish I knew the actual reason why these things happened but no one seem s to have the answer. I am just thankful that I was informed before something as life altering as a stroke occurred.

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About the Author...

Darlina Acampora

IFBB Figure/Fitness Pro

Darlina is from Upstate NY and recently got back into competing after a 4 year hiatus. Her physique is one of the most impressive out there and she hopes to come back strong in the next couple of months. She will be doing the NY Pro Figure in August 5-6 in NYC.

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