Peggy Rainbow finished the PN Lean Eating for Women program with an incredible physique transformation and an equally transformed attitude about what was possible for her. After talking and dreaming about competing on the bodybuilding stage for the past 15 years of her life, Peggy finally felt empowered to put that talk into action and make it happen.
And wow, did she make it happen. This past weekend, Peggy competed at the 1st Annual Excelsior Classic in Atlanta, GA and walked away with both first in her lightweight class (at 113.5 lbs), and the overall title.
The long distance journey
Inspired by the contest prep logs of fellow Precision Nutrition members and that of PN Certified coach Renee Willis (profile 1 | profile 2), Peggy crossed over to what Renee calls “the dark side”, and began her bodybuilding journey with Krista Schaus at the beginning of January.
Having an amazing coach as a guide is important. Krista pushed Peggy to levels she never thought she could achieve — not only as an athlete and a competitor, but also in becoming the best she could be all the time. But as a distance client, it was ultimately up to Peggy to do the work. Peggy followed Krista’s instructions to the letter: “I didn’t waver, go off plan, or ask for anything different if I didn’t like what she wanted me to do. Krista said ‘do!’ and I did!”
Even when faced with adversity, Peg never waivered from her plan. She and her long-term partner broke up early in January. Although devastated, Peggy didn’t sit back and wait for life to get back on track. She threw all her energy and focus into the competition. She knew that life had to go on and that preparing for the stage would give her an outlet to get her through the tough times ahead.
Just when she was mentally dedicated to the game, Peggy was faced with another challenge. Hospitalized for 3 days in January with double pneumonia, Peggy was forced to take 2 weeks off from training while she recovered. But just like when faced with her personal challenges, Peggy was determined to come back with a vengeance.
Although Peggy got back into the gym as soon as she could, she was smart about it, and didn’t push herself too hard in the beginning. Instead, she listened to her body. She feels that this helped her recover faster and allowed her to come back even better than before.
Time for growth
Once she was recovered, Peggy started by focusing on growth. In February, she began to lose fat. Krista was taking good care of Peggy’s training, so the next critical step for Peggy was to find a local posing coach with whom she could meet 2-3 days a week for the months leading up to her competition. “I practiced my posing until I couldn’t squeeze my muscles any more,” Peggy recalls. “I asked tons of questions, and tried to learn as much as possible. I wanted to do everything correctly.”
March became all about fine-tuning her physique. Peggy spent most of the time resting, following her protocols, training like a fiend, and tweaking her posing and routine. Krista organized a couple of contest dry runs to experiment and see how Peggy’s body would respond to manipulations of water, salt, and various macronutrient loads. This practice helped them come up with the best plan for contest day.
The final days leading up to the contest were challenging. Figuring that Peggy’s physique responded better to slightly fewer carbs, Krista prescribed some intense protocols. Peggy knew that everyone’s body reacts differently, and she’d put her trust in Krista, so she was not afraid to take the necessary steps. The leap of faith paid off. “I think the only thing I wish I could do differently was not have to dehydrate. That was the hardest part. But I know I won’t change it. Other competitors were telling me that they could tell I had really dried out before the competition and it really showed on stage. I was like, ‘Right on! That was the goal!!'”
Competition day was a whirlwind of emotions.
Aside from the many exhilarating, intense, and nerve wracking moments, Peg can’t remember the last time she had that much fun.
“At first I was really nervous, not sure what to expect. I knew I was going in the best I could possibly be that day, but I also knew I wanted to win. I had a lot of nervous energy going on in the morning for pre-judging, but the minute I stepped on that stage, it was all gone. I don’t know what happened. It felt right, like I belonged up there, natural. From that point on, I knew this was the sport for me.
“The rest of the day I spent talking to other competitors, having fun, and making new friends. I realized that while I am very competitive, I could still be competitive and have a blast while doing it. When the evening portion came, well, all I can say is that it was mind-blowing!!! The auditorium was packed and I had quite a few friends out there. My posing routine went really well.
The next thing I knew, I was posing for a picture with my weight class trophy. Then, I was called out against the middleweight and heavyweight winners for the overall. The pose down absolutely rocked!!! I have to admit I owned it. I was in front and posing my butt off the whole time. The crowd was going crazy and I was really getting into it. I think that was the most fun of the entire show… that and when they announced I was the overall winner. All of this at my very first competition!”
From Lean Eating to a lean machine on the bodybuilding stage, Peggy has finally put 15 years of talk behind her and knows now that reaching any goal is all about doing.
And Peggy is just getting started on the doing part. “I’m addicted and in love with the sport. I’m going to keep on going. I’m looking to do a couple more competitions this year, with one of them being a national qualifier to compete in the Arnold Amateur Classic next year. Yep, I plan on being onstage with my coach, Krista Schaus!!! I have found my calling and my sport and for me, there is no looking back!”
With trophy in hand, Peggy sees now that preparing for this competition helped her in several ways. “I’m not sure I would mentally be where I am now if it wasn’t for Krista, Renee, my PN friends, and training. My life is so different on so many different levels. All I can say is this: Life is good!”
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