Local lifters compete at competition

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : September 14, 2013

Courtesy Photo Jennifer Collum shows the benefits of a good attitude, hard work, a great trainer and a little time as she transformed her body into competition-winning form. Pictured is Collum in July 2009 (left), December 2012 (center) and her August 2013 competition.

Courtesy Photo
Jennifer Collum shows the benefits of a good attitude, hard work, a great trainer and a little time as she transformed her body into competition-winning form. Pictured is Collum in July 2009 (left), December 2012 (center) and her August 2013 competition.

By Sam Epps
Sports Editor

MABANK–Gun Barrel City’s Anytime Fitness is pumping out plenty of results in its brief, two-year history.
Adorning the hall of the gym are “before-and-after” pictures of individuals, and the results are astonishing.
One woman, 2007 Kemp High School graduate Jennifer Collum quickly grabs your attention.
Collum competes in figure competition.
Figure competition is more concerned about body symmetry and tone, unlike traditional body building which looks more for size and definition.
Her efforts have paid off for her in a big way. From December 2012 to August this year, she went from lean to powerful and shapely. Collum took first place at the Central Texas Showdown competition in Waco on Aug. 31.
Sure, she was athletic in high school. She was a cheerleader, a track athlete and was on the powerlifting team.
After high school, however, she gained around 50 pounds, and her petite frame turned soft.
“I just got comfortable and busy,” Collum said. “Then it came to a point that I realized I had gained too much weight and lost my edge.”
Collum turned to one thing she did in high school – running.
She began to run and lost plenty of weight. She even competed in the Dallas Marathon in December, 2012.
She then noticed that she was lean, but had no “shape.” It was at that point she decided to begin some weight training to get her form in better condition.
Between December 2012, and August 2013, she worked hard at the gym with her trainer Jeffery Eads.
She joined the “Maxt” classes that were being offered at the time.
“Those classes really helped me get started,” she said.
She then decided to go “full-on into figure competition.”
The competition in Waco was an experience of a lifetime, and one she looks to repeat.
“It was a very emotional and amazing experience,” Collum said.
“My whole family was there, and I think they really appreciated all my work and time more after the event.”
It wasn’t all fun and glamor though. “It was scary, but at the same time you’re in a ‘zone,’ and don’t notice mush of anything,” she explained.
Winners at the competition are also invited to compete at the 2014 Arnold Amateur Classic in Columbus, Ohio. That event will be held Feb. 27 through March 1.
With her win in Waco, Collum is also qualified to compete at the national level, in addition to the regional level.
Helping her every inch of the way was her trainer, Jeffery Eads.
Eads is a 2001 graduate of Eustace High School.
He competed at the same event in Waco, and took fourth place in his weight class.
While fourth place isn’t impressive sounding, when you look at the competition and the number of competitors, it is an outstanding achievement.
In high school, Eads played football, baseball and was on the track team.
His activity level increased when he joined the Army, where he flew Blackhawk Helicopters.
“I got even more active when I got out of the Army,” he said.
He currently works as an EMS Helicopter Pilot, and is a trainer at Anytime Fitness.
He helped Collum see a drastic transformation, and he firmly believes everybody can see vast improvements, but it takes a lot of determination and effort to get there.
“Everything we do is based on discipline, self-integrity and hard work. We pride ourselves that everything we do is quality work,” Eads explained about his role as a personal trainer.
“It takes time and work – it’s a journey.”
He works out five days a week, focusing on different muscle group each day.
His experience at the competition was a mix of feelings.
“It is so hard to explain what goes through your head. It’s a culmination of everything you’ve worked on for so long, and you put it on display for five minutes,” he said. “It’s intense and it takes a lot of mental fortitude.”
Of course, part the judges’ job is to offer critiques to the competitors. What they see that can be worked on and improved on is vital information to a body builder.
“It’s definitely constructive criticism. I see it as a challenge to do better,” Eads commented.
“I strive to see better success, and I don’t set unreal expectations. I train people to set attainable goals, as well.”
Eads also believes a fitness assessment is a vital tool whenever anybody begins a workout regimen.
When he does a fitness assessment, he looks at weight, body mass (BMI), size, diet and hears what his client’s goals are.
He then writes a “prescription” of things the client needs to do to achieve their goals – such as diet changes, weight training, cardiovascular workouts and will help with setting goals.
“A fitness assessment is a great thing,” Collum said. “A trainer can then recommend where to go and what to do next.”
Collum is proof that the right attitude and plenty of work can make a big difference with the right plan.