Yolanda Kirksey - IFBB Figure Pro

A new IFBB Pro!
Masters Over 35 Overall Winner, 2017 NPC Teen Collegiate & Masters National Championships

My competition journey began in October 2008. My zest for the sport started many years prior. Seeing images of sensational athletes like Monica Brant, Jen Hendershott, and Alicia Marie on the cover of magazines that catered to athletic women fueled my curiosity for the division we know as figure. This led to competing in my first show, 2009 Ronnie Coleman Classic where I placed first in Figure class A.

My off-season diet is just as important as my pre-contest diets. My coach encourages growth and improvement during my off-season period. Due to constant travel schedule, I prefer my diets to be structured in food and portion options versus the flexibility of menu options determined by macro/micro determination. My off-season contains more flexibility in fatty proteins, carbs, and vegetables whereas my pre-contest becomes more restrictive in those areas. I am extremely fortunate in both cases in that I never feel deprived. I have found my diet favorites (garam masala chicken) that are my staples that provide flavor and variety throughout both phases of preparation.

Yolanda Kirksey

Every coach/competitor has different philosophies of what works best for a competitor for building lean muscle mass and fat reduction. My coach is instrumental in my diet preparation. I have taken the time over the year to understand what foods work well for my blood and body type. The combination of his knowledge and my self-discovery created the best combination. For building muscle, my body thrives on lean red meat, bison and rice! When asked what I want to make sure is on my diet, those are must haves. For my cutting cycle, carb cycling is absolutely ingenious. It keeps my body in a constant fat burning cycling while still providing me the energy I need to get through my workouts. The final days of my pre-contest diet consists primarily of white fresh fish. It gives my body the final touches it needs to perfect the leanness and transparency for the best physique possible.

Stepping on stage in a “barely-there” suit is not for the faint of heart. As a high school track athlete and college cheerleader I have been performing on a stage of sorts since the 7th grade. I pull from those experiences to give me the confidence I need to provide the best presentation to the judging panel. However, this does not come without practice! My first preparation coach who was an IFBB fitness pro required posing practice for an hour for 8 weeks! I remember her encouraging all of us to “where your heels while vacuuming if you have to!” When I decided to compete at the national level, I also used a posing coach who had national judging experience and knew the show landscape and what judges were looking for. I encourage all competitors to arrange with their coach to ensure this is key component to their preparation!

I incorporate different types of training in my workouts. Depending on how my body is progressing, my coach will modify the types of exercises to accentuate those areas that need focus. This competition year my training split consisted of a lot of HIIT lifting and cardio! My conditioning this year came in exactly where we needed! Last year, the feedback from North American Pro AM was that I needed to focus on the cleanness in my quads and hamstrings. My coach and I made changes to make sure that was not an issue! My favorite cardio time is my hip-hop SoulCycle class and track workout with my girls! Both transformed by lower body into the package that I brought to Masters Nationals this year.

My 7 show experiences have always been fun! I always strive to be the competitor backstage who is keeping the mood light, being helpful and encouraging to other athletes. Masters Nationals this year was sensational! I love the format of the one-day show from the early-check in to the competition structure. Competing brings other like-minded athletes together and encourages so many others to try and compete for the first time! My favorite memory is a woman who approached me after I was done. She said she cheered so loud for me, that my coach asked if she knew me and she said no..LOL! However, she said that I reminded her that no matter age, your best is always possible! She was prepping for her first show and she will remember what she say. My heart melted, that I could impact someone I had never met just by doing quarter turns. I have the best memories due to tremendous competitors I meet and keep in touch from 2009 to today. Achieving my IFFB Pro card was the most amazing achievement at 40 years old. I will always be thankful and grateful to my coach, my THEPROS team, and every person who trained with me. It took a village to get this physique to that stage.

Balance in life is crucial for happiness. During the 2016 season, my father passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack 2 weeks prior to Team Universe. I was devastated. With the love and support from my family, friends, and coach I was able to still compete. I knew my 30 year army veteran father would have wanted me to press forward and my mother demanded it. I found time to train, to work, properly fuel, and have a personal life. I wasn’t always successful at all of those at the same time. However, I worked hard enough that each component of my life allowed the flexibility I needed to achieve my goal. All was achieved through my faith!

Being a new IFFB Pro, I feel like my future is limitless! My coach and I working on the game plan for what’s next, so I’m keeping my options open. For now, I’m going to enjoy my off-season and take advantage of great opportunities!

Contact Information
IG: specyalyk
Email: ydkwarner@gmail.com

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