So in the last few years, I have been going back and forth about signing up for a fitness competition either bikini or figure. Now that I reached my goal of health and weight loss, I would love to challenge myself to get to the next level of fitness and that is to compete among other professionals.
My reason or “excuse” for taking so long to sign up was because I always felt that I just didn’t have enough time. I was working a full time job, working out, spending time with family and friends and most time-consuming of all, was running my own business. If you’re curious to how my mindset has changed, then keep reading and I’ll tell you
I have been following fitness competitions for the last few years, and buying all the figure competitor magazines like Fitness Rx and Women’s Muscle & Fitness. With every flip of the page, the articles and images just kept luring me in more and more. I couldn’t help but want to attempt and achieve what these strong beautiful women have accomplished.
Most people might think that I’m doing this as an ego booster to attract attention, but no. If you know me personally, you will know that I am far from an ego maniac. Everything I do to enhance my body, mind or image, is strictly to feel better for me and only me. At the same token, feeling my best also helps me be the best for others around me. Competing in a figure competition would be such an accomplishment for me as a woman who struggled with weight most of her life.
I was once a size 16, now I’m down to a 4 and why not take it to my ultimate goal and prove to myself that anything can be done with determination and persistence. A few weeks ago, I set out on a business trip to Boston where I met up with one of my favorite girls and bikini models, Kyra Williams aka “The Get in Shape Girl”.
We had such a great night out together catching up on life and discussing her recent bikini fitness competition that she had just competed in a week prior to our meeting. Kyra looked amazing!!!
(Btw guys, don’t get too excited. She didn’t show up to dinner like that! This is a photo from her competition day)
And similar to my story, she too struggled with her weight growing up. By the end of our night, I was convinced and excited that I really wanted to finally sign up and compete.
Kyra is already signed up for another contest in June and asked me to join her, but I felt that was too rushed for me and told her that I would look for another one a few months down the road so I can be best prepared. Kyra was really what I needed to give me that extra push to confirm that I truly wanted to do this.
At the end of the night, I gave Kyra a hug and thanked her for the great time and new found inspiration. When it comes to things I want to accomplish in life, I like to move fast before I lose interest and talk myself out of it. So the next morning, I picked up my cell phone and sent a text to my friend Lenny Graham, a personal trainer that I had met five years ago at an LA Fitness while working out.
Below is the exact conversation via text:
Me: “Good morning Lenny! It’s Ghada. I’m considering a figure or bikini contest and was wondering if u were experienced in that to train me?”
Lenny: I think that’s great Ghada! What a success story you are! I do everything except design a posing routine for you”
Me: That’s perfect! Can we meet this week for a quick talk?
Lenny: How’s Monday 12:30 pm at LA Fitness?
Lenny: See you then! Looking forward to FINALLY training you Ghada!
Now that the ball was in motion, I started to get really excited but naturally nervous since this would my first time doing this. Before I tell you about my meeting with Lenny, let me just give you a briefing on how we met and what attracted me to him.
I had met Lenny over 5 years ago when I signed up at a local LA Fitness gym. The first thing that attracted me about Lenny was his muscular build. Lenny looked to be in his med 40’s, short, stocky and boy was he stacked like a brick house. Of course his physique attracted me, but what mostly impressed me with him as a trainer was his professionalism with his clients, his fun personality, and the plethora of knowledge that he had when it came to fitness and nutrition. (You can read more about Lenny by clicking here). Turned out Lenny was also an educator and nutrition professor at a local college. I loved that he was certified and educated. Whenever I could sneak in a few words with Lenny, he was always there to listen and advise me. Lenny was also kind enough to give me one of his newest nutrition books to read and study from. When I started my business venture, Smallworld Beauty Protein bars, Lenny was also one of the FIRST friends to taste them. Lenny also supported me by purchasing a few boxes here and there to give them to his clients to supplement extra protein to their diet. Aww, I just LOVE Lenny!
Ok, so a week went by and my schedule got a little crazy and we had to push back our meeting, but not by much. Lenny and I both found a mutually fitting time on Thursday May 19th at 5:30 pm at another gym that he worked at in Trooper, PA. Lenny had advised me to keep a food journal for the week prior to meeting so he can see what my diet consisted so he can better guide me on what needs to be added or changed. Our first meeting was just going to be going over the process and training and giving me a few things to do before the second meeting.
When I arrived at the Gym, Lenny was just finishing up with his last client and he waived me over and we gave each other a big hug and kiss hello. Lenny gave me a quick tour of the gym and showed me where we would be training, and then took me towards the front where we sat to start our meeting. Lenny began with complimenting my physique and telling me that so far, I looked great and ready to start. He also went on to tell me that we are going to meet twice a week for training but he would also give me more exercises to do on the other days. Lenny emphasized that we had to time this training perfectly and that he didn’t want me to “peak” way before the contest. Peaking means that my body would be competition ready and if I peak too early, then it would be too hard to maintain before the actual competition date.
