Margaret Gresham - Figure Competitor

I started competing when I was a Senior in College (2014) and did my first competition at the age of 21. I had always been athletic in high school and grew up playing sports but did not have as much involvement when I went to college. Eventually, I decided I needed a change, the booze and late nights had to end. I met a girl who was training for a "bikini competition" and I thought she was absolutely nuts (taking her food on vacation to Miami, eating prepped meals constantly and NO DRINKING, WHAT?!?) but nevertheless, it peaked my interest and I decided in 2013 that I was up for the challenge. I hired a coach, and 6 months later I stepped on stage in April 2014 as a bikini competitor weighing a mere 117 pounds (I am 5'7"). After that first moment on stage I was hooked and I have spent every day for the last three years working towards becoming the best competitor I can be. I now compete in the figure division and my stage weight is anywhere from 135-140 pounds.

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Diet: So this has changed over the years. As I get bigger and put on more mass I tend to push my calories a bit higher each year. MY diet does not CHANGE per say just gets more or less strict. I follow a meal plan year around, 5-8 meals and shakes per day, 2-3 hours apart, mostly all clean whole balanced fresh foods. That is my lifestyle. HOWEVER, off season I allow myself freedoms to go out to lunch or go get dinner if I feel like it, I use more sauces, coffee creamers, and include more of a variety in my diet. Also, if I want something extra, I eat it. I do not like restricting myself 100% off season just to maintain a lean physique. Off Season calories usually range anywhere from 2100-2800 depending on how long I have been off stage. Refeed or Cheat days can push over 5,000 calories.

On season I tend to restrict my meals out (1-2 per month), and I will be more restrictive on sauces and anything artificial or processed. I follow my plan more stringently, but at the same time I am still flexible and keep a good variety in my plan. Variety is the key to metabolic health and being too restrictive in the foods you consume can cause a lot of mental and physical harm. Calories will start from that 2400-2800 range and I will usually drop to no lower than 1200 calories per day.

Key Points to Consider for Weight Loss:
o Consistency
o Frequent Meals
o Variety
o No Binging
o Refeeds

Failed diet: Super Low EVERYTHING. My first plan my "coach" had me eating around 800-1000 calories per day for nearly 6 weeks, almost no fat and extremely low carb. I suffered ALOT of metabolic damage and had a rebound of over 40 pounds WOW that one stung. Lack of variety and a lack of refeeds in my experience cause more mental and physical damage than results.

Eat Clean. Train Dirty. Love what you do. And who you are with. Pretty Simple Life.

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I train year around 5-6 days per week. Focusing on Legs, shoulders, back and some accessory arm and chest work. In my off season, I will do between zero and three 15-20 minute HIIT sessions of cardio and On-Season I perform HIIT and MISS cardio from anywhere from 30 minutes per day to 90 minutes per day. I am a big believer in fasted cardio and do believe it is extremely effective. As far as balance I will adjust my meals and macronutrients around my lifts and cardio sessions depending on what stage of prep I am in. Off season I will crowd my carbs around my workouts whereas in the on season I spread them out a bit more to help with my energy.

Self-confidence: I have always been a showboat. If people were looking at me, I was doing something right. I love performing and being in front of crowds so it was not a huge leap for me to want to perform on stage in a bikini in front of hundred of people in heels.... wow did I just describe a stripper LOL. But no, I still get the flutters in my heart and knots in my stomach before, my adrenaline surges through my body but I absolutely LOVE that feeling and when I go out on stage and all eyes are on me.... I truly feel at home.

Favorite experience: I will start with an amazing experience. Finals at the Golds Classic 2016. This was my best package to date, it was in my home Town. Prejudging was a blur and I would be lying if I didn't leave feeling a little upset and down. They had me in the middle of the lineup (which usually means first) and slowly but surely moved me more towards the outside. I was devastated and the girl who was my biggest competition remained in the center. I congratulated her and enjoyed my AMAZING Burger before finals. As we were all standing in the lineup that night waiting for the results (11 girls in my class I believe), I held my breath as they counted down each placement. When I heard Lindsey's name be called for second place, my heart stopped for a moment, then before I knew it, they called my name as first, and later as the Overall. It was truly one of the best moments I had had on stage. It was not my first win but it was most definitely the most special.

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Life as an athlete: It is my LIFE! Just kidding :) I have a very very very busy life but a lot of it revolves around competing. I work a full-time job as a Civil Engineer which takes about 50 hours a week, I am an officer in the Navy Reserves and commit between 10-15 hours per week to that. I run a Team, Full Package Fitness and have anywhere between 10-25 clients at a time who also compete or simply are lifestyle dieters. My training can be from anywhere between 2-4 hours per day. Off season it is about 2 hours in the gym mostly lifting, On season I always do two a days and I am there 2 hours in the morning and 2 in the evening. I take my food everywhere I go on and off season. All my friends are in the industry and most all of them compete. I spend most every weekend traveling to shows, and networking in the industry and one of my favorite things to do is travel to different gyms I've never been to. This sport is my true passion and I love everything about it.

Future plans: I have HUGE PLANS!!!! Ha, my goals is to become a figure pro in the next two years. After that, I want to start to focus on starting my own business. Bootcamp Style Fitness Studio. I want to be instrumental in changing people's lives, and I feel as though I can do that through this industry and my knowledge and skill and passion for people. I would like to leave Corporate America in the next 2 years and never look back. I have found my calling and this industry is it.

Margaret Gresham
NPC Figure Athlete
Age: 25
Height: 5'7"
IG: Full_Package_Figure
Facebook: Margaret Gresham

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