FOREST CITY | What began as a quest to get back into shape after having a baby eventually led a Forest City woman to enter a bodybuilding competition.
Allyson Wilson participated in the National Physique Committee's Nebraska Pro & Muscle Classic in Omaha on April 28.
During the event, which had separate divisions for men and women, competitors were judged on body symmetry, glute development, muscle tone and other factors.
Although she didn't place in the top three among the 40 women in her competition class, Wilson plans to enter more bodybuilding contests.
"It gave me a lot of motivation to go to the gym," she said.
Wilson, who moved to Forest City 10 years ago, has always been athletic. She played softball in both high school and college.
After her second child, Brekken, was born three years ago, she was looking for a way to get back into shape.
Her husband, Brett, is a deputy with the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office, so she had access to the weight room in the garage of the Forest City Police Department.
Wilson, who has a sweet tooth, didn't change her diet until she had been lifting weights long enough to see changes in her body. She said that motivated her to go on a high-protein/low carb nutrition plan.
"I got in pretty solid shape," Wilson said.
However, she also got a little bored with lifting weights.
That's when her husband suggested she enter a bodybuilding competition.
Wilson did some research and found a training coach from Kansas City who prepares people for those contests.
Wilson downloaded an app so her coach could upload her nutrition plan, as well cardio and resistance training exercises.
"It takes a long time to get ready for a competition," she said.
Six month ago Wilson began working out every day in preparation for the Nebraska Pro & Muscle Classic.
Her trainer said she could have one day off per week, but instead she did a shorter, lighter workout that day.
Four weeks before the competition, Wilson upped her time in the weight room to two and a half hours a day, six days a week. She split that time between morning and afternoon sessions.
In the morning, she did resistance training, working on a different area of her body each day.
In the afternoon, she did cardio training by walking and running on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike.
Wilson also did high-intensity interval training, in which she did one minute of jumping jacks, push-ups, burpees or some other exercise, rested for 20 seconds, and did another minute of exercise.
On the one day of the week Wilson didn't do her full workout, she spent 30 minutes walking, running or riding a stationary bike.
She said being able to vary what she did during her workouts kept her from getting bored.
Her nutrition plan includes lots of chicken, turkey and vegetables, as well as protein shakes, eggs and guacamole.
She doesn't eat bread or many dairy products except for cheese, but she can eat hamburger patties and even bacon.
Wilson worked at Athletico Physical Therapy until March. She now manages a hog confinement, but she said that only requires her to work a couple hours a day, allowing her to spend more time with her children.
Wilson also has been an assistant softball coach at Forest City High School for the past five years. Practice for this season began last week.
When the Nebraska Pro & Muscle Classic was over, Wilson took three whole days off.
She's now on a lighter workout schedule and a less restrictive diet which allows her occasional treats like brownies -- until it's time to begin to prepare for the next bodybuilding competition.
Wilson is looking for a contest to enter either late this year or early next year.
She is also looking into getting certified as a personal trainer.
"I would love to open a gym in Forest City," she said.
When Wilson couldn't get out because of the snow this winter and had to exercise at home, her two children sometimes joined her.
Wilson's two children sometimes join in on her workouts -- especially her daughter, Harper, 5.
Harper likes doing burpees alongside her mom. She said she also does cartwheels and handstands.
"We have fun with it," Wilson said.