Jill Streck – Athlete of the Month

jill-streck-front-poseDate of Birth:  October 15th, 1981
Hometown:  Yukon, Oklahoma
Marital Status:  Unmarried
Facebook:  Jill Streck

My youth was spent working with my family to build our home.  My Dad was a visionary, and together as a family we turned a bare five-acre plot of land into a beautifully landscaped oasis through years of hard work.  The physical labor I did as a child resulted in a blocky, stocky build that I was very self-conscious of.  I was big, clumsy and unrefined, and growing up I often would hear comments about how I was “built like a man”, or “Jill should be a linebacker on the football team”.  I often felt like I would be more graceful and ladylike, if not for all that physical labor.

My boyfriend introduced me to weight training in 2008, taking me into the gym and teaching me what to do. I was hooked instantly. All of the mental and physical strength I developed as a child translated in the gym, and it just felt so natural to me. Going to the gym was my saving grace in 2008 and 2009 when my parents were in a near-fatal motorcycle crash and my little sister committed suicide. I discovered that the Downtown OKC YMCA was just minutes away from where I work, so I started training at the Y on my lunch break in 2009.  During those difficult years, going to the gym was an escape from the painful reality of what was happening in our lives.

For about the first two years, it was all about the act of training… how it felt getting stronger and faster and moving more weight. I wasn’t looking for results, but they came. I noticed my lats widening and my legs getting more defined, my shoulders more developed, and my waist tightening. Oddly enough, hard weight training made my “manly” physique more shapely! I always followed figure competitions and felt like I was starting to look like those girls, but there was NO WAY I could ever compete.

After lifting for about four years, I noticed that I was asked often if I competed. I was asked nine times in a month, and that’s when I decided that maybe I could compete. I had a terrible fear of being in front of people—when asked to speak in front of groups for work I would literally feel sick. I knew people say that the best way to overcome your fears is to face them, so I decided to go for it. I found IFBB Pro Sherry Smith Summers in 2014 and she helped me get ready for my first show, NPC Battle of the Bodies in Tulsa.  I got first place! I couldn’t believe it. I had been quietly following and researching for so long, and now I had not only done it, but done well! I won my class again the next weekend in a national qualifier. I decided the next year that I wanted to try running my own prep. I was learning about flexible dieting and wanted to give it a try.  I placed fifth in my class at my first national show, the 2015 NPC Jr. Nationals in Chicago. I placed fourth at this year’s Jr. Nationals.  I am inching closer to what I now recognize as the dream of becoming an IFBB Pro. I continue to work with Sherry on my posing. She created a strong foundation for me to build from as I move forward coaching myself. Though I train myself, I learned a great deal of what I know from my boyfriend, Frank, who took me to the gym with him in the beginning. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.

I continue to learn and grow. I began working last year on fulfilling another dream of learning dance. I started an adult ballet class in August 2015, and it has become one of the great joys of my life. The best part of it all is that I look back on my childhood and realize how incredibly blessed I am. I was gifted with work ethic, strength, endurance, grit, and mental fortitude. In my mid-30s I am becoming the athlete I always knew I could be, and I believe it is because of that foundation of hard work that I have been successful. I hope my story can help others see that it is never too late to try new things and transform into who you really are.

Pet Peeve in the Gym:  It’s a tie between doing exercises directly in front of the dumbbell rack, and talking to me when I am in the middle of a set!

Special Talent:  I am an artist, and have a Bachelor of Fine Arts from OU, with emphasis on drawing and printmaking.

Favorite Cheat Meal: One of my favorite treats is to go to Penn Square Mall and get myself an Auntie Anne’s pretzel and Dr. Pepper!  But that’s just a little treat-my favorite all-out cheat meal is Tucker’s onion burger and fries.

Best Fitness Recipe:  In a large bowl I put a half cup (40 g) oats and add 4 packets of stevia and a few dashes of cinnamon.  Add one cup of water.  In a separate bowl crack four eggs.  I usually keep just one yolk.  The key of this recipe is to use a whisk, and whisk those eggs really good, then add them to the oats and whisk it all up (I tried using a fork once and it came out all…eggy)  Microwave for 3 minutes, whisk it up again and maybe add some more water and cinnamon.  Microwave for 3 more minutes, and finally sweeten it up a little more with some Walden Farms (or pure) maple syrup.  It makes a huge bowl of protein packed oatmeal (proatmeal!) and tastes so good.  I have eaten this along with a cup of black coffee every day for years, and never tire of it.  It’s a great volume meal when you are getting hungry during contest prep, too.

Best Dieting Tip:  Educate yourself.  There are so many ways to diet and different things work for different people; personally I like flexible dieting.  Counting macros and logging my food has given me a huge education in the nutritional profiles and serving sizes of food.  IIFYM when used correctly is not just an excuse to work in sugary treats, as seems to be a common perception.  Pay attention to sugar, fiber and micronutrients when using flexible dieting, especially during prep, and you can reach your goals while still enjoying a wide variety of foods.

What Inspires You To Excel In Life And The Gym:  Seeing how hard my Dad worked had a profound and lasting impact on me.  He could have come home from his job and relaxed after a hard day of work.  He could have hired a company to do all that building and landscaping.  Instead he worked two jobs, and figured out how to build everything he wanted himself.   Maybe that is why I have this desire to train and coach myself.  When it comes to the gym, all I know is I loved it from day one.  I love the mental and physical stimulation that you get during the actual training, the way it feels to use your body, to get stronger, faster, better.  I love the escape—during my hardest days, I could go there and almost always leave feeling renewed.  So I think it is the doing of it that inspires me, the love of it.

Favorite Fitness Quote You Live By:  My Dad was known to say, “Work smarter, not harder”.  I added my own ending to that to create my fitness mantra:  “Work smarter, not harder.  Then, work harder”!

Most Important Thing / Person in your Life:  My parents and sisters and nephews, and my boyfriend and his family are all so important to me.  We have been through so much and I love them all so much!

Contest Placement History:

2014
NPC Battle of the Bodies
1st Place Figure Class C Novice
1st Place Figure Class C Open
1st Place Figure Overall

NPC Midway USA Championships
1st Place Figure Class B

2015

NPC Jr. Nationals
5th Place Figure Class E

2016
NPC Jr. Nationals
4th Place Figure Class E