Power couple

Pittman and Rock slim down to prepare for bodybuilding competitions

Ashley Pittman, left, and Trevor Rock stand in Rock Hard Fitness in Saranac Lake on Wednesday. They are preparing to compete in two bodybuilding competitions in April. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

SARANAC LAKE — Two local people want to apologize in advance if they’ve been short tempered lately. You see, it’s their diet.

Trevor Rock and Ashley Pittman are on stricter diets than most people seeking to lose weight due to a pair of appearances they will be making at bodybuilding competitions in April. Pittman, 25, and Rock, 33, will take the stage in Albany on April 14, and then again a week later in Burlington. And the preparation for those National Physique Committee events means they are limited on what they can and can’t eat.

“One thing that I’m having that I haven’t had in a while is a friggin’ latte,” Rock laughed when asked what his first meal after competing would be.

“Burger and fries,” Pittman said with a longing that only deprivation can muster. She added that neither she nor Rock have had a hamburger and fries since before Christmas. They talk about burgers and fries a lot.

But when someone sets their sights on a bodybuilding competition, a lot of things — besides junk food — get put on hold. Pittman will make her third and fourth appearances at competitions, having competed in the same shows last year. This will be Rock’s first time on stage.

Trevor Rock, owner of Rock Hard Fitness in Saranac Lake, shows off his shoulder muscles during a recent workout. (Photo provided)

And although the pair — who met online a couple of years ago — are sticking to their diets, the restrictive food intake is seen more as a challenge. With pizza or burgers as a reward on the other end.

“The diet gets us on short tempers sometimes,” Pittman said. “Once or twice we’ve argued in here [Rock Hard Fitness gym in Saranac Lake], but we get over it. We know it’s the diet that’s really getting to us. Especially now that we’re two and a half weeks out.”

“Prep is a hard time because you have friends and everything,” Rock said. “And the friends that don’t understand the whole thing … you alienate them. You don’t want to go hang out half the time because they’re going out to eat and you have to bring your own food everywhere.

“Or you just don’t have the energy. I’ve seen people lose friends because of that.”

Although they said that lifting and eating the way they do can lead to sacrifices, each said they were happier with their current lifestyle choices.

Ashley Pittman, left, competes in a bodybuilding event last year. Pittman will take part in two competitions in April, just after her 26th birthday. (Photo provided)

“I hate the bar,” Rock laughed. “With a passion. The only reason we’d be at a bar is if there’s some decent music playing.”

Pittman and Rock have been dating for a couple of years, and said their lifestyles are better understood since they have the same hobby.

“They’d have to understand the whole lifestyle,” Rock said of dating a non-weightlifter. “I have friends who have significant others who don’t go to the gym and they’re really supportive of it. But I have friends, when they come to the gym their boyfriends or girlfriends think they’re doing something different.

“It’s definitely hard. It works out better if the person you’re with is into it too. We’d have a hard time putting up with each other, especially on the diet, if we weren’t both into it.”

Pittman, who has two shows under her [weight] belt already, said she got into the sport in an effort to get in shape and just generally be healthier.

Trevor Rock provided this side-by-side photo of his bodybuilding progress from fall 2016, left, to spring 2018. (Photo provided)

“Bodybuilding just became an addiction. It just became everything I wanted to do,” she said. “Instead of going to the bar when people are stressed out, I come to the gym and I run or I lift weights. It’s a different kind of stress reliever.

“I’d probably still be a barfly. It was kind of like a wake-up call. If I wanted to compete and be healthy I had to stop drinking; I had to start eating right. I had to take those steps in the right direction.”

Although the diet sounds like hell, Pittman explained that it’s not so bad.

“It’s just cutting out all unnecessary fats and carbs,” she said. “So it’s just really controlled. That’s how you end up cutting your weight, no cheat meals or anything like that.

“I still eat constantly, I eat five meals a day. I’m always eating and drinking a gallon of water. I have a huge lunchbox,” she laughed. “I’m constantly eating meat and all the main courses.”

Pittman said her diet consists of chicken, steak, green vegetables and sweet potatoes, just to name a few things, so she views her strict eating as successfully completing a challenge.

“I have a whole new appreciation for food,” she said. “I used to overeat all the time and now I’m more controlled and I find more balance. I’m eating cleaner and with limited cheat meals.

“It’s kind of a reward, because at the end of the show you get donuts or cookies and it’s the most amazing thing ever. You definitely have to take it slow, especially coming off stage, because you’re so calorie deficient. When you start eating [after a competition], you’re a black hole.”

She said that maintaining goals after a show can be difficult, but since most people do their first bodybuilding competitions after years of work, she said they just “have to keep your goals in mind.”

Rock said with two weeks to go before his first competition, he’s getting a little anxious.

“I’m definitely getting nervous,” he said. “I know I’m looking good but my legs and my midsection haven’t really come in yet. But it’s coming along so I shouldn’t be too, too worried, but it’s in the back of my head.

“Plus, the posing routine has definitely been making me nervous.”

Rock explained that during the show, he will take the stage with other competitors and go through set motions, striking certain poses while he flexes his muscles. Then, in a later round of the competition, he will get one minute to come up with a routine of poses set to music. He will be allowed to choose his own music and poses for the second part.

“Basically, you’re judged on your posing; you muscle symmetry; your conditioning,” he said. “If you’ve got a great body and your posing is crap, you could lose the show because of that. They want to see everything symmetrical and even.”

Pittman and Rock said two other locals plan to attend the same shows. Elizabeth Nordstrom and Moses Connor lift at Rock Hard Fitness, and are following their own workout plans.

Rock, who owns the gym he and Pittman work out at, said a couple of years ago that his goal “was to look good naked.”

“I’m nearing my goal,” he smiled Wednesday morning.

Rock also said state trooper Keith Brown, who has competed in bodybuilding shows for years, has been a huge help and has offered advice based on his own experiences. Both Pittman and Rock said their coach Tammy Patnode has kept them on track and feeling fit. But Rock said since this will be his first competition, he isn’t setting the bar too high.

“I’m not going there hoping to win, I’m just hoping to do a good job,” he said. “I’m just happy with the progress I’ve made so far. This whole thing is me against myself, I’m not competing against anyone.

“The closer I get and the more I see my body has changed, the more I feel like it’s a win in my book.”

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