Kim Rumfola is a Colorado Figure champion preparing for her 5th competition season. Kim is living proof and inspiration to everyone that if you want something bad enough, no excuse will get in the way. Prepping amidst an international travel schedule and long airline shifts, balancing training and family, and overcoming a near career-ending injury, Kim as risen above the challenges and proves to be a true winner. She is now just a few short weeks away from the 2015 Colorado State where she will once again be gracing the figure stage and showcasing her best physique yet. In the following installment, Kim shares her story with you.
Paving the Road to my Fitness Future
My real journey in health and fitness began in 1991 when I was hired by United Airlines to be a Flight Attendant. What an exciting career that lay ahead of me. As I began my career as a Flight Attendant I found myself living in San Francisco where I became a member of a local gym. I had just finished my four year degree. During my time in college I dappled a little bit with running and aerobics and had a boyfriend that familiarized be to some weight lifting at a Golds Gym. I kept up my training by lifting on occasion with some basic machines and my new San Francisco gym, but it wasn’t until 1993 that I really started working with weights consistently. I hired a trainer and started learning the basics, and had a good routine that I could work with in Hotel gyms, as that is where I found myself doing most my workouts due to my flight schedule. As I settled into my new professional routine, I continued to always lift when I was working, but found myself not doing it so much at home anymore. Then came marriage and a child. Post baby, my body came back rather quickly, but found I had lost a lot of muscle along the way, and was soft and flabby. I took a couple years off from flying to be at home with my daughter and found that my workouts ended, except for walking her in the stroller.
Along the way I have always struggled with my self-esteem and had major body and food issues. Being 5’4” I have never weighed more than 140lbs, but have always felt fat. I have always analyzed every morsel of food that I put in my mouth be it good food or bad, and then spent the next day or so beating myself up emotionally for eating 2 cookies or whatever I deemed “bad”. I had even at one point joined Weight Watchers, which really made me start being aware of food, portions and the struggles that I had emotionally with food. Finding the knowledge and support of coaches in the bodybuilding industry have been so helpful to find in finding the balance I needed.
Getting Back in the Game
In 2009 an awesome gym opened up in the area where my family had just relocated. I started getting back at it in the gym and resumed my flying career. At the time I had an amazing friend that lived in Denver; her husband had been competing in Bodybuilding for a few years, so I had been exposed to his dieting and training and had attended one of his competitions. I hadn’t really given any attention to what the ladies were doing because I thought it was just Bodybuilding and I didn’t want to “look so big” and then my girlfriend decided to train and do a show with her husband as well. I attended her show and was hooked!! The Figure girls were so beautiful; they were so lean and toned. At that moment, I knew that it was a Physique that I had to have and that I too would be on stage.
Once I joined Lifetime Fitness, I started back into some basic lifting and cardio. Around 2010 the gym offered a 6 week program that was an intro to Competition Prep. The trainer for the program was IFBB Figure Pro Stacy Barta. She is the one who really introduced me back into lifting and started me on an eating plan. I was totally in love with this process. I LOVED being told what to eat, how much to eat, and at what time to eat it. I also loved being told what to lift and how much to lift. It was structure that I just loved. As someone who is a control freak, it was just what I needed. As we trained and worked out I saw my body start to change in ways that I had never seen it, and yet I still struggled with my self esteem and felt that I lacked the confidence and body to compete.
The things we do for the love of Competition
In 2011 my dear friend from Denver decided to start training for her 2nd show. She convinced me to hire her Competition Coach and go along the journey with her. I did just that, and what a journey it was! At that time I was an International Flight Attendant traveling all over the world for days at a time, and commuting to and from San Francisco to begin and end my flights. This, I would find, was my biggest challenge at the time. I had to prep my food for days at a time, carry it in a small enough cooler that I could carry it on with my crew bags, and have it last me for up to 5 days. I then had to push myself to limits I never new I had. I would land in a foreign country after working all night for 10-15hrs, get to my hotel, and though exhausted, change clothes and start my fasted cardio. I would then nap for a few hours, get up and go and lift for another 1 ½ hours. I would then sleep the night, and get up super early for another fasted cardio before getting ready to fly another 10-15hrs. This crazy schedule I did from 2011-2012.
