Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Local bodybuilders to show their stuff

Three months ago, Kathi Stokes was a fit 44-year-old grandmother who still turned heads everywhere she went. The pretty blonde was 5-feet-5-inches tall and 138 pounds, and kept herself fit by working out three times a week.

Today, Stokes has the body of a warrior, coated in nonstick cooking spray.

"The Pam brings out your muscle tone more," says Stokes' personal trainer, Dave Carhart, as he sprays nonstick cooking spray on the formidable musculature of his client.

Now 112 pounds, Stokes has added several pounds of muscle to her petite frame while reducing her body fat to 15 percent. She still has feminine curves, and that's why on Saturday, she will compete in the "Figure" division of the Tennessee State BodyBuilding & Figure Championships in Murfreesboro.

"Bodybuilders have body fat at 6 percent and below. It's like looking at that chart of the human body without the skin," says personal trainer Stephone Duncan. "Figure is about the natural physique of the woman. It's the 'pretty girl' contest. That's what we call it because they're the highlight of the show."

It was Carhart's encouragement that made Stokes decide to prepare for her first Figure competition in just three months.

"It's a challenge," Stokes says. "I always want to try something new. I'm going to be one of those people who have no regrets in life."

How she did it

Carhart gave Stokes a strict diet of six small, lean-protein-heavy meals per day. She did one to two hours of cardio five days a week, and lifted weights at Xtreme Fitness for an hour, three days a week.

"You work out as hard as you can, and when you think you can't do any more, you do five more," Carhart says. "You smoke your body as hard as you can on every machine."

For the past two weeks, the final pre-competition stretch, she has eaten only egg whites, raw broccoli and plain oatmeal.

"You can't have getting in shape on your mind one hour a day. You have to think about it 24 hours a day," Carhart says. "It's what you do outside the gym that counts."

Stokes says she isn't nervous at the thought of standing in front of a crowd of strangers wearing only a skimpy red rhinestone-spangled bikini. But she's eager for the moment the competition is over.

"I'm looking forward to eating pizza afterward," Stokes says.

Family support

Despite her food deprivation and the intense physical demands of her workouts, Stokes says it is her husband, Ricky, who has suffered during the last three months.

"My husband misses me," she says. "I only get to see him on Saturdays and Sundays."

Stokes works 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays as a collections manager at F&M Bank and spends many nights tending to responsibilities as part owner of Benne's Steakhouse on Franklin Street. She goes to Xtreme Fitness before work and after work every weekday.

Since her husband works the night shift at Trane, 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., the couple sees each other when they kiss coming and going a few times a week.

Saturday, Ricky Stokes will be there cheering for Kathi along with their children, Amber, Keith and Darrell, and granddaughter, Starr.

"She's really proud of her Grammy, lemme tell you," Kathi Stokes says about her granddaughter. "She's 6 years old and she's tickled pink."

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