How Competing in Fitness Competitions Helped Me Become a New Mom
After my last fitness competition in May 2012, I threw out my heels. I thought, “I’m f&%$ng over it! I’m absolutely exhausted.” I needed a break. A long, possibly permanent break, because I had poured way too much time and energy into something that was supposed to be a fun challenge. A hobby.
When I first started competing back in 2008, I was excited to see how my body would change and it was motivation to lose some of the weight I gained and lost and gained and lost in college. I was sort of embarrassed after my first show because I came in fourth… out of four, lol. And I later learned that the blue suit I wore was actually a figure suit, which was considered a different division than the bikini category I competed in that day. Buuut if I look on the bright side of things, at least I got up on that stage and followed through with my goal.
Here are some progress pictures I had hubby Dave take before I started:
After my first local competition:
After I fumbled my way through that show training with the help of a few friends (thank you, Rebecca and Charles!), I signed up for a competition prep program and decided to train for a national show, the Fitness America Pageant. Being the lovely overachiever that I am, I wanted to compete in two categories: bikini and fitness, which included a gymnastics/strength routine. I felt more polished on stage, trained hard, but still received feedback that my lower body was not conditioned enough. I don’t remember my placing, but it was in the bottom 10 out of 30+ women, lol. (Images below thanks to Gordon J. Smith)
At this point, the competitor way of life really took root and I was in a rhythm with my grocery shopping, food prep, supplements and workouts. I decided why not take it up a notch and get a different coach that took things as seriously as I did? (Some videos on THAT show prep here.) I was backed by a sponsor, Gifted Earth Originals protein powder (love you guys!), which made it possible for me to receive the top notch training, bikini, costumes, a gorgeous gown and other tools I felt I needed to make myself the best I could be. The only problem was that I was willing to do whatever it took to push myself to the next level. After a few months of intense training, my body simply stopped responding. It was a combination of too much working out, too little carbs and just too damn much of a good thing. And even though I placed fourth (and not out of 4 girls this time!), I was just. so. tired.
I had enough. I couldn’t keep up with 4 hours in the gym every day (I wish I were kidding) and feeling guilty for eating a banana. I mean, really? If that was what it took to be a fitness model and a competitor, no thank you. I had to admit defeat.
Fast forward to one kiddo and another pregnancy later (currently with number two!), I have no regrets. I strongly feel that whatever path I’ve taken has taught me great lessons that I get to pass on and share with other women. These experiences gave me the drive to figure out a better way, the IgniteGirls way, to get into great shape without being a crazy person while still having a bowl of ice cream and a glass of wine. Those years also taught me how to plan, plan, plan and to think three steps ahead because it took commitment and dedication to stay organized. As a mom, this has been one of the most important ways that training prepared me because I never leave the house empty-handed. Most days, I’m juggling a protein shake in one hand and a diaper bag in the other. And if I had to get up at the crack ass of dawn to get in my workout, than that’s what I would, and still, do. It means I don’t get to miss out on precious quality family time by getting in my workout early in the day. I also learned how to stay focused on a goal without losing my shit when Plan A falls through, because as a mom it seems that that happens, like, all the time.
I don’t eat out of tupperware anymore (thankfully), but, my God, I love this amazing fit lifestyle. I get to teach you how to love you for where you are right now, how to have fun again in the gym and eat a freakin’ cupcake guilt-free. I’ve totally been there and back and there again. Life is too short to be taken so seriously. If you find me on the stage again, it will be from a completely different perspective AND I’ll be having a lot more fun, a lot more carbs and a lot less (or no) cardio. 😉
If you want to start training with me to lose weight and join over 40+ other members, check out the IgniteGirls+ training program. Only 4 workouts per week! I’ll tell you exactly what to do in the gym.