By Marty Gallagher
Danielle Oxford is a 33-year old mother of four daughters that has done the near impossible: she has somehow found time to create a fabulous physique, despite all the time demands required raising four girls and having a husband in the military. “Since starting our family I have been a dedicated stay-at-home mother for my four daughters. My husband James is in the military, the Navy, and he has been on many deployments. We have been married since 2004 and started our family in 2006. Our daughter’s names are Ava 13, Zadie 11, Evalyn 9 and Cali, 6 years old. I count our two dogs, Charlie and Calum (named after bodybuilder Calum Von Moger) as family.” Danielle and family live in Shelton, Washington. “I was raised in Bakersfield, California. The military moved us to Bremerton, Washington and Oceanside, California before moving us to Shelton.” Being a military wife requires self-sufficiency. “It is always difficult when James is deployed and gone for months at a time. We miss him terribly when he is not here. Life is more difficult in every way.” James Oxford is a serious trainer and has served as Danielle’s instructor in all thing’s bodybuilding related. The Oxfords are not some average suburbanite couple taking a strength training class together at the local YMCA. “At some point in the future, James and I want to compete together in a mixed-pair bodybuilding competition.”
Danielle was never terribly overweight or out of shape, however she was never fitness-minded nor was she “particularly fit” when growing up. “I was extremely shy and introverted. Nowadays they have a clinical phrase for my extreme shyness: social anxiety.” Danielle related that “I had always wanted to be fit. I finally became motivated to do something about it after the birth of our second daughter in 2009. That’s when I got my first ever gym membership.” The Oxfords created a basic home gym set up. “I started lifting weights at home while James was on deployment. I found that intense weight training helped me keep my mind off my husband being away. During those times, I was raising my daughters alone. Living in Shelton, we were far away from our families.” Danielle used training as a stress reliever and a way to center herself. “We still to this day have some dumbbells and other equipment at home.” Science has confirmed that high intensity weight training and intense cardio are the best natural stress-relievers known to man. Danielle saw her first bodybuilding competition in November of 2018. “As I watched my first bodybuilding show, I saw women competing with incredible physiques. Seeing that show really inspired me. I now had a frame of reference. I saw women my own age that looked fantastic. I was inspired to push myself harder and to diet stricter.” James’ own efforts had exposed Danielle to bodybuilding basics. Bodybuilding is the skillful blending (and application) hardcore weight training, cardio, nutrition and supplementation. “Bodybuilding is more than lifting weights.”
In about this time, Danielle was introduced to Parrillo Products and immediately fell in love with the taste and potency. “Parrillo Hi-Protein powder has become a staple for me. The fudge brownie Parrillo Protein bar is so dense and delicious that I will often use it as a meal replacement.” The Parrillo Protein bar is potent: 220 calories, 20 grams of protein, 15 grams of slow-release carbs and 3.5 grams of CapTri® C8 MCT. Her husband James, an experienced iron man, loved the idea of training with Danielle. “My husband is my first and best training partner. James taught me how to really train – train hard enough to grow muscle. James showed me that unless you push past a certain point, nothing much is going to happen, in terms of growing muscle. Most regular people, particularly women, have no real idea how hard you must train to get real results.” Danielle decided she would overcome her introverted nature and join a commercial gym. “James has to travel quite a bit for for work and is often gone. We joined a gym and I made a commitment to use it. My training goal is always the same, to push myself. Regardless if I have James to train with or not, my goal is to push myself past my current limits. It does help to have a training partner, then you can really push yourself. When you have a spotter, you can try reps you wouldn’t and shouldn’t try alone.” Danielle cautions about becoming ‘spotter dependent.’ “Just because you don’t have a spotter shouldn’t be used as an excuse to slack off or blow off a session.” In the end, bodybuilding is a solo journey.
