My road to the stage...

I began preparing to compete in figure bodybuilding in the June 2009.  I entered the sport relatively blind with limited knowledge of the actual competition itself.  Although the training and nutrition varied significantly from my years as an endurance athlete, it was a nice change of pace.  I initially missed my outdoor training for triathlons and the ability to just head out the door for my workouts.  However, when winter rolls around in Minnesota, I am more than happy to spend my workouts indoors away from the frigid wind and snow!

My first show was the Northern States Natural Classic in Elk River, MN.  I decided to enter every category I was eligible to compete in which included Beginner, Novice and Open.  Little did I know how exhausted I would become appearing on stage back-to-back for each category.  The mandatory round of poses took a toll.  It was exhausting to be on stage under the bright lights, my body carb depleted, water depleted and continually holding 'relaxed' but flexed poses.  It was exciting, at the same time, since I had never experienced this type of sporting competition.  Overall, my first show was an awesome experience and yielded me some great results!  I was hooked.

2009 NANBF Northern States Classic

I am second from the right

2009 NANBF Northern States Natural Classic Results:
  • Beginner Tall Class Winner
  • Beginner Overall Winner
  • Novice Tall Winner
  • Novice Overall - 2nd Place
  • Open Tall Winner
  • Open Overall Winner

This was a wonderful first experience and I instantly knew I wanted to continue to compete in this sport.  I loved the training and the changes it made to my physique.  I had found a new sport which I loved.  However, my trainer told me I needed to add more muscle mass if I wanted to keep competing. It was time to build some mass.  I wanted to be ready for another show in the spring of 2010.

2010 NANBF Mr. /Ms. Natural Minnesota 

Ms. Minnesota was my second show and bit more intimidating since I new what to expect. Since I had won my classes and overall at Elk River, I was only eligible to compete in Open and I hadn't reached 40 years old yet so I was not eligible for the Master's Class. So the Open class it was!

May 2010

2010 NANBF Ms. Minnesota Natural Results:
  • Open Tall Class Winner
  • Top 3 for Open Overall Winner 
My incredible boyfriend and trainer - Chris Abbas

2010 OCB Upper Midwest

November 2010
In November 2010, I decided to travel to Illinois for an OCB show.  OCB is a sister Natural federation to NANBF.  It was a great experience competition in another natural federation.  The 'T' walk was structured a bit different and Figure competitors were allowed to bring their own music for their 'T' walk.  One of my sisters made the road trip with me and my brother and nieces came to cheer me on.  It  can be a bit of an challenge to travel and compete. It takes careful planning for food preparation and  understanding your 'cheer section' won't be as loud as when competing at home!  

I took third in Masters 35+ and fifth in Open Tall Class.  I had decided to do this show at the last minute (against my trainer's advice) and realized I needed more time to prep.  I also knew I needed to continue to build muscle mass. 

OCB November 2010

2011 NANBF Kansas City Classic

Kansas was an entirely gratifying experience!  There were incredible competitors.  It was also great to hang out with fellow competitors from Wisconsin who also made the trip to Kansas.  I enjoyed watching the Pros compete and realized how much work I had yet to accomplish.  Their physiques were astounding and they seemed to float across across the stage.

I was able to stay at a friend's house which made a huge difference in my down time while being out of town while competing.  It was very relaxing and great to have an awesome cheer section. I also had friends from work who lived in Kansas and made it to the show.

Great Friends!
Julie Heit Fiege & Leann VandeBerg

2011 NANBF Kansas City Classic Results

Masters 35+  - 1st place
Masters 40+ - 2nd place
Open Tall  - 3rd place

2011 NANBF Northern States Classic

November 2011

After competing in Kansas, my trainer recommended I spend at least 9-12 months building muscle before my next show. As a result, I did not compete in the 2011 NANBF Ms. Natural Minnesota in May. It was fun for me to be a part of the show, in assisting Dazzle Tan spray tan competitors, but difficult not to compete.  However, the discipline and hard training paid off and I was able to step on stage at the 2011 Northern States Classic about 8 pounds heavier!

This was the first show I competed in back in 2009.  It was hard to believe I had been involved with the sport for two years already.  Time seemed to fly by!  I was happy with my improvement but still have areas to work on.

2011 NANBF Northern States Classic Results

Masters 35+ Pro Qualifier - 2nd place
Masters 40+ - 3rd place
Open Tall Class Pro Qualifier- 4th place

2012 NANBF Mr. & Ms. Natural Minnesota

Masters 40 + Class
It was great to be back on stage after a long winter of hard training. I worked with posing coaches in late winter/early spring to assist me in  correcting some of my flaws.  Posing is my biggest challenge.  I continue to work on achieving that relaxed but flexed look.  It is a work in progress!

I had my biggest support system ever at this show including relatives from the great state of Montana, family and friends.   My cheering section was loud and proud and it definitely helped while on stage!

I am happy with my progress but still have improvements to make to my physique and presentation.  I will continue to train hard, eat clean and work on my weaknesses!

Masters 35+ Pro Qualifier
Ms. Minnesota Placings

Masters 40 + - 2nd
Masters 35 + - 2nd
Open Tall Class - 1st                     
T-Walk Pose


My kids - Ireland and Killian

My Boyfriend/Coach/Trainer - Chris

2013 Mr. & Ms. Natural Minnesota  - NANBF

It has been a year since I stepped onto the stage again. It always seems like it's been a eternity but time flys by too.  The MN show always brings a large field of competitors who have stellar physiques.  The placings are often within a few points of each other. In addition to working on my physique weaknesses, I focused a great deal on my posing and quarter turns.  Posing has been an obstacle for me and something I must continue to improve upon.  It's a horrible feeling to know I have put the work in the kitchen and the gym but fail to display my physique to the best of my ability on stage. Practice, practice, practice. Posing is as important piece of my training as lifting.

Ms. MN Placings
Masters 40+ - 2nd
Open Tall - 3rd

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