After reading an article her father-in-law gave her about a 32-year-old, stay-at-home mother of four who excelled in fitness bodybuilding competition, Dawniel King was inspired. After all she was a stay at home mother of two boys, Ethan and Alex.
Although King had dieted on and off and had begun lifting weights with her husband, Nathan, she needed and wanted something more. She called her husband to get his thoughts on the article. He encouraged her to go for it.
King did “go for it” and it’s changed her life in more ways than one. She found a reason to go to the gym and discovered a new focus for fitness which brought out and fueled her competitive spirit.
While her husband supported her plans, other family members and friends had concerns. At first some thought she was joking, but when they saw she was committed to achieving the goals she set, they came around and began supporting her.
“Even my boys ages 5 an 3 seemed to understand how this is important to Mommy,” said King. “Around the house you can hear them say, ‘Mommy’s gonna win.’”
When King met fitness Olympian Jen Hendershott, it motivated her to attend one of Hendershott’s PHAT retreats which stands for power, hard work, ambition and triumph. While there she was able to get in touch with bikini competitor Heidi McFrederick, the 32-year-old stay-at-home mother King read about who initially sparked her health and fitness plan. McFrederick, Hendershott and other women at the PHAT retreat pointed her in the right direction.
The intense training began right away for King. It hasn’t been easy but has been rewarding. When she began to see progress, her goals began to advance. Little by little she was evolving into a fitness competitor. After 14 powerful weeks of training and many hours at the gym she was ready for her first competition.
“In some regards you could say it took me 31 years to realize I needed to do this for myself,” King said. “I’m so glad I did.”
King’s little encouragers also cheer her on at the gym where they enjoy going with her every day. Her husband helps by filling the role as dietitian and coach.
“A lot of people get into this with a team of people who help them. That can cost a lot of money so Nate really helped me,” said King.
“Grueling” is how King describes her workouts. She has had many days where she thought she would throw in the towel. She may have given up if it wasn’t for her support team, which kept the excitement ignited and encouraged her to press on with her goals.
“You literally push your body to its limit — both physically and emotionally. The diet is the most important aspect but also the most difficult,” she said.
King began reducing her calories to 600 below her normal maintenance level, watching closely to only lose 1 or 2 pounds a week. With this plan, she allowed herself one “cheat meal” a week until she was four weeks from competition.
“As I got closer to competing I adjusted my calories and continued to allow for slow weight loss, then I eliminated my cheat meal, drank 1 gallon of water a day and that’s when I got really hard.”
Cardio plays an important part of her daily training. She has increased to two hours of cardio, an hour of weight training and one hour of posing practice each day.
King doesn’t deny she often dreams of doughnuts and pizza. She has to constantly remind herself of how diet and nutrition play a crucial role in her quest to get lean and change her body.
“My husband often jokes that if I looked at him the way I look at cream filled doghnuts then we would have the perfect marriage,” King said laughing.
When King began to see her body change she felt empowered! Each time she looked in the mirror she saw evidence of the long training hours she spent in the gym and the hard work.
“What I began noticing is how I was improving. The mirror confirmed that after having kids I could in fact get in shape and improve myself.”
The first competition King entered was “The Battle at The River” where she competed in the figure category. She was judged on muscle tone, definition, symmetry, overall appearance and presentation.
“It was a wonderful experience. Even backstage the girls all helped each other,” King said. “I think we were all happy to have made it this far. Stepping on the stage was amazing. All the work was worth it. Before I left I was already looking forward to my next competition.”
When King returned home she made some minor adjustments to her training to improve some weak areas and began preparing for the Knox Classic which she just competed in on Aug. 7. She placed first in her class which qualified her for Nationals in Atlanta in October.
The mom turned mega-fit health advocate advises other moms, of all fitness levels and needs, to set some goals and get fit and healthy.
“Never stop believing in yourself. No matter what you look like, you can make a difference with some work,” said King.