I’m home! I’ve traded warm Miami for cold and snowy Chicago. Well, to be fair, it was mostly rainy in Miami the whole time I was there but I’ll take that ANY day over snow!
The last week was a whirlwind! Between training clients, having my first ever fitness photo shoot, packing, traveling, going through peak week, and actually COMPETING – I don’t know how my head didn’t pop off. I have to first take a moment to thank my AMAZING husband for being my rock during this prep and especially during this last week. No matter how many times I wanted to quit or back out – he was by my side pushing me, supporting me, and loving me. I don’t know how I got so lucky, but I’m so glad to have him in my life 🙂
So let’s talk about this past week. I would be 100% lying if I said that last Monday I thought I was going to be ready to compete on Friday. Actually, thinking back to last Monday I was internally a hot mess. I remember feeling bloated and purely exhausted. I kept comparing myself to my photos from around the same time during my last prep in March and thinking, “man, I am not pulling it together.” If you are not a competitor and you just like to follow my blog, you might be thinking I’m crazy – but there’s a huge difference to being in shape and show day ready. A lot of times it can come down to the wire and personally I like to avoid that and would rather feel ready a few days out. So Monday – hot mess. Tuesday? I felt so much better and it was good timing since I was having some fitness photos taken with the great Don Bersano.
It was a full day of shooting with hair, makeup, and numerous outfit changes. If you are looking to get photos taken, I highly recommend Don. He is professional, fun and funny! Ofelia Guevara did my hair and makeup and I picked out all of my clothing. I’m excited to see how everything turns out!!!
After shooting, I rushed home and spent the next few hours packing and sorting my food for Miami. I left Wednesday around 9:30AM to catch my flight and arrived in sunny Florida around 4:30.
Once there, things didn’t slow down one bit. I roomed with my friend and Motiv8n’U Elite teammate, Katy Shlake. Seriously, I could not have found a better friend to room with for my 4 days in Miami. Not only is Katy an amazing competitor, but she’s also a beautiful person inside and out with a long fitness career in front of her. We literally laughed so much that any anxiety or nervous tension I had about competing was instantly wiped away when this chick was around.
I was originally supposed to fly in on Thursday, but since Katy had a room already for Wednesday night I switched my plans last minute and met her instead. Also, some competitors hold water when they fly (not sure if that would have happened to me but when I flew to Europe my ankles swelled up like the Nutty Professor) – so it was a good idea to fly in early to be safe. We spent Wednesday relaxing and picking up groceries we needed for the rest of the week and getting in our final workout before Friday.
Thursday was registration! I was so excited and I felt like I was going to register for school or something. Thankfully, we got to registration right when it opened and moved through the lines quickly. At registration, they take your official height and put you in your official height class that you end up competing in. I was measured at 5’5 3/4, which put me in Bikini E class. There was also some candid photo moments and mingling with other competitors – overall a fun experience. We also moved hotels on Thursday from the Intercontinental to the Dharma Suites – our “home” for the next 4 days. Dharma was great – it had a full kitchen with a stovetop, refrigerator, washer, dryer, etc. which was very helpful for any food we didn’t want to pack and had to actually prepare (extra rice, chicken…). I was also REALLY excited for Thursday night because we got to eat a burger and fries 🙂 The logic behind this is to start filling out your muscles for competition day. We ventured over to Burger and Beer Joint and I have to say they have one of the BEST burgers I’ve ever had and 100% the BEST sweet potato fries I’ve ever had. It was funny because over the next couple of days I would see other competitors checking in on Facebook or Instagram at Burger and Beer too raving about the food, too. SO GOOD!!
Oh yeah, I cannot forget to mention the tan….
Thursday Katy and I (as well as the 900 other competitors that competed last weekend) started the process of getting stage reading by turning our skin into another shade. This is literally my LEAST favorite part of competing. You have to shave almost your whole body and you cant shower after you get it done or put on deodorant. Plus, when you go to bed at night you have to wear long pants and a long shirt so that you don’t leave fingerprint marks or sheet marks on your skin – it’s just hot and uncomfortable. The bonus to this though was that I had my tan done by Liquid Sun Rays and they sprayed us really quick and the color was not orange at all but a nice shade of brown. I actually have had people compliment my “tan” since being back home in Chicago which NEVER happens.
By the time Friday rolled around, I was excited and ready. It was a VERY long day and we didn’t end up going on stage until 9:00 at night with 300 male bodybuilders competing before us and backtracking the day by several hours. After I woke up, I scarfed down another half of a burger, fries, and dried cherries and took off to get spray tanned one more time and get my hair and make up done. IFBB Pro, Yarelis Gonzalez did my hair and makeup and did an AMAZING job. She transformed me from having a weird tanned body with a white face to stage ready.
So to the big question – how did I do? I did not get top call outs or anywhere close. Was I bummed – ehhhh maybe a little but honestly I really wasn’t that irked. NPC Nationals attracts the top bikini competitors in the states. You have to place top 3 to even qualify for the show, so I was HONORED to be amongst such talented competitors. My goal for this first national show was to get experience and to make sure that I liked competing at this level. For all the work that I have put in since April when I qualified, I couldn’t be happier with how things turned out this weekend with my stage presence and the experience that I gained. Also, being around new friends and having an immeasurable amount of fun totally made this weekend worthwhile. Will I do another show? I’m aiming for Jr. Nationals in Chicago this Summer – but we will see! I am excited to just get back in the gym, nourish my body and mind, and just continue living a happy and healthy life.
If you’ve followed my journey thus far – I thank you!! I want you to know that literally anything is possible when it comes to transforming your body and your mind. If you have a goal – all you have to do is just START! In a year when you look back you will be amazed by your own transformation. Two years ago – I had JUST learned about competing, I had not started working out regularly in the gym yet and I was nervous to even mention to my husband or friends that I was thinking of embarking on this journey. I don’t care what your goal is – whether you want to run a marathon, lose weight, compete in a competition – set your goal NOW and just commit!
Here’s to a happy, healthy, and delicious holiday season!