“My style for preparation is much different because of my vegetarian diet. I have to drink a half gallon of water more than other competitors because of the higher sodium in my diet due to being vegetarian and eating meat substitutes.”

Elaine Jurun Vegetarian BodybuilderName: Elaine Jurun
Occupation: Figure skating coach
Location: Enumclaw, WA
Age: 34
Height: 5’2″
Weight: 111 lb.*

*Around 105 lb. show day – 119 lb. off-season.

Q: Tell us a story of the mentor who played a key role in building confidence in you.

My aunt Fern is somebody who was a role model for me and helped me gain self-confidence as a kid.

As many young women are self-conscious about their body, I was pale skinned, muscular from competitive ice skating, and was born with an auto immune disease.

“My aunt Fern always reminded me that I was beautiful, helped me find my voice to speak up for myself when people would put me down, and was a role model of what a strong woman is. My family lost her to breast cancer in 2005. I always think about her when I need these reminders about myself when my confidence is lacking.”

She was a successful business owner, mother, loyal sister, and daughter.

Q: Tell us the story of how and when you decided to go vegetarian?

My mom actually knew when I was a kid that I would someday be a vegetarian. I never cared for the taste and texture of meat. At barbecues, I was the kid who would trade a hot dog for another kid’s vegetables. About age 14, I cut out beef and pork completely, only eating chicken and turkey from time to time and never ate seafood.

“One day, while driving on the freeway — I was 19 years old at the time, in college — I saw a truck with chickens in cages, and my boyfriend at the time told me, ‘There goes lunch.’ Ever since that day, I have not eaten one piece of meat.”

I still eat eggs, and cheese in the off season, but no other animal products.

Q: Describe your experience of competing at the NPC National Level Bikini Competition. What is your trademark for preparing your style? What was the hardest part this last competition?

It was super exciting; I had such a fun time traveling to Las Vegas for a whole week with my coach and team. We rented a house for the week, we motivated each other to keep to our meal prep and going to the gym for two-a-day workouts. The event was held at UNLV, which was a great place to have it, it was a huge audience.

It was an intense preparation leading up to it; I was kept on a similar diet and exercise plan but intensified for the next level. My suit and posing had to be modified because it is a higher caliber of competitors, different cut of suit bottoms, and different poses.

My style for preparation is much different because of my vegetarian diet. I have to drink a half gallon of water more than other competitors because of the higher sodium in my diet due to being vegetarian and eating meat substitutes. I eat egg whites every day, and the amount is increased during the last one to two weeks before the competition.

“Last year during qualifying competitions, I tried an all-vegan diet, but because I was eating carbs every meal, the results were not the same and my coach made the decision to stick with a vegetarian meal plan. My body didn’t respond to the normal carb up right before going on stage.”

He likes to call me an “eggitarian”!

The hardest part of my last competition was actually the texture of my food. After a couple of days eating similar foods over and over, I just wanted one bite of something crunchy to change it up.

Another challenge was which hair color to go with. For the last few years, I have been blonde, but I wanted to try my natural dark hair color. I noticed many of the winning competitors across the country had dark hair, and they looked more natural with the tanner and suit colors.

Three additional tips for bikini competitors:

  • It’s your journey don’t let others try and change the way you do things. (Like trying to get you to eat meat or take supplements/drugs you are not comfortable with.)
  • It’s a whole package. You can have the best body up there but if you tan, hair and posing isn’t on point you still might not place. Practice posing a lot!!!
  • Don’t binge eat after a show. It’s hard since you have deprived your self for so long. I made this mistake last year and got really sick. Try your best to live your off season clean. That way you won’t have to work as hard closer to the show.

Elaine Jurun Ice SkatingQ: Tell us about your figure skating life.

I have been ice skating since I was six years old. I have always been a natural competitor; I get that from my dad, who was a competitive downhill skier.

I started competing not long after learning to skate.

I trained under a coach and skated six days a week; by junior high, this turned into two a day, five days a week, and once on Saturday.

I loved the competitions; my mom would make my competition dresses by hand at home.

As a kid, I was always a singles skater, but in college, I switched to skating pairs.

During college, I started assisting my coach teaching synchronized skating and really enjoyed it. After graduating with a bachelor’s of fine art and graphic design, I looked into getting a design job but found nothing that compared to how much I enjoyed teaching skating. So I committed myself to it and have been coaching full time since 2006.

I still continue to practice skating and now compete in the Adult Masters Division. I enjoy the continued challenge, cross training between skating and fitness competitions. It keeps me engaged, so I know what changes in skating rules and judging are so I can better prepare my students.

“My favorite part about skating is the interaction with my students and watching them improve toward their own goals. I think this experience makes me a better student to my fitness coach because I know that a coach has your best interests in mind and you have to trust them.”

Q: Tell us what it’s like to be a poultry farmer.

Well, I wouldn’t classify myself as a poultry farmer by trade, just a bird lover. I have loved birds my entire life and always wanted some as pets. I have about 15 chickens that are all free range; they have a very large coop that my husband built with large nesting boxes and perches, with all-day access to our 10 acres.

