Spotlight On NPC Bikini Competitor: Kelli Hinshaw
Category you compete in: NPC Bikini
Date of birth: 9/28/1980
Hometown: David City, Nebraska
Career: Mother/Product Marketing Manager/University Professor
If you could change into a superhero for a day who would you be and why?
Black Widow (you know her as played by Scarlett Johannson in The Avengers movie). Black Widow is my choice for a super hero because she uses her intelligence and espionage training as weapons as much as her martial arts skills. She knew how to use her brain, beauty and braun to outsmart and outmaneuver the enemy. I think she shows that to be successful you have to maximize many of your talents – you will be more well-rounded and prepared in a variety of situations.
What made you begin dedicating your lifestyle to this sport?
My boyfriend, Brandon Stewart (also competes - NPC Men’s Physique), introduced me to the sport shortly after we started dating. The sport intrigued me and he had competed in men’s bodybuilding for years. He challenged me to do a show, and because I knew I would have his support and expertise along the way, I jumped in head first! Luckily, we discovered that competing as a pair is FUN and we feel lucky that we are able to live and enjoy a healthy lifestyle together. We experience fun little adventures traveling to new places, meeting great new people and the entire journey definitely brings us closer together as a couple.
During my college years and 20s, I NEVER could have envisioned myself stepping on stage. My weight kept climbing, ending up in the mid 150s (this put me in the overweight BMI category at 5’4”). I was tired all the time and had energy crashes, sugar cravings and a generally unhealthy lifestyle. I was constantly tired! In 2008, I took up jogging and lost about 10 pounds, however, I thought I could out train a bad diet. In 2010, I signed up for a kickboxing/resistance training bootcamp. The rest is history – I learned the value of the THREE KEY ELEMENTS of a healthy lifestyle – weight training, cardio and nutrition!! It was a 10 week bootcamp challenge, and in those 10 weeks, I lost nearly 20 more pounds and 10% bodyfat.
I had more energy, more confidence and just FELT BETTER than ever before, and wanted a new goal to pursue! I was lucky to have met Brandon at this point because a competition was not only something we could do together, but it provided focus and additional motivation for my efforts. With his support, I trained and dieted for my very first show in September 2011. At this point I was nearly 40 pounds lighter than I was in 2008. Like most other competitors I was HOOKED after my first show! I qualified for the NPC Nationas in November 2011 at a regional NPC show in Davenport, IA, and competed in both Jr Nationals and Team Universe in 2012.
What approach do you take to dieting...carb cycle..keto? I have tried extreme approaches in the past – usually consisting of elimination, cycling, loading, etc. It all lead to a crash and rebound at some point. What has worked best for me is a consistent diet that incorporates clean, healthy food choices including protein, fats and CARBS! I eat every 2.5 – 3 hours and a daily meal plan might look like this:
Breakfast: ½ cup oatmeal, 1 egg + 4 egg whites, 1 tbsp flaxseed, coffee
Meal 2 Snack: 4 oz ground turkey (or Protein shake if running between meetings!!), handful almonds, ½ cup oatmeal
Lunch: 4oz chicken, ½ cup brown rice, broccoli
Meal 4 snack: 4 oz chicken, apple, 1 tbsp PB or almonds
Post-workout: Reslience Post-Workout recovery shake by New Dawn Nutraceuticals (1 scoop)
Meal 5 Dinner: Chicken, Lean Steak or White Fish with Green veggies & bell peppers
Meal 6: Protein Shake & Almonds or 1 tbsp peanut butter
I allow myself a weekly cheat meal during contest prep (until a few weeks out). Off season I am a bit more lenient and will incorporate additonal clean, healthy food and dairy into my daily diet, however I try to stay within five pounds of contest weight. It makes show dieting much less stressful and ensures you have one wardrobe in your closet (not a “contest” and “non-contest” section)!
What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about competing? For bikini, I think it’s the general assumption that I am just on a diet to be skinny and walk on stage in a bikini to impress the boys and gain attention. In fact, that is the total OPPOSITE of why I compete. I feel that the competition itself is the byproduct of what truly motivates me. I stay engaged in competing because of: 1) The friends you make and community you become a part of; 2) The focus you gain in the gym from having a goal to accomplish (beating your last placing or earning a pro card); and 3) The constant drive for self improvement. Taking the feedback from the judges, stage pictures, your coach and working your tush off in the gym to make improvements and SEE the results of your hard work! The stage simply becomes the means to show your hard work and progress (and have a little fun with it, too!!).
Some people might feel that bikini competitors don’t have to work as hard. This is not true. We spend as much time as other competitors in and out of the gym preparing for our shows. The style of training may be different than figure, physique or bodybuilding competitors to shape and sculpt our bodies, but the effort is the same – weights, cardio and proper nutrition
What is your most embarassing childhood memory?
