I cried on the way home from my show this weekend. In the passenger seat next to me was a takeout bag from Stoney River filled with a bread basket, 10 ounce steak, crabcake, and the most enormous piece of carrot cake known to man. I was driving over the South River bridge when it all hit me. All of the work, all of the sacrifice, all of the restriction, and today I had won, beating 8 other competitors to achieve a professional status. I thought of my Dad and how proud he probably was as I looked over the water at the late afternoon sky. I thought of the discipline that it took to achieve this status when I stepped on stage earlier that day with complete confidence that I looked the best I ever have – as a 36-year old mom. I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude, and I thank God everyday that I am healthy enough to set out and achieve these big goals.
What does a Pro Card mean? Many people asked me at 24 Hour Fitness when they stopped to congratulate me yesterday at the gym before my spin class. A pro card means that from now on, I will compete against other pros, and if I place top 3 overall, I can win some prize money. It does not mean that I am quitting my job to train full-time or that I will compete more frequently than I already do. Two shows in the fall and two shows in the spring is the perfect schedule for me and my family. It leaves me “off” over the holidays and the summer when we enjoy some downtime and some good food. And Lord knows I love good food.
Show day started off with a breakfast of shrimp and a rice cake. At the end of the week leading up to a show, you slowly start to add carbs back into the body, after depleating it of carbs over the past several weeks to achieve the lean look, when you add them back (along with salt) you pump up the muscles and fill them out. This is a slow and delicate process because if you add too many, then the water from them may spill out from the muscles and make you look watery and bloated on stage. My coach is an expert at this, which is why I hired him over 14 months ago when I started this journey. I got to the venue around 8:45am and the primping began, Hair, nails, and another coat of that infamously dark spray tan. Everything came together beautifully. Reena Willis-Davis did my makeup for this show, and she knocked it out of the park. I wanted browns and pinks, my signature makeup palate. She crushed it, and I loved my look.
My coach was backstage with me for this show to give me some extra pointers and advice and to see first-hand how the carbs and salt were affecting my physique. Hour by hour my body started to change based on how much salt I added to my shrimp and how much honey was on my rice cake. We were both very pleased with the changes. It was time to hit the stage, and after a little shoulder, glute and hamstring pump up with some bands, I was ready. I walked on stage against 8 other women, and I felt amazing. The judges moved me to the #1 marker in the middle where I stayed for all of judging. That did not guarantee that I was first. You don’t find out for sure until finals, but I was confident that I placed well. I saw my friends and family in the audience, hooting and hollering! I was so grateful that they were there: my mom, sisters, and several friends from the gym. The only missing guests were Justin and Gianna. Justin was trying to win his own competition that day against Memphis in his Navy Football away game, but he was able to FaceTime during the judging to see me on stage.
After judging, I relaxed in the audience to spend time with my family. There was a 45-minute break before the 1-minute stage presentations began. After the break, I went back on stage to pose during my chosen song “Millionaire” by Cash Cash, a song that I picked because my personal motto is that I feel like a millionaire each day because I am healthy. It was the least rehearsed t-walk that I had performed out of my 4 career shows. I focused on having fun and being less technical. I think it showed.
When I was backstage for finals, I started to think about my journey over the past 12-weeks. I love this part of my story because the journey was filled with struggle. As I’ve written about before, my off-season weight got to an all-time high for me, and I was very uncomfortable in my skin during the start of prep. Weighing in at 142 pounds, I shed 18 pounds (a lot in water weight) in order to prepare for this show. It would have been much easier to prepare for the day if I had less weight to lose, but that in fact is what made winning even more sweet, the struggle. When my name was called as “the 1st place winner and newest OCB bikini pro,” I was elated. Every 5am wake up call, hour in the gym, hour in the kitchen meal prepping, and ounce of white fish eaten was worth it. All for the accomplishment of this goal, only 1 year into beginning the sport.
But the celebrating is over. As my husband stated in his morning love note to me yesterday, “Amateurs continue to celebrate. Professionals get back to work.” On October 28th, I will be making my pro debut at the largest pro show in the country in Upper Marlboro at the Yorton Cup. The competition will be fierce. So here in my kitchen at 6am today, it’s time to close my computer and get my gym clothes on, because fasted cardio awaits. There’s more white fish to eat and no more bread for 2 more weeks. I’ll train harder this week and next than ever for a chance to place well in this prestigious show. Have a great day, and thanks for your continued support.