urge to join a gym and immerse herself in fitness. Which was odd for normal Tracie; other than a brief fling with aerobics back in the 80s, she was the very definition of non-athletic. Tracie was living a very full and completely normal life and spare time was her most precious commodity. Yet suddenly, at an age when most women her age were contemplating how to do less and take things easier, Tracie, without warning decided to throw herself into the demanding world of hardcore fitness. This decision led to a chain of events that culminated in her entering a Figure competition without ever having seen one.
Within a year of taking up conventional, bodybuilding-style fitness, Tracie, with zero athletic background and at the advanced age of 40, began entering – and winning – Figure competitions! For those of you unfamiliar with Figure competition this is a strictly female format. Figure is the “lite” version of female bodybuilding. The Figure format and formula have struck a resonant chord with both competitors and audiences alike. Figure has become immensely popular in an amazingly short period of time and Tracie Euker morphed herself from average to amazing in an extremely quick time period. This un-athletic woman, self-described as “skinny and soft” sought out information sources that could teach her what she needed to know in order to morph her body from skinny-fat to ultra-fit. She discovered she had an innate capacity to effortlessly invoke the disciplined lifestyle of a hardcore bodybuilder. “By reordering my lifestyle and refocusing my disciplined approach toward life, I made physical gains at a rapid rate.”
As an educator and mother of two small boys, as a wife with a full life, Tracie already knew a thing or two about organization, responsibility, dedication and discipline: she merely took these already developed traits and applied them to bodybuilding. Tracie lifted weights and performed cardio (sometimes twice a day) and made enough Parrillo-style bodybuilder meals on Sunday to last the week – she exerted effortless discipline; she never missed a workout or a meal and made progress so rapidly and so radically that within six months of joining a gym she had transformed herself utterly and completely, much to the wonderment and amazement of those who knew her. What makes Tracie’s story so wonderfully strange, so odd and so compelling is that she started fitness late and had no athletic background to draw on: no dormant muscle memory, no rusty, yet once formidable, athletic skills to revive. Tracie was not an ex-champion looking to get back into shape. Quite the opposite Tracie had never been athletic.
“I grew up very shy and was never good at sports. I was a sort of athletic odd-man-out; I was nearsighted and could not see the baseball or volleyball heading towards me…group sports, for me, were harrowing and unpleasant.” She grew in confidence all through college and on into her teaching career. In the 1980s she took up aerobics. “I really liked aerobics because the activity was individualized. Aerobics was what I made of it. No one had to rely on me and I didn’t rely on anyone else.” Cardio fell to the wayside as life and responsibilities beckoned. In 2006 Tracie had a bit of an epiphany. “I felt terrible and I was tired all the time. I knew I needed to do something about my lack of physical condition. I felt it was time for me to do something in order to feel good about myself – so I went for it – and my body responded.” When she turned 39, in 2006, Tracie was not in bad shape: she stood 5’4″ and weighed 130 pounds. Most women would ask Tracie, “What’s with all the dissatisfaction? What could possibly be wrong with being 5-4 and 130?!” Tracie indicated that she was dissatisfied, prone to physical maladies and wanted more. “While I was not in terrible condition, I was hardly happy with how I looked and felt. I wanted more and made a determined effort to change.”
She made up her mind and made her move: Tracie joined a local franchise gym. “After my second son was born, I felt it was time for a change. I had always admired the fit female bodies in the magazines and thought that would be a worthy goal to work towards.” Tracie was not afraid to think big. Being an intelligent woman, Tracie had very specific ideas about what she wanted from her “gym experience.” She told a personal trainer in an initial meeting that what she wanted from him was the knowledge she needed to transform herself: she was determined to look like a female bodybuilder. Tracie told the trainer, “I want to look like the women in the magazines.” The trainer tried to tone down Tracie’s aspirations. “If you would do one circuit on the machines say three times a week, you could tone your body up nicely.” Tracie wasn’t interested in being ‘nicely toned.’ She told the trainer, matter-of-factly, that she wanted way more than tone.
Tracie recalled the trainer’s stifled bemusement. “I think he laughed a bit under his breath; I am sure he was thinking, “Who is this school teacher/mom with no athletic background telling me she expects to look like a female bodybuilder?!” Tracie quickly destroyed all the preconceptions about her quest to transform her body. She accomplished her dramatic transformation inside of a year. “After I joined the gym, I immediately began quizzing the top guys about how they trained. I would apply some of the things I learned from them to my own training. People at the gym started commenting, ‘Wow! You’ve really made great progress – you should consider competing.’ I was dumbfounded; compete in what? I was mystified. The very first Figure Competition I ever saw,” Tracie related, “…was the first competition I competed in. To make that whole weird experience even more unusual was the fact that I won that show!” She came, she saw, she conquered – having never even attended a Figure competition.
Tracie’s progress really accelerated when she crossed paths with a Parrillo-influenced Figure Coach named Lauren Epidy. “Lauren had a great reputation and I sought her out. She looked me over and said that I could be competing in Figure competitions within six months time. That was pretty shocking and flattering.” It was also music to Tracie’s ears. “I began working in earnest with Lauren. Six months later I entered and won my first Figure competition.” Tracie weighed 115 pounds at her first competition. In six months time Tracie lost 20 pounds of fat while gaining 5 pounds of pure muscle. Her body had undergone a complete transformation. Travelling to New York City for her inaugural competition was “Nerve-wracking! But in the end it was all worth it!” Needless to say, that initial baptism of fire fired Tracie up for more.
