Bodybuilder Mikaela Fetters is flexing her muscles for fitness and flair.
By Gretchen Sanders, Photos by Casey Withers of CWMG
If you want bulging biceps, there’s one sure way to get them. Try pumping iron with Mikaela Fetters. The 21-year-old personal trainer works at Gym One in North Austin when she’s not traveling for bodybuilding competitions.
A former ballet dancer, Fetters switched sports in 2014 due to an injury. She likes that bodybuilding yields a muscular physique and the chance to pose onstage to music during shows.
Though she coaches aspiring bodybuilders, not all of her personal-training clients want big muscles.
“I work mostly with women who seek general fitness,” she says. “I don’t push fad diets or extreme pedal-to-the-metal workouts.” Fetters will officially become a professional bodybuilder if she wins a top spot in the physique division at a national competition in Miami in November.
Here’s how this tower of strength keeps hoisting barbells.
“I wake up at 5 a.m. and do 30 minutes of fasted cardio, aerobic exercise after fasting overnight. I’ll do a steady-state workout on the treadmill at my house or the StairMaster at Gym One. Then I shower and eat breakfast.”
“I train my shoulders and back muscles twice a week by doing four to eight sets of 12 to 15 pulldowns, rows and side laterals with 60-pound weights. The workout takes about an hour and 15 minutes. I train my glutes and hamstring muscles once a week for 90 minutes, and I work my quads on a separate day. I also train my biceps and triceps once a week for an hour. For my chest, I do Hammer Strength machine presses, bench presses and flies for an hour weekly. In total, I devote 10 to 12 hours a week to training. Bodybuilding also involves posing onstage. I practice different poses for 30 minutes a day. Last, I do a 10-minute light jog after weights six days a week.”
“I eat six meals a day. They’re small meals. An example might be two slices of Ezekiel bread and 4 ounces of salmon. My last meal each day is a cup of six egg whites. My current meal plan has me eating 1,500 calories a day, but I get a 1,000-calorie cheat meal every week. I don’t eat any simple sugars or drink alcohol, and I’m not supposed to consume any food or beverage with more than 80 milligrams of sodium. I eat fish, brown rice, sweet potatoes, oatmeal and blueberries, and drink a gallon of water every day. I’m always hungry. Being uncomfortable is a part of bodybuilding. It’s not a healthy sport. They say the worse you feel, the better you look. Bodybuilders make extreme sacrifices, and it’s considered an extreme sport. Meal planning takes time and the training can be isolating. You must be all in.”
“I wear a weight-training belt to protect my back when I do dead lifts and heavy squats. For everyday training, I wear a tank top, leggings and Sketch- ers or flat shoes. I don’t wear shoes when I compete. For nationals this fall, a business called I Sew It, You Show It will make my bikini, which will cross in the back, be covered with crystals and cost $1,200. Bodybuilders need a gym membership and a good coach. Between training costs, coaching, food, vitamins, bikinis, competition entry fees, hotels, airfare, hair and makeup, it’s an expensive sport. Plus, you need to pay for tanning before each show.”
“I love being onstage. I like the way my body transforms during a training season. I can go from 185 pounds to 140 pounds in 20 weeks. It’s exhilarating. I like the structure, and I love having a goal.”
“I want to beat myself. I want to be better today than I was a year ago.”
“My husband and I are watching The Strain on Hulu. I read some of The After Series, pet my kitties and go to bed around 10:30 p.m.”
FUN FACTS ABOUT BODYBUILDING
Most bodybuilders apply two coats of a tanning product hours before they compete in order to make muscles appear more prominent.
Bodybuilders can spend 16 to 20 weeks preparing for a single competition.
Bodybuilders consume large quantities of protein. Some strive to eat at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.
After a competition, most bodybuilders will increase their calorie intake, drop their cardio output and gain weight intentionally.
Prior to posing onstage for competition judges, bodybuilders perform fast exercises to pump up their muscles, then apply a body oil to make them glisten under the bright lights. This practice is called the “pump and glaze.”