How To Start Bodybuilding For Beginners | Female Perspective
Over the past few weeks, I had the pleasure of interviewing two bodybuilders and asking them their advice and tips for those looking to start bodybuilding. I had interviewed a male bodybuilder as well as a female bodybuilder to get different perspectives. I asked them a series of questions about their background in bodybuilding and what made them interested in bodybuilding. I also asked them about their bodybuilding journey and what advice they may have for beginners.
In this article, I interviewed Amy Haws who is a female bodybuilder and has recently competed in her first bodybuilding competition. Amy Haws is going to share how to start bodybuilding for females. She will also share her experience on her first bodybuilding competition and what she had to do to prepare for her competition. She will go into depth about her diet, training, what kind of supplements she took, and how she made her bodybuilding routine apart of her daily routine.
If you are male and want to start bodybuilding, check out this interview with Edwin Kina.
Background Of Amy Haws
Amy Haws has been training for almost three years and has competed in the NPC Bikini Competition in both 2021 and 2022. Haws has always been interested in keeping in working out and being shape, but her interest especially grew when her husband wanted to train for a Spartan race.
What Made You Interested In Bodybuilding?
Haws was mainly interested in looking like the females in fitness photos and was inspired to create a new fitness routine when her husband was getting ready to deploy and he wanted to train for a Spartan Race.
Haws expressed how she wanted to look like the females in the pictures, and her husband encouraged her to start competing in bodybuilding competitions. By competing in bodybuilding competitions, Haws realized that she would be able to set goals for herself and reach those end goals of looking like the females in the fitness pictures.
How Long Have You Been Training For?
Haws did her research and knew she needed a coach to guide her through the training and the entire process of bodybuilding. Around August of 2020, she started her training with Andrea Parkinson (also known as Body By Dre).
Haws wanted to give herself at least a year in advance to make any adjustments she needed to before competing in any competitions. Once she decided to compete in competitions, she hired a personal trainer, a nutrition coach, and a posing coach. Haws wanted to make sure she had an entire team to give her the best advice and the best package for show day.
How Did You Come To Formulate Your First Training Routine?
Haws researched for a coach that would best fit her aspirations and her values. After a couple interviews with coaches, she found one that fit what she wanted to do and accomplish.
Haws' coach was able to guide her and tell her exactly what she needed to do to achieve her goals. Her coach was straight forward and honest in the best way possible. As Haws started working with her coach, she was able to do more on her own as she learned. Haws' coach was able to create routines that suited all of her needs and lead her to her fitness goals.
What Is Your Diet Like?
Haws' diet depends on the time of season. During season, she said she follows her macros and checks in with her coach weekly. Her coach made adjustments based on how Haws was feeling and how her check in pictures looked. Haws' coach was able to build her a meal plan to make sure she had everything she needed in her diet plan.
Haws found it easier to eat the same meals every week. Her breakfast, snacks, lunch, and dinner consisted of the same foods the entire week. She found it easier and less stressful to stick with the same meals every week. Haws says "I believe that having the same food lets your body adjust and have fewer variable to factor in."
When she was just starting to adjust her diet, she found that dairy products made her bloat and she completely cut dairy out of her diet. After cutting dairy out, she felt so much better and less sluggish during her workouts. Overall, a general rule of thumb that she believes in is when it comes to cutting and prepping for a competition, it is extremely important to follow a diet routine.
During off season, diet isn't as strict, but it is still important. While she was prepping for a competition, she would weigh every part of her food including, but not limited to sauces, salt, and the creamer in her coffee.
As she learned more about her diet routine, she adjusted her foods to more simple meals. She would keep it simple with chicken, veggies, and fish. Haws would eat more leaner meats without any sauce and just some seasonings.
As Haws got closer to competition, she expresses that the last couple weeks are the hardest because the food gets boring, workouts feel harder, and you're tired. However, she would do it again because the end goal is worth all of it.
Overall, Haws says the nutrition and the diet she explained above is key. If you have a coach, trust them and trust the process. In Haws' opinion, she says, "You don't need drugs to achieve the look. It helps get an edge in the competition, but it is not necessary."
What Supplements Are You Currently Taking?
- For everyday supplements, she takes a Multivitamin, Hair, Skin, and Nails, Vitamin, a Probiotic, Magnesium, and Zinc.
- Vitamin B12 to help with fatigue
- Branched Chained Amino Acids to help with recovery.
- Collagen to help support her hair, skin, and nails as well as her joints.
- Protein Powder: Haws tries to pick a low lactose or no lactose option when it comes to protein powder.
Overall, it took some time to find the supplements that worked best with her body and what supplements to make her feel good.
How Did You Make Bodybuilding Part Of Your Daily Routine?
