From 500 Pounds To The Arnold Classic!

Lifestyle, Motivation,

From 500 Pounds To The Arnold Classic!

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An Inspiring story of how Amy Barnes Lost 340 pounds and went from 500 pounds to the Arnold Classic. Read her amazing story today.

When I was 500lbs, I wanted to become a bodybuilder. I really couldn’t explain why at first other than their bodies were on the opposite end of the fitness spectrum than mine. I soon realized the discipline to a lifestyle of dieting, training, self motivation and commitment were the keys to bodybuilders success.

I purchased a magazine subscription to FLEX, Muscular Development, and Oxygen. I would read them cover to cover, and instead of having my fat picture up on my mirror or my refrigerator I had pictures of Monica Brant, Ronnie Coleman and Yaxeni Garcia. I dreamt of attending the Arnold Classic or Mr. Olympia one day. I just wanted to be in the presence of these athletes that I had admired for so long. At 500lbs, I dreamed of getting on stage. So I started on my journey. I became a member of I was too embarrassed to have a profile on bodyspace, but I was able to read, research and train as if I were really going to be a bodybuilder. I had family and friends laugh at me when I told them what my goal was.

I did it. I am a female athlete. I competed in a fitness competition and I have been featured on the cover a few magazines. My life is consumed by my passion to teach others the lessons I have learned. I spend my days eating six or seven times day. I train for 2+ hours per day and along with my purse, I carry around a gallon of water wherever I go. I make sure I get my eight hours of sleep. Because of the sport of bodybuilding, I have LOST 350lbs!

My life as a female athlete is stressful enough, but I am also a mom, wife, and business owner. This is what I do in my “extra time”!! I have taken the best aspects of the sport of bodybuilding to help me change my body naturally (no enhancements). Open the biggest cabinet in my kitchen. Next to my children’s fruit snacks and poptarts, you’ll see a few bottles of CLA, surrounded by 3 hugecontainers of protein powder (to ensure that I NEVER run out), L-Glutamine and a multivitamin. Look around, staring back at you, on the countertop, is an enormous box of oatmeal from Costco… along with at least 4 more gallons of water, one for each member of the family… and yes they are labeled. Now open my fridge. Awww… were you looking for a soda?? SORRY, all I’ve got is chicken, Gallons of Lana’s Egg Whites, broccoli, and some steak for that special occasion. My idea of a good time involves a squat rack, leg press and a bucket for vomiting after each grueling set…

I know what it’s like. You are hungry and HAD to stop by McDonalds because there wasn’t anything healthier around? I understand. I would do the same thing… if I didn’t have a trunk-full of pre-made chicken with sweet potatoes and a purse-full of tuna packets with me at all times! On my hectic days, I eat 80% of my meals cold and usually in my car or in the gym waiting to train my next client. Does your lady run to the restroom to “freshen-up”? I do the SAME!! Except “freshen-up” means “down a shake” in my language – not “reapply mascara” as it does in hers.

Some like to refer to us women as training in a “girly” way with no athletic ability. Just a bunch of “cardio bunnies” prancing around in matching workout clothes and leg warmers. I’m not one of those ladies. Why the bitter undertone, you ask? Come train with me – or better yet, spend a day living my life.

So what makes me want to train so hard? Do you think I want to have manicured fingernails and call used hands, wear a ponytail 90% of week or change clothes 3x per day? I train because I want to watch my body transform and I want to meet my goals and show others that anything you set your mind to… you can do. Old-school training does it best for me – Deadlifts, Squats, Rack Pulls, Barbell Rows and the good old Bench press. I bust my ass, lift over twice my weight in most of those compound movements I just listed. Yet somehow, when I told family and friends my goal… They all laughed. The Haters! You know the kind. The ones who want to watch you fail, or don’t think you could ever do it. They drive me to be better. Thank you HATERS… for the motivation!

I learned a lot about who I am through my journey. I have determined that the iron, the treadmill, and cold chicken breasts have helped shape who I am and my love of the sport. I learned that I definitely do not give up easily! And hell, if I can lose those 350lbs or leg press 1045lbs for 10 reps… I sure will have no problem dealing with just about anything else life throws my way!

So the time has come. I have waited six years for this moment. I am attending the Arnold Classic this weekend. I will be in the presence of athletes that I have admired for so many years. I am not only going as a spectator and fan, but I found the courage to post a profile on and was featured in their book Body by Design. has asked me to be a special guest at the Arnold Classic to be a part of their booth. Truly, a dream come true! I can not begin to tell you. I haven’t made the bodybuilding stage yet. I will… Some day. A human body is a machine, controlled by the mind. If the mind believes it, the body will achieve it. At least that’s how MY mind works. You know – the mind of a female athlete!


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