Lenny and I looked at his calendar and decided on our second meeting when the training will officially start. The date is the Tuesday after Memorial Day. My homework was to find a 2 piece suit for our before pics and that we will be taking them every two weeks to measure my progress. On that day, Lenny will also take a caliber to measure my body fat percentage so he can better prepare a more customized fitness and nutrition plan for me. After going over everything, Lenny asked to see my food journal.
Here’s what one of my days from my food journal looked like:
7 am Black coffee + non-dairy creamer + 1 sweet n low
8 am ½ cup oatmeal dry + ½ cup egg whites
10:30 am: Protein shake
12:30 pm: Baked flounder + sweet potato medium + 1 cup spinach
3 pm: Smallworld Beauty Vanilla Apple Fudge Bar
5:30 pm: Baked chicken + 1 cup spinach + 1 oz avocado
8 pm : Protein shake
Lenny nodded his head and liked what he was saying but he definitely had some suggestions and changes he wanted me to make. The most important thing for competition diet prep was to eat as natural as possible and eliminate all processed foods, and even protein shakes and bars.
For breakfast, Lenny wanted me to add a whole egg because of the good fats and nutrition found in the incredible egg (folic acid, b vitamins, lecitihin etc) .
When it came to my coffee and beverages, Lenny asked that I start cutting out the sweeteners and stick to as natural as possible. If I needed sweetness to my coffee, then he suggested add 1 tsp of sugar instead because my body will recognize it faster, and in turn will burn fat better.
As far as carbs, Lenny wanted me to add more complex carbs and grains like whole wheat pasta, quinoa, and brown rice to my day and I was allowed to have it with all meals even for dinner. For now, he asked that I stay around 1 cup and then we’ll start reducing it as we start training.
Carbs are my body’s main energy source and I need it to burn fat better and have more energy for intense training. Another thing that Lenny asked I add, was more healthy fats like olive oil, hemp seed and coconut oil to my meals.
“Your body needs fat to burn fat”. In regards to tweeking my diet, that’s a piece of cake for me. I can cut out anything cold turkey with zero withdrawals but Lenny wanted me to do it gradually so I’m enjoying the process.
Last but not least, Lenny felt strongly about reducing any distractions and stressors from my life in order to have a clear head and focus on what we were going to start doing.
He also advised and demanded that I get my rest. “I want you to fit in 7-8 hours of good sleep a night and come in here well rested in the morning and be ready to work!”
My meeting was exactly what I needed to keep my motivation going. After we were done, I had to say good bye and head out because, I had already scheduled to go work out with one of my favorite friends and workout partner Lisa. I couldn’t wait to tell Lisa about my meeting and possibly convince her to join me on this new journey!
My lovely Lisa is also a certified personal trainer and physical Therapist but when it came to fitness competitions, she always advised that we hire an expert to guide us through it. As of right now, Lisa is really considering competing with me, but I will know for sure in the next few weeks.
Yes, I’m truly excited but naturally, I am very nervous too. So if you’re curious to why I’m nervous, here’s the honest truth
- I am human and I tend to doubt myself from time to time.
- I’m sooo shy! And I hate attention, so getting on stage and “owning the stage”, is going to be such a scary challenge lol
- Even though I have lost 12 dress sizes, I still feel like my body is not at its optimum form and physique, but I know that with dedication, persistence, Lisa’s support and Lenny’s guidance that I’ll trust I’m in good shape and on the right track.
- I hope that my body will cooperate, transform and sculpt the way that we plan for it as long as I follow the diet and stay on schedule with training.
- Esthetically, my body is not perfect but has character. I am a shapely, curvy girl with hips and thighs . (picture Beyonce or Kim Kardashian).
- I also have some cellulite dimples and stretch marks that most women can agree they suffer from. Even though I have these flaws, I refuse to let them stop me from competing even though admittedly, they make me a little self-conscious.
- Cost wise. Signing up for fitness competitions is not a cheap event. I have to figure in the cost of Lenny’s training services, grocery shopping, travel and mileage to the gym, fitness wear for the show and even fitness beauty prep like tanning, hair and nails because the judges will also be looking at that.
Like everything else I do in life, I am not going to look too far ahead because that will only intimidate me and cause me to chicken out. Instead, I’m going to try to put in 100% every day and take it one day at a day, and hopefully I’ll end up at the finish line! Since this is my first competition, I will be more than happy to just be competing, but the competitor inside of me of course wants to win a trophy and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to win in life as long as I’m fair and honest while doing it.
If you’ve never competed and considering, I hope you enjoyed my article and that it will inspire you to do the same
If you HAVE competed, I would love to hear your story about your first time competing and any advice that you can throw my way to help me reach my goals. Thank you again for reading my post since this one really means a lot to me.
In the following post to this, I’m going to introduce you to all my favorite mentors who I will be harassing a lot during my new journey! I can’t wait for you to meet them and invite them to your world too!