March 2013 – Kristi Szudlo – Fitness Mom

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PictureGroove-Kristi-6183-weborigKristi Szudlo has been one of KickAssWomen.com’s biggest supporters, so we are super excited for her to be this month’s KickAss Woman of the Month!  Kristi is one of the most well rounded women we know.  Super professional yet not stuffy.  Awesome mom yet committed to her fitness lifestyle. Always fun and supportive.  I hope you enjoy meeting her in this month’s interview.  Be sure to follow her social media!  – kaw

One thing we love about you, is your personality versatility.  You can laugh it up but are very professional and dependable.  Is that your natural way or because of your career?
Thank you for the compliment! I love to laugh, and do so often at myself. I love to make others laugh as well and have been told at times I can be a pretty good comedian. I also love to be kind and positive. I expect the best of myself and challenge myself always to deliver my best.

My full time medical sales job requires that I build strong relationships with physicians and all the members of their staff, so having a versatile personality is an asset. You meet many different personalities in my job; some who like to laugh, some who simply want to get down to business, and everything in between. The products that I represent require trust in me and so being professional and dependable is a must. I learned these qualities from my parents who are my two greatest role models.

Like many of our KickAss Women of the Month, you are a professional mom.  How do you prioritize your training and food prep and get it all in?
It takes being organized and incorporating the healthy lifestyle habits and eating into every day, rather than into a training season.  For example, my children are very accustom to protein sources being the largest portion of every meal followed by great sources of vitamins, including packed lunches. They understand why protein and vitamins are both important to the body. They have never been given soda and always drink milk or water. They exercise with me in various ways, some traditional such as jumping rope, weights, and sports, and some are just fun ways to get moving! Our most favorite activity is to have a dance party! We crank up the tunes and dance around like crazy fools for hours! I have some video that some friends have seen and we all agree it is worthy of going viral on YouTube!

Finally as a working mother, my children know the value of setting a goal and achieving it, personally and professionally as they have shared in with my fitness pro card achievement and my business successes.  Children seeing their parents set goals and work hard toward obtaining those goals provide them the best role models to become successful in school and in their futures.

Were you always an athlete?
I have always been 50% tomboy and 50% pageant girl since birth at heart. I loved to play with my brothers and their friends climbing trees and racing them down the street as much as I liked playing Barbie dolls and playing dress up and pretending to be the next Miss America with my best girl friends in the neighborhood.

I have always been very competitive and loved competing with the neighborhood boys. I was a great runner when I was young, and started running on a youth team in elementary school. I also joined a summer swim league at age 5 with my brothers and by the time I was 8 I was swimming year round and I went to my first state swim meet. I began cheerleading in elementary school in the fall recreation leagues and fell in love with the sport. I continued cheerleading in middle and high school and I was the caption for the squads. I began dance at the age of 3 and I continued ballet and lyrical jazz until the end of high school. I also ran track as a sprinter, long jumper and high jumper in high school.

Although I have never stopped working out no matter what stage of my life and I have always stayed fit, in college I took a break from sports teams and concentrated on school and socialization—and for those of you familiar with The Ohio State University Campus, I also gave some of my focus to 15th and High Street. LOL! Go Buckeyes!

My return to athletics and competitive sports began with my training for my first fitness competition, which began after the birth of my second child at the end of 2009.

How did you get into the fitness world?
There is a story behind how it happened. I had just become the Ohio “Beauties of America” pageant title holder when I discovered I was pageant with my second child.  If I carried her to full term, I would have just shy of 13 weeks to get into shape for the national pageant in Myrtle Beach. In the national pageant you are scored on interview, fitness, photogenic, and evening gown.

Due to a previous premature delivery with my first child, I was getting weekly checkups with my ObGyn that started at week 12 and included ultrasounds. Everything with my pregnancy was looking amazing and I was staying trim and healthy for the baby, and so I could have less weight to lose once she arrived. At week 19 of the pregnancy we hit a bump in the road. I went in for my weekly appointment only to discover that I was showing signs that I was threatening to deliver. Thankfully, due to my very smart ObGyn and the plans he had set into place for weekly ultrasounds, he caught the issue proactively. I underwent a medical procedure that same day. I then was put on restrictive bed rest and in addition to continuing my weekly physician appointments with ultrasounds; I received weekly progesterone shots for the remaining 21 weeks of the pregnancy. I was grateful the baby would be safe with the set plan, but so much for maintaining my workouts! That sure is hard to do as you lay completely flat on bed rest and are scared to move! Believe me; my son’s 15 week premature birth memory was on my mind constantly. I didn’t move unless I was within the one hour a day I was allowed to be up.

I was suffering from both boredom and a bit of the blues, so I decided to set three goals to get my mind onto something more positive: 1) I would commit to make it full term to keep my daughter healthy. 2) I vowed I would get back to the gym and to my pre- pregnancy weight so I can compete at The Beauties of America National pageant for Ohio that August. I knew with just shy of 13 weeks after my mandatory C-section delivery it would be tough but I was going to take that challenge, and 3) I would try to win SOMETHING while there at nationals, with my heart set on the Fitness category award. The stretch goal was to also place in the top 5. I felt like these goals would force me to work my behind off (and all the other flabby parts—ha ha) so I would not embarrass myself on stage.

