I get asked this question a lot lately. Everyone is wondering when my next show is, what I am prepping for or if I am prepping, etc. And honestly… I don’t know if I will ever compete again and here is why:
When I started my fitness journey I competed for a few reasons. In the beginning I competes because it gave me something to be competitive at and I was missing that from my years of playing sports through high school. I have always been competitive by nature and was looking for something to fulfill this for me after I graduated high school. Then, after winning the overall at my first show, my mindset was… well, I guess I am good at this so why not pursue it?
From there I competed for a few different reasons. I liked the mental and physical push it gave me and the constant of a goal in my life. I also loved the way I felt when I was in competition shape… but who wouldn’t?
After my first show however, I switched coaches and started to have some resentment towards competing. From 2011-2012 I wasn’t placing quite as well as I would have liked and I wasn’t having as much fun with competing as I did before and honestly questioned it many times along the way. This was a direct reflection of my happiness overall and also the constraints this new coach put me under. My body wasn’t changing as quickly and I was feeling like it was getting harder and harder (which it was, as I broke down my metabolism from restriction and didn’t even realize I was doing it under my coaches new plans).
After going through a publicly embarrassing breakup with my ex-fiance/coach/team I resented competing. I hated the sport, I hated what it had done to me and my health. I hated the industry and the shadiness I felt from it. I wanted nothing to do with competing and thought I would be done with it all. At this point I was already endorsed with Max Muscle though and felt I had built somewhat of a name for myself in the industry. Either way, I took a step back that winter and really thought about what I wanted to do.
Christmas Day I remember doing cardio on the stepmill at my brothers gym. I was angry at the circumstances that I was in that winter.. probably one of the lowest points of my life to be honest. Family struggles, insecurities of weight gain, broken friendships and trust issues, I was a royal mess. I spent Christmas Day alone and thats the same day I made a very important decision. As I was on the stepmill I thought to myself.. who else works out for 45 minutes on the rolling stairs on Christmas Day? Why am I doing this? And I realized what working out had done for me. It gave me strength back. Made me feel good again. It gave me something nobody could take away from me. Made me feel empowered. I decided that day I wasn’t seeing things clearly for a long time. My ex made me feel as if I needed him for competing. I needed him for my success in the industry. I needed him for the team we created. Once I really started thinking about it.. I realized this was his sick way of making me feel dependent and really it was the other way around. He built his business of my success. He saw something in me he knew he could capitalize on. And I needed to see that in myself. I knew I had a marketable look. I knew I had the genetics and mental ability to bring a top level physique. I knew I had the education to market myself. I just had to believe in myself.
2013 I decided would be my best year yet. I was back on the grind with competing but I was going to take the control in my own hands. I was going to prep myself with the accountability help of my brother. But I was going to do it for different reasons. You see, I knew there was no money or financial gains in competing itself. Hell most competitors spend 100x what they will ever make back with shows. As a finance major, I knew if I wanted to “make it” in this industry I needed to look at competing as an outlet to get somewhere. To set myself apart and leverage my exposure. I told myself 2013 I would put everything I could into shows that year, work my ass off, market myself as much as possible, hopefully open a few doors along the way and then take a step back from the competition world. As I mentioned, there is no money in competing. Where there is money and financial gains is through sponsorships, endorsements, fitness modeling, promotional and print work, etc. But to get into that line of work I knew I had to set myself apart from the rest.
My first show of 2013 was The Emerald Cup which is the largest regional show in the nation. This would be my warm up show. For some reason I just knew I was going to win this show. I cant explain it but I envisioned it and it happened. My second show would be nationals in Chicago (where I met my husband ☺). Prepping myself for Nationals I did whatever it took to get my physique to my full potential. I lived competing. I knew I wasn’t healthy. I knew I was being an extremist. I didn’t have a social life. I was single. I was on a mission for one thing and that was to brand myself and make a name for myself in the industry. You could say I had tunnel vision. I went to Jr. Nationals last year and took 2nd, barely missing my pro card. This put me on the top rankings though and really got my name out there as a top contender for a pro card. I was also informed that the girl who beat me had a leg up as she was dating an IFBB Pro bodybuilder and there may have been some politics involved. This pissed me off, but there was nothing I could have done about it. I am not taking anything away from her, however, as I do believe she beat me in the glute department.
Up to this point I had landed a few additional sponsors and my social media sites were growing. I felt things were “in the works” as far as what my main objective utilizing competing had been. But I also had the mindset that I NEEDED a pro card for my success. I had three weeks until Team Universe in NJ and knew it would be extremely hard to hold the conditioning and level of leanness I had achieved for Jrs. But I decided I would go for it because #missionprocard. I put every single ounce of my effort into prepping for that show. It was honestly the most brutal thing I had ever put myself through but in my head it was a means to an end. I had no desire to compete after 2013 and I knew that. But I wanted to expose myself in the industry enough to pursuit other routes, such as fitness modeling and sponsorships to live a more balanced life outside of competing but still relevant in the industry. I went to TeamU with the best physique I have EVER brought. I was by far the leanest I had ever been, the most conditioned, etc. I thought it would be a cake walk. I was ranked for a top placing on the NPC bikini rankings. People had started “talking” about me.. I guess.
TeamU was a complete disappointment. If you think politics in the NPC are bad.. they are THE WORST on the East Coast. Now I am not trying to take anything away from the girls who won at these shows. All I am saying is that these politics exist and they aren’t fair.. but that is just how the world works. I was second callout. I was mind blown. I was pissed. I felt I didn’t even get looked at. I had no shot. So I spent the next two days eating my feelings and being absolutely mind fucked to say the least on what just happened. On the plane ride home I got to thinking about it though… and I told myself… you know, you really don’t need a pro card. If you cant beat politics, find a way around them. And I changed my mindset. I knew I had a talent to market myself and had made enough connections in the industry to really get to where I was going without my card. I just had to try.
Fast forward to today. I haven’t competed since that show in July of 2013. Since that time though I have acquired 10 additional sponsors, shot for the top fitness magazines including Oxygen and Ironman, landed a great endorsement deal, and found balance in my life. I thankfully met Brandan who obviously only helped in pushing my success as he himself is great at marketing.
So do I plan to compete anymore? The answer is no. I have no desire to compete. I don’t believe I need to compete to be relevant, to have goals, to be successful. Look at Jamie Eason.. one of the most successful fitness icons in the industry. I think she did two… maybe three shows? Look at Lori Harder, she hasn’t competed in a few years and her success was outside of the NPC. Look at Brandan.. one of the top athletes in the industry and admired by so many for his physique. You don’t need to compete to be successful. And to be honest, I feel living a balanced, more realistic life outside of shows is so much more inspiring that being able to get in shape for a show only to rebound 2 months later.
So my future plans at this point are this… I will continue to set goals for myself. To stay in shape because I love it and I like to feel good. I will l continue to build my business with my husband. To focus on having a family soon. To stay relevant through promoting balance. I will continue to love life outside of competing and pursuit other options that allow me to maintain a lean physique without the extremes. Who knows.. maybe down the road after few babies I will decide to suit up again. But for the meantime all I have to say is #fuckaprocard.