Prepping for a show or just trying to be healthier takes an adjustment, however as she prepped for a show, her meal planning and workout routine started to become apart of her daily routine.
When she first started meal planning and trying to find meals that worked for her, Haws became overwhelmed on how to cook and measure all of it.
After speaking with her coach and getting advice from her coach, she felt a lot more confident in finding ingredients and foods as well as making meals. Haws and her coach narrowed down the food choices and the foods she liked; it eventually became easier and more manageable. Haws want to remind people starting out that it takes time and effort to achieve the goals you want.
How Does Your Diet & Fitness Routine Fit Into Your Social Life?
Haws keeps it real, she says, "In reality, bodybuilding prep takes away from your social life. You can still have it, but you have to realize that you probably won't be eating out or you would have to measure everything you eat and let me tell you, the American diet is not macro friendly." As Haws prepped for her bodybuilding competition, she avoided drinking because of the empty calories that did not benefit her body and made her feel like crap which made her not want to lift.
During off season, Haws was able to enjoy going out with friends once in a while, however during preparation for a show, it can be a big step back. For her personally, if she had a bad cheat meal, it would take her back about three days or take more to get rid of the water weight or bloating.
She also found it super tempting when she was around comfort foods, but as she grew more into her fitness routine, she felt the need to go and get her workouts and cardio in.
Haws would spend about two to three hours a day in the gym. She felt like she lived in the gym, so she felt she didn't have the time to go out with her friends and be tempted by comfort foods. When she is in the zone to prep for a competition, Haws likes to keep to herself and work towards her goal...show day.
Advice For People Starting Out With Bodybuilding
With Haws being more recent to the bodybuilding world, she has some solid advice for females wanting to start toward their fitness goals. She shares the hardships during the whole preparation process as well as what foods and supplements one should take.
What Advice Would You Give To Someone Just Starting Out?
If you are able to, Haws suggest finding a coach that you trust. Be open with them about how you feel and what your body is doing that way your coach can make the adjustments that are needed. Haws says that it is going to be hard and it is going to be hard when you least expect it.
Leading up to a show, Haws explains that you are going to be excited and pumped up, however, people don't talk enough about the hard fall after the show. She says to make sure you have an exit strategy planned and follow through with it. Haws struggled with reverse dieting and believes it takes practice. She says "Once there is no end goal, it's hard to find that motivation to keep going."
How Would You Suggest Someone To Train When They Are Just Starting Out?
When starting out, Haws recommends learning some basic workout movements like squats, deadlifts, and rows. If you have no gym experience, she suggests hiring a personal training to help get you started.
Haws also suggests reading up on what measuring macros is and what each category is. Start a trial period of measuring your foods and tracking your foods for two weeks. Doing this will help you gauge what your maintenance calories are at. During your trial period, don't worry too much about how much or what you are eating during this time.
Haws also suggests to start tracking your weight. This will help see if there is an upward or downward trend. Haws says, "The weight on the scale will not be linear, it will bounce around, so do not be discouraged."
What Kind Of Diet Should Someone Be On While Training?
Haws explains that your diet will depend on you. She believes that macros are the best and you can eat whatever foods fit into that.
Haws says that you just need to find what fits your body best and it is trial and error. Every prep will be different depending on the person. Overall, find what suites your body and stick with it.
What Should Beginners Be Looking For On An Ingredient Label?
When looking at an ingredient label, Haws recommends looking at the number of carbs, fats, and proteins and see how those fit into your macros. Doing this will help give you a better idea of what will fit into your meal plan and how much you want to eat.
If the food doesn't fit into your meal plan, swap it for something else or eat it and make an adjustment to your meals later in the day.
Haws says that this is where planning ahead comes in handy. Calories are important to watch, but if you hit your macros, that will help keep you on track for calories.
What Supplements Would You Recommend Taking?
Haws recommends always taking a multivitamin, a probiotic, and a protein shake source. Haws had a difficult time getting enough protein in her diet, so she would often turn to protein shakes. Plus there are plenty of ways to incorporate protein powders into your meals.
Haws says the probiotic and multivitamin will help you feel good and keep your gut healthy, so that you can perform to your best ability. She also suggests talking to your coach and/or doctor to help find what works best for you.
Overall, Haws says that there is a lot that goes into bodybuilding training, it takes time, dedication, practice, and money. It all depends on your goals.
If you just want to be healthy, start with some of the basics; go to the gym regularly and watch your nutrition. However, if you want to start competing, it takes a lot of time, effort, and dedication to reach your goals. Haws expresses that bodybuilding becomes mentally exhausting and it tests you everyday. Bodybuilding will push you to your limits, but you will know what you are capable of if you put your mind to it.
Here is a quote that Haws was inspired by during her first year of training:
“Crave the result so intensely that the work is irrelevant.”
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