IFBB Pro Janet Lynn West demonstrates that strong can be feminine, and the power of discipline. Defy your own expectations with Janet’s guide to believing in yourself.
LIVE FOR THE CHALLENGE
I have always been body conscious – as a young girl, I thought of myself as having a very boyish, slender body. However, I don’t think the concept of “healthy living” was part of the equation until at 45 when I became a personal trainer. I only started to eat healthier when I realized it is necessary if you want to acquire the look of a competitor. You simply cannot get shredded abs or the leanness necessary to compete without implementing a nutrition plan. I wanted to be a competitor as a form of accountability. I changed from a very stable career as a CPA and a Director of Recruiting into the field of fitness as a personal trainer. Fitness was always part of my life and it was the one passion that never changed. As the years went by, there was always one constant in my life: the gym.
JUST CALL ME …
There have been many nicknames in my life but my latest is “Nonna.” This was given to me by my daughter, Justine, which means “grandmother” in Italian. She and Chris, my son-in-law, have one daughter, Charlie, who is two years old, and by the time this feature is published I will be a two-time grandmother, with their second child expected January 31!
KEEPIN’ IT UP
I use Obagi skin care products every day. I also take vitamin E, collagen, and other supplements for my skin, such as multivitamins, amino acids, milk thistle, fish oil, whey isolate, and glutamine. Aside from my skin care products, I wear very little makeup. I wear concealer, a slight touch of mascara, and a light top eyeliner.
HARD WORK, BIG REWARD
The hardest part of competing is keeping strict compliance with the diet. Even though I am eating plenty of food with five to six small meals, I have a huge appetite – I can eat any man under the table! I find I feel hungry most of the time in prepping for a show. But although I have strong cravings, my desire to beat the last physique I brought to the stage takes control. I haven’t found that it gets any easier over time, but I think I enjoy posing and the opportunity to present my physique more with each show. I used to get so nervous, I would feel nauseated two weeks leading up to the contest. Now I have changed my expectations of the experience from the outcome. I do this by choosing venues that are fun, well-run by the promoters, and are in places I enjoy visiting.
My family has been great about allowing me to pursue my passion without judging my desires or questioning them. They respectfully ask me if I’m following a strict diet and meet my needs. My fiancé supports me by eating
clean, especially when I’m competing. I certainly do not expect others to modify their behavior on my behalf, but I appreciate this gesture.
MIND OVER MATTER
I used to tell myself I would rather die trying to live out my dream and never get there than to give up and know it will never happen in my lifetime. I make a conscious decision to not let age be an excuse or let the thought of it psyche me out of living according to how I want to live. It’s easy to fall into the mindset that we are too old to do that, whatever “that” maybe. But if we continue down that path, we may look back later in life and regret having never tried.
Photos by Chris V. Linton (@chrisvlinton)