From Body Builder to Strongwoman

Amanda Unz - August 13, 2018

I am going to take you back a decade before I get into the nity grity. At age 16 I weighed 195lb. I got sick with something viral and lost 10lbs that week. A light bulb went off in my head when I stepped on the scale. From that moment forward I didn't touch sugar or any processed food, I began doing VHS video and running. I lost 40lbs in a little over a year. Fast forward to my adult life. A new fire was light inside me.

I kept of all that weight and a little more. I also gained a new passion, some may say addiction for fitness. I do take it to the extreme of double workouts, no rest days, and HIIT cardio for an hour, but I love it all. I wasn't always a weight lifter, actually I never touched heavier than 15lb DB that I used in my Beachbody videos until I turned 30. That's when my mindset about weightlifting changed.

At my 30th birthday I was asked if I could do a split, and well because I didn't know if I could or not I went right down, heard 3 pops and knew that couldn't be good, finished the split got back up and walked it off. I knew when I got up the next day, I was injured. Five days later a huge black and blue mark surface right in under my butt cheeck. So I went to the doctor and sure enough a torn hip rotator. The worst news for an Insanity/P90X instructor to hear, even worse news no exercise!

So I listened to my body and did very low impact when teaching, backed off when it but after 1 week I was itching to get in a workout. That's when I walked in the weight room for the first time. I took Dana Linn Bailey's 28 day training challenge program in with me and made it happen. About 5 weeks later I slowly dipped my feet back into jumping and 8 weeks no problem, healed. I started to see muscles & veins, I knew my goals were changed when I was asked if I ever thought about bodybuilding. Never have but I did then.

I met a trainer and we sat down and discussed how calorie defiect I was because I am known to try every diet known to man, and at that time keto it was. So with a lot of adjusting diet and determination I followed the workout program and the macro counting. I only had a quick 14 weeks to prepare for the stage. I spent most of the time at the gym with moderate cardio, and weightlifting and the rest was in the kitchen. I walked on stage for my first bikini show at 147lbs, I felt wonderful and lean. I got the stage high and wanted more. Two weeks later, I walked on stage again this time leaner at 143lbs. I still wanted more. My coach suggested not to do another one because the stress it puts on your body. I thought different of course because I am so competitive. I trained myself dialed in my diet without macro counting, and walked on stage 9 weeks later at 137lbs. I carved my body down to everything I had left. The next week I had abdominal surgery.

The surgery was planned and I knew I had to focus on muscle growth now because my body needed to heal and I needed to take in the fact now I had a small flap on my lower stomach from surgery. My life has changed again. In Bikini shows my lower body was ready for figure but my upper needed some growth with that in mind I had to come up with something that would challenge me but keep me in the competitive game.

So my strongman journey began. My sister has been competing in strongman for over 1 year and I would watch in amazement but bodybuilding and strongman aren't on the same spectrum. So now it was my chance to follow in my sister's footsteps. She took me under her wing and showed me the way, never getting frustrated, if I just wasn't grasping the idea. She introduced me to her team 315 strong. I started showing up every Saturday training day with goals to lift more than last. My first competition was just 3 months after I started. I made Saturday trainings with Jamie Hankte a priority, never missing one. I hired Jamie on as my trainer to get me where I needed to be for my first competition. He wrote me all my weekly programs and helped me with form/technique Saturdays. Come first comp it was co-ed and my partner and I placed 3rd. Quickly lining up my next competition, now I had big goals of qualifying for nationals, and I knew Jamie would get me there. I had the CNY strongest to make it happen. Jamie paced me and built my workouts up as needed. Come game day, I was ready. Boy, it is so true though,you never know your competition until the day of the comp. I had to fight for every point, I thought I lost the hope of placing 1st which we my golden ticket to nationals. Between Jamie and Autumn they talked me off the ledge and just told me to keep pushing though. I did just that, and pulled off 1st in novice. Going to nationals with my sister, Autumn, and with my trainer Jamie as the MC.

Back to the grind Jamie and I went. Jamie suggested for my 1st national comp, I compete in the lower class 148. I hired Justin M. as my nutritionist and with his help in 7 weeks I weighed in at 145. That's lower than my first bikini comp. The only difference is now I can lift way more weight. My goals for nationals was just to get 1 point across the board. I wanted to go to take it fully as a learning experience. Well, I got 14.5 points and didn't come in last.

See Jamie doesn't have it easy training me, not only does he have to talk me off the ledge on comp days, he has to taken all my craziness on. He knows I just want to get back to the weights as soon as the comp day is over, He knows that I'm going to do cardio, he knows that I might just see what my 1RM max is on a non max lift day, but he also knows I get my work done. I have grown both mentally and physically when I came apart of 315 strong. The squad is my family, and we have the best training event days, but we also push each other to the limits, we want each other to grow, to get stronger, and push more weight. The best part about 315 strong is everyone is welcome, you don't have to be a weight lifter, you don't have to the biggest muscles, you don't even have be a gym fanatic, you just have to have the fire lite inside you to try something new.

Jamie has so much knowledge to share. With his help I am going to nationals for the second time. Right now I'm training for Orange Elite Sept 29, 2018. My goals for this comp is just to put as much weight up as I can. I'm working on gaining muscle, and possibly competing in a heavier weight class. But as a previous bodybuilder this is where the craziness comes in and I get fixated on the scale number, another reason having a trainer has been my savor. Stayed tuned for updates on training for orange elite, then working soley on the gains before January's co-ed comp. With that said I do need a male partner for January. Plenty of time to get your training in.