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#TBT We All Start Somewhere

September 7, 2017

No matter what your goals are in life...you have to start somewhere. Sometimes a person sets a goal and does some extensive research before making a decision and some of us just "whim" it. The former would have been a much better option for me. :)


When I decided to do a fitness contest for the first time in 2000 I had absolutely no clue what I was doing...but I didn't realize HOW clueless I was. I had seen Fitness America Pageant on ESPN 2 and thought "hmmmmm, I can do that..." --- I really wanted to be on the TV version but I didn't have a video camera for the application process and I was too sheepish to ask to borrow one (remember, we did not have smart phones then) and what would I say anyway? I figured in fitness category I wasn't relying on whatever looks I did or didn't have...but the fact is the sport is very subjective PAGEANT was part of the name and it is mostly your physique that is judged. Plus, I thought I might meet some of the super women in the magazines at the time, Wendy West, Katie Uter, Allison Ethier, Valerie Stephens, so many.


You can win today and get last tomorrow - it really depends on who else shows up that day. I like competing, I workout really hard (I do that anyway) eat really hard (I rarely do that normally!) and work on making my body appear a certain way through posing. I do it for the love of changing and challenging myself.


Being a college student I didn't have a lot of side cash so I tried to find a contest that was nearby and SOON, that failed. I ended up finding one in North Carolina and carpooling with my sister and besties to my first show ever. I really didn't know what I was getting in to...I think I found some general rules but I definitely didn't have the multitude of sources available at my fingertips as we do now (thank you Internet via Google, Facebook Groups, COACHES!!!). I was ridiculously unprepared. My routine was probably ok but other than that my choices on bikini, shoes, physique, lack of TAN, hair and make up were horrible.


The result...a fun road trip where I did qualify for the national contest but ONLY because there were only 5 in my fitness category (a routine and a bikini suit round). Still, I thought I was pretty awesome. That happens when you're 20 years old you rule the world.


My preparation had consisted of trying to make up a routine, trying to practice said routine in basement (being a competitive cheerleader and Cheer!Michigan staff instructor I KNEW the importance of full out practice but couldn't bring myself to fork over any cash to go to gymnasium or have people watching while I tried to make it up). Weirdo. Yeah. Anywho...that decision doesn't work well when you have gymnastics and other acrobatics to work on. 


The support of a team would have been monumental --- but where do I find one? I didn't look. AOL's chat rooms weren't all that helpful and I didn't know what to ask anyway.


I did a lot of random contests from 2000 to 2007, including a trip to California in 2003 for Fitness America Nationals (thank you Mom and Aunt Beth for road tripping with me). OF course I did terribly compared to the 70 other girls, we learned a group routine the night before which was fun. My girlfriend helped me choreograph my routine and I practiced in my basement and our yard (I really prefer to make stuff up as I go and that does NOT work in these shows)...


I would have considered myself a 'dabbler'. I just wanted to do it, I wanted to show up and not suck without ample preparation. That is dumb. It is also expensive.


After I got married I tried NPC. I tried this org after meeting a couple gals at a gym I was teaching group fitness at that also were doing the show.  My family has always been uber supportive, they don't understand why I do these shows but they never discourage and my husband is definitely my biggest fan.



I decided to ditch the fitness round since I wasn't doing adequate preparation and go for Figure. This entailed two suits and some mandatory posing (which I was doing SOOO WRONG but sometimes so absolutely confidently wrong it didn't matter).


I had the absolute fortune to meet a new pro while I was trying to do my own hair and make up and she gave me a few tips as she was helping her clients and told me not to be intimidated just go out and have fun.


Next week (September 15) that awesome human Nicole Wilkins will be competing again to regain her title Ms. Figure Olympia. #drivefor5 



After I met Nicole I thought, if I want to do better I need help so I emailed her for coaching help --- literally no one ever had even offered (I've done a LOT of shows). A lot of women make friends at these contests, I didn't try exactly but I really was sort of out of the loop. Nicole connected me with a few super clients of hers and it made going to through a 12 week prep more fun, show day backstage support and they are still my friends.


First, Nicole helped my awful posing and then I signed up to do a full coaching program with her. I not only finally won a show (it was small but it was a huge confidence builder) I started to LOOK different. I didn't fare well in another large show, at least finally I looked like I didn't wake up and wander onto the stage. I was really not muscular at all which is part of judging - need some muscles that takes eating and heavy lifting...in 2009 or 10 I moved onto the NPC Bikini category so that I could keep on competing.


Nicole coached me through new posing, new contest suit, new nutrition and workouts, etc. I started to notice the changes we were making in my physique (nutrition was hard...I really like chocolate, bread and fruit---and chocolate). I definitely started getting the right spray tan, hair, make up, etc, I usually paid for it. It makes a big difference on stage. 


The main thing is I started...you never know where you'll decide to end up and if you start down a path and it isn't what you thought or wanted....CHANGE DIRECTION and seek help from those who have been there - it can vastly accelerate the learning curve. 


There are resources for everything online these days, sometimes nothing can take the place of a good ole' coach or teacher. I wish more people would use the Internet for at least base research because dang it, there is no reason to pull a Y2KSandy and show up 1000% not prepared (yes people are laughing at us). A good coach can teach you what you need to know to grow to independence. I loved having Nicole as a coach and consider her a friend - she took time to do what so few do these days --- CONNECT.


For me to be competitive in the NPC now four years later and into an age class... I need to grow some major muscles...I may or may not return but now that I've been there I know I can and either way I like to keep it tight and strong.


#justgetstarted #fit4life #fitness #competition #NPC 

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