FROM WORST TO FIRST
KYLA JOHNSON, NPC FIGURE COMPETITOR & FITNESS MODEL
As seen in: No Nonsense Magazine Vol 16 Issue 3
I distinctly remember exiting stage left after the 2010 Northern KY contest. I felt defeated, confused and let down. Just 8 weeks earlier, I had started on a journey that I couldn't have imagined becoming such an important part of my life. I had been working out in the gym, and noticing a group of females working out together (and they were hitting it hard!). I remember thinking that I would like to work out like that. I eventually asked one of the girls about her training regimen and she told me she was a figure competitor. This piqued my interest right away! Having the competitive nature that I do, I knew it was something that I would love to try, so I went home and "Googled" that night.
I felt that I would be a strong competitor with my sports background. I had run track and played volleyball at the collegiate level. I had also been a part of a competitive sand volleyball league. I knew I had the dedication, and I felt the diet would be a breeze… boy was I wrong!
I picked the Northern KY as my first show, mainly because it was the only one I had ever heard others talk about. Figure was brand new to my world, and I just wanted to "check" it off of my list of pursuits to try. You could say it was more of a "bucket list" item than something that I considered becoming a large part of who I am.
You can imagine that I was let down by not "winning" my first show. I had been competing in sports for more than half of my life and was always a top performer. This was my first real taste of letting myself down. As I walked away from backstage area, I thought to myself, "Ok, Kyla, you can't walk away from this without proving something." I wanted to prove to myself that I had what it took to really do well in a competition.
At nearly that same moment I walked out the backstage doors and almost bumped into Julie Lohre's booth in the vendor area. I decided to stop and ask her a few questions. Maybe she could help me make sense of what had just happened. She asked a number of questions about my contest prep. One was, "What type of supplements have you been using?" I hadn't really thought about supplements. My answer was plain and simple...none. We exchanged email addresses and my REAL journey began.
Through Julie's Team Fitbody I learned the "ins and outs" of figure competition. One of the major topics covered in meetings dealt with supplementing your diet and exercise program with what is right for YOUR OWN body and your own journey. For me, building my upper body and cutting fat from my lower body was the objective. Julie and I sat down and really analyzed my body in comparison with what judges are looking for. We defined my goals together, and as she steered the way, she allowed me to make decisions and choices on what I wanted to get out of this competition. On my naturally thin frame, putting on muscle would take time and effort, but I was willing to put in both. I began supplementing right away and I saw MAJOR changes within just a few weeks. I was supplementing my diet program with Lean Out, Mass Aminos, Muscularity, EFA Gold and Ultra 40.
I continued working hard toward my goal and as I reached my second show, the KY Muscle, I had gone from 22% body fat to 9% body fat. My body had made changes that I had once thought were impossible. It was hard for me to wrap my head around being able to build muscle and lose fat at the same time. I feel that Beverly products had EVERYTHING to do with making that transformation possible for me. I'm a BevNut for life now. I completely believe in the power of the product. In addition to the supplements listed above, a few of my FAVORITES are Muscle Synergy (for the amazing pump I get in the gym when I take it before training) and Bev ZMA (because it makes me feel like a million bucks in the mornings!).
I placed third in my class at the KY Muscle, which inspired me to continue competing with the goal of someday competing in a National show. This began my journey to return to the Northern KY and to "prove" myself where a year earlier I had felt so small and defeated.
My 2011 Northern KY performance was my best yet. I really worked on being "alive" on stage. Leading up to the show, I posed every day for about 10-15 minutes. For me, posing is about having a BIG personality on stage to best showcase what you have worked so hard to create. I make a lot of eye contact with the judges. It makes me feel confident that they have acknowledged my presence. I also feel that it's very important to move freely and with a feminine swag. I am proud to be a woman with muscular symmetry and poise, so that is what I portray on stage… SMILE SMILE SMILE!
And in case you were wondering how I fared at the Northern KY my second time around…1st in my class, qualifying me to pursue my goal of competing at a National SHOW!! But far greater than the feeling of taking home a trophy, were the many friendships and bonds created with beautiful, strong minded women that I met that day. Thank You Roger and Sandy, for always putting on such a wonderful show!
As for training, I put a lot of focus on shoulders and lower body. I tend to lift heavier on shoulder days (which I have twice a week). My main objective for lower body is to burn fat, so I use cardio, plyometrics and quick circuits with supersets to achieve this.
Many days I spend my cardio minutes on the stair mill. I like the stair mill because it has proven to me to be the best "butt blaster." When I'm not on the mill, I like running stadium steps or stairs in the gym. I also like running hills (whether outside or on the treadmill).
When I don't have the drive to be on the mill, I like to throw in a session of plyometrics with kettle bells. It pumps me up and the variety makes it fun. In the meantime, I'm burning crazy calories!!! If I am having a tough time getting through cardio, I will also sip Glutamine Select, which makes me feel brand new. I normally put in 30-45 minutes on cardio per session, 4-5 times per week. I switch up steady state and HIIT depending on what my body is telling me.
Lower body day would normally look like this:
Smith Machine Squats - 3 sets of 8-12
Reverse Lunges - 3 trips around the basketball court; use a cambered bar for weight
Bench Rebounds - 3-30 second rounds
Leg Press - 3 sets of 8-12
Deadlift standing on a BOSU - 3 sets of 8-12 with DB for weights
Travelling Side Squats - length of the basketball court, up and back 3 times ***followed by Stair Mill/Climber for 30-40 minutes***
Typical Upper body day would look like this for me:
Pushups - 3 sets of 10 each hand spacing (wide, regular, close, regular, wide)
Lat Pulldowns (wide grip) - 3 sets of 8
Lateral Raises - 3 sets of 8-10
Overhead Press - 3 sets of 8-12
¼ Lateral Raises - 3 sets of 10 pulses
Incline DB flyes - 3 sets 10-12
Medicine ball toss - 3 sets of 30 seconds
Medicine ball slam, with roll back - 3 sets of 30 seconds * followed by HIIT or 30-40 minutes steady state cardio
My diet was typically what I have below, however, as I get closer to competition, I normally start to carb rotate, depending on my progress:
Meal 1: 4 egg whites and 1 egg, ½ c oatmeal, 3 oz lean meat
Meal 2: ½ c cottage cheese and a small piece of fruit or 2 scoops UMP
Meal 3: 6 oz lean meat, 6 oz sweet potato, salad with 1tbsp lowfat dressing
Meal 4: 2 scoops of UMP ***I either have a chocolate shake or I mix vanilla with a flavored sugar free pudding mix and make a yummy pudding. I really like banana cream. I also add fat free pudding mix to my chocolate shakes as well.***
Meal 5: 8 oz lean meat (normally I eat tilapia) 2 c veggies (I love asparagus) and 6 oz sweet potato (I normally bake them like fries in the evenings).
I like to have red meat twice a week, as it makes my muscles feel and look fuller. Sweet potatoes are great and easy to pack for my lunch, and I can microwave them at work. Some days, I will take microwaveable brown rice instead of sweet potatoes, but the potato helps me feel full longer.
TOP TEN POINTERS FOR AN ASPIRING FIGURE COMPETITOR