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My Fitness Competition - Learning From 2nd Place!

Well, I finally did it, with aches and pains in all. I competed in my first fitness competition and am on my way to Nationals in Redondo Beach, California. I got 2nd place and learned a lot from the 1st place winner!

Well, I finally did it, with aches and pains in all. I competed in my first fitness competition and am on my way to Nationals in Redondo Beach, California with over a hundred other talented women competing in the Fitness America Pageant.

Although I poorly planned and prepared for this competition, I had a great experience nonetheless. This August 17, I was to be at my 10-year class reunion in Turlock, Ca. I had really wanted to compete in the FAP but didn't think I was quite ready. I have a great friend who is a talented fitness competitor and has encouraged me to compete since I met her this last spring, Tiffany Ripple Pristelski. I really wanted to have the chance to compete with her at Nationals. I found a regional competition in Folsom, Ca. Perfect! It is only an 8-hour drive away. It too was on August 17, the same night as my long awaited 10-year class reunion and 120 miles away. Well, I took care of them both and made my class reunion by midnight. Just in time to party.

You know when it's time for a class reunion or another big event most people start saying they can't go because they have gained weight or they need to begin working out or they need to tan. I didn't need to worry about any of those things. I already had them down. I felt great! Ten years later I got to be one of those people that changed for the better.

Preparing For The Show

Well, while I looked great for my former classmates and friends, being prepared and looking great onstage in swimwear is another story.

Oh, by the way, did I happen to mention that I decided to compete only two weeks out from the competition. I had to work fast. With only two weeks to prepare, my friend and Washington State cheerleader Ashley Cordial and I choreographed my routine and she mixed my music. My friends and clothing designers Art and Joey Liggins, founders of Risqué Wear, worked several days with me on my routine and swim wear. I came out of it with two fitness outfits, one I wore for prejudging and the other for the main show.

I had one week to choreograph and another to practice. I never got to run through my routine full out due to injuries. Wah, wah, wah! I never gave up. I practiced what I could. My main goal was to complete my routine, entertain and impress the crowd and place as I high as I could in the top five to begin my journey to Nationals.

My preparation for this Regional is surely not one you would look up to me for or even email me to ask what I did to prepare. That's not what this article is about. This is about me and you being aware that if we don't do what it takes to be a first place winner, we won't be. When we chose comfort over a protein bar or water, we pay for it in the end.

My diet was nothing to be excited about. I really had to tweak it the last week just so I felt okay in my swimwear. However, I couldn't magically decrease the size of my butt in those last few days. HELP! I wasn't about to let my self-sabotage keep me from qualifying for Nationals though. The damage had already been done. I had taken accountability, now it's time to perform and move on.


I got to be the lucky one to begin the show. At first I was nervous, but at the same time I thought my music was just the quick paced, high-energy music to excite the crowd. I certainly wowed them. From several audience members I heard, "Wow, you're powerful", "Great music, that was high energy and exciting", "That handstand to split strength move was awesome".

Thankfully I was able to talk to the head judge after the competition. She told me that I need to clean up the routine and the end of my tumbling sequences, I need to move some of my strength moves around so I remain strong throughout the routine and to play to the judges more and look and smile at them when doing so.

I love performing, so being in front of an audience is a huge high, but I must admit, since I was unable to really piece my routine together during practices my number one goal was to complete every skill, draw in the crowd and finish the routine and still breathe. After my performance I ran around backstage, sat down and said to myself, "Katrina, I knew you could do it". Now the judges had a lot to say about what I need to do to become better. I am glad I have had around two months to do just that. This time I don't have a reason not to be clean and strong; and not just wow the crowd but to make the judges putty in my hands.

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I learned so much by watching the first place winner, Tiffany Yee, from Colorado. This was her third competition, and although she had a couple of performances behind her, what makes her good is that she is a perfectionist, and her routine was perfect. I mean it was clean and precise; she has the flexibility of Rousha Kouril and Susie Curry. Actually, she has the beauty and poise of Susie Curry as well. Tiffany looked beautiful in her swimwear and she walked across stage and performed half turns with such confidence and grace. She knew what the judges wanted and he did just that. I admired her from the start.

Tiffany Yee, 1st Place

I say that 2nd place wasn't so bad because the 1st place winner was great. How could I know how much work I have to do had I not competed with someone better to show me was it looks like to be cleaner and more precise; to show me how to walk with grace and poise; to show me how to work the judges and to make me their number one pick. . Every day that I work on my routine or practice my walk in my heels I think of Tiffany.

It is one thing if you end up placing behind someone who you do not think is very good or doesn't have anything to offer; but it is another thing to place behind someone whom you know you can learn from. Second place is not a bad place to be when you know that you have the choice to learn from those on top and practice and prepare like you already are.

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