“They go in at night on their own, and we shut the gate to keep them safe from critters. They give lots of eggs, which help with my meal prep and enough for me to sell to friends for enough profit to provide healthy food to the chickens.”

I also have a couple of pet ducks that roam the property, along with a peacock and peahen. Last year, they won first place at the State Fair here in Washington. My husband and I take great care of our pets that live out their lives naturally; we even tell our dog Ollie that “birds are friends, not food!”

Q: Tell us what it’s like owning a vineyard.

A: We are still in the preparation phase of planting our first vines this spring! It has been a few years in the making, between going to school for viticulture at Washington State University for two years, purchasing property, and all of the land prep to make the soil conditions just right. We have had some incredible support from family and friends.

I will be planting just one acre this year and more next year. As a small business starting out, it is just me and my husband, so it was a lot of work just to get to this point.

Q: What did you eat yesterday?

  • 7:30 a.m. Meal One: ½ cup of red kidney beans (cooked measurement) with ½ cup of long grain brown rice (cooked measurement).
  • 10:30 a.m. Meal Two: Eat three ounces of Beyond Beef (Beyond Meat) with ½ Cup of steamed green beans.
  • 1:30 p.m. Meal Three: Eat three ounces of Beyond Beef (Beyond Meat) with ½ Cup of steamed green beans.
  • 3:00 p.m. Pre-workout: Take one serving of BCAA capsules (NutraKey) with 1,000 mg of Vitamin C; add 500 mg of Calcium.
  • 4:00 p.m. Pre-cardio (45 minutes of high intensity cardio): Take one serving of BCAA capsules (NutraKey) with 400 IUs of Vitamin E; add 500 mg of magnesium.
  • 5:00 p.m. Post-Cardio Meal Four: ½ cup of red kidney beans (cooked measurement) with ½ cup of long grain brown rice (cooked measurement).
  • 7:30 p.m. Meal Five: Eat six egg whites (hard boiled) with ½ cup of steamed green beans.
  • Drink 2½ gallons of water.
  • Take one serving of BCAA capsules between each meal.

*Please note this is two weeks out from competition day and is the initial cut down of weight. My normal diet consists of a much higher calorie count, filled with lots of fruit and vegetables and not as many supplements. The substitute meat on my meal plan is pea isolate protein; this is important because most other substitutes are soy and have high phytoestrogen levels.

Q: What does the first 60 minutes of your morning look like?

First thing in the morning is taking my vitamins and then doing 30 minutes of fasting cardio. I have a home gym, so I have a couple of options, either the elliptical or the treadmill. The last few weeks, it has been running three miles. After that is done, I eat my first meal of the day and look at what food and how much I will need to prepare based on that day’s schedule.

Q: Favorite three exercises and why?

  • Straight leg deadlifts: they are great for glutes!
  • One-leg tricep dips: that muscle for some reason is very hard for me to see the results I want, but these really work.
  • Cable kick-backs: not only does it work the glutes, but it strengthens my lower back for skating and lifting heavy bags of feed on the farm.

Q: Fun fact most people don’t know about you?

As a kid, I was known at school for ice skating and art. Actually, my best subject was math and I was on the math competition team for two years. We competed against other school in Washington. It was a military style course. If you got the math problem right you climbed a rope, ran tires,etc. Which ever team made it to the end first won.

Q: What three pearls of wisdom would you tell your 13-year-old self?

  • Concentrate on school, rather than worrying about your reputation.
  • Choose what path in life you want to do after high school. I was pushed toward art school but really wasn’t interested. I wanted to study agriculture but was talked out of pursuing that.
  • Don’t worry about what the scale says because I was muscular and always weighed more than the other girls. This is actually a good thing as an athlete, because you have a healthy body with the muscular strength to perform better at sports.

Q: What is the biggest personal challenge you have had to overcome in your life? 

As a kid, my dad struggled with addiction to alcohol; he was verbally mean to my mom and me. It made my home life something that I didn’t want friends to know about. He never physically hurt us or anyone, but he would come home after work, already drinking, and make my mom and I very uncomfortable being around him.

He would say terrible things to us, and it was hard on my self-confidence. My mom and I would get in the car and leave, sometimes staying in a hotel. My mom knew this was a problem he needed help with; we didn’t want to leave him but instead help him, even though this went on for years.

Eventually, he did get help, and while he always maintained a job and provided a financially stable home, his addiction made many years of my childhood difficult.

“My family and I have come out of this experience with his alcoholism as stronger people. We really understand what being a family is, and that you don’t quit on somebody when they are down and need help.”

Q: How do you wind down and relax at night?

I like to relax while finishing my daily water intake and watch YouTube videos. It takes me all over the place, from videos and vlogs of other competitors, to helpful information about how to take care of my farm animals. My dog Ollie (she’s a six-year-old puggle) keeps me company and entertained while I wind down from a full day of training and work.