Saturday, June 11, 2011

WOOT celebrates another win

Last weekend one of our WOOT members took first place in the women's figure category (5 ft.3 and below), at the Pacific Muscle, Figure and Fitness Competition held at Kadena Theater. Those of you who know Ivette Kragel will know that she is an extremely positive and inspirational person with an infectious smile and heart of gold. Her win at last weekend's competition was well-deserved and while we can't really take any credit for Ivette's success, we are extremely proud of her achievement and very blessed to have her on board as part of our WOOT team.

Weeks of hard work and discipline have paid off

In order to better understand the discipline of what Ivette went through in the weeks leading up to the competition, I've posted below some questions I presented to Ivette and her responses to each:

1. When did you first consider entering a figure competition and what motivated your thoughts to train for one?I guess I was always interested in the sport but I had never actually considered competing until my husband was deployed earlier in the year. I was a full time student and I thought maybe I can squeeze in some training.
2. Did you have any doubts once you set your mind to doing it? I mean I guess there are always a few doubts, but I generally try to not let myself think like that. I'm kind of in the mindset, that if you doubt yourself too much your results will reflect that way of thinking whereas if you don't the same is true.

3. What did the training entail, and when did it start?This is a great question, because in my research I came across different training methods; often they were lifting, and cardio in the gym. I thought to myself, “well this could get kinda boring,so I did a combination of incorporating lifting, gym cardio, running with WOOT, group fitness (which covered some lifting and plyometrics), as well as some group Crossfit. Yes it is a tossed salad of training, I know.

4. What did your diet consist of?The diet was a very high protein diet, with clean carbs such as brown rice, oats and yams, or potatoes. Lots of vegetables and lots of lean protein –somehow I never tired of fish! I ate protein shakes immediately after workouts and often between meals (this helps maintain and build muscle).

5. What were the most difficult moments for you during the training period?Honestly Mondays were tough for me. I would rest Sundays, so I had to reboot Mondays and tell myself ok here we go..The other difficult part was enjoying company while still trying to eat clean. That's pretty tough!

6. What did you learn about yourself along the way?
That if I stayed the course, stayed positive, surrounded myself with positive people, and had fun doing it then I knew mentally I could reach my goals. I also felt that the challenge itself was just as gratifying as a win.

7. What were the highs and lows for you?The highs were always after a workout and of course seeing my husband and friends, cheering and glowing from excitement. That really was something. There are always lows, like some days you think I could just eat and sleep in and the heck with the whole thing but, it's a mind game and you have to win by not letting the little negative bug bite ya!

8. Will you compete in more figure contests? I think I will, now that I know what it all entails, and I really had a great time doing it, sure I think I would.

9. Did you train yourself, or did you have a trainer? Were the poses difficult to learn, and how much time was spent practicing them? For the most part I did all the training myself, I say for the most part, because as I'd mentioned before some of my training was with friends. I'm not going to lie, the poses look easier than they are, I started practicing on my own initially until I found a trainer on the island, Shelly Howard who offered posing classes. So I learned quite a bit more about posing from her.

10. What happens during the 48 hours leading up to competition? The 48 hours leading up, consists of carb loading, upping your carb intake, while you reduce your water to appear full and lean at the safe time. By full I mean to make your muscles appear full. There's a whole science to it really. Oh and of course you have to get your competition color put on, which brings out your lines and definition under the stage lights.

11. How did you feel on the night, were you nervous, excited, light-headed? How did you feel when you won? I was very excited, I felt good, I had all my stuff together in my bag, I'm kind of a planner that way, it also helps ease the nerves. I was however pretty thirsty, but that was to be expected, but other than that, I had my husband there the whole time and he has a tendency to naturally calm me. When I won I was elated!! I mean I had a feeling I would fair well, but winning??--That was awesomeness!

12. How will life change for you now that the competition is over (or will you continue to train and prepare for the July 31st competition?). If you are competing in July also, then how do you expect life to change for you after the July competition - do figure contestants and bodybuilders have maintenance plans to follow so that they gradually transition back to a regular diet and exercise program? Are you worried that you might strive to keep your body fat percentage to a minimum, or do you feel confident that you'll be fine with whatever body fat percentage your body returns to?I am normally a naturally active person, and I generally make it a point to eat healthy, maybe not as clean as I would for this type of event because really you train a certain way to meet a goal but it's not realistic or healthy to think you can keep the stage look going year round. I honestly feel comfortable in my skin, I think that as long as I am within a certain range for a healtly body mass index then I can live with that. Oh and as long as I can keep fitting into my Hudsons (my jeans) then I can live with that too.

13. How has running and being a part of WOOT impacted your training goals, and will you run more when you are no longer competing?
WOOT allowed me to cover my intervals for the week, or my fat burning cardio, but that is the smaller part of it. The gals were a huge motivation, some of them are Ultra runners, some of them, just started running, but for me its inspiring either way, and it gave me the push being with them to never give up. Oh and I am definitely going to keep running with WOOT, that's a no brainer.

14. What are your immediate plans for the future and into the next few years?
Well someday, ironically, I've been running for years, and have never ran a marathon, I hope that I can add that to my bucket list.

15. What would you say to anyone considering doing a figure contest for the first time?I would recommend depending on the type of person you are; if you are either self-motivated or you like someone to hold you accountable then do the research and or hire a trainer. Lots of people bring a different level of experience, Ive been working out for years so I had some knowledge on training, some people might need to be exposed to it differently. I should point out that even for me it was a whole new learning experience though.
Ivette also won overall figure category - both short and tall class

If you would like to support Ivette at her next competition, be sure to buy a ticket for the July 31st Far East Bodybuilding Championship to be held on Camp Foster - you can purchase tickets from any MCCS Athletic Facility (tickets are $10 per person). We'll see you there.......


  1. Ivette, I love your positive attitude and I think we can all gain something from your comment that you can't let the "negative bug bite ya" - I think that any challenge we face in life involves a mental element and by focusing on the positives instead of the negatives, and by surrounding yourself with friends who are supportive and able to help lift your spirits, then we are able to stand a much better chance of overcoming the obstacles and succeeding. Thanks for recognizing your WOOT friends as a source of motivation and inspiration - I hope we will always be each others biggest supporters and cheerleaders!


  2. Comment from Stephanie Ward Ermel:

    The blog wouldn't take my comment, so here it is again. :o) Great article and congratulations, Ivette! I remember the first time I found myself surrounded by people who were genuinely rooting for me and it was so overwhelming to feel lik...e so many people were on my team. It's the same feeling that WOOT gives: that there's enough room for everyone at the top, and there's not much better than that.
    In my class I tell students to watch out for "grumpy bugs" and I tell them that they need to squish them as soon as I see them. If they're having trouble with a peer, they must hug it out (because grumpy bugs reside in your heart - duh!). One day it got so bad on the playground that we immediately had to come inside the classroom and spray the walls, each other, EVERYTHING with "grumpy bug spray". It's almost literally what you said, Ivette!