I asked the 2019 Women’s Physique champion Alex Blaker to share her journey to the NANBF Natural Iowa stage and below is her story:

When Ryan asked me to share my journey to the stage, immediately I said, “Of Course!”  Then as I sat down to write it, I wasn’t quite sure where to begin.  So, I’ll start with a quick background.

The beginning

In 2012 my now husband proposed, and I decided I wanted to get in better shape for my wedding.  I was always a runner, but hired a personal trainer and he asked me if I ever considered lifting.  With some hesitation, I said I’d give it a shot, and quickly fell in love with powerlifting.  Of course, life happened and fast forward to 2017, my son was a year old and had just started going to daycare full-time.  My husband and I were struggling, like many couples do, with the adjustment of life with a little one.  I was having major body dysphoria, and didn’t like the woman I saw in the mirror, although may women would say be proud, that body created life, I just couldn’t get past the post-baby body.

First step

I joined a gym that December and hated it.  It wasn’t the energy I liked, and just couldn’t get into a routine with it.  So, I took to Craigslist to find a workout partner, he told me I had to be a member of his gym, and I quickly ended my membership and moved gyms.  We met enough times for me to get a rhythm down, and I felt like I needed a personal goal of my own to keep encouraging myself to go.  So, going back to my powerlifting roots, I started a program and wanted to work towards a powerlifting competition.  I started at this time following women on Instagram who were Figure competitors, and thought, that is what I want to do, they were so inspiring!  As the year went on I started developing a regular routine, dialing in my diet to high protein, doing research on competing in a body building competition, etc.  However, I still had so much to learn.  With many personal issues going on, the gym became my escape, and was my outlet for all the frustrations of life.

Taking it to the stage

Realizing I was on a different path, I started meeting new friends who had like-minded goals, and really embracing this new lifestyle.  In January of 2019 I signed up for the Natural Iowa Muscle, and once I posted it on Facebook, I had a friend message me and started asking me questions about my coach (which I didn’t have at the time) and offered to help me through the process a bit more.  He sent me in the direction of a seminar in Olathe, KS that John and Becky Arnold were hosting and it opened my eyes so much!  At this time I was 15 weeks out, and I sent my friend a message about coaches, and he suggested Ryan to me.  When I sent him my goals, he said he would take me on as a client.  He helped tighten up my nutrition, set my workout programs, and helped me with my posing.  In those 15 weeks, however, so much personally had happened.  I wasn’t sure many times if I was going to make it to the stage, the stress of life started to be too much.  I broke down so many times, I couldn’t count.  My friends asked me if the stress was worth it, questioning if I was doing the right thing. My answer was ALWAYS, I’ll regret this if I don’t.  And although I was breaking down emotionally, it was making me stronger.  Then, within those personal struggles, my husband and I rekindled our flame and he helped push me that extra bit that I needed to get on the stage.  As the weeks went on, I got use to the meal prep, I worked on my personal struggles, I hit every single workout as hard as I could, and I posed every chance I got.  When Ryan and I met within those weeks, we talked about my personal struggles, how my workouts and nutrition were going, and I expressed to him my desire to want to do Physique in the competition next year. I hadn’t really practiced it at all, except during my t-walk.  Then, as we spoke more, just a week out, we talked about me just stepping on in physique for an experience more than anything.


The day before the show, my family had gotten amazing news, and I was just more than happy.  I woke up on show day feeling amazing, ready, and gave it everything I had!  Although this is a very summed up version on my journey to the stage, there isn’t a second of it I regret.  Watching my body transform over the past year has been incredible.  I went from looking thin and weak, to strong and secure.  I can’t explain the pride I feel for myself now, and it has helped in many areas of my life.  I’ve learned so much about myself, my relationships with others, and made some incredible friends on this journey.  I can’t wait to see what lies in my future in this sport, because I’m just getting started.