I grew up in a small town in Eastern Washington with my father, older sister and younger brother. My mother lived in Seattle and we often visited getting a balance of city life and country life. My parents couldn’t be more opposite, but it was a blessing in many ways.
Since I can remember, I’ve been active with my family going hiking, swimming, biking, etc., but gymnastics was my sport, my passion. I started recreationally at the age of 8 and got serious once our gym, the Colville KIPS became involved in a Junior Olympic Program, USGF. At my height, I wasn’t overly compatible with the sport as it is easier to twist, control your body when you are shorter, and weigh less. But I was strong willed and didn’t give up. I competed until I gradated from high school.
I became involved in the competitive scene as a fitness competitor in the spring of 1995. I had no idea how to prepare. All I had were muscle magazines. Then again, I was still in high school. I placed 3rd. I went off to college with the bug and while juggling my first load of college classes, decided to compete again in fitness. This time I placed 6th, which was also last place. I was upset. Although I didn’t know about dieting, I felt like I was in decent shape and my routine was enough to carry me through.
It was backstage that I met my eventual trainer who said he could work with me. He suggested bodybuilding might suit me better in terms of my physique (broad shoulders, strong back, okay legs). I began lifting and learning about the basics. I’ve been strong ‘for a girl’ all my life, yet I never tested my ground on a gym floor with weights. It was a thrill to feel strong and see results. I didn’t realize how my physique had changed until I prepared for my first bodybuilding show in 1996. I was only 18, in a line-up of 11 novice heavyweight women, and I ended up 2nd! I kept training and did a few more bodybuilding shows moving into the open ranks in 1997. (I even tried power lifting, placed 2nd in my division, but only lasted one meet--those suits are a pain!)
In college at the time, I discovered I was expecting. I decided to work full time to prepare for my son who was born in the fall of 1998. I rarely made it to the gym during my pregnancy, and after he was born I wanted to finish college. I went back to school when he was four months old, taking him to class with me. I graduated the summer of 2000 from University of Washington.
As a single parent, with college and then work, I found it hard to fit the gym into my schedule. I hadn’t been to the gym consistently in such a long time I didn’t know where to start. I went when I could, but struggled because I had lost muscle and strength. I knew I wanted to compete again, so I started training on a regular basis in the late summer of 2001. By the holidays, I had my sight set on competing in the spring. Being back in the gym after a good three-year break took a lot more mental conditioning than anything else. But as you know if you want something badly enough, you can make it yours.
The 2002 Emerald Cup was the show’s 20th anniversary and it was bigger than ever. I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in and ended up placing 3rd out of 9 heavyweight women. I proved to myself that I could do it, despite a tight schedule, financial limits, and parenting responsibilities.
No one can make it on stage without a support system. I had the initial desire, but without my friend, my trainer, my #1 fan, Kevin King, I would not be what I am. My special thanks to him and all he does for me with posing, routine choreography, supplementation, and encouragement from start to finish. I also thank my son, for many gifts he does not even know he gives me. I try to be an example to him (an others) of how to live a well-balanced life, how I take care of myself in the way I treat my body and what I feed my body. Not to forget anyone, thanks to my family and friends who cheer me on, even the faces at the gym who give me daily energy to keep at it strong and determined.
It takes a lot of discipline. It can be overwhelming, but soon it becomes a routine, a natural part of your life.
I have no preplanned ideas of how far I want to take competitive bodybuilding. I know I will always enjoy lifting as a part of my workout regime; it is a must have. With each competition I like to see improvements. It’s a sport that takes more time and dedication than most people think. I somehow manage to squeeze it into my life now, and as long as I can make it a beneficial part of who I am and what lifestyle I want to live, I’ll keep doing it.
2003 Jr. Nationals 7th Heavyweight
2003 Emerald Cup 1st Heavyweight & Overall
2003 Vancouver Natural Classic 1st Heavyweight
2002 Empire Classic 1st Heavyweight & Overall
2002 Emerald Cup 3rd Heavyweight
2002 Vancouver Natural Classic 2nd Heavyweight
1997 Washington Ironman 2nd Heavyweight
1996 Washington Ironman 2nd Heavyweight
1996 Northwest Championships 1st Novice Heavyweight & Novice Overall
1996 Vancouver Natural Classic 2nd Novice Heavyweight
Kirsten is currently preparing for the Team Universe coming up August 7th 2004 in New York.