April Bateman is a force to be reckoned with on the NPC stage. April first used bodybuilding as a way to raise herself up after life threw her some challenges and she came out with a newfound love for the world of competition. A former figure competitor turned Physique superstar, April will be making her national stage debut this summer at Masters Nationals in July 2015. April is a true inspiration to women by showing those around her that you can find balance for all the things that are important to you. In the following installment, April shares her story with you.
The Early Days
My weight lifting experience started back in high school. During high school and college I mainly lifted to keep in shape for the sports that I participated in. My former husband was a power lifter and so after graduation I began lifting heavy weights. I never saw myself as a competitor, however, and never thought I could achieve a body like the competitors I saw. It was more of a hobby at that time and something I did to support and spend time with him. It was not until after my 12 year marriage failed and I gave up on myself for a while that my dear friend and now training partner Kara Dawdy urged me to compete as a way to heal. It helped me put some emphasis back on myself and build some self-confidence up again after a difficult period in my life. I have now done three local NPC shows: The Northern Colorado and the Rocky Mountain in 2013 as a figure competitor and the Warrior Classic in 2014 as my first show in physique. The first was going to be my only show and something to knock off my bucket list. Getting on stage, or really doing anything publicly that drew attention to myself, was completely out of my comfort zone, so it was an opportunity for personal growth. But, once I saw what changes I could make by incorporating diet into my long time love of lifting weights, I fell in love with the process and was hooked.
Never Stop Improving
My short term goal in this sport is another bucket list item: to compete on a National stage. So, Kara and I will be conquering this goal at Masters Nationals in Pittsburg in July 2015. My Long term goals are less clear to me. I have loved lifting for all of my adult life. Though I am sure all of us as competitors would be honored to earn a pro card, I am not in a place in life where I can put the time and finances into training at that level. I have always felt that as long as I continue to improve and enjoy the process I will keep going. The day either of those stops is the day I am done competing. I hope to have many more successful years under my belt before that day comes, though!
I draw motivation from so many things. Sometimes it is something as simple as a great song on my headphones, compliments I get from peers, or even strangers that notice and acknowledge the work I have put into my physique. It comes when I go to the gym and see somebody pushing heavy weight, when I see somebody getting show ready and looking amazing and lean, or when I am in my offseason and feeling "fluffy" but get a PR on a favorite lift. I find it going to shows and watching and being around so much motivation and hard work for other athletes and competitors in the NPC. Last, but certainly not least, my training partner, Kara, who helps to keep my head balanced when I get carb brain or down on myself and is always there to support me.
Without a doubt the biggest obstacle in training for a competition is TIME! As a single mother to two active young boys with a full time career, it can be challenging sometimes to find time to train on a daily basis. Take a look at the time needed in the final weeks leading up to a show when you are having to hit the gym 2 times or more per day and it’s clear that time is not on my side. It is not unusual for me to be on a step mill at 4 am, getting kids off and ready to school by 7 am, off to work myself by 8 am, home and at wrestling practice by 6 pm, then back to the gym for round 2 at 8pm, home to do homework, meal prep, etc. till midnight or so.
The Lady Lifters
The Lady Lifters has been a great outlet to meet like-minded women and a fabulous resource for all things competition related. A great group of ladies who "get" what most of our everyday friends and family don't understand about what we do.
April’s Inspirational Advice
"Always keep your head right. Though we all have different goals and reasons for what we do, just remember it is a hobby and not your whole life. We all have goals and put lots of time and money into reaching them, but at the end of the day you still have to pay your bills. You still have to spend time with friends and family. Balance is easy to lose in this sport but if your focus is there for the right reasons you can have a long and rewarding future in the sport!"