WOMEN WHO INSPIRE It’s All in the Numbers FINANCIAL ANALYST BY DAY, BODYBUILDER BY NIGHT By Vi c k i Fr e n c h B e n n i n g t o n F or eight years, Makeda Blackett was diligent about working out, but sometimes she got bored. She would mix it up with a step aerobics class, a bootcamp session, kickboxing or spinning class, usually resulting in heavy cardio workouts. She even took up running. Last year, a friend led her to HD Fitness, where she “accidentally” fell into bodybuilding, and took her workouts to a whole new level. “At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make that kind of commitment, but I decided to take on the challenge,” Blackett said. And Teddy, her husband of two years, was completely supportive. Coached by HD’s DeAnthony Moore, she began to prepare for her first show, the North American Natural Bodybuilding Federation St. Louis Naturals at the Sun Theater, which garnered her three first place medals in Beginner Figure, Novice Figure and Open Figure, the last qualifying her for an International Pro Elite Pro Card. After making the decision to compete, she said there were three things she had to do differently: lifting heavier weights, eating more and cleaning up her diet. Wait a minute...she’s trying to slim down and compete, but she has to eat more? The key was to eat more of the right foods. “For years, I lived by a couple of statements that made sense to me. ‘I don’t eat that bad’ and ‘I work out so I can eat what I want,’” she said. “But I realized that I was not eating enough of the correct foods to fuel my body for the intensity of workouts I was doing.” She may have been taking in more calories before, but when she began eating the right foods, her calorie consumption went down, and the quantity of food actually went up. “I needed more protein, like chicken, fish and ground turkey, and less fats and carbs,” she said. Coach Moore put it all in terms she understood – using numbers. “I said, ‘OK, I can understand this in mathematical terms (she works as a financial analyst),’” Blackett said. “We could calculate the right combination of proteins, carbs and fats, helping me to build more lean muscle. I stayed at around 1,800 calories until competition time began to approach. “And my coach’s knowledge of the human body and how foods and chemicals interact helped me to understand and work through it,” she said. 92 GAZELLE STL