38: WBFF Pro Shares How Fitness Saved Her Life - Confession with Suzie Tjarks

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In this Podcast

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Our guest... Suzie Tjarks

I live in Fayetteville, Ga with my 14 yr old daughter and my very handsome husband, Cpt Chris Tjarks. My husband and I have both competed in the fitness arenas. He is a Ga Masters Strongman and I am a WBFF Pro Diva Figure model. We are both very conscientious of our health but it hasn't always been easy for me.  

I was born in Ft Hood Texas and raised all over the world because my father was military. Living all over the place gave me an advantage to cultures that so many miss out on. It introduced me to sports at an early age. I played softball, track where I was a shot putter and a sprinter, swimming, cheer-leading, bowling, volleyball, whatever the boys were doing, I wanted in! So when we finally settled down in Alabama and I got older, I didn't have sports in my life anymore. I joined a gym and started lifting weights at 22 but never considered bodybuilding.

I am 5'1 and sports always came easy but bodybuilding? I went to a bodybuilding show with friends and ran into an old friend/trainer and he asked why was I not on that stage? I laughed at him, because I am too old! I was 43 at the time. He told me to think about it. He said I had good genetics and should try it. Of course that got wheels spinning and I reached out to him and we started training in Jan of 2011 for my first show in April that year.

 My first show was the Vulcan in Birmingham , AL . I placed 1st in Novice, 1st in Class A, 1st in Masters and 2nd Overall. I was hooked!! We stayed on the diet and I did another show in May.where I placed 2nd in Masters and 2nd in class A. Not happy with my placing, I stayed the course for a third show in June where I won Masters over all and qualified for Nationals in Miami.

In October of the same year, 2011, I was rushed to the hospital with severe breathing issues. I was admitted for sever acute pancreatitis. My blood levels were way out of the normal. I do not remember the first 5 days as I was under three different narcotics. When I finally became lucid all I remember was how hungry I was! I couldn't even keep down a chip of ice. My body rejected everything! The pain was unlike any other pain I've ever felt. I was 6 weeks out from Nationals and I just wanted to go home. They couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. After three cat scans and ultrasounds, they decided that my gallbladder was throwing sludge at my pancreas. They let me go home after two weeks with blood levels still elevated but supervised. Nationals was no longer an option. I was so depressed. I had surgery in Dec to remove the gallbladder. Fortunately, I have no complications with food after the removal of it. 

This was the start of a downward spiral for me. 


Transformation story:


My transformation story has many beginnings. It seems like I have one for every show I've ever done. After my surgery, I put on 28 lbs. My thyroid was messed up but I didn't know it. I will find that out 4 years later. I was depressed, unhappy with the girl starring back at me from the mirror. I felt unattractive. lost. The only positive in my life was my little girl and God. A friend in the gym noticed that I was not the same person and so he offered to train me. I need that lift. I needed direction. So we set a show date for June and proceeded. I trained as hard as before. Ate right and did all of my cardio but the body was not responding. I entered the show and placed 4th! That was last place because there were only 4 of us!! Even more depressed, I decided I was done. Then, out of nowhere, my old coach called me back to the team. He saw me on Facebook and was mad that I hadn' t  reached out to him. We began training again, only this time, for a new federation called the WBFF.. We trained harder than ever! We trained crazy! He kept making me run! I was nick named Forest Gump! I had no idea what I was about to experience......

When we got to Vegas and stepped on stage , I felt like I was in a dream. The show was beautiful! I had never been in a show this glamorous! The suits were different too, Oh, the costumes! The Bikini girls competed in long evening gowns! The Fitness girls competed in Theme wear! It was like magic! I was hooked! I had no expectations! I place 2nd in Masters and 3rd Overall! What??

Here is where my transformation goes backwards . I always gain all the weight back! 28 lbs. It just makes me cry! I wish I was the athlete that kept it off. Of course being lean like show day lean is not healthy but 5-8 lbs would be nice!   My trainer never gave up on me. He worked me very hard. He was determined to help me get my Pro card. That would come in May of 2014. I, along with my sweet friend, WBFF Pro Tania Clarke, became WBFF Pro at the WBFF Orlando show!!! A day I just will never forget! We went on to compete at Worlds that year.. 

I am now 50 years old and 28 lbs over stage weight, again. I though I wanted to retire but I just haven't lived out the dream. I have always wanted to wear theme-wear and this year the Figure girls get to compete in theme-wear so I have challenged myself to get show ready. I have a team of excellent trainers and I feel like I will bring a great physique to this years Worlds!


Suzie Tjarks

Fitness Saved My Life.


The Conversation

Suzie began her competition fitness journey at the age of 44, and is returning to the PRO WBFF Stage after taking 4 years off.

She shares her battle with pancreatitis, and how that has impacted her journey.

Suzie swears by Needling! Check out info on this technique HERE.

Her experience with the WBFF has been absolutely incredible. For more information about competing with the WBFF, feel free to reach out to Suzie or check out THIS LINK.

There are tons of stages available to compete on now in the fitness industry... it's important to find the one that FITS YOU AND YOUR PERSONALITY.

Suzie is getting her gorgeous suit from All 4 Me Suits.


Advice From Suzie

It's really easy to play the comparison game. Remember to BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

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Amanda Freick