Click here to read about Jodi's switch back to Bodybuilding
The perfect hamburger:
* A toasted bun that is soft in the middle and slightly crisp around the edges and isn’t threatened by the juices of the beef patty it sits so tight and snug against. It won’t fall apart under pressure.
* The right mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise that produces a sweet, creamy taste.
* A meaty slice of tomato containing few juices and few seeds.
* A smattering of pickles strategically placed so they don’t slip and slide against the condiments smeared on the bun.
* Two crisp slices of bacon that don’t require extra tearing and chewing and instead make a clean break when you bite into the burger.
* Melted cheddar cheese. True cheddar. Sharp cheddar. Pungent. Tasty. Melted cheddar cheese that has become one with the chargrilled patty.
* The chargrilled patty. Half a pound is preferable. Slightly pink in the middle. Warm. Juices flowing when a bite is taken. Succulent juices. This patty is the star of the show, and the taste buds appreciate every encore. The other components respect the patty and simply work to make it taste better. They don’t overpower it.
If only creating a figure physique were as easy as concocting the perfect hamburger. If only there were ingredients, a written recipe, mixing instructions, and just one picture that would get the ball rolling and help the public to understand what figure truly requires from its athletes.
I could live in a world of what ifs. What if I had competed in the Junior USA’s that took place this past weekend? What if I decided that this hobby was more important than my job? What if I forgot about responsibility and priorities and life’s necessities? Tempting, huh?
I made a difficult decision several weeks ago that turned out to be the best one I’ve made this year. I stepped away from the Junior USA’s and focused on my physique, my job, and a few extra hours of sleep. And while this decision may have disappointed a few people who had wished to see me on stage earlier than this July, I made myself proud.
I work a long day in a busy job that has nothing to do with my degree. It bothers me weekly. I love teaching. I love reading. I love writing. And so, it’s a shame that I had to choose to leave teaching in order to reach goals, dreams, and moments in my life that I couldn’t previously afford and that weren’t looked upon highly by my colleagues. After all, when was the last time you saw your high school English teacher’s glute-to-hamstring tie-ins plastered on your computer screen, with only a bit of dental floss interrupting the flow of flesh? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
In light of the what ifs I’ve brought up here, I’m leaving up the poem by Robert Frost because I’m still walking paths and still reaching crossroads and still making choices. I have no clue as to which one is right and which is wrong. I’m hoping though, that each one really does make a difference when it’s all said and done…all without the touch of sarcasm that I sense in Frost’s tone.
Maybe you’ll be at one of my crossroads. Come see me compete at this year’s Figure Nationals in New York or at the USA’s in Las Vegas. What if I finally turn pro? You wouldn’t want to miss it would you?
Come visit me on my site. I’ll tickle your brain with more than just dental floss images. I’ll provide some food for thought that might even be tastier than the delectable hamburger I described earlier. By the way, if you want that hamburger in real life and ever find yourself in Dallas, head to Angry Dog in Deep Ellum. It’s sure to erase the what if and instead display the what is.
2006 Competition Plans
July 15: Figure Nationals/Team Universe, New York
July 30: USA’s, Las Vegas
Weight: In season – 107 to 109 lbs., off season – 116 to 118 lbs.
Age: 33 years old
Birthplace: Chicago, IL
Residence: Dallas, TX
Favorite musical groups: I love all types of music, but these are what I keep returning to the most, especially in the gym--Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Godsmack, Linkin Park, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Korn, Seether, Tool, Mudvayne
Favorite color: Purple
Favorite binge treats: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, oatmeal raisin cookies, carrot cake with cream cheese icing, bacon cheeseburgers, cookies 'n' cream ice cream, any fruit (except strawberries-I'm allergic) (I love to eat!)
Favorite contest food: oatmeal and egg whites
Cardio schedule: 6 to 7 times a week in season; 4 to 5 times a week off season (sprints are done in addition to cardio.)
Weight training schedule:
I train with weights five times a week with the following schedule:
Saturdays—Shoulders and Calves
I do cardio five to six days a week, and when preparing for a show or a photo shoot, I do two sessions a day. The sessions will last anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes in length, and I depend upon a treadmill with a high incline, the elliptical trainer, the recumbent bike, and the stair stepper.
I also add in sprints and plyometrics and either exchange my leg day for a program involving those two or add them in with my arms or shoulders workouts. I do ab training three to five times a week, and sometimes use light weights (no more than 15 pounds to avoid bulking up in the mid section).
Hobbies: I love to read novels (classic, suspense, thriller, drama); I write creatively and have had a poem and an article published. I also enjoy doing cross stitch and watching movies with friends as well as talking on the phone and shopping, shopping, shopping (though my wallet doesn't like the last hobby too much).
2005 Competition Experience
June: Junior Nationals, Class A Figure, 12th place
July: USA’s, Class A Figure, 4th place
August: FVF Femsport, 3rd overall, 1st in physique round
2004 competition experience
June: Junior Nationals, A-Class Figure (5’2” and under), 12th place
April: Junior USA's, A-Class (5'2" and under), 5th place
April: Emerald Cup, A-Class (5'3" and under), 2nd place
2003 competition experience:
August: Figure Nationals, A-Class Figure (5’2” and under), 5th place
June: Junior Nationals, A-Class Figure (5’2” and under), 6th place
May: NPC Pittsburgh Bodybuilding, Fitness, and Figure, A-Class Figure (5’3” and under), 4th place
April: Junior USA’s, A-Class Figure (5’2” and under), 7th place
2002 competition experience:
Lone Star Classic, Short Figure, 4th Place
Junior Nationals, Short Figure, 17th Place
Figure Nationals, Short Figure, tie for 19th
A Side Note:
Let me start off by reciting a poem by the late, great Robert Frost:
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-I took the one less traveled by,And that
has made all the difference.
