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WNY Weekly: Lindsey

Posted Jan 25 2012 6:00am

They walk around you everyday, whether you know it or not.  They seem to be normal — they have jobs, they go to school, they have families and pets and car payments.  They probably wear jeans just like everyone else, and they probably love pizza just as much as you do.

But they’re harboring a little known passion that, on the surface, may  not be so obvious to those who only see them at work, at school, at the kids’ soccer practices, or at family functions.  Despite their otherwise normal exteriors, there are, in fact, some Western New Yorkers who are dedicated to and passionate about a subject not generally associated with our region — a region which normally makes headlines for its chicken wings, its beef on weck, its unfortunate professional sports team history, and its reputation as a snow capital.

Instead, these seemingly average WNYers are passionate about fitness — about running, about weight training, about power lifting, about body building, about yoga, about martial arts, and in some cases, about several of these activities.  These WNYers don’t often see the spotlight — we aren’t a region that traditionally celebrates our fitness — but I would like you to meet these people anyway.

To that end, each Wednesday, for as long as possible, I will showcase the “fitness biography” of one average WNYer who has made extraordinary efforts in his or her dedication to fitness.  These people will talk, in their own words, about their backgrounds, their childhoods, their own children and families, their past and future goals, their diets, their setbacks, their achievements and their disappointments.  They’ll also connect their passion for fitness to a corresponding passion for life, highlighting what lessons fitness has taught them that are applicable to everything, not just to the gym floor.

My hope is that each of these individuals will show the myriad of ways in which one can be “fit,” and my hope is that such diversity will spawn motivation, inspiration and a renewed sense that WNY can be — or maybe already is — the home to not only wings and sandwiches and snow but  to truly great strength and vitality as well.



I have always been pretty physically active. I began dancing/gymnastics/cheerleading at the age of 5. I stuck with dancing, as this was my biggest passion as a little girl. I danced on a competition team with my dance studio, performed in The Nutcracker as a “pollichinelle” at the age of 12, was up for a national title in Las Vegas through a major convention (West Coast Dance Explosion), and was on professional dance teams for the Buffalo Destroyers (AFL) and the Buffalo Bandits (NLL). Although not making it into the “top 20,” I did get my 5 minutes of fame on a t.v. show So You Think You Can Dance? Season 1, where they showed me making it to the last round in NYC. After my dancing career fizzled out, I began weight training and running at about the age of 20.

I started competing as a natural figure competitor about a year ago (March of 2010). The training for this show began on Jan 1st. Prior to that, I ran a marathon in October of 2010 (Niagara Falls International). I would say that the process of training for each of these events led me to realize how much fitness meant to me as a person. The feeling I had crossing the finish line after running 26.2 miles, along with the feeling I had watching my body change as I trained and monitored my diet while training for a show, was indescribable. These are two events I initially did not think I would be able to accomplish; however, I was able to! I would say the training process for each of them, along with having the confidence to make the decision and commit, made fitness “mean” something to me.

While training for a  marathon, I encountered a foot injury from overtraining my body. I went to a doctor, and he told me I should not run the marathon. He wanted me to wear an air cast. I said, “No way!” I’m not going to lie; I cried in his office too! Since this occurred about 3 weeks before I was scheduled to run, I was extremely upset. I felt like all of my hard work was done for nothing. I overcame this obstacle by remaining calm and getting a second opinion from a chiropractor who is certified in providing Active Release Technique (ART). This is a process where different muscles are manipulated through a deep tissue massage to alleviate/heal the pain I was feeling on my foot. Not only did this treatment work, but it allowed me to successfully run the marathon. I was overjoyed and will be forever grateful to the doctor who helped make one of my dreams come true!

My favorite and most successful goal attainment so far was when I won the Overall First Place Figure Award in the Northern States Supernatural Competition in October in Buffalo, NY. This meant so much to me, because my goal going into the show was improve my physique and gain muscle since my first show in March of 2010. I was really excited when I won my height class and very emotional on stage when I won the overall title. I remember thinking about how happy I was that the people I love and care about so much were there in the crowd supporting me (my trainer, family members, boyfriend, friends, etc.). Also, the other two woman up for the overall title are extremely hard-working and inspire me. I immediately hugged them and told them that it was an honor to be on stage with them!