Asked how she managed to arrange her schedule to accommodate near-daily cardio sessions, multiple weekly weight training sessions, find time for food preparation and juggle four kids. “My children and James know that by practicing the bodybuilding lifestyle, the training, the nutrition, I am a better person. Training is something that makes me happy, keeps me centered, makes me healthy and makes me feel my best. I don’t think I would have nearly as much patience for James and the girls if I didn’t have bodybuilding in my life. I believe it makes me a better parent and spouse, certainly a more patient one.” Bodybuilding requires planning in order to reach a goal. Proper planning is critical. “Bodybuilding has taught me to create physical goals. Once I have a goal, I create a logical plan to get me to the goal. Bodybuilding makes me hold myself accountable to the standards I set. It’s a constant mindset: I always want to improve; I believe that I can improve. I seek to be better at everything I do in life.” Things really got traction when Danielle joined the Shelton Athletic Club. “I love the Shelton Athletic Club. It is my favorite place to go lift weights and do cardio. The Shelton staff have given me so much love and support.” When Danielle got the competitive bug after seeing that first bodybuilding competition, she was encouraged by James to think the unthinkable: she should compete. Danielle was more intrigued than frightened. Still, it was more than just a matter of getting into shape.
She was still afflicted with severe societal anxiety. “As I pondered whether or not to compete, it wasn’t that hardcore lifting, the super-strict dieting or constant cardio that concerned me – I was totally, completely intimidated and terrified by the idea that I would walk onstage in a bikini in front of an audience full of strangers to be scrutinized by judges and smile and be happy while inside I wanted to be anywhere else.” With her ever improving physique, her confidence grew. Changes were happening weekly. She took the plunge and committed to compete. “I got a lot of encouragement – which I needed. Chet Chapman helped me deal with the intense cardio necessary to obtain the serious results I needed. I needed to really get after the aerobics. Chet kept cardio interesting in those early morning, fasted-cardio sessions.” Eleven months after seeing her first ever bodybuilding competition, Danielle stepped onstage on September 28, 2019 at The Northern Classic Bodybuilding competition. In an auspicious debut, she placed 1st in Figure in the True Novice division. She placed 2nd in Figure Novice and 2nd in the Figure Open class. “The whole experience was scary on the front end and fabulous at the end.” It was a victory on many levels. “I want to inspire other women; I want to inspire my daughters. I want them to embrace their strengths and step out of their comfort zones! Being a bodybuilder forces you to grow mentally and physically.”
How did Danielle, a master of time management do it? “During my preparation for my first show, in the summertime, in order to not miss out on any family time I would wake up super early in the morning to hit a cardio session, before everyone else got up. When the kids were back in school, I shifted cardio to later in the morning, after I’d dropped the girls off at school. I lifted weights at night.” Nutrition is critical for a competitive bodybuilder. “I noticed that when I would watch TV with the family, I would get intense cravings for junk food, for sweets, chips and empty calories – it was the commercials that were causing my cravings. A big breakthrough happened when I discovered the ultra-delicious Parrillo Fudge Brownie bar™. Now when the junk food cravings hit, I satiate my hunger with a Parrillo Protein bar™. I would cut it up into little chunks and graze.” Danielle created her own post-workout replenishment shake. “After working out, I will mix Parrillo Hi-Protein powder™ with ice and almond milk to create a protein milkshake. I keep it simple and easy. I find that supplementing with Parrillo’s Chocolate Hi-Protein Powder™ and Fudge Brownie Protein Bar™ makes it enjoyable to get my protein needs.” What are her future competitive plans? “I want to continue to compete. I want to compete in the NPC in Figure. I also intend on entering some powerlifting competitions. I have never done one and I think training for a power competition would be fun. The bodybuilding lifestyle is for me and I don’t see myself ever giving up bodybuilding. I will do it for as long as I breathe! As for now I am focusing on gaining more muscle for a few more months. I will do another NPC competition, but this time do the same show with my husband as mixed pairs.” The family that plays together stays together.
Monday chest, shoulders, triceps, calves
Tuesday thighs, hamstrings, calves
Wednesday shoulders, calves
Thursday back, calves
Friday thighs, glutes, hamstrings
During the contest preparation phase I will hit the Stairmaster or the treadmill (steep incline) for one hour five days a week
Daily Meal Schedule
Meal 1 turkey bacon, 0% fat Greek yogurt, oatmeal
Meal 2 chicken, rice
Meal 3 Parrillo Hi-Protein™ shake
Meal 4 ground turkey salad bowl with rice
Meal 5 chicken, sweet potatoes or red potatoes
Meal 6 Parrillo Protein bar™ while watching TV
*If I am having a real busy day, I will eat a Parrillo Fudge Brownie Protein Bar™ as a meal replacement, this instead of one of my meals