Read this poem with a different tone in the voice, and the meaning can change drastically. My students and I would discuss this every year, but it wasn't until my last year of my six years of teaching ninth-grade English (regular and advanced levels) that I truly felt the meaning. I made a decision to leave the teaching field when I saw other opportunities creak open a door. Mind you, the door wasn't wide open; it was just enough for me to peek through to the other side and catch a glimpse of what could be. So I took a risk-a gutsy move-and I resigned in the summer of 2002. I left something that I truly loved and adored (except when parents yelled and administrators interfered and students talked back.lol) and chose a completely different field of personal training so that I could shuffle through the leaves of a new path. I knew that I didn't want to be 60 years old, with bifocals, blue hair, and a rickety voice and wondering what could have been. As a senior citizen, being a spokesmodel (would you want to look at my wrinkly butt in a thong bikini?! I thought not!) for the fitness industry was out of the question and starting a writing career would be that much more difficult, but I would be able to still teach. So, with that thought in mind, I took steps where others would have been too scared to venture. Has it been easy? No. But did I do the right thing? Yes. If you question that, then read the following paragraphs, for these paragraphs and the pictures you will see in this feature would not be available if I chose to stay in the conservative teaching field. My newly forged path truly has "made all the difference."
Shorty, midget, munchkin, quarter pint, little bit, squirt--this long list of nicknames all come from one very distinct feature of my physique: I am only 4'11". This obvious lack of height and a tiny, baby face have invited many a person to think of me as a child, and it was in defiance of this that I took my first step into the weightroom. I suppose I felt I needed to prove to others that I could wear my independence on my sleeve, or in this case on the high peak of my biceps, and if squatting 250 doesn't prove that to the public today, then I don't know what will.
I have been blessed with the luxury of bumping into the right people at the right times. While at the University of Texas at Austin, preparing for my English degree and teacher certification, I met a nationally-ranked collegiate powerlifter by the name of Derrick Jenkins. From that moment forward, I ventured out of the cocoon of step aerobics and spread my wings to encompass a whole new realm of working out.
I quickly learned that I have a propensity for gaining muscle and strength. Guys would often state--as they still do today--that they didn't want to work out around me because I embarrassed them by lifting more than they did. I reveled in the comments, worked harder, and soon walked onto the powerlifting team where I won my first competition in the 104-pound weight class. That trophy still sits on my bookshelf today amidst a multitude of others.
When I graduated from college and returned back to the high school I graduated from to teach ninth grade English, I still could not shake the need to lift heavy. Thus, I did one more powerlifting meet before determining, with the help of another trainer, that it was time to move into a new direction. In fact, I had always trained for a purpose, a goal, a vindication. I decided it was now time to train for myself. I did this for two years before the ache to reach high into the sky and grasp the tip of a star returned. The Galaxy, an obstacle course competition, called out loudly to me.
I had one major problem though. I was--and still am--petrified of heights. The Galaxy competition involves a 15-foot high cargo net and a 10-foot high rope wall, and while I could learn to run sprints properly and swiftly and while I had the strength to carry the 60-pound water jugs, I could not shake the intense fear and trepidation that pounded in my blood when I thought about being stuck at the top of those two obstacles.
This did not stop me, though. One quality--for better or for worse--that remains instilled in me is my stubborness. And while this quality got me into loads of hot water with my parents, it managed, after six long weeks, to get me over my nemesis: the cargo net. Unfortunately, the fear never left me. It gripped my heart like a vise tightened on a piece of pliable wood, crushing my spirits every time I looked at the cargo net during practice. And practice I did. Two to four times a week for weeks on end I glared at that monster with the neon yellow ropes. I maneuvered my small frame up and over the cargo five, six, ten times for each practice session, and my fear still would not dissipate.
Nevertheless, I competed in three Galaxy competitions, and my heart still pounds, races, and skips a few beats when I picture the mammoth cargo net. While I placed 18th, 15th, and 12th--respectively--in the physique rounds against 60+ girls in the three competitions, I blew any chances of making the final round because of my fear of heights. Did I lose? No. I actually won. I found a new sense of courage, self-esteem, and determination that I never realized I had in me. A true sense of grit and pride engulfed me, and I decided to take these newfound qualities into the NPC.
I made the right move. In my very first bodybuilding competition, where I had the pleasure of meeting the late DeShay Ebert, I took the novice title at the Texas State Championships in San Antonio in 2001. I also placed fourth in figure. I went on to the Heart of Texas, where I took second in the open class for bodybuilding and third in figure. I not only went home with two trophies from that show, I also took a business card from my soon-to-be trainer, Jason English of MJFitness. With his help and expertise, I found myself on stage just a few weeks later, and I again took home two trophies: second in figure, qualifying me for Nationals, and third in bodybuilding. Most recently I placed fifth at the 2003 Figure Nationals.
What a ride! Fortunately, it's just starting. I improve my physique every time I step into the gym. I work out with an intensity that stupefies others. I still, even when I'm under 10% bodyfat, push up over 400 lbs. on leg press for sets of 20 and more. My mind is the greatest tool that I have, one that will outlast the rest of me, and it carries me through the long days that start at 4:30 or 5 a.m. and don't end until 10 or 11 p.m.
Of course, I need to attack everything with a sense of humor in order to achieve some sort of sanity, which is sometimes hard to achieve without my requisite dose of chocolate. I have a love for helping people, for reading and learning, for experiencing my dreams and sharing my success with others. There are more stars for me to pluck out of the sky. Just look up one day, and you'll see my legs dangling as I grasp onto the edge of another one and hang on for dear life. And then maybe you too will find the will to reach high.