Right now, I am training to compete in another figure competition taking place this spring. I am competing in a show run by the same promoters because my goal is to earn a pro card. In order to do this, I have to win overall again. My last show was not pro-qualifying for my category, but this show is. Fingers crossed!

I work out everyday except Sunday. I have a personal trainer whom I see 4 times a week for an hour. During each session, a different body part is focused on (i.e., legs, shoulders, etc.). Sometimes, workouts target various muscle groups, like biceps and triceps. I am working out about 2 to 2 ½ hours a day while training for this competition. I usually train this way but do less cardio during my off-season. I go to see my trainer before work and do my cardio at another local gym after work.

Currently, my diet plan consists of 5 small meals a day. I eat every 2-3 hours, and my meals are portioned out carefully. I use a food scale to make sure I have the right amount of food with each meal. My trainer created a diet plan for me that consists of protein, clean carbs, and minimal healthy fats. I do not have dairy products, fruit, or alcohol when training for a show. I do not cheat at all when I am dieting for the 12 week prior to a competition. I know if I did cheat and placed poorly, I would be disappointed…so I just don’t cheat. When not training for a show, I add in more calories and more healthy fats. I have a cheat meal or two on the weekends, also, to help me stay sane! Usually my cheat meal isn’t that bad…I might have a couple glasses of wine or a piece of pizza. I don’t go overboard. It isn’t worth it to me. I find that once you change your eating habits to be healthier, you begin to crave things that are pretty healthy!

Before training for a show, I was skinny fat. I worked out but ate whatever I wanted. I actually weighed less than I do now, but my body fat was A LOT higher! Perfect example of why it is so important to not focus on the scale, ladies and gents! One food I can’t live without? I have two that I love when not dieting down…I would say almond butter and chocolate! In minimal doses, of course!

Lindsey before: 114 lbs, 22% BF

Hard work toward reaching my fitness goals has helped me in many areas of my life. Overall, it has allowed me to test my level of self-discipline and prove to myself that I can achieve anything I set my mind to. I often think about what life will be like when I have children of my own, and, in a way, all of the training/preparation for competing aligns with my idea of what it will take to be a great mom one day: organization, flexibility, preparation, persistence, and 100% devotion. I know that 2 hours a day does not equate to the countless hours of parenting daily and basically being “on call” on a regular basis. However, training for shows does take a lot of time and hard work. Also, it helps me understand what healthy living truly feels like. At work, I am always very alert and focused due to my healthy eating habits and regular exercise routine. I can’t help but think, “If I could survive that killer leg workout at 5:30 am, I can tackle any obstacle that may come my way later in the day!”  

My motivation comes from various sources. I often look at pictures and read about people in the fitness industry who inspire me, like Jamie Eason and Nicole Wilkins. I also get really pumped when I see my body changing from week to week. My trainer and friends keep me motivated, and my boyfriend (whom I live with) is also very health conscious, which makes it easier to live this lifestyle.

Lindsey After: 104 lbs, 10% BF

My motivation also comes from the gracious feeling I have when I work out and compete. So many people take the ability to walk, be healthy enough to weight train, etc. for granted. I feel lucky to be healthy and able to do all of the things I do. Why not continue to share this with others and help to motivate them? Keeping my goals in mind always motivates me. There usually is not a day that I don’t feel like going to the gym, but on the rare occasion that feeling arises, I keep my goals in mind. Sitting on my butt, lying in bed, skipping a workout or eating garbage will not get me my pro card!

I have learned, however, that there are always improvements to be made. When I compete, my goal is to always grow from my last show while increasing lean muscle mass and decreasing body fat. I have also learned that the harder you work, the luckier you become. I try to put my all into everything I do, at work, in my relationships, when working out, etc. This does not go unnoticed.

Winning and being successful is not a matter of luck.


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