Hi! My name is Hunter Hammen and I am 18 years old. I am from Gainesville, Florida and I am a sophomore at the University of Central Florida. 
When I was 4 years old I started competitive cheerleading because both of my sisters did it, so I think my parents just put me in it too. I cheered competitively until 8th grade. My freshman year of high school I switched to 
the sideline football cheer. I then realized that cheerleading, competitive and sideline, was not for me. For the next 2 years I did no sports and no type of exercise. I lost a lot of my muscle and I got super skinny (a twig as some would say). My summer going into senior year I decided I should probably start exercising so, I wanted to get a gym membership. My dad at first refused to get me one because he did not think I would actually use it. After some convincing, I did get a membership and my dad turned out to be right. I didn’t go to the gym very often.I had never been to a gym before so I didn’t know how to do anything besides the cardio machines and some ab workouts. The gym intimidated me and that was why I had very little motivation to even go. I am a goal oriented person so I decided that I needed some fitness goals that would help motivate me to go to the gym. Not only did I want to know how to workout with weights, I also wanted a goal to strive for. Being that my dad used to do bodybuilding and I knew some girls that had done bikini competitions, I decided I wanted to do a bikini competition too. I thought this was the perfect idea because it gave me a reason to go to the gym... if I was going to compete, meaning going on stage in a very small bikini, I knew I had to be ready for it. It was the goal that I was looking for. My dad thought this was a great idea so he helped me find a trainer and I started shortly after. Because I had very little muscle, I just focused on working out and getting used to weightlifting, I guessed you could say it was like a mini bulk. I did this for about 2 months and then I started a 12 week cut. I originally planned to do my first show in April of my senior year. I stuck to the diet and the workouts my trainer sent me and I was very dedicated... a little too dedicated. I realized that working out and competing was starting to become my only priority and I was not doing very well in school. When I was 4 weeks out from the show, being that finals were right around the corner, I realized I had to stop prep and focus on school. I did just that. I stopped working out and dieting all at once, so I got super puffy and I gained a lot of weight in a short amount a time. I had never dieted before so after dieting and being really strict for 8 weeks I craved everything. I would eat anything in site... especially things with a lot of sugar and carbs. I went from weighing 112 to 134 in 2 months (march to may); mind you I’m 5”3 and my healthy body weight sits around 120. Being that 2 months prior I was ripped and had visible abs, this really messed with my head. I was shocked at how fast I could gain weight. I was not comfortable with my body for a long time after this, especially because it was now Summer time. I hated doing anything that involved wearing a bathing suit, or even shorts. In may, once I hit the heaviest weight I’ve ever been (134) I knew I needed to get back in the gym. The problem was I was very insecure and had no motivation. I did not want to go to the gym because I was so ashamed of how I looked. Everyone had seen me so tiny and here I am, feeling like a whale. I was scared of being judged so I started to go to the gym at different times than usual. I did this so I did not have to see the same people that I used to see at the gym. I didn’t want them to ask me questions, especially not ones about competing. After I started back at the gym, I did not go everyday but I started to make it a priority again. I also tried to slow down on my ice cream and Mac n cheese intake. I started to eat healthier, but I definitely did not diet. I did this for the whole summer and then I left for college. When I went to college it was hard to diet because I lived in a dorm and ate the cafeteria food. There where healthy options available but I unfortunately loved the chicken patties and dessert bar a little too much. I did however make sure I worked out. One of the first things I did when I went to college was get a gym membership. I went about 6 days a week and I noticed I started to enjoy going again. I felt happier about myself and I was not as insecure. I also started to lose the weight. I eventually came back down to my comfortable body weight and was weighing 121. I thought about starting to prep for a show again but I was afraid to being that I was at a new school in a new town, and I needed to make sure school could still be a priority. After my first semester, I decided I was ready to compete again. I missed working out for a specific goal and I honestly missed being so tiny and lean. Right before my Spring semester started I moved into an apartment and I felt like the prep life was more manageable for me now. I could cook my own meals and buy my own groceries. In February I started on an 11 week prep (I didn’t realize how close the show was otherwise I would have done a 12 week prep). On April 14th I competed in my first show. I did Europa in Orlando and placed 3rd in my open class. I was very excited about my placing especially because it was my first competition. After that show I was so scared to rebound from the previous prep so I stuck to the reverse diet my trainer gave me. I did have some cheats here and there but I did not gain a lot of weight. I weighed 106 on my show day and gained about 8 pounds the month after the show. At the beginning of May, I started on my 2nd real prep, weighing 114. My next show is July 28th in Jacksonville, Florida. I am doing the Dexter Jackson Classic. My goal is to qualify for nationals because my dad qualified for nationals (he just started competing again this past year). We really hope to compete at the same show, especially one at a national level. One of my favorite things about this sport is that I have been able to do this with my dad and how it has helped us maintain a close relationship (especially being that I moved away for college). Although body building isn’t for everyone, I love it because it motivates me to live a healthy lifestyle. It has taught me determination, consistency and discipline. Not only is bodybuilding a physical sport, but it is mental as well. Training for a show is definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I love how much I have learned about myself in the process. I can’t wait to see how my fitness journey continues. 
Ambassador code: HUNTER

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