Ligia Sandoval - Bikini Competitor

My Name is Ligia Sandoval,I am a wife, a mother of 4 wonderful children,a personal trainer and a NPC bikini competitor.

How did I began competing? Let's rewind to 2013 when my passion for fitness started after being out of shape and unhealthy I made the decision and began working out and eating better. I had the privilege to work on my very first Mr. Olympia event where I volunteer as an exhibitor for another upcoming event. I was also working as a personal trainer/online coach. I remember standing in front of the competitors from the audience and mesmerizing of the day I would be on stage for my first competition, everything captivated my attention from the physiques the attire to the performance all looked so intriguing.

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I knew I would someday be competing. I made my decision and in November 2016 began a 14 week prep following a meticulous Nutrition plan, workout program including weight training and cardio training always keeping a positive mindset that hard work pays off and judges would appreciate the package I was bringing. Posing practice 2 times per week with my instructor, I watch every YouTube video related to posing and competition prep and mimic in front of the mirror every movement and face expression each day. I was able to see my body responded better than I expected and the change was taking place. My nutrition changed as well from having modest to absolutely no sodium, sugars dairy or carbs. My diet would consist of egg whites, chicken breast, fish, vegetables and oatmeal for 14 weeks. From hardly any water to 2 gallons of water per day, no exceptions. Supplements were crucial since they would contribute to replacing the nutrients and energy I would lose due to decreased calorie intake from my diet.

These supplements consisted of L-cartine, CLA, vitamins E, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Glut-amine, Amino's, BCAA's , Creatine, MCT oil, and Fat burners to help drop my Body fat to 10% . 24 hours prior to show date I had to be in water depletion. That Morning I was ready to carb-load with stake and sour patches all of these steps would contribute to more muscle definition. I think I never felt so happy to finally eat I had no energy and felt tired most of the time. February 11th 2017 I competed my first show at the John Lindsay Muscle Legends classic in Las Vegas, I couldn't believe it, what I had Imagine a few years back became a reality and now I would be on stage not just as an spectator but a competitor. Little did I know the best was just to come, I was convinced it was going to require a lot of work, mental focus and dedication but there was no doubt in my mind It was going to be the most rewarding and fulfilling experience of my life. I remember feeling so determined but yet nervous and scared fighting negative thoughts and doubts, asking myself would I fit the stage gracefully with the other competitors who looked amazing?

I had my family Cheering for me, it was show time and they called my name, I went and performed placing 4th in my category. I was so grateful and surprised after seeing all the other competitors and how amazing they looked. At that point it was all a learning experience for me. I loved the energy and support from everyone back stage, it didn't matter what ranking you placed everyone had something nice to say about each other, it was something I didn't expect specially coming from people with extraordinary physiques from amazing back grounds and successful stories who had showed up for the same reasons, to see the end result of a very intense preparation of weeks and months. I felt so honored and humbled by the opportunity of being able to be counted within such aspiring athletes and walked away feeling more intensely passionate about the sport and the meaning that brings not only personally but the impact that it created on my family, my biggest supporters. I was ready to go home and work even harder that I did before so I can go back next year.

Now back to reality, I had a lot of work and no idea where to start? how would my diet change from competition prep to off-season without throwing away what I had already accomplish? How would I design my training program?
Soon after my competition I reached out to the judges and in that email they said my physical appearance and performance was great, but nevertheless still needed more conditioning and definition and if I worked on those areas I would definitely have a bright future as a competitor. I knew at that point I had work to do and it would take some time and with that patience. I would start first with making sure I didn't throw away what I had worked so much for by taking to much time off from the working out and unhealthy eating. After a week of slowly reverse-dieting I decided to go on the Ketogenic diet (super low-carb diet designed to put your body into state of ketosis, where it uses fat as its primary fuel source). I followed it for 2 month and then stoped after learning more about my macros and realizing that my body wasn't adapting I kept doing more research and reading about other diets I decided to try the pescatarian diet (eats fish, but doesn't eat chicken,pork or any other kind of meat, only fish and seafood in addition to vegetarian foods such as beans, vegetables, fruits and diary). I was loving the results I was able to see more lean muscle definition, my body fat and weight are in maintained status and I had more energy and strength. I learned how to balance my Macros using the app. Myfitnesspal tracking everything I eat It's such a useful tool to make sure I stay on track. I have learned that we are all different and what worked for me might not work for others and health is about designing an individual program that fits my goals.

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Keeping in mind the feedback I got from the judges I designed a whole need workout program of weightrainig, HIIT and Cardio that would help build lean muscle and more definition. My workouts includes 3 times per week 10 min HIIT CARDIO sessions alternating from the stair master to the treadmill, at speed 12 for 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds, putting more focused on building muscle I have kept my cardio limited. Always making sure I'm drinking my BCAAs throughout the entire workout. Weight training using some machines and free weights, first reps light weight and then increase 5-10 lbs each set until my last set is heavy enough to barely do only 5 reps. (I usually do 4-5 sets on the design weight training program), between sets I include explosive movement using resistance bands.

I'm so excited for what I have planned next years to come since I will continue competing. This has been by far one of the most exciting and rewarding steps I have ever made. It changed my life by building more confidence,believing in myself and gave me the opportunity to inspire and motivate others to not give up. I have increase my knowledge by finding out what works best for me using different workouts and diets taking control of my health. Now I am also able to bring that same knowledge and value to my clients, friends and family members by encouraging them to also see the importance of living an active lifestyle not only for them but for their love ones. I want to share with others that we are a result of what we choose to practice on a day to day life and a battle with a society that encourages poor eating habits and lack of activity due to a sedentary lifestyle and the massive marketing on unhealthy eating, the need of exercising and healthy eating awareness has never been more crucial in the humanity affecting Adults and children. Hospitals and pharmaceuticals are benefiting from this while people are getting sick due to the lack of knowledge on how to stop this epidemic. I want to inspire, encourage and show people that they also have the power and ability to change how they feel and look by simply changing habits with the result of a healthier longer life. It will be a process that will take work but with tremendous benefit at the end because they will live a life of fulfillment mental and physical for generations to come, Who doesn't want that? WE ALL DO! the question we all need to ask ourselves is what are we willing to let go to get that life we all deserve? it's all based on the choice you make TODAY, and I know If I was able to do it with my busy life of a full time mom of 4, a wife and a personal trainer/ Realtor you can do it too!

Let's build and design together the Best life is yet to come!


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