In May, the most beautiful princess was born and full term. Goal one met! Talk about polar opposites in weight for our children though! My son was born weighing just one pound and 13 ounces, but on that day we were blessed to bring via C-section the most beautiful, healthy, baby girl that weighed nearly 10 pounds! Wowza! And speaking of weight, she was not the only one tipping the scales! Mom managed to gain 65+ pounds from inactivity on restrictive bed rest, the progesterone shots, and yes, I admit—stuffing my face with Reese Cups and Dairy Queen Peanut Buster Parfaits! Trust me, I was NOT pretty. Even my nose got fat and I have the ugly pictures of me to prove it! Yikes! Talk about motivation to lose weight!

So did I reach goal two and lose the 65+ pounds before nationals, Yes, every pound and inch was off on the day I walked onto that stage! Thank goodness too because my evening gown would not have zipped up otherwise!

Did I meet any of goal three? My entire family went to cheer me on, including my parents and my beautiful little newborn daughter. Honestly, it was my little princess who should have won! She was the true beauty winner! I was blessed to take 1st runner up!!! I also won the fitness and evening gown categories. I was completely thrilled that I had a healthy daughter, met my goals of losing the weight, and was blessed and did win something!

Due to my success, one of the pageant judges came up to meet my baby daughter and congratulate me. Her name was Melissa Hall Little. She was impressed with my weight loss and muscle tone after just having a baby and she suggested I try fitness competitions. She is a trainer, a former Mrs. Minnesota in pageantry, a former Miss Bikini Universe in the fitness world, her husband is Tony Little of HSN fame, and she offered to prep me and mentor me. I did not know anything about fitness competitions. We exchanged numbers and she began to prep me for my first competition that happened early the following year under her guidance. She is still today a wonderful close and special friend. She is the person who I can thank for my start into fitness competitions and who helped me take my first step on the path that led me to my WBFF Fitness Model Pro Card.

Where do you compete, and what category?
I am with the most amazing federation, The WBFF.  As a Pro, I can only compete in Pro shows and with The WBFF. There are only two Pro shows, the Pro/Am in April or Worlds August 24-25th in Vegas. I am choosing to do Worlds in Vegas this year. I have a Pro Card in Fitness, but I was given special permission to compete as a Pro in the Bikini Division at Worlds last year in Toronto with the WBFF.

What is your training regimen like?
I work out 7 days a week in season. I spend 1.5 to 2 hours in the gym.

Off season: I do one hour of weights and 30 minutes of cardio rotating cardio routines.  5 days a week

Off Season

1) Arms/Shoulders/Abs/Upper Back
30 minutes-treadmill or stairs, mixed speeds/inclines/ HIT
2) Legs/Calves/Gluts/Abs/Conditioning points (includes lower back)
Cardio- 30 minutes or cardio class that would be acceptable like spinning or Kickboxing
3) Rest day or cardio
Repeat

On Season

1)      Arms/Shoulders/Abs/Upper Back, 3 sets, 30 reps, weekly increases in weights
Cardio AM/PM 30 min Cardio until conditioning is perfect-switch up on treadmill, stair drills, Stairmaster,
2)      Legs/Calves/Gluts/Abs/Conditioning points (includes lower back) 3 sets, 30 reps, weekly increases in weights
30 AM Cardio/ 30 PM Cardio (treadmill only-mix up speeds and incline, HIT)
Repeat

What is your eating and supplementation plan?
I eat 60% protein, 20% veggies, and 20% clean carbs off season. I eat 70-75% protein 15-20% green veggies and the balance as clean carbs (or no carbs) when in season. If I am eating no carbs, then I eat more protein.

I had never taken supplements before for competition prep or any reason until July of 2011 after my first competition with the WBFF. It was suggested by a male trainer said he had years of experience and medical training. I was curious to see if it would provide all the benefits I had heard supplements can provide.  I have a low Thyroid condition, known as hypothyroidism.

After I started my suggested supplement plan, I was totally exhausted for weeks rather than benefiting at all.  I should have carefully checked with my doctor about the supplements and other vitamins I was taking so not to interfere with my medication that I needed to help my thyroid function. After I did consult with my physician I became better educated on what was really best for me and found the right balance. My advice to others is that if you have any underlying medical condition or if supplements are new to you, please take time to educate yourself with a professionally educated and experienced resource so that the supplements you pick work in the best way to benefit and not hinder your training progress or your health.

Do you get more attention from female or male admirers?
I am very fortunate that I attract an equal number of male and female friends that support me, and that they are of all ages. It makes it a lot of fun!

What are your upcoming plans?
I soon will begin hard core training for the World Competition in Vegas with the WBFF. I am looking forward to watching my body go from in shape to finely tuned!

Where can everyone find you online?
My new website which I am super excited about is just getting its finishing touches on it so it will be announced on my Facebook page once it is done. In the meantime, people can connect with me through my Facebook profile page and Facebook fan page or look for me on Instagram.

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