I wanted to play sports in high school, but I was too shy. I went to the gym occasionally with friends, but didn't know what I was doing and the machines intimidated me. In September 2010, my stepdad, to whom I was close, passed away. I felt emotions I've never felt before and didn't know how to cope with it. I felt myself changing for the worse and needed a way to channel my frustrations and anger in a positive way.
In 2011, at age 28, I joined a gym and hired a trainer. I lacked motivation, so one day my trainer suggested I look into competitions. I had no idea what he was talking about. At first, I laughed it off and considered it a compliment, but the more he talked about it, the more I was curious. I did some research online and it piqued my interest.
Through an acquaintance, I met my current trainer, Steve Payne of House of Payne Personal Training. I originally came to him for posing practice, but after picking his brain, I decided to hire him as my trainer. Through him, I learned about proper form, the different types of machines, and the meaning behind eating "clean."
I always liked the look of the figure competitors, so we trained as hard as we could. But I realized you have to crawl before you can walk. This was only my first year of weight training and I was way too hard on myself. I competed for the first time in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the NPC open figure class and placed fourth. Two weeks later, I did my second NPC show in Atlanta, Georgia, and placed third.
The shows made me realize how much I love competing. I continue to hard work in the gym and I'm ready to sign up for my next competition. I found something that holds me accountable and keeps me motivated.
Staying focused and dedicated to training isn't easy on the social life. While my friends are out at restaurants and clubs, I'm at home prepping my meals for the next day or waiting to eat, but it's worth it. I know it's a process to reach my goals. Along the way, I discovered the journey is rewarding.
Gym time is my time to do something good for myself. It's my way of de-stressing and it's nice to step out of reality and just be in the zone. Sometimes in life, you have no control over certain things, but in the gym results are based on how much effort you put in.
Training for a competition and the feeling of being on stage to show off your hard work is amazing. Every day is a challenge; whether it's motivation, diet, or strength. Being on stage is a way of celebrating your victory.
My motivation comes from my desire to live healthy and be proud of what I see in the mirror. At age 30, I look my best ever. I also look to others for motivation. I love reading articles on the pros to see how they got started on their journey. Competitions definitely motivate me to live a healthy lifestyle, but it's more than just training for these competitions. It's about changing your lifestyle. My trainer provides great support, but I motivate myself. I learned that you can't do this for anybody but yourself.
We all lack motivation and inspiration sometimes. When I'm stuck in a rut, I try to remind myself why I got into this lifestyle in the first place. I look for others to inspire me, read articles on Bodybuilding.com, and talk to people who are passionate about the industry. I look at the pro bikini and figure girls to remind me of the physique I strive for. I always try to surround myself with positive people.
As of now, I have yet to find my place in the bodybuilding world. I will compete in the bikini division this year and hope to become an IFBB pro. It's my dream to travel the world and compete alongside the pros.
Find ways to stay positive and motivated. Never doubt your own ability or compare yourself to others. Every day is a learning opportunity. The longer you do it, the more you will learn what works.
I'm a big fan of Larissa Reis and Nicole Wilkins. I follow them on Facebook and they're my daily reminder to workout hard if I want muscles. Nicole Wilkins always posts inspirational thoughts and I absolutely love it.
I'm constantly on Bodybuilding.com. I buy my supplements from the site and get tips on how to prep healthy meals and different workouts. It's my main source of encouragement and is a place to meet others who are working toward the same goal.
- "In For The Kill" La Roux (Skrillex Remix)
- "Who's That Chick" David Guetta (Feat. Rihanna)
- "This Kiss" by Carly Rae Jepson
- "Va Va Voom" by Nikki Minaj
- "I'm In The House" by Steve Aoki
2012 NPC Knox Classic - Open Figure - 4th Place
2012 NPC Coastal USA - Figure Class F - 3rd Place
- To Steve Payne of House of Payne for mentoring and guiding me through the journey.
- To Meeky Im for her love, patience, and support.
- To Ken Wuest for always motivating me.
- Anderson Smith Photography for the awesome photos.