Issue #8


by Juan Carlos Lopez

Campeonato Selectivo Nacional 2005 San Luis Potosi

Campeonato Selectivo Nacional 2005 San Luis Potosi Review / Reseña

Cover Model Video Interview: Karen Zaremba

Close Grip Bench Press Article and Video
by Sandy Grant

20 Questions with out Cover Model Karen Zaremba

Karen Zaremba, Kristi Wills, Dawn Principe. Nancy Hirsch and Alia Anor

Video Interview: Sherry Smith

Fitness Power by Linda Cusmano

Video Interview: Cynthia Sharp

My Journey Towards a Pro Card
Katie Szep

Video Interview: Kristi Wills

Competition Journal
by Natalie Verges

Karen Zaremba IFBB Figure Pro

Team Universe Experience
by Karen Patten

Drinking Coke
Rossella Prunetti

My Journey Toward My Pro Card By Katie Szep

The Bumpy Beginning

To be honest, the beginning of my career as a fitness competitor was rather disappointing. After a grueling twelve-week diet and hours of practicing and lifting, I entered my first fitness competition (the NPC Physique 2001) to find that I was the only fitness athlete competing. I performed my routine and posed anyway and guess what? I placed first in my height class and overall! I was disappointed to say the least and vowed never to compete again….

The next summer, I decided it wouldn't hurt to give it another try at the Physique 2002. There were only two other competitors at this show. Although I placed first, I was frustrated by the lack of competitors and vowed never to compete again…

After two years off, I started to look through my “Oxygen” magazines and the competitive bug struck again. This time, however, I wanted some stiff competition. Well, to say the least, I got what I wished for in Las Vegas at the 2004 NPC USA Nationals. I had no idea what I was in for. Although my physique was among the top five, my routine was far too simple and it bumped me into sixth place.
My routine was not my only detriment at nationals. I had purchased cheap, non custom-made posing suits, I knew nothing about competition tanning supplies, and I posed like a rookie. I felt out of my league and I vowed never to compete again…

O.K., so you have noticed a pattern! Well, eventually I started to wonder what would happen if I competed again nationally, armed with the knowledge and experience I didn't have the year before. My goal was to redeem myself for my poor performance in Las Vegas. Deep down I knew that I could if I tried. This time, however, I was going to do it right!

The True Journey Toward My Pro Card

I decided to take smaller, incremental steps this time around. I competed in the New York Metropolitan Fitness Competition in March 2005. This show was held in conjunction with professional fitness event, so I figured I would learn a few tricks from the pros along the way. I ordered custom-made suits from (highly recommended), I researched competition tanning techniques, and I posed until my arms felt like they fall off. Most importantly, I choreographed the hardest routine I felt that I could perform and practiced it often. The diet and training programs that I had developed had worked in the past so I used them again. Although there were only three competitors at the show (I was sure I was cursed), I felt that I took a well earned first place and was ready for more! I vowed that I would definitely compete again…

The following month, I competed at the NPC Junior USA Nationals to get prepared for Team Universe. I had some stiff competition and was ecstatic when I placed first overall. Now I was ready to redeem myself. After a month off from dieting, I started training for Team Universe, increasing the difficulty of my routine and hitting the weights and cardio hard. When August 5th arrived, I felt that I had done all that I could do and I was ready. I knew that at the very least, this time I was prepared and would hold my own. It was a close race. Some of the best physiques and routines I have ever seen were in my height class. Ironically, my routine which had previously been my downfall, helped me tremendously. My physique placed third and fourth in the two-piece and one-piece categories respectively, but my routine placed a solid first, putting me in second place and earning me my IFBB Pro Card!
Now, I can vow with certainty that my competing days have only just begun…

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About the Author...

My name is Katie Szep and I am an IFBB Fitness Professional, Certified Personal Trainer, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. My husband and I own Core Fitness Inc., a personal and sports specific training studio in Middletown, New Jersey. In addition to training my own clients, I am also the fitness director at Gold's Gym, Middletown, New Jersey where I teach a variety of classes including spinning, step and sports training.
My passion is to improve the fitness levels of my clients, my students and myself through all-natural training and nutrition programs. I enjoy designing my own competition diets, training programs and fitness routines, as well as preparing other athletes for competition. Fortunately, I am able to do so because of my education, athletic background and support from my husband, family and friends.
My future goal is to enjoy a successful career as a professional fitness competitor while continuing to help others achieve optimum health and fitness.

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