Suzanne managed to go from 185 lbs to 114 lbs and competing in figure and bodybuilding. Check it out!
Suzanne has an amazing story to tell – See how she overcame a major disability and being teased for it most of her life. At only 5′ tall she managed to go from 185 lbs to 114 lbs and competing in figure and bodybuilding. Check it out!
Name: Suzanne Germano
Starting Weight: 185 lbs
Clothing Size: Over a 15
After Contest Weight: 114 lbs
Body Fat: 7%
Off Season: 122-125 lbs
Body Fat: 12%
Why I Got Started
I was “normal” weight through high school (105-110lbs & 5′-0″), but never developed an interest in sports or fitness (not even PE) due to my vision. I have been legally blind since birth so I did not participate in PE or sports in school.
Due to my blindness, I grew up with the kids constantly teasing me. No one understood legally blind, that I could not fix it with glasses; not even adults. I always felt very alone; I did not fit in with my fellow sighted student nor was I totally blind and fit in there. All of this led to very low self-esteem. The lack of activity and feelings of depression led to gradual weight gain over the years.
By the time I reached 31 (1995) I had reached a weight of 185lbs. All from a combination of fast food, no exercise, and depression. For many years, all I thought was that exercise and diet didn’t work.
I felt all the people that looked good had always looked that way. I had never tried any form of dieting. I was afraid because of the statistic of those who lose weight and gain what they lost plus more back.
At the end of 1995 my aunt, who is my age, really wanted me to join the gym with her. So my aunt and I joined and I began my journey. I knew that if I was going to do this that it had to be an all or nothing attempt. I knew I had to change my diet, lift weights, and do cardio. I knew fad diets were not the way to go. I like the look of fitness so I knew I needed to lift hard and not rely solely on diet and cardio.
I lost some weight through 1996. In 1997, I was unable to go to the gym but maintained my loss. In March of 1999, I decided that since I could not go to the gym, I would bring the gym to me. So I bought equipment for my home and began hitting it hard.
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I would get up at 4:30am every morning before work to get my workout in. After reading Body For Life I made another major change in my diet; I consumed six small meals (instead of three large meals) a day, and began using supplements (protein powder, meal replacement, etc). It was slow going but the pounds gradually came off and the underlying shape came through.
I was born legally blind, so I do not have the luxury of being able to drive myself anywhere. I must either rely on friends or family, but most often I had to take the bus and/or walk. So much of my time was spent on buses to work and walking to the gym. In 2002 after getting down to 120 lbs many people asked if I competed and so I gave it a try.
In March 2002 I competed in my first bodybuilding contest at age 38. I got 2nd novice light weight and 3rd in masters. I also competed in April and May of that year and got a couple more trophies. March 2003 I competed again and got 3rd in novice light weight.
In 2004 I began training with Kim Oddo for figure. And did 2 shows that year and placed 4th at the Tournament of Champions. In 2006, I continued to work with Kim and competed at the World Gym classic inSan Diegowhere I placed 2nd in Class A Open and placed 1st in Master Short and won Masters overall.
Then I competed in the Emerald cup where I placed 9th in class A. My plans for 2007 are to compete at the Jr. Nationals, The USA’s and the North Americans.
I am the parent of a wonderful 15 yr old daughter and engaged to an amazing man.
* 2006 Emerald Cup 9th Class A
* 2006 San Diego World Gym Classic – 2nd Class A; 1st Masters Short & Masters Overall
* 2004Border StatesFigureA – 8th Place, Masters Figure35+ – 6th Place
* 2004 Tournament of Champions Figure A -4th Place, Masters Figure 35+ Short 8th place
* 2003 San Diego World Gym Classic – NPC, Lightweight 3rd
* 2002Cal- Novice Lt Weight 2nd; Masters 5th
* 2002 San Diego World Gym Classic – Novice Lt Weight 2nd; Masters 3rd
How I Did It
I read a lot of books on weight training. I started straight off with free weights on a 3 day split so I lifted 6 days per week. I also did cardio starting at about 30 min 5-6 times per week. I also began to clean up my diet.
I had never tried any fad diet because I knew that would only get short term results and most people regain the weight afterwards. I stopped drinking soda with sugar and eating fast food. I read Body For Life and that is when I began to eat 6 meals per day and using supplements.
My training became more intense, as I always enjoyed going hard in the gym. I also bought a treadmill and weights for my home so I could train before work and I ran or did hill sprints for cardio on my lunch break.
It took me a few years to get down to 120 lbs but I stuck with it and it was worth every minute of training. Once I was ready to prep for competition I hired a trainer. In 2004 I began using Kim Oddo and switched to figure.
* Meal Replacement
* Digestive Enzymes – currently MRM or SciFit
* Fat Burners – currently Lipo 6
Sample Week Of Diet
* Meal 1: Oats, fruit, egg white or protein powder
* Meal 2: MRP – ie: Lean Body Hers
* Meal 3: Lean protein (chick, ground turkey, lean ground beef), low GI carb and veggies
* Meal 4: Low GI carb PB
* Meal 5: Salmon/lean beef, veggies
* Meal 6: protein shake
Sample Week Of Training
* Cardio 5 days per week either stepmill or precor elliptical or plyometrics
* Back/Bi’s 3 – 4 sets 8-15 reps 3-4 exercises
* Chest /Tri’s 3 – 4 sets 8-15 reps 3-4 exercises
* Delts 3 – 4 sets 8-15 reps 3-4 exercises
* Legs 3-4 set 8-20 reps 3-4 exercises usually supersets or giant sets
* Abs every day
Suggestions For Others
Consistency and intensity are the key. Push hard every set and every rep. It takes time but is so very worth every minute you spent in the gym. Plan and prepare food ahead and always have meals with you. I never imagined I would get to where I am now. All I hoped for when I first started was just to lose some weight.
About My Vision
I was born legally blind – I have Achromatopsia. Due to this condition I am severely light sensitive and totally color blind. It is not correctable, but I do wear red contact lenses to help filter the light. My best visually acuity is less 20/200 which means I can see something 20 feet away that a person with normal vision can see 200 feet away.
I need to have books very close to read and I use a large monitor with big fonts. I am unable to drive so I either walk, use public transit or ride with family or friends.
The hardest part is people not understanding. Someone may wave or make eye contact form across the gym but I can’t see them so a lot of times I get a bad rap of being unfriendly but I simply did not see them. I also have to squint a lot because of the light sensitivity so I have been told I “look” unfriendly.
Thank you for reading my story
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