IFBB Figure Professional Mercedes Khani shares with us how she got started in figure competition, the bodybuilding training, diet, and supplements that helped her to attain her killer physique, and her future plans in the fitness industry.
Background and Competitions
How did you get started with bodybuilding and figure?
In January 2004 I started lifting weights. I never was in a bad shape, I always ate healthy and stayed away from most processed foods and was active during the day with outdoor activities. So it wasn't that I was out of shape that got me into fitness. I started lifting weights because I was curious. 'How would I be like in my ultimate shape? How will I look like if I train to be as perfect as I could possibly be?' These questions intrigued me, and the beautiful physiques and strong mentalities of certain fitness and figure athletes and female bodybuilders inspired me. I wanted to answer these questions for myself and so I started weightlifting and doing
What made you decide to start competing? Did you have a bodybuilding coach help you get started?
When I lived in the United States for almost a year in 2004/2005 I trained in a gym where a very popular professional female bodybuilder also trained. I saw her every day, she motivated me a lot and as I became friends with her and her relatives and trained with one of her relatives for a while, I learned to train seriously and with discipline. They thought me the professional mentality towards fitness and bodybuilding and I am very grateful for that. As they competed, I was getting very interested in starting to compete myself. She told me I had a great physique and good genes to be a good athlete and so I started training towards a goal: to start competing in fitness.
I moved back to Holland and contacted the person who I thought could help me best to start competing in Holland for the first time. I contacted Ms Olympia 2001-2003 Juliëtte Bergmann and explained to her how much I wanted to compete and asked for her help. She gave me all the guidance and advice I needed to find my way, also in training and in my diet. I have learned so much from her, she is my biggest inspiration and I am very grateful to have the opportunity to learn from this woman who has achieved such great things and who I respect so much. With the guidance of these great people I competed in several competitions, always with successful results. For my first competition I competed in the NBBF-IFBB Eemsmond Cup (the Emerald) and won 1st place Miss Fitness 2005 right away! This qualified me for the IFBB Dutch Championships (the nationals). In this second competition I won 2nd place and I got invited for the IFBB European Championships in the Ukraine. What an honor!
Now I have developed real passion for fitness and bodybuilding. I love to compete and continue with my fitness career and I hope to make it big some day. I am certainly determined and motivated and I hope to motivate others to live a fit and healthy bodybuilding lifestyle as well. As I am blessed with two of the best people helping me, I am sure I will do the same for other people some day.
So when you took 2nd on the Nationals, how did you feel? That’s a huge accomplishment nonetheless!
Last year I became 2nd, lost on one point because I hadn’t mastered posing yet, as I had just started competing. To not win the National title by one point, because of posing! That had put me in fire for the entire year that followed. There was not going to be a question mark next year, I wanted straight 1’s. I trained by myself for the first season, now it was time for a trainer.
I got IFBB pro bodybuilder Alison ‘the Magician’ Maria to train me for my show next year and traveled 2.5 hours 3 times a week to train with him. Little did I know about him, that this is the best trainer in Holland!
I started training with him in May 2005, right after my show on April 30th. The next National Championship I was training for was in April 2006. He had me eating clean right away and put me on a diet 6 months before the show. Not an extreme diet, but I had to eat clean and have the right food sources for my training and for my gains. We were going to do the contest diet very spread out over time in order to have the best results.
That’s what I believe in. No crash dieting..slow and steady wins the game. How hard was the training?
There was no fooling around with this guy. We trained hard, he pushed me beyond my limits and really concentrated on the muscle during each exercise. We’d rather train with heavy, but lower weights than my absolute maximum, so I could focus on squeezing the muscle than to train with my heaviest weights with which I couldn’t do that. Besides the great training and diet techniques, he is my friend and truly wanted me to win this show as badly as I did. He felt my motivation and my ‘pain’, almost as if it concerned himself. So with him on my side and pushing me forward, I was as motivated as I could be and got in a state of mind that this was my one and only mission for this year. And it was.