I first came across Lisa Powers when I saw her before and after pictures posted online. I had just started researching bodybuilding and figure competitors – in fact it was a year to the day that I started this blog when Lisa stepped onto the stage for the first time. Shortly thereafter someone had posted her stage photos. I was hooked! I was drawn immediately to her big bright smile and positive message. She has definitely had her share of obstacles and injuries. But that didn’t stop this PE Teacher! Read on to get to know Lisa Powers, now prepping for her 3rd competition!
FFTF: Lisa, when I see your FB page the word that comes to mind is refreshing. Right off the bat you tell us you don’t use any crazy diet fads, no pills or shakes to lose your weight and I must admit, that is my favorite part – you don’t use your journey to sell us anything other than lifting and eating right. With that being said, what prompted you to lose this weight and start taking progress pics?
In the summer of 2011, I was squeezing into size-16 jeans, wearing 1X-plus size shirts, and getting winded while tying my shoes. I was disgusted that I let myself reach that point. I desperately needed to salvage my image as a positive role model and Health and PE teacher. I couldn’t start another school year fat. I wasn’t always obese.
However, horrible foot problems, a chronic virus treated with multiple rounds of steroids, and tons of self-pity made me sedentary and left me 55 pounds heavier. I wallowed in self-pity for more than a year. I had a few false starts to a healthier life, but I was in such a negative mindset that I failed before I had a chance to feel some success.
In August 2011, I decided to end the pity party. Three weeks later, I partially ruptured my Achilles tendon. I still went to the gym with the huge boot on and did what I could for legs. I was self-conscious of being fat, but I was hoping the boot distracted from that. Eight weeks later, the boot came off, but I still had 4-6 months of rehab and recovery.
In Nov 2011, my trainer, Steve Poynter, had a small challenge within his team and I participated. I needed something to keep me accountable. I stayed true to my meal plans and workouts, and my body started changing.
Once that boot came off, I didn’t look back and by the time July 2012 came around I was deeply content with who I was. Not just because of the weight-loss…I was happy with myself after I lost the first forty pounds. I was happy, but not content. I just stayed consistent and I continued to demolish every goal I set. Then in August I didn’t know what to do with myself. A woman who I knew at the gym said I should do a figure competition. So at 11 weeks out, I began training for it.
Besides the ruptured Achilles, I strained my back, tore some intercostals muscles, re-tore them 12 weeks later—only worse—and dealt with an inflamed shoulder and biceps tendon. The difference in those eight months to the year before is I didn’t care what obstacles were placed in front of me.
I rested when needed and pushed forward when I could.
The pain of all those injuries was nothing compared to the pain I would have felt if I remained obese.
FFTF: What was your friends/family members initial reaction when you told them you were going to do a figure competition?
Not too many people knew I was going to compete. I told a few close friends, but that was it. Throughout this whole journey I kept my goals guarded. I wasn’t ready to share my goals with people. I didn’t know if I could handle their negativity. Many people are quick to push their own insecurities on others when they see someone striving to make him/herself better. Besides my trainer and our team, I had only told one person in my every day life about my efforts to change my lifestyle.
When it came to competing, only a few more people knew. I only chose to share with people who I knew would be 100% supportive.
FFTF: How did you find your coach, Steve Poynter? Does he train you in person or is it all online?
I first came across Steve Poynter and fitnesspoynters.com in Aug 2009, through the website Bodybuilding.com. They have a social site called BodySpace for fitness-minded people to connect. He is the 6th most inspirational person on BodySpace. I read his page and biography and sent him a message about my goals. I tried one of his programs for 8 weeks and had great success. I accomplished everything I wanted.
After that I fell off. I let life kick the crap out of me for a couple of years. In July 2011, I sent him a message with my current OBESE stats and how I wanted to change. His message back to me didn’t voice any judgment. I’d placed so much guilt and shame on myself, I don’t think I could have taken anymore. His message of, “Let’s do this,” was exactly what I needed.
Steve led me to be a runner-up in the 2012 Bodybulding.com $100,000 transformation Challenge. Then, I won the Dymatize Elite Ambition Challenge in August 2012.
FFTF: What were some of the highlights from your first figure competition?
EVERYTHING WAS A HIGHLIGHT! I was just so darn happy with myself. I loved being on stage. I thought that was the easiest part of all! I loved my suit, fake diamond jewelry, fake nails, and my heels! As a PE teacher, I live my daily life in mesh shorts and tennis shoes, but I’m such a “girl” and love me some heels and a cute outfit!