At the INBF Hercules Championships she took first place in Novice Figure. Later that same year at the New York State Figure Championships Tracie took 2nd place in the Masters category and 3rd place in Figure Class B. At the Amateur World Figure Championships Tracie captured 5th place. In 2008 Tracie competed again at the New York State Figure Championship and took 1st place in open women’s Medium Figure class, and 1st place in the Masters Figure category. The year was capped with her appearance at the 2008 INBF Amateur World Championships. Tracie took second place in Ms. Fit and 5th place in the Open Women’s Figure A class. What a shocking contrast to her previous life as an energy-challenged art teacher. Her remarkable transformation was accomplished in less than three years.
Where does Tracie find the time? “I train at night after putting the children to bed. I start training at 7:30 pm. In the weeks leading up to a competition I will perform cardio twice a day, once in the early morning and again at night after completing my weight training.” Lauren turned Tracie onto the Parrillo training and nutritional strategies. “I was introduced to Parrillo methods and nutritional supplements when I began Fitness training with Lauren.” That was in 2006. “Since then, there hasn’t been a day go by, where I haven’t used a Parrillo-inspired method or consumed a Parrillo Product.” Tracie, as one might imagine, is extremely disciplined. She was able to effortlessly adapt and adopt the extremely regimented bodybuilding approach towards training and nutrition. “I really didn’t have to struggle at all. A lot of people are unable to adhere to the rigid training schedule, the super-strict eating; the amount of time it takes to prepare the proper foods that need to be prepared ahead of time. For me, it was a relatively easy thing to adopt the bodybuilding training and nutrition.”
When asked what motivated her, she said. “It was about wanting to be more and better than I’d been to that point in my life. I am hopeful that I will inspire others to get off the sidelines and start living their dreams.” As a second year Figure Competitor in the International Natural Body Building Federation, Tracie most recently competed in the New York State INBF Figure Championships held in Poughkeepsie, New York on Saturday, October 25th, 2008. “I captured first place in Figure Medium class and also won the Masters Figure title. Last year I entered the same show and placed third in the Figure Medium class and took second in Masters Figure. I thought I had improved to a significant degree and the judges verified that. A lot of great things can happen in a year.” Tracie feels that Parrillo Products have made a huge difference in her physique. “One valuable discovery I made this past year was how to use Parrillo’s CapTri® Medium-chain Triglyceride oil. CapTri® allowed me to supplement my food meals with clean calories and I feel this has made a huge difference. I also fell in love with the Parrillo Protein Chew BarsTM…yum! Both Parrillo Products have helped me immeasurably. Each has increased my energy and my performance. These products allow me to obtain critical nutrients without adding hydrogenated fat or empty calories to my diet.”
Tracie credits Parrillo supplements with allowing her to add lean muscle over this past year. She feels that nutrition is critical. “The old adage is as true today as it was when it was first uttered: you are what you eat! Your true power is the power of your mind. What you believe you can achieve.” She encourages other women to consider getting serious about fitness. “I am passionate about being a positive role model – not only for my children and students, but for other Mom’s and other women over age 40. Women who may feel, ‘I can’t! I’m too old or I am too set in my ways!’ I am here to say, No you’re not! I am here to tell you that hard work, combined with sound nutrition, applied with real dedication, can and will achieve dramatic results.” This woman knows of what she speaks: check out the photos and remember that 24 months ago this woman was continually drawn, tired and listless. By seizing control of her own physical destiny, Tracie transformed herself: much to the consternation and amazement of those that knew her. “I am really proud of my Figure placing; not only because I am new to the sport – but because of my age and my life variables.”
With the Euker Clan, Tracie’s odyssey is a family affair. “My children love to bring home my trophies: my husband likes to brag on me and I take pride in knowing I can achieve my dreams.” She wanted to thank “The Parrillo team for their quality products and support…without whom I could not achieve the level of health and condition I find myself in today. I feel a great sense of pride in the fact that this sport is an independent sport and is something I can do on my own. All the hard work, all the effort, all the sacrifice is mine and mine alone. I make it or break it alone. Being average is no longer an option. I want to thank my family for their support. I want to thank my Figure Coach, Lauren Epidy for her stellar advice. She has kept me in the winners circle, time and time again. I want to thank her for introducing me to the “Parrillo way of life.”
Tracie Euker’s Weekly Training Split
|Day of the week
|Biceps and Triceps
“I typically perform 3 to 4 sets per exercise and like to lift heavy on the compound movements. I use lighter weights and more reps on defining movements. I like drop sets, especially for my arms. I love the pump and laugh at the end of an extended drop set when lifting a five pound dumbbell becomes difficult and then impossible! You know you’ve done all you can do at that point. What a satisfying feeling! Five days per week during my pre-competition phase I will perform 45 minutes of cardio.”
Tracie Euker’s Daily Meal Schedule
8am: Egg whites, oats, raisins to taste, CapTri®
11am: Parrillo Peanut Butter Protein BarTM