NAME: Darlene Henderson-Dudley

AGE: 46

OFFSEASON/CONTEST WEIGHT: Not 100% sure of offseason weight or contest weight. I might have weighed 105lbs before I ever competed, however I never got on the scale unless the doctor weighed me. Contest weight has been coming down since I started competing. My first few shows I was 107lbs, but my lightest was 101lbs this year and right now it’s hanging at 105lbs.

DIVISION: Figure and women’s physique division


  • 2014 NPC Max Muscle Virginia: did not place
  • 2014 NPC Philadelphia Championship: figure A, 4th place; master’s 40+, 2nd place; novice figure, 2nd place
  • 2014 NPC Jay Cutler Baltimore Classic: figure A, 9th place; master’s figure, 6th place; novice figure, 9th place
  • 2015 NPC Capitol Grand Prix: figure A, 5th place; master’s figure 35+, 1st place
  • 2015 NPC Big Cat Classic: figure A, 2nd; master’s figure 35+, 1st place; master’s figure 40+, 2nd place
  • 2015 NPC Jay Cutler Baltimore Classic

I first got started with competition because I was training with another coach who was also doing meal plans for me and she encouraged me to do my first show. I heard about TEAM Warrior Within from fellow teammate Susie Lovaglio, who used to come to posing practice with me and my previous coach.

Unlike many of the TWW clients, I don’t train in-person, but from an online coaching perspective, Nikki Johnston is awesome! I don’t respond well to those who like to yell or give you crap if you’re already having a crappy day, and she’s not like that. She walks the walk and talks the talk, and gets that some days are just tougher than others. She’s REAL. But at the same time, holds me accountable, which is all I could ask for.

Prep really isn’t that hard for me since I enjoy the process—cutting, and even the cardio (okay, maybe not cardio so much). It was easier this year because I was lucky to add cardio equipment to my house. Now, I see the hardest part as staying motivated or keeping up with a routine when the body just wants a break.

When prep gets difficult, I follow friends on Facebook and Instagram, thinking, “Oh crap, they’re not falling behind, neither can I!” I’ll surf the Internet and watch videos while doing cardio, which makes the time fly by. Also, chatting with a few close friends—close conversation always makes the soul feel better. 

For anybody looking to get started with physique competition, I would advise them to not be whiney—this stuff is tough, and gets even tougher as you get further into prep. The hobby is expensive, and if you aren’t prepared to spend the money, just wait, the stage will always be there. Get yourself into a routine. If you’re not organized, it gets rough and becomes impossible to keep up. Ask questions, question everything, make your coach explain why they are having you eat what you eat and train the way you train. And remember, anything is possible, anything you set your mind to is achievable.

There are a lot of people I’d like to thank, but most of all, my hubs for putting up with me and my prepping. He goes along with anything new that I’m interested in. He’s not the typical “Let me carry your bags and be your chauffeur” guy, but definitely brags to friends and family, and helps me cook my proteins, as well as gave up some man-cave space to put all three of my cardio pieces down there. Of course, my coach Nikki for taking me in and keeping me sane when I never thought I’d get lean, and giving me meal plans that worked for me (thank goodness I got to swap out rice, lol). And TEAM Warrior Within, who treated me like family before I ever joined the team.

Moving forward, I plan to finish out 2015 as a figure chick, then take a break in 2016 to work on finding balance, finish a nutrition certificate, and build some more lean muscle, then come back with a vengeance in 2017—perhaps as a figure chick, or maybe as a mini physique babe!