I was fairly shy when I was younger so I don’t have too many (thank goodness!), and I really didn’t get into much trouble since I liked school and earned good grades. However, I went to a small catholic high school and one day I happened to drop a choice four-letter word in the hallway. Little did I know that there was a teacher standing behind me. My punishment for breaking the fourth commandment was spending my afternoon outside in my school uniform washing all of the exterior classroom windows while everyone else was in class watching me. I am sure a few cars driving down the highway were curious about me, too! Needless to say, I watched my mouth a bit better from then on.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned about YOURSELF during your contest prep?
It is hard to be objective about yourself. I have learned the value of truly listening to others. Competing is just as hard mentally as it is physically. To be successful, you must listen to people who are experts in the sport and put aside your previous assumptions. This is hard when you are putting something as personal as your body/physique in their hands!
I’ve learned how much I appreciate the little things in life – the value of time with those who love you (they put up with A LOT during contest prep)…and the ability to order directly from the menu:)
Finally, I’ve learned that I am capable of doing MANY things I had once told myself I would NEVER do! Things like: eating out of a baggie at a restaurant, eating fish, doing over 30 minutes of cardio and eating food UNSEASONED! But most importantly….I’ve learned that connecting and bonding with people does NOT have to revolve around food. Even if food and alcohol is present, you should focus on the people and the conversation and not the food!
Who do you look up and admire and why?
In the fitness industry, the first person that “wowed” me was Jamie Eason. I admired her down to earth advice and easy to follow training and nutrition principles. The first competitor I admired was Erin Stern. I saw her in a magazine and thought, “Wow…THAT’S what I want to look like!” Her amazing symmetry, muscle tone and graceful presence really made an impression on me. Beyond fitness and competing, it’s hard to single out one person as there are many people I admire for different reasons. I take the approach of learning something from everyone I meet. Whether that person is in my life for 10 minutes or 10 years, something can be gained from that relationship or person’s talents and perspective. You will always be a mediocre version of someone else, but have the opportunity to be the best YOU!! To accomplish that, the more you can learn from others, the better you can understand yourself and continually learn and grow as a person.
2011 Natural Nationals (INBA) – 1st Place Bikini, 1st Place Sports Model, 2nd Place Mixed Pairs (Couples)
2011 NPC Iowa – 2nd Place Bikini Open
2012 NPC Pittsburgh – 11th Place Bikini Open
2012 NPC Omaha – 3rd Place Bikini Open
2012 Jr Nationals – 16th Place Bikini
2012 Team Universe – 11th Place Bikini Open
2012 – IFBB North American Championships (September 1)
Favorite Motivational Quote:
1) Fail to plan and plan to fail. – Winston Churchill
2) To achieve the things that others don’t you have to do things others wont. – Anonymous
3) Of course its hard, if it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great. – A League of Their Own
Who would you like to thank?
Being able to compete requires an army of support. This is a total lifestyle, not a sport for the weekend warrior. I must thank:
My boyfriend Brandon: He got me into this sport and was by my side supporting my training, nutrition and psyche the entire time. He loved me when I needed motivation, and gave me tough love when I needed to go that extra mile. He is still my treadmill buddy, making endless cardio sessions go by faster, even when he has his own show (he competes in NPC Men’s Physique) to prep for. We train, compete and diet(!) as a couple, and I couldn’t be luckier to have him by my side. He also owns a supplement line and nutrition store – New Dawn Nutraceuticals/New Dawn Nutrition. He researches and designs all of his products with the athlete and competitor in mind which is why I exclusively use his products! They’re the best! (www.facebook.com/newdawnnutraceuticals)
Hailey (my daughter): She trucked along to the gym daycare and made friends during my workout sessions. She makes me proud when she asks for rice cakes, yogurt, fruit and protein bars for snacks over fruit roll-ups and chips!
My Parents: They stepped in to help with my daughter while traveling, when I needed to squeeze in those final workouts and accomodating my new diet requirements during family dinners and outings!
My friends: Tamee Marie from TMarie suits…not only does she make sure I look GREAT on stage, but she gives great perspective and advice. My fellow Team Bombshell athletes, especially Liz Jenkins and Tarrah Speer and NPC Midwest’s Jack & Ann Titone – I am lucky to have gained such a supporting community of competitors and friends. A special thanks to Chelcea Gonzales (you first taught me how to walk in clear heels :).
My coaches: Shannon Dey and Rob Rosetti of Team Bombshell and my Regional Bombshell coaches, Michelle Hutton & Kristie Winter.
My Co-workers: For pretending to be ok with me lugging my food everywhere and eating fish out of a baggie – even at a business lunch with clients :).