My first show was The Rocky Mountain Championships in 2011. I competed in figure and did not place, but it was the most amazing experience of my life. All the craziness of my schedule was well worth getting up on that stage and feeling totally amazing. I was two days shy of turning 45 and I had never looked and felt so great! My trainer at the time was IFBB Women’s Physique Pro Sara Hurle. She was so amazing and on show day she told me, ”take a picture, because after today you will not look like this.” I thought WHAT? I’m going to look like this forever!!! Little did I know that my next most difficult challenge would be dealing with post competition body changes. I’m not one to go off the deep end and eat everything in sight, but as the weeks and months went by, my body started to not be as lean as I liked. Through experience I now know that’s OK, but being one with body and food issues, it was devastating, and the control of Prep time was gone, so I felt so lost and out of sorts. To compensate for that I got busy and started competition prep for the Mile High in 2012. I placed in both Masters and Novice Open A class. I was elated at how well I had done, and was ready to do more.
Out of my Control
Just as we are on top of the world, something comes along to bottom us out. Another challenge I had to over come. A couple weeks after the Mile High, I suffered a Hamstring tear that just about ended my lifting career. I spent many months out of the gym, trying to get relief from the pain and heal my leg. I finally came upon a sports medicine Dr. who had a technique that healed my leg in a matter of weeks. Before I knew it I was back lifting but took it easy for the next year.
In 2013 after 21 years of flying I retired from United Airlines. As a treat to myself I knew I wanted to train for another show, and how awesome it would be to do it while not working….It was such a breeze and so much fun. I ended up placing 2nd in the 45+Masters at the Rocky in 2013 and placed 1st in my Masters Class at The Northern in 2014. I then traveled to Seattle to compete in the Emerald Cup in April of 2014. I did not do well, and that shook my world at the time. I was devastated yet determined.
I geared up to start prepping for 2014 Rocky and came upon some health problems. One thing we face in the sport is taking lots and lots of supplements. I found out that I was having Adrenal Failure, which can be common in this industry with all the interesting substances we take to obtain the best look possible. Upon my Doctor’s advice I went off of everything…..and did not use any products of any kind for 6 months. I started feeling better and started to make a plan…..I am now training with IFBB Bodybuilding Pro and 2nd place finisher at The Olympia, Alina Popa. My physique is improving daily and we are on track to compete at The Colorado State show on July 11.
Family Supports and Motivation
My husband in my biggest fan and he is also my biggest supporter emotionally and of course financially. Early in our marriage he would tell me that I was not passionate about anything. I now know I have my passion. Bodybuilding makes me feel strong and confident and of course in control. When I train, my self-esteem hits highs that I usually never have. I’m so motivated by the people I see everyday at the gym, the camaraderie and support that is there, and the closer you get to show the constant compliments and support are the things that help me to get through when I’m feel tired and carb deprived. The one thing that drives me everyday is a saying my husband keeps telling me…..”Are you a competitor or a participant” and I tell him “I’ m a competitor and I will NOT quit!”
The Lady Lifters
Lady Lifters is the most amazing group of women that I have ever met. We come from all sorts of backgrounds, ages, levels of competition, yet we all have the same goal, and are all there to help and support each other. The things that I have learned through the various meetings have been so beneficial not to just my training and competing but to me as a person as well. I’m so inspired daily by the founder Ky Lima, for her complete dedication to the sport, this organization and her own accomplishments. She is the backbone to making this group such a success.
Kim’s Inspirational Advice
My story ends with these few words. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from doing what you LOVE. We all face, including me, family, friends and strangers that don’t “get it.” We have to lovingly explain what drives us to this and how it makes us feel, and graciously accept either their support or disdain.
Do this because YOU love it!
I love the diet, even though it’s boring and hard at times, I love the solace of early morning fasted cardio in my basement, I love lifting weights and feeling my muscles strain with the reps. and I love that my husband has a wife that is (in his words) Smokin’ Hot at almost 50 years old.