Issue #6


by HardFitness

2005 Chicago Jr. Nationals Contest Coverage

2005 Chicago Jr. Nationals Review
by HardFitness

Tanning Video, Part 3 by Shelly Leversage

Can Caffeine Make You Stronger?
by Allison Jones

Video Interview: Randi Post

Training for the Emerald Cup and Interview
by Karen Patten

First National Show Experience: Taking 2nd Class A at Jr. Nationals
by Alex Galvez

Muscularity by Shelly Pinkerton

My Journey to Turning Pro
by Amy Peters

20 Questions with our Cover Model by Andrea Giacomi

Video Interview: Andrea Giacomi HardFitness Sponsored Athlete

Video Interview: Breean Loepp

Fitness Competitors: Help Prevent Injuries
by Kristi Wills

Interview with Traci Redding, a pro physique, competing in the amateur division

Andrea Giacomi, Monica Guerra, Shelly Pinkerton, Traci Saba and Zhanna Rotar

Video Interview: Jodi Miller speaks up

Video Interview: Sarah Dunlap about Female Bodybuilding

Jr. Nationals Experience by Andrea Giacomi

Video Interview: Nikki Warner

Motivation: It is no Myth
by Jodi Leigh Miller




Muscularity by Shelly Pinkerton

There are times when I look in the mirror and think, “What I’d give to have just one day of no bulging muscles…” And then my next immediate thought is “Oh, but thank God I do!” Talk about a love-hate relationship! It seems that in the life of figure competitors there are challenges that are particular to each and every one of us. To the outside world, we seem the picture of perfection; but little do they know, we, too, have our pet peeves, nags and quirks that can eat away at us and leave us feeling just as insecure as the next person.
For me, it’s always the topic of muscularity. Ironically, the very thing that makes me a strong figure competitor can leave me feeling self-conscious and insecure as well. Over the years, I have learned to take these emotions in stride and diffuse the negative energy created by them. As a young girl, I was stocky and strong, always able to keep up with the boys in sports, never faltering in drive and endurance – and always MUCH tougher and stronger than the other girls – who, for the most part, were soft, tiny-boned smooth creatures with delicate features and small hands. I always felt like a big, solid masculine “thing” next to them, even though I was reassured time and time again by family and close friends that that was not the image I evoked. Easy for them to say – they weren't feeling it! Needless to say, I have matured to the point of knowing that I am not the ogre I often felt like and, in fact, am a beautiful, strong woman with a figure that many would pay money to have (and do). I have come to embrace my natural muscularity as a gift – for that's truly what it is, to allow me to pursue my dreams and desires as a successful personal trainer and figure competitor. But I would be lying if I didn't admit that there are times when I would like to have a soft, smooth body with no rippling veins, no visible striations, no squared-off abs…even for a minute!
The upside of having so much natural muscularity, in the bodybuilding world, is that it is easy to bring that muscle into competition shape in a relatively short amount of time. I can build muscle extremely fast. My body responds to training like a sponge sucks up water. With my diet dialed in and my cardio sessions on target, my conditioning is like clockwork, and I can count on it being that way time and time again. The flip side of this coin is two-fold; one, by reaching competition shape easily, the risk of coming in too soon, or being ready too early can be a pitfall. You don't want to be show-ready four weeks out and then blow it because you are playing the “maintaining” game for too long. Two, too much muscularity, which is considerable gray area in the world of figure these days, is always a guessing game. To be super lean, striated and hard is completely subjective; what one person considers too much may be another person’s ideal. This is my greatest challenge – physically and mentally! My body looks best when it is tight and hard, with plenty of vascularity – but it seems this is often considered too much in the figure arena. When I try to go for a “softer” look, I come across as flat and unconditioned - again, not what is looked for in a figure competitor. The answer? What I have learned is to present the package that suits YOU the best. What makes you feel good? How do you look when you are at your best, when you feel the most confident and poised and in control of your physical and mental being? This is what makes a champion – what comes from within. I have learned to accept and embrace the fact that the veins in my arms will stand at attention, that the separation in my quads will show no matter what, and this is what and who I am, and I am proud of myself – and when I step on stage, you will know it!

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About the Author...

Shelly Pinkerton CPFT & National-level Figure Competitor

I grew up in rural northern California where extracurricular activities were few and far between - I can remember my mom driving two to three hours a day to get me to gymnastics and ballet lessons. Naturally athletic and blessed with good genetics, I involved myself in all school sports and cheerleading, and when I started college at CSU, Chico, I found myself joining my first gym and learning about weight training – I was hooked!

After my son was born in 1992 I became certified to teach group fitness and shortly after attained my personal training certification. I have been working with people to improve their lifestyles ever since. In 2004, after a difficult move to Southern California, I accepted a new challenge – figure competing – and found renewed personal satisfaction and success. I plan to continue to share my passion for fitness with others by helping them develop their own happy, healthy lifestyle through my personal training business, BodyWise Total Fitness, and through my experiences in figure competing.

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