A Life Beyond my Dreams


image (3)I have been your average girl for most of my life. I was never really overweight. I exercised occasionally. I got a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. I work as a Pediatric RN at the local children’s hospital working 12-hour shifts. I used to drink on the weekends and eat whatever I wanted. I would exercise if it sounded convenient. I took my health for granted most of the time. I never really felt the need to exercise more or try to diet because my weight was “average.” I was content with my size and shape. I struggled with depression on and off since about the age of 16. After I gave birth to my daughter in October 2011, my body was a lot different.

I accepted that and listened to others when they said the weight would just “fall off of me with breastfeeding”. Well, when my daughter was 11 months and I was still wearing maternity clothes and struggling with the energy to keep up with being a mom and full-time nurse, I realized that I needed to make a change. I was the heaviest of my life and hated how I felt. I decided to get in contact with a local personal trainer that I knew through mutual Facebook friends.

On September 20, 2012, I sat in front of a trainer and told him my goals: to lose 10-15 pounds and to be in the BEST shape of my life. I really didn’t know what that would look like per se. And I had absolutely no idea that I was getting ready to embark on one of the greatest journeys of my life. I left that day with 100% commitment to my new lifestyle. I had decided to make a change and I was DETERMINED to see results from it.

My new trainer wrote me a diet plan that would include six meals a day. He taught me what “clean eating” was. He gave me resources to make exchanges in my new diet to keep it interesting. He instructed me to begin drinking a gallon of water a day minimum. He also wrote for me a workout plan that would include four days of weight lifting and some cardio. I began by meeting with my trainer once a week. He would hold me accountable for my diet choices as well as instruct me on specific weight lifting exercises. Before this, I had no idea how to lift weights or what to even do in the gym. I used to think the only reason to go to the gym was to do cardio.

I followed this new plan exactly as my trainer had written it. He told me that I would see changes if I wanted to see them. I literally did every single thing he told me to do. The saying “Trust the Process” took on a whole new meaning. My husband was also following a similar plan and was very supportive to me. His help in meal prepping was hugely helpful. After three short weeks of being on this new program, I could see some changes in my weekly progress pictures. No, the pounds were not just falling off of me, but I could tell that my body was getting used to this clean eating and regular exercise. It was motivating for me to see that there was even a small amount of change happening. I kept going.

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About a month after starting to train, my husband and I went to the local NPC Bodybuilding and Figure prejudging. Our trainer had a couple of clients who were competing. We wanted to support him, and I was also curious as to what these competitions were all about. I was intrigued. At first I thought that the amount of muscle that the women had and their level of leanness was undesirable at least for myself. But I thought it was amazing at the amount of work it must have taken them to look that way.

After 5 weeks of training, my results were beginning to be very obvious not only to myself, but also to those around me. I had lost about 8 pounds, but the way that I felt was miraculous. I had SO much more energy. The progress that I could see was so absolutely motivating! I could fit into clothes that I hadn’t been able to wear in over 2 years! I was so excited about the real changes that I was seeing that you wouldn’t have been able to convince me to stop. My dedication to my clean diet and regular exercise was apparent. I began to have the idea of trying to do a competition. More than anything, I wondered if I had it in me to do something that would take so much work, sacrifice, and dedication. I also knew that to be at the level of being able to compete would mean that I reached the goal of “being in the best shape of my life.” A few weeks later, I nervously asked my trainer if he thought I could compete. I was so excited when he texted me back, “You could for sure do a competition! And I think you would do really well!” For some reason, I was surprised to know that my trainer believed that I could do something so cool and something so seemingly difficult.

By 11 weeks of training, my transformation so far was quite remarkable! I had lost the majority of weight I needed to lose (about 20 pounds) and was starting to see a small amount of muscle definition. I had decided in my mind that I for sure wanted to attempt the local NPC competition in March, 6 months after starting to train.

In February, my first trainer and I had some differences and I began looking for a new coach. After interviewing a few, I decided to hire Shane Heugly with Team Heugly. Shane was completely positive about my potential and made me even more excited to compete. But with only seven weeks left until my competition, there was a lot of work to do. Shane immediately adjusted my diet and workouts to help me progress in the areas that needed work. My body began to change again. In 6 weeks, Shane was able to help me progress in ways I hadn’t even imagined possible. I liked that he didn’t measure my weight or body fat percentage. My progress was solely based off of how I looked and felt. His wife, Tiffany, coached me in my posing and helped me to get stage ready. They gave me so much encouragement and support all the way up until the second I walked on stage for the first time. They have continued to be by my side through five competitions.

To have the kind of transformation that I had in six months seems pretty incredible. And the truth is, I never treated my workouts and diet like a short-term fix. I really adopted it as my lifestyle. I never had imagined that I would grow to LOVE weight lifting. It has given me a source of positive energy expenditure, as way to set and achieve goals, a way to experience my body in a new way, a source of self-confidence, and a means of creating power within myself. I know that when I eat good, healthy food that my body performs better. When I eat junk that is high is simple carbohydrates I feel poorly. My mind-body connection is at a level that I have never experienced before. Every single day, I want to set new goals for myself. I have a drive inside of me that pushes me towards reaching these goals like I have never experienced in my life.

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It has now been exactly one year since I made these changes in my life. My physique has only continued to refine. Everyday, my life continues to improve and I continue to grow. More doors have opened for me; the chains I once let hold me back have broken. My mind and body are stronger than they have ever been. The feelings of depression I used to struggle with have been replaced with absolute happiness and gratitude.

I have now competed in four bikini and one figure competition. Two of those competitions were at the National level. I am a sponsored athlete by NLA for Her, Complete Nutrition Utah, Iron Fist Athletics, and Isolator Fitness. My next competition will be NPC Nationals in Florida in November. If you had looked at me one year ago and told me that I would be where I am today, I would not have believed you. Each of us holds more power and potential inside of us than we may know what to do with. Learning to utilize that power and to let go of all that is holding us back may be one of the greatest lessons we ever master. If you can imagine it, it can become your reality.

“If you care enough for a result, you will most certainly obtain it.” – Unknown.

Amy Updike

RN, mother, National Bikini Competitor

Instagram @fitamysuzanne