Success Stories Crystal Woods

Crystal Woods posing center stage


Success Stories Crystal Woods

Magazine 22 #2

Age: 42 Occupation: RDA/ CDA, Public Speaker, Fitness Stage Coach

Current Residence: Springfield, New Jersey

Height: 5′2″ Weight: (Off-Season) 123, (Contest) 106

Words to live by: Invictus, a poem by William Ernest Henley, the final stanza ends, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” Quitting smoking cold turkey brought me to fitness at the age of 37 in 2012. I joined a gym in an effort to not gain more weight or start smoking again. I had no experience with working out so I began with the treadmill, looked easy enough, wasn’t intimidating and I wouldn’t look silly doing it. As I became more comfortable in the gym I began working with a personal trainer and learned how to lift properly. At first competing was the furthest thing from my mind, but as I progressed, I began entertaining thoughts of stepping on the stage and knew that having a goal would help me keep my focus.

I’ve now competed in 23 shows over the past five years. 2017 was a particularly successful year as I won four 1st places: OCB – Bikini Overall (pro card) – NC, NGA – Pro Bikini – State College, PA, NGA Worlds Pro Bikini – NJ, OCB Masters Pro Bikini – RI. I also finished 5th in Pro Bikini at the OCB Yorton Cup – DC.


My nutrition is designed around IIFYM strategy (if it fits your macros). Tracking my macros and following IIFYM allows me variety, flexibility, and allows me to still be able to enjoy time with family and friends for special occasions. I adjust my food choices depending on whether I am in contest prep mode or trying to gain muscle off season. I always start my meals with a protein (chicken breast, ground turkey, lean steak, lean ground beef) and build my meals around that by adding in carbs and fats. A typical day during contest prep looks like this.

  • Meal 1: 2 cups cashew milk with 1 scoop UMP Graham Cracker
  • Meal 2: Greek yogurt
  • Meal 3: ground turkey, salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and fat-free Italian dressing
  • Meal 4: cottage cheese and blackberries
  • Meal 5: lean ground beef, roasted red pepper quinoa
  • Meal 6: English muffin with peanut butter
  • Meal 7: UMP Graham Cracker made into a pudding with half a banana added

When I am in my off-season the goal shifts from leaning out to giving my body a break and gaining some muscle. The quality of my daily food intake does not change, but constantly weighing each portion gives way to eyeballing, and if I fancy a small slice of cake at a party, I allow myself the indulgence. The key is to find that ideal off-season weight, eat slightly above maintenance and follow a good strength training program.

UMP: 1-2 times daily. My absolute favorite flavor is Graham Cracker. Cookies & Crème is a close second. I cook and bake with it making all sorts of amazing things.
FitTabs: 4 tablets daily
Joint Care: 3 tablets daily
Muscle Synergy: 8 tablets daily, 4 in the morning and 4 in the evening
Creatine Select: 1 scoop before training
ZMA 2000: 2 caps an hour before bed. I have such a hard time shutting down at night due to training late, with ZMA 2000, I fall asleep easy and wake rested. It helps with maximizing recovery, healing, tissue repair, anabolic hormone production and muscle growth.


My training is mapped out by Craig Yarnall CSCS, owner of Team Synergy. I use a variety of rep ranges and styles of training. Bodybuilding phases are normally high volume with reps in the 6-15 range. During a powerlifting phase I focus on the three main lifts (squat, bench press, and deadlift) with a couple of accessory movements added in. Here is a sample week and example of two leg workouts which I recently performed during a bodybuilding phase.

Day 1 – Legs (Light)
Hack Squats 3×8 (with 4-6 second negatives) {Superset} Leg Extensions 3×15
Stiff-leg Deadlift 3×8 (4-6 second negatives) {Superset} Lying Leg Curls 3×15
Leg Presses 3×8 (5-7 second slow positives)
Single-leg Press 5×8 (drop sets) {Superset} Squats 5×8
Day 2 – Chest
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Back
Day 5 – Shoulders/Traps
Day 6 – Triceps
Day 7 – Off
Day 8 – Legs (Heavy)
Squats – warm up 3×10,8,6, work sets 4×5, 1×2
Back off set of 15-20 on the Leg Press
RDL (Romanian Dead Lift) or Good Mornings (choose one) – warm-up, then work sets of 4×5, 1x2Back off set of 15-20 on the Glute/Ham Raise


In season or off I incorporate 2 sessions a week of 20-30 minutes. They are a mix of HIIT and steady state using the step mill, treadmill, or a circuit. Everyone’s need for cardio varies, but I use it minimally in order to retain as much muscle as possible.


As a competitor and stage coach I recommend practicing your posing and routines the moment my prep starts. Your time on stage encompasses two aspects, posing itself and your personality (presentation), a great smile, a healthy confidence, and smooth transitions. Poses should be executed with grace and fluidity, but deliberate. Each pose should be set from the bottom up (as most people forget themselves from the waist down). The most important aspect of your stage time is to slowdown, have fun, and show off all that hard work.

Final Thoughts

When I started training I had no idea that fitness would become such a big part of my life. Now, 5 years and 23 shows later, I am involved in the fitness industry in a multifaceted capacity. I did not just find physical health and my figure restored, I found a healthy confidence, a new state of mind, a sense of worth, and purpose. Most rewarding of all, I am now helping others to achieve their goals through fitness. It has been a life-changing experience.