Part 1 – Fitness Atlantic
Most physique competitors will tell you it’s not the actual competition that defines us – but the prep. I’ve now officially completed two preps that have had two very different outcomes – but I can say have equally affected me in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
Both of my preps started out seemingly the same. I poured my heart and soul into both preps – I remained regimented, dedicated, and focused towards my goals regardless of what was going on in the outside world. I said “no” to shots, I said “no” to treats, I weighed every morsel of food that entered my mouth, I woke up at 4:00 AM and went to the gym when I had zero motivation to do so, I did more cardio that I’ve ever done in my entire life. I left it all on the table during both of my preps – and yet.. I can tell you.. they were verrrrrrrry different.
So let’s rewind a bit…
My first prep came at a time when nothing really was going right in my life (besides my relationship of course). Every morning I woke up and headed into an office environment that made me absolutely miserable. I was constantly being overworked and underpaid while taking on both my responsibilities and management responsibilities. My Nonna had just been diagnosed with a variety of cancers, she had fallen in the middle of the night and gotten so scared she had given herself a heart attack and had subsequently had to spend the last of her days in the hospital and then an outpatient care facility. I spent every day at work miserable, I would go to the gym, and then every free second that I got I would sit in traffic over an hour to be at my Nonna’s bedside with her. I was mentally drained.
Prep gave me something positive to focus all of my energy on. A guiding light at the end of the tunnel. In my mind, not only was I going to crush my prep – but you better believe I was going to win my first bikini competition – Unheard of!!!.. But I was going to do it!! April could not have come soon enough! I trusted in the process and I had faith in the journey to get me there. I was never afraid of hard work – in fact I welcomed it. With every pound or centimeter I lost and every minute change I saw happening to my body I jumped for joy! OMG it’s happening!
Prep taught me to be proud of myself and what I had accomplished (no matter how big or small). It gave me a sense of self-confidence I had never had before. I wasn’t focused on creating someone who looked perfect but on someone who was improving herself in ways she could never have imagined. I was now happy with my own imperfections because I had worked so hard to turn them into strengths. Oh, that big booty you see? The one I’ve always had and didn’t fit right into jeans. Well I squatted and deadlifted and made it rounder and plumper and now I get excited when I rip a pair of pants because it means I worked hard. I had come a long way at that point. I had been dedicating myself to lifting at the gym for an entire year – day in and day out – and all of that was what was going to get me to that number 1 spot. Prep changed me. It made me strong – physically, sure – but more so mentally. All of this new found confidence made me become the girl who actually stood up for herself. Who put her foot down when things weren’t right. Who started searching for a new job because the changes she was making in her personal life made her want to make changes in her professional life.
Well.. As some of you know.. I didn’t win my first competition. I didn’t even place. I came in 12th out of 44 girls. But in my mind I came in #1. I wouldn’t have changed a single thing about those 16 weeks. That person up on that stage was a whole new woman and she was hungry to make even more changes in the future.