Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away?
Growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, I was a happy, normal kid who played in the marching band and studied hard. I tried countless sports and activities in middle and high school to keep up with my friends…dance, gymnastics, cheerleading, cross country, you name it! Like most high schoolers, my friends and I would always talk about weight and body image; I never had much self esteem or felt comfortable in my own skin.
A similar theme continued when I went to college and graduate school. Classes were rigorous and my classmates and I used our hour lunch breaks to go to the gym and relieve stress. During this time, I was overtraining to keep up with my friends, eating poorly, and did not have a structured workout program. Not surprisingly, I developed a metatarsal stress fracture. One of my doctors was an IFBB pro who did not fit the “doctor” sterotype! He shared a few of his competing stories and introduced me to the importance of nutrition. Meeting him was such an inspiration to keep lifting at the gym but he emphasized my body has limits too! Thankfully, I fully recovered.
Once I finished graduate school, I moved to Alexandria, VA, where everyone is on some kind of fitness and health routine. Unfortunately, I broke my other foot and had to totally skip the gym for over a month. A few months later, I was feeling strong and healthy again but I decided I needed professional help to improve my fitness. For my 26th birthday, I invested in personal training sessions at the local gym. I felt better and learned more about lifting, but I was not seeing any progress. A mutual friend introduced me to one of my now best friends and bikini coach, Chrissy Dailey with Why Not Fit? I was so happy and excited someone could help me reach my fitness goals! I learned the importance of training and even more importantly, nutrition. While apples and fruit can be part of a healthy diet, she taught me that other macros are essential for keeping my body strong and healthy and away from injuries at the doctor’s office!
A few months later, for the first time in my life, I felt amazing and looked great too. We worked on increasing my strength and cross training with rock climbing which is one of my favorite cardio sessions! A few months into my transformation, my coach and Greg, her fiancé and former competitive bodybuilder, invited me to an NPC show where he was taking photographs of competitors. Seeing the dedication, hard work, and final product of months and years of lifting was such inspiration and ever since that show, I really wanted to compete but I wondered…can I really do this?
Even though I didn’t know much about competitive bodybuilding, I really wanted to try and push my goals. I talked to my coach who has always been a huge support and source of knowledge. We picked OCB’s National Championships on October 28th as my bikini debut! Training was hard; competition prep was one of my hardest but most satisfying personal challenges I have ever overcome physically and mentally. Seeing and experiencing my body and emotions change about fitness and life is an amazing experience. Among many lessons, I’ve learned there is more to life than 6 pack abs but getting those abs taught me how to learn from my mistakes, set goals, and radiate confidence. Even though I didn’t place, the show was a huge personal win for me and seeing myself transform into a bikini competitor was my trophy! I’m excited to use the next few months to grow and cannot wait to get back on stage in 2018! I am so grateful for the support of my family, coach, friends, and coworkers.