The life of a figure competitor

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jaeda Tookes
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
A goal to stay focused with fitness is what pushed a civilian spouse to attend her first bodybuilding show three years ago.

"I was unhappy with my level of fitness," said Virginia Bolte, a Florida native and military spouse.

According to Bolte, she fell in love with bodybuilding, and even signed up for a competition on a whim. 

Bolte went into the show not expecting much, just trying to learn the ins and outs of the bodybuilding world, but was surprised when her number was called out for comparisons, she said.

"When registering for a show, you are given number for the judges to identify you by," Bolte said.

Competitors are picked from a line up to move to the next round.

"The girls in my novice category looked so strong and beautiful," Bolte said. "I could not believe I placed next to them in the night show."

Prejudging is done early in the morning, and most of the judging is done then, according to Bolte. The night show is when awards are presented.

Bolte's initial goal of was to look as if she belonged on stage with the other ladies.

"My knees began to tremble right before going on stage," Bolte said. "When it came time for my first quarter turn I felt as if I was visibly shaking, and then auto-pilot kicked in with the smiling and posing."

According to Bolte, each year she competes to bring a better physical package, a stronger mental game and to overall be more prepared.

"I have never particularly cared about placing first," Bolte said. "I have always preferred to progress and place better at every show."

Bolte has qualified nationally twice, and is prepping for an upcoming show in Las Vegas, Nev., in 2017.

"I need more muscle and better conditioning to be competitive on such a big stage," Bolte said.

Training is important, but 90 percent of preparation, maintenance and bulking is correct nutrition, said Bolte.

"Proper nutrition is the biggest factor for me to stay on track with my goals," Bolte said. "I try to keep the mindset that there is no off-season, which helps me stay moderately lean all year long."

Bolte usually sticks to a 40/40/20 percent daily macro nutrient breakdown, which involves equal parts of carbohydrates and protein with lower fat.

"I train my whole year and diet hard for a competition, which lasts only a couple of weekends," Bolte said.

According to Bolte, when preparing for a show, her training has three phases. Phase one is strength sets and endurance lifting.

"Strength sets are when I lift heavy with less repetitions," Bolte said.

Phase two, according to Bolte, is when she starts two-a-days.

"I shorten the lifting time to 50 minutes, and do no more than 30 minutes of interval cardio in the morning," Bolte said.

Phase three is her last month of cutting, and when she starts carb cycling, Bolte said.

Carb cycling is a different way of dieting, and is the process of slowly depleting carbohydrates over the course of a week with a high carbohydrates day at the end of the week.

"Cardio still takes place in the morning, but lifting is done in a circuit fashion, and shortened to 45 minutes of lower weight with higher repetitions," Bolte said.

Bolte trains six days of the week when preparing for a show.

"My training includes three days of different muscle groups and a rest day," Bolte said. "I also do cardio three times a week for 20 minutes."

Bolte is a newly certified fitness instructor with the National Academy of Sports Medicine, specializing in sports nutrition and women's fitness.

According to Bolte, she is currently working on teaching introductory classes for weightlifting and bodybuilding, along with one-on-one consultations for different lifting programs, form assessment and correction, and personal training sessions for any skill and fitness level.

"It makes me so happy to be a part of people's fitness journeys, to encourage and assist along the way" Bolte said.

For anyone wanting to get into the world of bodybuilding, it would be best to first attend a show, Bolte said. Secondly, she suggests not being afraid to ask for help with dieting and training.

"I tell people lift heavy, eat sensibly and enjoy every step of the process," Bolte said.