Fitness and healthy eating always have been staples of Kim Turner’s lifestyle. But when the mother of two children (ages 10 and 13) decided to compete at a recent national fitness event, everything she knew about training was turned on its head.

To become “stage ready” for last April’s National Physique Committee bikini competition in Boca, Turner joined a group of women training at Synergy Fitness Boca (221 E. Palmetto Park Road, 561/289-3383). Her work- out schedule included an hour and a half of intense training (primarily with weights), five days a week. She ate at specific times, according to her workouts and recoveries—and she only ate the clean foods and supplements on her plan. In the weeks leading to the competition, there was no cheating. No wine, chocolate or processed food—just plainly prepared or raw foods, drinks and carefully chosen (legal, healthy) supplements.

“You’re eating every two hours, so you’re eating a lot of food, but it’s very limited,” Turner says. “You have to get creative. I was sick
of eating oatmeal and egg whites, so I started making a pancake out of oatmeal and egg whites. For me, the diet part wasn’t that hard. But you’re exhausted from all the training. By the end of the day, you want to go to bed.

“You have to know that it’s hard on your family, because you’re doing it all for you. You’re having separate meals, you can’t go out all the time, your social life suffers. So, it’s hard to find a balance. But if you set a goal ... you definitely can get there.”

Unlike the bodybuilding contests that put Arnold Schwarzenegger on the map, fit- ness competitions for women focus more on sculpting and less on bulk. Women can compete in different categories—not all of which require contestants to wear bikinis. Generally speaking, competitors perform a series of poses and walk on stage for a panel of judges. Depending on the event, judges might score based on body balance and shape, as well as overall physical appearance (including complexion), poise and presentation.

But it’s the training as much as the competition
that is piquing the interest of women in and around Boca. It involves a strict nutritional plan, scientifically orchestrated to strip the body of
fat while building muscle. It also involves lifting heavier weights than most women ever thought they could, ac- cording to Mark VanBourgondien, owner and trainer at Synergy Fitness Boca. Synergy offers a 12-week body transformation program.

For tips from VanBourgondien and Turner, pick up the September/October 2014 issue of Boca Raton magazine.