Biology teacher Tina Gaser places in physique competition

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Biology teacher Tina Gaser places in physique competition

Gaser chose to start competing in this event to push herself to a new goal.

Gaser chose to start competing in this event to push herself to a new goal.

Devon Schroeder

Gaser chose to start competing in this event to push herself to a new goal.

Devon Schroeder

Devon Schroeder

Gaser chose to start competing in this event to push herself to a new goal.

By Devon Schroeder, Baldwin High School

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A lot of teachers at Baldwin take advantage of the weight room or enjoy working out to maintain physical fitness. Biology teacher Tina Gaser, however, is on a whole different level.

Last week Gaser competed in the figure portion of the Organization of Competition Bodies  Physique Competition at Franklin Regional High School. Figure competition is a physique-exhibition event for women. Unlike pure bodybuilding, figure competition places emphasis on muscle definition, not size.

Gaser chose to start competing in this event to push herself to a new goal.

“I had been to a competition that my personal trainer was involved in, and it inspired me,” Gaser said.

Gaser already was doing weight training six days a week and working as a personal trainer at the YMCA. However, to prep for this competition, she began to include two cardio sessions a day, for three hours a day of cardio in total.

For diet, she began a 19-week prep elimination diet, which meant she eliminated certain foods every week and didn’t add any to replace them.

“I weighed in every week, as well as took away food like chicken in the sixth week,” Gaser said.

The last week leading up to the competition, she ate only egg whites, tilapia, and asparagus.

“I really don’t promote this diet long-term. Competing is an extreme sport, not a healthy long-term lifestyle,” she said.

Every athlete took a polygraph as well as drug tests for steroids and supplements. Preparation on the actual day of competition consisted of doing makeup, her hair, and applying a spray tan.

“It was a lot of hurry up and wait,” Gaser said of the lead-up to the event.

She said the actual competition was a lot more technical than people might think. Athletes were taken through quarter-turn poses, to show certain muscles the way judges wanted them to be seen.

They were judged on muscle shape, symmetry, balance, and striations.

Gaser placed second in the novice and master divisions, and fourth in the open division.

Right now Gaser is rebuilding with a normal, balanced diet.

And what was the first “cheat” meal she ate after 133 days of intense dieting?

“A peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” Gaser said. “But my real first cheat meal was the following Monday, when my AP classes brought in tons of Oreos and donuts. I was so excited to see all of that sugar. It made everything well worth the wait.”

Her passion and dedication were easily recognized by students.

“During the Mini-Thon (in mid-March), Morgan Traud and I came upstairs with her to avoid the junk food and eat the meals we had packed,” senior Jenna Siel said.

Senior Nate Radomsky said he admires Gaser’s dedication.

“It was really inspiring to see her passion when she talked about her competition in class. I think it’s really amazing that she did it,” Radomsky said.

This story was originally published on Purbalite on April 10, 2019.