Photo by Michael Johnson
Mount Morris resident Kelly Jo Eastman works out at Fit Club 24/7 in Geneseo as she prepares for her first bodybuilding competition coming up this October.
Fit Club member hits bodybuilding circuit
MOUNT MORRIS — As children, many of us were told some variation of, “you don’t know if you like it until you’ve tried it.”
Mount Morris resident Kelly Jo Eastman recently decided to follow that advice and as a result has found herself involved in something she never dreamed she’d be involved in — a bodybuilding competition.
For the first time this October, Eastman will be participating in the Natural New York State Bodybuilding, Figure, and Bikini Pro-Am Championships in Irondequoit.
She is entered into four different classes: Figure Novice, Figure First Time Competing, Figure 35 and over, and Figure for her height class (5’6” and up).
Eastman, a regular member at Fit Club 24/7 in Geneseo, said that she was initially approached and asked if she would be interested in taking part in one of these shows. Like most people, she knew little about the competitions and assumed they were only focused on bodybuilding, but her interest was piqued.
“I thought these shows were just for bodybuilders and clearly I’m not a bodybuilder,” said Eastman. “But I looked more into it and found that there are a lot of girls that are built similar to me who do this and I became very interested. I come to the gym every single day so I thought I might as well work towards a goal. So I’ve been training now for a couple of months and I am going to be entering in four different classes for this competition. It’s going to be very interesting and exciting to be in four different classes and having to go on stage four different times.”
Eastman was kind enough to explain how Figure and Bikini fit into a bodybuilding competition, and how the judging process works.
“As everyone knows, bodybuilding is for people that are very muscular and big. Bikini is not a very muscular class. They are just thin. Figure is physically fit. It’s somebody that has muscle definition but they don’t want to see someone as large as a bodybuilder in that class. I guess that’s why I’m entering in all the Figure classes, because I have the muscular build but not too muscular and I’m not too thin,” she said with a laugh. “For the pre-judging [in the morning], everybody walks out on stage and does the same posing — quarter turns. You do quarter turns for your front, right side, back, left side, and end with front. And then the night show you only go out on stage once but you go to center stage, you do two poses, you walk to the far side of the stage to do two poses, back to center to do two poses, and then one as you’re walking off. And you do that individually, by yourself. At that point I think the judges kind of have an idea of who they have their eye on. And then the only other time you go back out on stage is when they present the trophy.”
The judging criteria for Figure is based on body shape, body symmetry and proportion, muscle tone, the competitor’s stage presence, and their swimsuit (all must be within good taste says Eastman).
True to its name, the Natural NYS Competition has a number of substances that competitors are not allowed to use for the show. This includes, but is not limited too, any kind of anabolic steroids, growth hormones, and testosterone injections.
All competitors must undergo mandatory drug testing if they wish to participate.
Like any other physical activity, training for the competition takes a lot of time, effort, and dedication. Eastman describes her workouts as lasting anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours every day. She starts off with 45 minutes of cardio exercises (the Stair Climber is her favorite form of cardio), before hitting the weights for the rest of the workout. She makes sure to exercise a different set of muscle each day in order to balance things out properly. She also is on a 1,600-calorie diet, as well as making sure to drink a gallon of water a day.
The process might be grueling, but Eastman says it’s well worth the extra effort. (She’s already signed up for another show in October that’s only a week after her first competition.)
One thing — says Eastman — that has made the whole process easier is having access to a gym like Fit Club 24/7, from the range of equipment to the all-hours-of-the-day access.
Eastman directly praises the gym when asked about how it factors into her workouts.
“The fact that it’s open 24/7 is a huge plus,” said Eastman. “It is clean, the atmosphere is nice, and they have everything [equipments/machines] that you could want or need. There’s always something that you can do to tweak your workout a little bit. It’s just a really nice place and I enjoy it.”
“I used to be a member at a gym in Mount Morris and it closed down and it just so happened that real close to the same time, Fit Club opened and I thought, ‘oh my goodness, this is great!’ when I heard that it was open 24/7. That is a huge plus for me because I never know exactly what time I can get here, being a single mom. The only other place that I’ve worked out was up in Rochester and I was kind of disappointed. All they had was Ellipticals and a few treadmills. I love the fact that there’s everything you can think of at Fit Club. And they’re always willing, if there’s something that maybe somebody has at another gym, they’re always willing to listen if you say, ‘gosh this is a great machine’ or ‘I’ve heard a lot about this, can you look into this?’ I would recommend that place to anyone. I love it. I’m always bragging about it.”
Eastman will even get the chance to brag about her gym at the competition. She said that she and owner Mary Ann Reitano discussed the possibility of making a Fit Club 24/7 T-shirt for her to wear when she’s not on-stage (female competitors are required to wear two-pieces at all times on-stage). She said that when entrants are introduced at the night show, the gyms they work out at are mentioned along with their names.
As the only participant who is member of Fit Club 24/7 and from Livingston County, Eastman is looking forward to representing them both.
“I’m putting everything I have into this,” said Eastman. “I, of course, would hope to do very well and would love to get a trophy, but being that this is my first time, for me this is just something that I can say that I did and had fun with. It’s been fun, the whole process has been fun for me, it’s been a learning experience and if I do well and I really like it, then I may continue to do this.”
Best of luck to Eastman as she represents both Fit Club 24/7 and Livingston County at the Natural New York State Championships at Irondequoit High School Oct. 13.
Anyone who is interested in getting tickets or wants to learn more about the competition itself can visit http://www.naturalmuscle.com/ for more information.