Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Flexing For a Fit Figure



A cup of oatmeal, five egg whites and one whole egg. That's what a champion eats for breakfast.

Gina Robinson, 26, of Bremerton, wakes up every morning at 5 a.m. and begins her rigorous day with a 40-minute run before eating a finely-measured breakfast formulated specifically for her. She said starting her day with a run and no breakfast helps her burn more body fat and boosts her metabolism throughout the day.

Her diet is determined by her trainer, Victor Olvera, and based on weekly measurements of body fat and muscle growth. Olvera, co-owner of Westcoast Fitness in Bremerton, gives her an eating schedule that tells her how much and when to eat everyday. Robinson eats between six to eight times a day to maximize protein intake to maintain muscle mass.

"Diet and nutrition are the most important thing (for working out)," Robinson said. "You can't really do it (exercise) unless you feed your body and give it the type of fuel that it needs."

Robinson goes to Westcoast Fitness in East Bremerton twice a day to lift weights and do more cardio routines and twice a week she meets with Olvera at the gym to measure how her body is responding to the stringent eating regiment and rigorous workout.

All the lifting and dieting paid off at her first body building, figure and fitness bout July 19 at the National Physique Committee Washington Championship. She took first place in the medium height class, something that rarely happens to a first-time contender.

"I was shocked," Robinson said. "I didn't expect to win at all."

Robinson is not a body builder or a swim suit model. Robinson is a figure competitor, meaning she is judged on "the whole package," she said "It's a fine balance between muscle and femininity."

Robinson said judges look at her poses and form as well as her muscle tone and definition.

"I know that a lot of woman are afraid that they're gonna bulk up and get big if they lift heavy (weights)," she said. "It's just not true."

She said she doesn't want to be a body builder because she wants to keep her body natural and not use steroids like most professional weightlifters do. But she said she is thinking about getting into fitness competitions where she would have to perform a 90-second routine

Robinson, who has been athletic all her life, said she got into weight-lifting in 2004 and six months ago began competition training.

"I just got bit by the bug as they say," Robinson said of her enthusiasm for weight training.

She is already looking at her next competition in October, the Washington Ironman Figure competition, which Olvera said is much bigger than Robinson's last match.

"I compete because I love the challenge of it," Robinson said. "Each time I do it I'm just gonna get better and better."