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Monday, June 17, 2024

Building Bodies

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Before Delana Ivey began body building, she states she was building her body. At 300 pounds, she decided to make a change.

“It was very enlightening to (know) why the pounds were there in the first place. I had to really see why I was emotionally eating. I’d say ‘I hardly ever eat.’ Yes I do; I eat when I’m stressed, when I’m bored, when I’m happy,” said Ivey.

Once she lost the first 100 pounds, she decided to keep going. While working out at Gold’s Gym, a fellow body builder encouraged her to continue to sculpt her body and compete. Now at 150 pounds, Ivey recently contended in a body building competition for the first time.

Renee Pillow, owner of fitness studio Fit With Renee in Indianapolis, states body building isn’t for everyone nor is it apt for every body shape. As a former competitor, Pillow knows what it takes to compete and win.

“A lot of young ladies come to me just to get into shape. Then there are a few that want to be competitive,” said Pillow. “I assess my ladies’ bodies and see who’d do best. There are some that absolutely shouldn’t be on stage. Then there are some that you can tell, once they got in shape, they’d do well.”

She goes on to say that going from flab to extra fit is very difficult. Body building requires a very strict diet of lean foods chicken breasts, whole grains, fish and lots of green and leafy vegetables. In the world of body building, carbohydrates, dressings, grease, dairy and even fruit are a sin.

Ivey states she did not have a strict diet, but learned what was best for her body, ate organic foods and practiced portion control. She also went to the gym four days a week doing morning cardio work and lifting weights followed by yoga. Ivey also trained for her inaugural body building competition without a trainer.

Walter E. Oster, mid-east zone supervisor for the National Physique Committee (NPC) states body building may appear to be all about pumping iron, but in fact, it’s about overall fitness; body building is 90 percent diet.

During competition, Oster and other judges generally look for the overall symmetrical look of the body and presentation.

In women body building there are two types of competition, figure and body building. For figure, judges simply look for the overall good athlete where as body building, women are judged like men, how muscular one is and the separation or cut of the muscle.

“The more you work out, the better you look. The more you diet the better you start coming together,” said Oster.

Steroid use is a controversial subject in body building, however Oster states drug use permeates every sport, not just body building. Furthermore, the NPC does random drug testing. Ivey agrees that steroid use has a negative impact on one’s body and decided to compete naturally.

“It’s about self acceptance and self love. At the end of the day, it’s all about me. Whether I’m on stage or out walking around, and if I don’t love myself enough to say ‘here I am, this is me,’ then I’ll never be able to do this,” said Ivey.

Ivey did not place in her initial body building competition, but believes regardless, she’s won. She broke down mental barriers, got her body in shape and has even encouraged her two sons to live healthy lives inside and out. She’s proud of her effort.

This competition was also the first time the 28 year old has worn a two-piece bathing suit. She plans to compete again in the future.

Body building piqued Ivey’s interest, but Oster states, those who are curious should attend a show to see what it’s all about. Pillow adds when she was competing, she was oftentimes the only Black woman and encourages group support. She adds that if body building isn’t for you, figure out a goal, take cues from body builders’ diet and lead a healthy life.

“This is the absolute best shape you can be in. (Blacks) have the highest rates of things like diabetes and hypertension. Everyone should take the time and not live a sedentary lifestyle. Do something everyday for 30 minutes to prevent disease,” said Pillow.


Meal 1

1/2 cup of dry oats mixed with water

1/2 cup of egg beaters

Meal 2

Meal replacement packet mixed with water or protein powder mixed with 20 grams of carbs from cream of rice, grits, or oatmeal. 1/2 Tablespoon of Flaxseed Oil.

Meal 3

1/2 cup of brown rice, medium-sized baked potato or 1 cup of oatmeal.

2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable

6 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Meal 4

Same as Meal 2

Meal 5

Same as meal 3

Meal 6

Same as Meal 2

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