Though I'd been into exercise for a long time, it wasn't until I became pregnant with my first baby that I decided to try bodybuilding. I wanted my body back after the pregnancy and needed a goal. So I decided to compete in a bikini competition within one year of giving birth. After my daughter, Penelope, was born, I became a stay at home mom, except I didn't really stay home much.
Penelope and I traveled to bodybuilding competitions together. I'd take her jogging in her stroller and to the gym, where she'd watch me lift from her carrier. She was the perfect workout buddy. Six months after Penelope was born, I took third place at the Lenda Murray Bikini Championships in Norfolk, Virginia.
I met my goal, but didn't want the journey to end. The whole process was so fulfilling that I wanted to compete again and again. I went on to compete five more times that year.
We all know that working out is good for us, but let's face it, sometimes working out sucks. It's tough, time consuming, and interferes with other things we'd rather do. However, when I train for bodybuilding competitions I'm excited about the gym every day. I'm motivated to push myself hard and eat healthy because I can't wait to see the results on stage. In short, bodybuilding makes working out fun and helps me commit to a healthy lifestyle.
My husband believes "happy wife, happy life." He doesn't care what I look like in a bikini, but he appreciates what fitness and bodybuilding mean to me. People don't realize how hard it is for him when I'm in training mode. We don't go out to dinner and we have less time together because I'm working out twice daily. Additionally, competitions are expensive and involve a lot of travel. He's supportive anyway. Sometimes people ask him, "Isn't it awesome to have a bikini competitor for a wife?" He laughs because it's not fun at all.
I have personal training clients and blog followers who follow my competitions on Facebook. Knowing that I have a whole audience of people watching pushes me when I feel like giving up. I think, "I better do another set of squats because people will see photos of my butt!"
This year, I'll compete in three competitions for my pro card and blog about my journey. I own a personal training business and would like to open a studio one day.
Hire a coach, not just a personal trainer, but a bodybuilding coach who's an expert in nutrition and exercise. There are a lot of popular weight loss diets and workout programs out there. To be lean, muscular, and truly "trophy-worthy," you need a mentor who understands the art of bodybuilding.
There are a lot of unbelievable fitness competitors out there like Amanda Latona, India Paulino, and Nathalia Melo, but my favorite competitor is Jill Vadala. She's an incredible competitor, mom, wife, and business owner. Competing alone is tough enough, but competing while managing all those responsibilities is simply underrated. When life gets busy and I lose sight of my fitness goals, I think of Jill. I think, "If she can do it, so can I."