Wondering if you are fitness competition material? Wondering how to get started? Let me take you on a tour of how I got started, some of the mistakes I made along the way, and when I felt like it was time to enter my first fitness competition.
The Tour: Beginning In Fitness
Fresh out of college I was ready to find my place in the world. I decided to "invest" in a trip to Orlando's Disney World for a Modeling and Talent Convention that would lead me to my destiny. I entered the Fashion Modeling division of the competition. I realize now that this was a bit of bad advice that I received from the company I was represented by at the time.
I stood a mere 5'6" tall, too short for a fashion model, and at age 22 I was considered almost ancient. I also entered the Acting and Talent portions of the competition. I ended up taking home an honorable mention in Situation Comedy and 3rd place for my dance/gymnastics Talent.
If I had to take a guess, I believe that there were more girls in this competition not to win an award, but to be "discovered." Not really knowing what I wanted to do with my life I felt that this convention could lead to some possible career choices. I was very pleased to be invited to the Oxygen Magazine table as well as the other vendor's tables during the interview round.
I was asked to have some fitness pictures taken and send them to one of the writers and fitness recruiters for the women's fitness magazine. While I was speaking to the recruiters I learned about fitness and nutrition and how you must be in tune with your mind, body and sprit in order to reap the full benefits of fitness.
I was emotionally moved, and they made me believe that I had some goal-oriented direction in my life. I felt a sense of accomplishment, and like my trip to Orlando may have been a good investment after all.
Now that I had learned about fitness competitions and I knew just what I needed to do, I was on my way. That is until I bought my first issue of Oxygen Magazine. As I flipped through the pages of the fitness magazine I realized that my physique was nowhere near where it needed to be in order to enter a fitness competition, and who would I be kidding if I tried to send my scrawny looking pictures into a magazine that features some of the world's most beautiful, fit women?
It was a bit intimidating to realize that my "fit" body couldn't compare to many of the fitness women in the world. I was not discouraged however. I knew that I had the skills and the determination to compete in the fitness industry.
I have been involved in sports since I was a youth, and I was no stranger to the weight room so I was determined to get in shape and enter my first fitness competition. Easier said than done! My initial workouts consisted of an hour cardio class or riding the bike for 5 miles and running on the treadmill for 5 miles and then lifting for another hour or two each weeknight. Boy was I determined!
Since I was fresh out of college, I really didn't have a lot of money for healthy fruits and vegetables or fresh meats. So needless to say, my diet consisted of a lot of 99 cent frozen burritos or fast food specials. I was always accustomed to eating whatever I wanted and however much I wanted at any given time.
I never worried about gaining weight or being out of shape. Why should I? I had been in good physical shape since I was a child and I was never over weight. I soon learned that my old ways of living were not going to cut it. With each passing month of no visual improvement, I began to get frustrated. What could I possibly be doing wrong? I spent all of my evenings at the gym and I wasn't eating any differently than I had my entire life.
I decided to ask for help. It was suggested by my kickboxing instructor that I write down everything that I eat throughout the day and every exercise that I perform, and at the end of the week she would review my journal. What she determined from my journal was that my nutritional diet was very unbalanced and my workouts included too much for each session.
Where do I go from here I thought. I decided to try to follow one of the fitness model's diets that I had found in Oxygen Magazine. I actually forced myself to eat cottage cheese for an entire month. Again, I saw no change. I went on to try several different supplements and diets.
There were a few things that I tried that helped me to loose weight, but I was on such a strict diet that I could never eat that way for the rest of my life, and when I would break down and eat "normally" again I would gain all of the weight that I had lost and then some.
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After a while, the whole dieting thing and working out every weeknight started to take a toll on me. Then other things became of an interest to me such as spending time with my new friends and my boyfriend. I still worked out, but not as rigorously as I had been for the past year. I decided to give the thought of entering a fitness competition and sending my pictures to a magazine a rest.
My focus had shifted and I became more out of shape than I had been in my entire life. I was by no means over weight, but I was used to my 120 pound, toned body and when I looked in the mirror and stepped on the scale and realized that I had put on 10lbs of pure fat I began to worry! I tried to schedule time to work out, but with my new job and planning a wedding, it seemed as if I would never find out if my trip to Orlando would pay off for me.
Three years had passed from the day I felt like God had sent me on a mission to find myself. Three long years of wondering if I would ever have what it would take to be a fitness contender. I say contender because anyone can compete, but I want to be one of the best.
I have competed for a long time, so I have competition running through my blood. I made sure to remind myself that I did not know a whole lot about fitness competitions, only what I had seen on TV and read in magazines. I was not in the kind of shape that I would have liked to be in and my routine was not polished as I would have liked either, but I figured if I didn't start somewhere I probably would never enter a competition.
I went into my first fitness competition this past October and qualified for the 2001 National Fitness America Finals in Las Vegas, NV. Not to shabby for my first competition and not really knowing if I was physically ready for the challenge.