FFTF: What were some of the low points?
The hardest part for me was just the timing of everything:
- When to get my tan touched-up
- When to eat
- When and how long do I need to pump-up
- When to get the glaze, etc…
But I just watched the other competitors and did what they did. It wasn’t too hard. I’m just they type of person who likes a schedule!
I’m just a person who hated herself so much that SUCCESS WAS MY ONLY OPTION.
FFTF: What was it like backstage? Were people helpful or did you find some cattiness?
Backstage was so chill. I loved the energy. I was completely by myself. I didn’t have anyone coming to prejudging and only one friend to the night show. But there were a couple competitors who knew it was my first time competing and they were real nice and chatted with me.
FFTF: How do you feel about being judged on your physique? Is this something you would recommend to anyone to try or do you think it takes a certain person to put themselves through this type of competition diet/training?
I was happy with myself BEFORE I started all this competition stuff. I think that is a HUGE difference between me and many other competitors who I have spoken with. There are a lot of women who decided to compete to get in shape. In my opinion, that is not the healthiest way to go about getting in shape. It can wreak havoc on you mentally and emotionally. If you are unstable in any way, training to step on stage can really mess with you.
I don’t mind being judged at all on my physique. That’s why I step on stage: to be judged. I can’t control who decides to compete against me. Also, a competitor doesn’t know exactly what type a look the judges are going for beyond the listed standards. I feel best when I know I have put everything into my training. I need to feel proud of my training efforts to bring my best package to the stage that day.
Competition day is FUN!!!!! It’s the easiest part!
Lisa took 2nd place in Novice, 6th place in Open. Anything is possible!
FFTF: Obviously nothing deterred you from doing a second competition that just finished up and currently prepping for your third! What lessons did you takeaway from your first competition that you kept in mind for the second one? Any advice for the would-be competitors out there? Perhaps something that you wish someone would have told you before you embarked on this?
My tan was HORRIBLE for my first show. So I was worried about it this second time around. Oddly, I did less skin-prep the second time and my stage tan was FLAWLESS. I loved it!
Post-Competition I did things very differently:
- Set my mind right. My plan was to jump back on a solid meal plan the Mon/Tues after my Sat competition. I enjoyed a good TREAT meal Saturday night, 2 on Sunday, had one on Monday. Along with 3 sugary and fat-laden homemade YUMMIES. I was very satisfied with each treat/meal that when Monday night rolled around I was okay and ready to get back to a clean meal plan.
- I chugged 2 gallons of water EVERY DAY through the next Saturday.
- I went for a run the morning after my competition. A nice 4mile (approx 31:00min) jog with a few good hills. I was tired and a bit slower, but I still pushed myself and just enjoyed stretching my legs. I hadn’t ran in the two weeks prior to my show. I was having such an amazing weekend and my heart was so grateful for this opportunity to travel to Kentucky and meet my trainer. I also needed the run to help process everything and of course, true to form, I stopped and cried a couple of times. HAPPY TEARS.
- I walked on a treadmill 30-40min at 3.3mph with varying high inclines 8-15% on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Also, rode the bike Wednesday night for 20min because I was just feeling I needed something after lifting. On Thursday, I pushed mowed for 60 min in the AM and went for a 45min jog/walk in the evening.
- I hit the weights – HEAVY – every day after the show (didn’t lift Sunday.)
- Didn’t take rest days until the following Sat/Sun
- Focused on keeping my legs propped if I was just sitting around at home. My left lower leg has been more swollen than the right. Up until Thursday night it had been feeling VERY sore deep in the middle of my leg. I think it’s tied back to my Achilles partial rupture. Today it’s feeling okay.
FFTF: What other goals are on your bucket list?
I have always wanted to do a Burpee Mile! Originally, I planned to do one for my next birthday in Sept, but now I might chicken out!!! My current plan is to enter my third competition in my hometown on October 12th and then maybe another one on November 9th.
The biggest thing my followers will find is that I’m honest with my journey. I’m just a person who hated herself so much that SUCCESS WAS MY ONLY OPTION. Anyone can choose to make a better life. Our goals aren’t going to be easy to achieve, but they are going to be worth it. I want people who follow my journey to truly feel empowered.
I want them to believe that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
YOU CAN DO IT.
YOU ARE WORTH IT.
Well if THAT doesn’t get you off the couch, I don’t know what will. 🙂 Thank you SO much Lisa, I could re-read this interview many times to get the kick in the butt that I need! Congratulations on getting From Fit To Figure x 3!