At Lift for Life we take pride in featuring exceptional athletes who have overcome challenges and set positive examples for others to follow. Hollyn Rios (Finkemeier) is no exception. Hollyn was kind enough to submit an interview however there is more to her story that deserves attention. Pasted below is an excerpt from her feature page at Best Body Magazine titled "How Did They Get So Fit"
"While most 11-year-old girls spend their time at slumber parties and ballet classes, I was taking trips to the hospital for spinal exams. I had been diagnosed with a spinal deformity known as idiopathic scoliosis, and the curves were so severe that my physicians suggested immediate spinal fusion surgery. They told me that the risk of waiting even a few months could cause my spine to continue curving and create severe health risks.
My parents decided I should take an alternate route to recovery; they put me through physical therapy sessions. But the exercises didn’t stop my spine from curving. By the time I turned 20, my curvature had increased so much that I had shrunk in height from 5-1 to 4-11. I knew I could no longer put off surgery, and my doctor suggested I schedule it as soon as possible.
With the support of friends and family, and an amazing team of doctors and nurses at Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City, I underwent a 21-hour instrumentation and fusion of the spine. I gained three inches in height from the surgery, rising to 5-2, and started exercising five weeks later. I will never forget my first “workout.” As I fought back tears, it took me five minutes just to get out of the car. I finally made it inside the gym and walked on the treadmill for 15 minutes. Then I rode the stationary bike for 10 minutes at a slow pace.
Although I went back to the gym every day for the next 10 weeks, it took over a year for my spine to fuse and for me to feel normal again. But it’s been five years now, and I’m in great health." Source: Best Body Magazine
Have you always been in shape? No, I used to have a problem with over-eating, and it wasn’t until I started training for my first figure competition in 2004 that I learned about clean foods and smaller quantities.
How did you get started in physique competitions? I started lifting when I was 18 years old because I had extreme back pain from severe double curvature of my spine (scoliosis). Lifting weights was the only thing that make the pain stop. A few years later, someone spotted me in the gym and said, “You work-out so much you really should compete and show off what you’ve got.”
Describe your training philosophy: Lift heavy. Ladies, it will not make you get to big. Also, properly nourish your body before and after workouts to get the most out of your lifting! Drink water all day long!
What are your favorite exercises? Lunges and glute exercise! I love running high school stadium bleachers for cardio
What is your diet like in the off season? I eat protein 6 to 7 times per day off season to maintain muscle but allow myself to eat all the fruit I want. I try to avoid white flour and simple sugars.
Describe your diet during contest prep: Very strict. 8 small meals every 2 ½ hours. Clean foods and 1 gallon of water or more per day.
What supplements have worked for you? Fish oil, glutamine, BCAA’s
What advice would you give to aspiring athletes? Be consistent in your workouts but make sure you don’t get so extreme that you forget your family and friends.
What have you learned about yourself as a physique competitor? I can be very disciplined and determined. Hard work pays off, and it feels good to be in control of my body versus out of control.
What are your plans for the future? I gave birth to my first baby, a girl, Gabriella Alyse 8 weeks ago so I am burning off the baby weight to compete in 2012. I am breast feeding Gabriella exclusively; so I do not want to start a competition diet yet as it would decrease or stop my milk supply. I have lost 21 of the 40 lbs I gained during pregnancy and was in the gym all through my pregnancy. I had an easy delivery all natural due to the shape I was in.