I truly believe God led me to this sport because I kinda "fell" into it. After going through a couple of life changing events I needed a constructive way to de-stress myself, so I started working out. A random guy in the gym saw my work ethic and suggested, with my body structure, I should compete.
Being curious, I started researching different federations, divisions, and trainers. Finally, I decided to compete in the NPC (which I love) and settled on a trainer- IFBB Pro Rashid "Roc" Shabazz. As a "muscle head," I strongly wanted to compete in figure.
With Roc's assistance I decided to start in the Bikini division and I fell in love with it. Thanks to his wife Gina Shabazz and the support of the RocStarrz my decision has been successful.
I love fitness because of the control you have over constructing your body. Growing up I was always the skinniest, shortest girl in my class. Once I graduated college, I gained a few pounds but in the wrong places. It amazes me how with time and effort I changed my physique from a skinny fat girl to a physique worthy of not only competing, but competing on a national NPC stage. Wow! (Plus, it helps me to better handle stress - I'm a worry wart ...)
My father has motivated my lifestyle my entire life. When he was 32 he was diagnosed with high blood pressure so I grew up on a very low sodium diet. Eleven years later he was diagnosed with Colon Cancer at the age of 43. Externally he looked like the epitome of health; he was slim and relatively active. However, he was a smoker, ate whatever he wanted without gaining much weight, and not really into fitness. On November 8, 2001, at the age of 45 he lost his battle with cancer. This was the catalyst of many changes I undertook in my life. Although it has taken a while for me to gain a complete grasp on this fitness lifestyle his demise has been and still is a major motivator.
My drive to do something different and positive that would encourage my healthy lifestyle. As a Leo, it didn't hurt that most people discouraged me. (Never tell me I can't do something!)
Last year, my job relocated in the middle of my competition season causing me to move which affected my contest prep. As a result, I am now training under IFBB Pro Johnny Stewart and plan to continue on my competition path and become an IFBB Bikini Professionally Sponsored Athlete.
My next competition is the Junior USA Bikini Championship this spring. I want to condition myself to compete against the top competitors in Bikini and inspire women to become more responsible for their health. Currently, I'm in the process of filming a few short videos with a fellow bikini competitor, Ashley Bell. Here we document our fitness journey through the eyes of an average person trying to become/stay healthy. Our motto is, "Fit is the new sexy!" Once we launch our page, you should check us out!
No matter where you are (fitness-wise) consistency is the key. Never defeat yourself by becoming discouraged because others may seem to make faster progress. Becoming physically fit should be looked at as a marathon not a sprint. Good work ethic beats genetics any day!
Kristal Marshall, Justine Munro, India Paulino, Shay Monroe (she helped me with my posing and for that I will forever be grateful), Alicia Harris, Nicole Wilkins Lee, Rashid "Roc" Shabazz, Johnny Stewart, Phil Heath, and Lee Haney.