Operation Bikini Freedom

By Steve Froehlich
Photos by Brevin Blach

(Published in the January 2011 issue)

Beauty and brains-a combination too rich for most men to handle, and assuredly lethal when exhibited by a United States Marine. Add aggressiveness, a bikini a pair of sexy stilettos and a tan, and you have the ultimate competitor, Sergeant Samantha Fishow.

Fresh off her rookie season competing in the amateur ranks of the National Physique Committee (NPC) Bikini Division, Sgt. Fishow captured 1st Place in her height class (Over 5'7") in her first two NPC contests, as well as a 1st Place Overall finish.

“Fitness has always played a big role in my life,” says the 25-year-old intelligence officer. “I get out of the military early next year. Fitness has opened doors for me with personal training and created a new realm of possibilities.”

Having deployed overseas three times during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Sgt. Fishow loves the adrenaline of combat and embraces challenge.

Case in point: entering four competitions in her first three months was a grueling test.

“I get cravings like nobody’s business, and it’s really hard,” she says. “All I thought about was food, all the time. The hardest thing about competing is not giving into cravings.”

Fishow finished the season strong, ranking in her final two competitions, including the NPC National Championships in Atlanta, thereby positioning herself closer to her next goal-qualifying for her Pro Card with the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB).

What will she do while she’s waiting to turn pro and become a certified personal trainer?

“I would join the reserves if I could deploy again,” she says. “I want to kill an enemy. Everyone knows that, though.”

If looks could kill, Sgt. Fishow’s enemies would already be dead.

Know Body

What it takes to be among the few, the proud... the bikini contest winners workouts

Competition Season Workouts:

Twice per day, at lunchtime and after work

Weights-always lifts as heavy as possible
Monday: Back/Triceps
Tuesday: Chest/Biceps
Wednesday: Legs
Thursday: Shoulders
Friday: Just cardio, minimum 30 minutes
Saturday: Train weak areas with coach Meg Kruse at FitnessQuest10
Sunday: Off

Cardio-every day, except Sunday and leg day
Spinning: 40-50 minutes
Double-up two weeks before competition, with 30-45 minutes of intervals on different cardio machines

Off-Season Workouts

Same schedule, but no stress if a day is missed
Reduced cardio
Off-season is the time to try new things diet

Recipe for Success

Sgt. Fishow’s Pre-Competition Diet

When getting her body bikini-ready, Fishow eats only lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. To closely monitor her intake, she weighs and pre-packages her foods, most of which have only one ingredient.

“I got so desperate for carbs before a competition that I ate dog treats. They tasted good and I convinced myself it wasn’t cheating because it wasn’t regular people food. Eating the same foods all the time is boring. Let yourself cheat once a week”

Daily Eating Schedule:
Five meals, plus protein shakes after workouts and 80 oz. of water
7:30 a.m.
6 egg whites
1 packet plain instant oatmeal

10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
5 oz. chicken breast
1/2-cup brown rice
5 asparagus spears

4:30 p.m.
5 oz. chicken breast
5 asparagus spears

6 - 7:30 p.m.
1 tablespoon all natural peanut butter
1/2 pita
7 egg whites, scrambled


Fast, fried, processed foods; sugar; white bread

Go-to Cheat Meals

Tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole
Frozen yogurt
Chili cheese dog on pretzel bun from Wienerschnitzel

See more photos