Lyndsey Alexander breaks out of her shell

DOWNEY - It was November 2006 when Lyndsey Alexander found herself on the stage, receiving the news that she had finished in ninth place out of 10 contestants in the Fitness Hollywood bodybuilding competition.However, what she didn't find out until later was that the division she had entered in was well above where she should have been, considering it was her first encounter with competitive body building. As comical and assuring as it was, it still hits home when she thinks about how far she has come and what she was like as a student at Warren High School as a member of the graduating class of 2003 and moving forward in training for Muscle Beach Classic in September at Venice Beach. "I was chubbier and heavier back then," she said of herself in high school. But it was more of the personality change that occurred that shocked her the most. At Warren, she was an honor student, participated in cheerleading, and was a letterman in swin. But she was also very shy and conservative, never really the one to stand up on a stage and give a speech, or one to beg for the spotlight. In 2004, she started to work out and without her really knowing, her personality started to change to a more confident, outgoing young woman. Having an interest in working out, she started to get the ball rolling while working at the Downey YMCA. "I just wanted to try working out and I like it," she said. "One day though, a friend at the gym asked me if I was training for a competition." It was at that point where she started down the road to peak physical fitness and competitive bodybuilding. With a new mindset, she found herself at the gym more and more, researching different exercises and diet plans, and pushing herself to limits she never thought she could attain. "I've been told multiple times that I'm not normal or I'm different," she joked when asked about what drives her. "I embrace that." Working out and training for a competition has given her a drive and a confidence that makes her think if she believes she can accomplish a goal, she will. Now, she finds herself in the gym six days a week, around two hours a day, lifting and preparing for her third competition. In her second competition earlier this year, she notched a third place finish in the Figure division. The Orange County Musclemania competition in Brea was a little easier on the mind now that she had experience. But the 2-day competition was still grueling. During the first day, Alexander found herself checking in around 8 a.m., then participating in media sessions where her and other competitors posed for pictures and interviews. Then the competition began where she had to present four different poses, a front pose, two side poses, and a back pose. She said that she screwed up her back pose, but still pushed through with the second part of the competition where participants are required to do a walk that showcases their muscle tone and mass. After that, all competitors are called to the stage to lineup where judges can compare and contrast everyone participating. After all the hoopla, Alexander found herself back in her room around 10 p.m. where she had to get some food, and get some rest for another round of competition the following day. Although it wasn't a first place finish, a third place finish excited the 26-year-old amateur. "It's a really exciting feeling regardless of the outcome," she said. "There's a satisfaction to it all." One of the most interesting facts though is that her workout and diet is surprisingly simple. Alexander says that she hasn't completely cut out junk food but eats relatively healthy and intakes only around 2,200 calories a day, composed of high proteins, moderate carbohydrate levels, and low fat. She allows herself a couple cheat meals a week so her body continues to enjoy fast food, sweets, or something more lavish than a bowl of rice, chicken, and vegetables. Her work outs consist of her warming up on a treadmill by doing mainly walking, and sometimes a little jogging. She says a lot of people come up to her and assume that because of the body she now has that she must do a lot of cardio, when in reality she does very little. Her lifting is pretty basic also, with her focusing on different parts of the body every day, doing different exercises to activate all her muscles in various ways. She preaches different exercises because she has found that muscle memory is fact stating that your body will plateau if you do the same routing ever day. Other than that, her 2-hour workouts are very much dictated by what equipment is available at the YMCA at the time. Now, she's working toward a higher finish at the world famous Muscle Beach in Venice in September where she hopes to place higher than third. While it would be great to finish better than her previous competitions, she doesn't lose sight of what's important to her and why she does it. "It keeps me energized," she says.

********** Published: June 30, 2011 - Volume 11 - Issue 10