Beefing up her bod: UAF student attends bodybuilding competition

Brix Hahn/Sun Star
October 23, 2012

Julie Gilhuly squats with 135lbs in the Student Recreation Center weight room. “My favorite exercise is squatting.” Julie says as she finishes a set. Oct. 18, 2012 Cordero Reid/Sun Star

Julie Gilhuly is a senior accounting student. She works out for fun and spends 20 to 25 hours a week in the Student Recreation Center. A few weeks ago she won her class in the Alaska Fitness Expo for figure competing.

Eighteen weeks ago, the 21-year-old Gilhuly began training for the event by lifting weights six days a week and focusing on cardio the seventh day. During her first two years at UAF Gilhuly was a varsity volleyball player. During practices her team would lift weights as a part of conditioning.

“I’ve always been an avid lifter and I wanted to do something more with it,” Gilhuly said.

Gilhuly spent the second weekend of October in Anchorage competing as a figure contestant. Figure competing is similar to body building, but it’s less focused on muscle mass making the sport “a little more girly,” Gilhuly said.

Gilhulu’s friend Rebecca Leivdal, a women’s physique competitor, mentioned to Gilhuly that she would excel in the sport. Gilhuly not only came in first in her height class, she also won second place in the over all competition.

As she came closer to competition day, Gilhuly focused more on cardio in order to burn fat. Her biggest problem in training for her big day: keeping her heart rate low enough to burn fat and not muscle.

When it came to organizing a workout routine, Gilhuly did it all on her own. She has picked up several small workout routines over the years and used many of them in her daily exercises. Besides having a friend help her learn about posing on stage, and another help her keep track of her body fat, Gilhuly didn’t have a trainer.

Currently, Gilhuly is training for a competition in Anchorage that will take place at the end of March. It is a pro-qualifying event, meaning if she wins overall she will be able to compete nationally. Additionally, Gilhuly is planning to participate in a competition in Fairbanks in May and October.

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