I recently had the opportunity to interview the strong and beautiful athlete, Alison Jasper. She has such a powerful story that I know can relate to so many other women. Read below to learn about her journey from an eating disorder to a strong and healthy bikini athlete!
I know you’ve openly discussed dealing with eating disorders in your past. Was there one moment that you remember realizing you wanted to change and how did you overcome the eating disorder?
This is a topic I could spend hours on!! In brief: I suffered from a terrible eating disorder for 11 years. It consumed every part of me: what I did day to day; who I let close to me… it controlled my life. For years I had become accustomed to the daily rituals. I hated every part of it – but could not stop.
It wasn’t until I broke my silence to my now fiancé. With his guidance, I got help. I saw a therapist that specialized in eating disorders. Brad & I saw her 1 – 2 times a week. Having a support system is key. Eventually, I started going to the gym with Brad, and used healthy exercise as a way to deal with the anxiety. A friend of ours was a prep coach & had helped lots of people in general weight loss, eating, etc. Brad & I both got with him and I learned how to eat properly; what to eat, etc. Over the course of time I began to love my body and love seeing the changes. Of course, this was & is a constant battle. There’s always temptation & old habits die-hard. But, I’ve found a passion in this lifestyle that is worth more than the eating disorder was.
To love my body. I took my body & health for granted for so long. Thru fitness I’ve not only improved my appearance & became stronger and healthier on the outside – but for once in my life I feel at ease & normal. I no longer take medication for anxiety, depression, etc. My mental state is strong & confident. I’ve never felt better, mentally, in my whole life as I have since I started a healthy relationship with fitness & food.
If you could give a word of advice to an aspiring competitor, what would you tell them?
Do your research. So many people see the ‘after’ pics. But no one knows what it takes to get to that point. It’s a full time job: eating & training. It’s also expensive.
Make an investment in a prep coach who has good credentials and knowledge in the industry. Prepping for a show is mentally & physically challenging, but it should not be something you dread and something that ruins your body & mind. Every ‘body’ is different- a good prep coach will be able to guide you thru nutrition & exercise that fits YOUR body and your goals. Not a ‘cookie cutter’ diet.
How many shows have you done?
I did my first show in March of 2012. Since then I’ve done 5 shows.
What’s the hardest part of competing?
Hardest part is finding a balance between ‘competing life’ and my life outside of competing. Spending time with my family; focusing on my career…. All of that tends to get pushed to the side when I’m in the ‘heart’ of competition season.
What’s the best part of competing?
I absolutely love the challenge. Being able to start a plan and finish it. As the show draws closer I mentally challenge myself: I become my competition. Each day is harder. But with all the challenge, time & investment, it’s 100% worth it. To see and feel the changes and know that I was able to sculpt my body is one of the best feelings.
What’s your favorite motivational quote?
“I am willing to put myself through anything; temporary pain or discomfort means nothing to me as long as I can see that the experience will take me to a new level. I am interested in the unknown, and the only path to the unknown is through breaking barriers, an often-painful process” – Nyda, Diana
How did you become a sponsored athlete?
It’s all about marketing yourself. I started my social networking pages with the intent to put myself out their for the world. I’ve shared everything from: what I eat, what I’m training; motivational posts; supplements, my struggles, etc.
I also networked with many companies in the industry & their reps. My goal was to make my name familiar with them.
After my last show in October 2012, I was contacted by a rep from iForce Nutrition about sponsorship. From there I’ve continued to reach out & market myself, gaining sponsorship from Strong Gym in Springfield, MO & Beast-Up Apparel.
What’s your typical meal plan?
My diet is different depending on how close/ far out I am to a show and what my goals are (lean out, gain/ bulk, build muscle). I have 6-7 meals a day. Here is a sample of one of my diets. Of, course, everything is weighed out.
Usually 3-4oz of protein and carbs. .50 – 1 ounce of fats.
8am – oats, egg whites and blueberries
10am – whey and peanut butter
noon – ground lean chicken, asparagus or green beans and sweet potato
2pm – ground lean chicken and green beans
4 pm – chicken, green beans and walnuts
7:30pm – tilapia, salad with red wine vinegar, and green beans
9pm – scoop whey and peanut butter.
How often do you do cardio and weight training?
If I’m close to a show I’ll increase cardio. Usually doing 20 min low intensity cardio in the morning and in the evening.
I weight train 6 days a week.
Currently, I’m focusing on legs & glutes, so I’ll hit that area 3 times a week.
How do you juggle every day life with staying fit and healthy?
This is the hardest part.
I have a full time job as Director of Operations & Marketing for a large tanning salon. This keeps me busy Mon-Friday.
I bring my pre-measured/ pre-packed meals with me every day and every where I go. I always have my gallon of water too. If you fail to prepare – then you’ll fail to succeed!
Surprise us with a fun fact about you!
I am a HUGE animal lover! My fiancé and I have rescued many stray/ abandoned animals and rehomed them, or kept them!
We have 6 fur babies – 1 lab, 2 boxers and 3 cats!
What are your future goals?
I plan to continue competing. Because competing and prep takes up so much time, I will probably look to do 1 big show a year. Maybe 2 if they’re back to back. I’d like to cross over to the WBFF in 2014. And, obviously obtain my pro card.
Ultimately, I want to continue in the fitness field. I’d like to use my experience and knowledge from going thru an eating disorder to competing, as a tool to help others in the same circumstances.
How often do you have cheat meals?
When I’m not prepping for a show, I keep my meals clean with 6-7 meals a day. But, I allow myself 1-2 cheat meals a week. This is usually when Brad & I go out- to the movies or to a restaurant. This keeps life fun! I believe you have to EARN your cheat meals!
Connect with Alison!