My mom introduced me to fitness at age 17 and I immediately fell in love. Working out was the best way to stay in shape, but my lack of knowledge about nutrition didn't lead to desirable results. I was in a good shape, but couldn't get definition in my body or have sexy abs. All I did was cardio and never lifted weights, which held me back.
I was sociable. I went out and drank constantly. Four years ago, I moved to America from Russia and the first two years were the most difficult time in my life. I worked as a bartender 5-6 days per week to make enough money, stopped working out, and didn't get enough sleep, which led to a 27-pound weight gain. I went from 140 to 167 pounds and was in the worse shape of my life; I was miserable, unhappy, and insecure.
It took a year to burn off the 27 pounds and drop 10 more pounds on top of that. It was hard and the process took long. It was difficult not to give up, but I'm incredibly happy with my results.
After losing the weight, I became more dedicated and didn't want to stop there. I wanted to improve my body even more and share my achievements with other people. Six months ago, I decided to enter a bikini competition and my lifestyle changed immediately. I took my exercises to another level and changed my diet, which worked perfectly. I'm in the best shape of my life now and have never been healthier and happier with my results.
Fitness and competing slowly became my lifestyle and I don't plan to change it. I look forward to sharing my experience with others when I become a certified personal trainer and nutritionist. I want to help people who want to get in a great shape and enjoy the process as much as I do.
Seeing my body transformation gives me courage to keep going. The process involves components outside the gym. It's a lifestyle and you have to enjoy it to succeed. When people reach out and ask me advice, it makes me feel that I'm on the right path and doing something that inspires people. Friends say they quit drinking, went to the gym, and changed their life because they were inspired by my results and achievements.
The most fascinating aspect about fitness is that everything is up to you; you make the rules and you are responsible for your success. If you do everything right, you see the results and feel good about yourself, which helps to achieve other goals in your life.
My main motivation is myself. I'm a lazy person by nature and every single day is a battle. My results make me move forward. The better my body looks the more I want to work out. When I'm ready to give up, my boyfriend (Anton Antipov IFBB pro) is always there to give me extra motivation. I appreciate that I have a supportive man by my side to inspire and help me move toward my goals.
I always go online and look for motivational quotes and pictures. I also look at my pictures from previous shows.
I achieved my main goal and won the 2013 Arnold Amateur, which was absolutely amazing. I will look to build on that in the coming months. I also took a job as a personal trainer at Equinox Sports Club recently and I'm excited to share my experience with other people. I'm getting personal trainer and nutritionist certifications in the near future.
I'm going to work on my upper body to develop my shoulders and arms more. I look forward to having abs and my glutes will always get attention. I work them out no less than twice per week (I believe it's the most important part of a woman's body).
My advice is to stay consistent and never give up. Stay positive, move toward your goals, and your hard work will pay off. It's easy to be discouraged and disappointed when you don't place well at competitions, but don't let that happen.
Natalia Melo is an inspiration. I think she has a great physique. She's a hard worker and we have lots in common. She came to America at age 21 and made a great career for herself. I know how hard it is to be in foreign country without your family and friends and I give her credit for that.
Bodybuilding.com is a great source of information for people who strive to learn about nutrition, training, and health. The site helped me at the beginning of my fitness and competition journey. I learned about supplements and contest dieting on the forums. It's amazing to have people with the same interests and goals share their experience and fitness tips. I still get useful information and inspiration from Bodybuilding.com. It's always nice to shop at Bodybuilding.com for supplements because of the great deals, discounts, new products, and advice. Thanks to Bodybuilding.com for doing such a great job.
- "Fly Away" by Lenny Kravitz
- "Eyes" by Kaskade (feat.Mindy Gledhill)
- "I Need A Doctor" by Dr. Dre, Aminem, and Skylar Grey
- "God Gave Me Everything" by Mick Jagger
- "No light, No light" by Florence and the Machine
Photo Credit: John Malinowski and Chris Funning