Most college students loathe the thought of being awake before it is absolutely necessary. Not Alicia Ciak.
While others slumber anxiously before waking up at the last possible second to recombobulate themselves before going to class, Ciak is in the gym.
“I wake up at 5 a.m. and go to the gym to workout,” the freshman from Dilworth said. “I am doing an hour and a half for cardio on top of weight training. Then I have class all throughout the day, speech practice in the evening, and then homework to do. I am up from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. It’s a work in progress that I love working on. It’s just the drive of wanting to do something I love.”
In between classes and extracurriculars, Ciak isn’t lethargically watching Netflix and putting off her work — she’s training to be a bodybuilder.
Since tearing her hamstring while on the dance team in high school, Ciak has been working out and training. The end of her dance career has led to a burgeoning path in the world of fitness.
After training for nearly three years, Ciak recently competed in her first official bodybuilding competition.
At the NPC North Star Championships in Burnsville last month, Ciak took home her first win after placing first in the bikini category of her novice division.
“I loved it,” Ciak said. “Competing was something I really wanted to do. I’m glad I had the courage to suck it up and submit the application. After that I just kind of went for it.”
Though she took home the trophy in her first time competing, Ciak said her motivation comes from self-improvement more than anything else.
“My goal is to beat my previous physique every single time I step on stage. Continuously improving yourself is the goal for every competitor.”
Her training plan focuses on three different categories of training. Push, pull, and legs.
“When I go to the gym and it’s a push day, I do lots of exercises that involve a pushing motion,” Ciak said. “Push-ups, shoulder presses, etc… to train my shoulders and triceps. On pull days I do a lot of pull-ups and lateral pulldowns to build my biceps and back.”
Push and pull days are fine in her mind, but Ciak’s favorite days in the gym are the ones most love to hate.
“On leg days I just go crazy. I do a bunch of squats, dead lifts, and all that fun stuff.”
Her motivation comes from the hard work and passion she puts into each and every one of her workouts.
“I love the environment of the gym. You go in there and do your work and come out feeling motivated and happy.”
As an exercise science and nutrition double major, she uses what she has learned in class in both her training and her coaching of others. Ciak posts training updates and inspirational posts to her Instagram, where she has more than 1,000 followers.
She also expressed interest in competitive weightlifting and potentially representing Concordia at the NCAA level.
“I have a passion for lifting, so if Concordia had organized weightlifting I would be very interested.”
For those that are skeptical of her bodybuilding and progress in the gym, Ciak has one message: just keep going.
“When I first stepped in the gym, I was completely terrified and knew nothing. Every single day I had to tell myself to go back and keep getting better than the day before.”
Along her journey, Ciak has found that bodybuilding can teach these types of lessons that transfer to everyday life.
“Bodybuilding, like so many other things, takes time and commitment to succeed. Consistency is key.”
“Be patient and don’t give up.”