Name: Valerie Pappas
Location: Bellevue, Washington
Why I decided to transform
I always admired women with muscle, read fitness magazines, and wanted a fitness model body. I dieted in my 20s and occasionally hit the gym but felt uncomfortable in the weight room, so I settled for cardio machines which never delivered the results I wanted.
As my 30s approached, I became more consistent with my diet and health but fell short of any real changes due to weekend eating and drinking binges with friends.
How I accomplished my goals
Coming off a stress-filled year, I decided to redirect my stress toward something positive and get serious about fitness. In August 2012, I was introduced to nutrition and fitness coach Joan Dandeneau, a figure competitor with experience helping people transform.
I decided to chase my dreams and compete in a bikini competition. I started slow and focused on making small changes to my diet. I also started full-body circuits to get active. I stayed at a healthy pace with good work/life balance and ate one cheat meal per week. I removed the emotion associated with comfort food and learned to view food as fuel. This approach helped me sail through the holidays and maintain a 10-pound weight loss.
As the holidays passed and the show approached, I got serious with my workouts and increased the intensity. I ate 5-6 small meals per day and stayed focused on the goal and changes to my body. I spent nine months working hard in the gym to clean up my diet.
In May 2013, I competed at the Emerald Cup and had a great experience. The show was icing on the cake. The real competition was the journey leading up to the show. The preparation in the kitchen and the sacrifices in my personal life were worth it.
There were moments of doubt, but the feeling of accomplishment made every moment of doubt worth it. It was an incredible journey that I plan to repeat in 2014.
What aspect challenged me the most
The moments when the scale didn't move caused mental blocks to pop into my mind that make me feel deprived, but it was worth it. I worked through every challenge that came at me with patience.
My future fitness plans
I'm not sure where this journey will take me. I'm open to possibilities and would love to be part of the fitness world to share my story and tips. I'm training for the 2014 Emerald Cup and hope to inspire others to go after their wildest fitness dreams.
Suggestions for aspiring transformers
Let go of fear that holds you back. Be consistent and create small habits each day. Track your progress, successes, and setbacks, and one day you'll look back and smile. Most importantly, trust the process. There will be ups and downs, but trust in the end goal.
How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals
I cannot stress the power of Bodybuilding.com enough to reach your fitness goals. I've used BodySpace for several years for motivation.
I always got answers from Bodybuilding.com. It's my one-stop shop for all of my fitness needs.
Valerie's Top 5 Gym Tracks
- "Started From The Bottom" by Drake
- "Girl On Fire" by Alicia Keys
- "Work Out" by J Cole
- "Mirrors" by Justin Timberlake
- "Just A Little Bit" by 50 Cent