Jillian Sulzer - IFBB Figure Pro

My fitness journey began when I got a job in a gym right out of high school. I started in the babysitting service there and eventually worked my way up to management. I was always athletic, danced and played sports but then I began to meet different trainers and learned to lift weights, form etc. and started bodybuilding in 2008. I loved the whole atmosphere of the gym. I basically lived there because I would work 10 hours a day 6 days a week. I always seen these girls on social media, bikini pros etc. and it caught my attention. I would hear guys at the gym talking about doing shows and prep. I loved to workout but I didn't eat right at all. I mean I always like grilled chicken and salad but I looked cookies cake ice cream and would eat sweets everyday. I thought to myself I'm putting all this hard work in the gym and ruining my results by eating junk. So I said what if I cut out all the sweets and bad food out of my diet what I would look like.

Jillian Sulzer

Well I did! My friend and trainer Kent Tarburton who used to compete in bodybuilding years ago guided me through a prep for my first show that I did and started competing in 2014. I competed in bikini at Steve stone metropolitan. I instantly fell in love with the sport and everything involved. I went on to compete in figure and received 1st place and overall in open and novice at 2016 Atlantic States. Wow I was in such shock and overwhelmed. I went on to my 1st national show at Team Universe where I didn't do as well but that didn't stop me. It pushed my harder to be even better! Then in September 2016 I was in a bad car crash, lucky to be alive I walked away with severe injuries to my neck and shoulder. I never had an injury or neck pain in my life and thought I could push through the pain and still workout, well I was wrong. I couldn't sleep at night my neck pain got so severe I was constantly hurting.

Doctors just gave me pain Medicine which I refused to take and send me for cortisone shots and epidurals, which I denied. I began talking to a lot of professionals at the hospital where I work and they told me natural treatments like physical therapy, acupuncture and chiropractic treatments were the way to go. I finally felt relief from the pain. Slowly but surely I was able to go back to the gym. Discouraged because I wasn't able to do what I use to I stuck it out and did what I could do without further injuring myself. I decided to start a prep March 1st for 2017 Team Universe. I definitely improved my physique and made a comeback to win my pro card !!

The only thing that changes from off-season to contest prep is my diet and cardio. I always train intense and everyday and still do fasted cardio just not as many minutes or twice a day in my off season. Off-season diet is a little bit more relaxed I still eat the same foods 6 meals a day, just more. My carbs aren't so low and I'm able to have little extras like sf creamer, fruit, pb2 and things like that. Contest prep is Very strict and everything is weighed and measured to the exact amount. I've tried different approaches to my diet during prep to see how my body reacts. My coach had me on a keto type diet no carbs and more fats which didn't work for me. I didn't look my best. I looked soft and flat. My physique works much better with a little carbs and low fats. I'm very sensitive to fats so that's just what works best for me.

Self confidence comes from within and is built through time. My first competition I had no self confidence and was so nervous. Once you start to believe in yourself and show that you put in so much hard work to get there, you know you have to show off what you accomplished. You can't compare yourself to anyone else. Every body is different with different genetic makeups. You have to be the best you and just keep focusing on improving yourself.

My training is always intense. Even if I'm not in the mood to go to the gym once I get there I get into it and get it done. I never go super heavy or try to max out or do any weight that I can't do for at least 10-12 reps with proper form. I don't do fancy workouts. I usually stick to basic bodybuilding workouts and compound movements. I do a lot of drop sets and till failure. I believe you need to fully break down the muscle to get maximum results, which is why I make such improvements from year to year. I usually have my carbs pre and post workout and eat more carbs on leg and back days.

Jillian Sulzer
Pre stage conditioning

My most recent contest I competed in was Team Universe. This was definitely one of my hardest preps with diet and cardio. I was constantly feeling like I wasn't ready but I said I'm just going to do it anyway knowing I gave it my all. I wasn't nervous at all I believed whatever happens happens and I know I brought my best. I remember seeing the other girls in my class backstage and thinking I'm so much smaller than them but my boyfriend and my sister said I looked amazing and my conditioning will make me stand out, well it did. When I went out for my poses my song came on and I immediately got into it . Swedish house mafia greyhound which was me and my best friends jam back in the day. It amped me up and when I went out there I hit every pose on point. Hearing my boyfriend scream like a nut in the crowd put a huge smile on my face. I got first call outs and moved towards the center. I knew it was close and thought I was either 2nd or 3rd with 2nd place receiving their pro card. My boyfriend and sister said you got it I know you do. My boyfriends telling everyone I turned pro before I even did. I was yelling at him like you don't know that! Anyway he was right and I got 2nd in my class and my pro card. I was so overwhelmed with joy and happiness knowing something I worked so hard for and my biggest goal in life was achieved.

Being an athlete affects my life because it is a lifestyle. People think because I turn pro I can eat whatever. Don't get me wrong I love a cheeseburger and sushi now and then and will have a cheat meal during my offseason, but I love my healthy meals. I don't just eat healthy to look good but to feel good! Whenever I have a cheat meal I feel so sick and tired afterwards. When I eat healthy I have energy and clear skin and an overall great feeling. People definitely discriminate me because I don't eat junk and look at me different when I heat up my meals at work. But it doesn't bother me, I don't care that you're eating Reese's for breakfast you shouldn't care I'm eating fish.

My future plans and goals are to keep improving my physique doing what I love to do. Eating healthy and training hard! I'm not too sure when my pro debut will be but I know I will be bigger and better than before!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jillian_sulzer
Email: jillians1114@gmail.com

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