This is basically going to be Story Time filled with the rough times from my last 3-4 years of competing. Mainly unfortunate instances that occurred that I find comical.
FULL DISCLAIMER: There are a lot of great, happy, amazing experience stories from my preps, but those aren’t as fun as us all laughing at my pain now are they? 😉
Ok, Year 1: 2016 My first prep
Let’s start with who I was dating. (We’ll call him Ross, like from Friends. *eye roll emoji*) I remember this one time, I brought some prepped meals to his house because I was staying over that night. I was eating one of them when he got butthurt and asked if the other was for him. I said no, but he said it wasn’t a big deal….this mutherfucker. ate. my. meal. Yuuuup. Pissed. AND he said he didn’t even like it! The nerve.
He would also ask for bites of my prepped food ALL THE TIME, even if he had just eaten, and then get mad when I tried to explain that 1. No. 2. You’re nOt EvEn GoInG tO LiKe iT. and 3. If you were anything like the real Ross, you would know that JOEY DOESNT SHARE FOOD! (I am Joey in this instance).
Moving on to the night before my first show (The Natural Ohio). My parents and I are already in Cleveland, and my brother, sister, and Ross were going to drive up in the morning.
–Side bar– That morning I almost blacked out in the makeup artist’s chair because I was so dehydrated from my coach at the time cutting my water so severely. Lawl. Good times. –End Side bar–
I get back stage, and the first girl I meet is a super cute, and ripped figure girl. It was her first show too, and we became instant friends. Allison Barret, if you’re reading this, Hiii you were my first backstage buddy! This To this day, I stick to this plan of attack. First girl I meet; BOOM! You’re my new best friend for the whole weekend (or longer if you prefer tehe). I’ve gotten a lot of great friends like this, some of whom I still talk to to this day. It’s always nice to have someone back stage, or even on stage with you if you find a friend in your own class, to cheer you on and look for afterwards. It’s calming, especially to first timers, but even still for veterans. It’s nice to feel like you have that extra support from someone who gets it.
I realize that this seems like all one story, but while, yes, it is, I’m trying to fit in tiny memories in order of how they happened, so trust me when I say, it gets juicier.
So, I step on stage for the first time (April), and get first callouts in both open and novice! My fire is lit with 1000 suns, I become infatuated with this sport, yada yada yada. OK! Now for the good part. I step off stage and find my family and friends (Hi Kaylyn and Morgan!), and low and behold, my boyfriend is not among them. I call him to see where he is, and he tells me that he just woke up. My heart dropped. He told me he would be here, and knew how hard I had been working for this day, and yet, *Rachel voice* “yOu FeLL AsLEEP?!” (PLEASE let there be FRIENDS fans reading this). So he says something like, “I woke up late and knew I wouldn’t make it in time, so I just went back to sleep. But good job so proud of you.” He didn’t come to finals either, even though if he would have left when he woke up he would have 100% been there way before finals started. (it was only a 4 hour drive from Cincinnati to Cleveland). I didn’t talk to him until I came home that weekend- with a 1st and 2nd place trophies in hand by the way (ayyyy toot toot!). He tells me he didn’t come because he forgot he was helping his dad move stuff in his house…like ooook that’s a completely different story than falling asleep. Sounds fake, but ok.
Fast forward to July, I’m still with Ross (I don’t know why either, man. I was dumb), but things are bad. He’s distant, not answering for days at a time, stressing me tf out, and I’m crying a lot. Peak week rolls around, and he asks me to come over. This kid made me drive 20 minutes to his place to break up with me during my peak week, AND a week before my birthday. LAWWWLLL! *Announcer voice* But wait, there’s more! Two days later, I break my fucking toe. The toe that needs to be squished in heels in less than 4 days. Nice.
So there I am, Stumpy McGee; just got dumped before my birthday, about to step on stage for the second time in my life. And wouldn’t ya know it? I won the fucking Overall and said fuck you to my ex and my cortisol levels. That was an amazing day. I went on to compete two more times that year with a 3rd and a 1st place win to end the season.
BUT WAIT…There’s more…So after I got dumped because he said the ol’ “I just need to focus on myself right now, and we fight too much,” I found out that only One of those was true. He literally started dating a mother of 4 a month later.
And that was what I dealt with in my first season as a bikini competitor.
Year 2: 2017 My First National Show
This prep was probably my worst out of the 3.5 that I’ve had. Not in terms of overall experience, but from the overall package I brought to the stage.
This one will be short and sweet because so was my season this year.
I did one warm up show in San Diego (California Night of Champions Muscle Contest). It was my first show since moving across country to California. I got 5th in Novice, but no 1st call outs in Open. This was the first time I had not gotten first call outs, let alone something below top 3. So that was my wake up call. I’ve never thought I would just walk in and win, but it takes losing sometimes to humble you. It takes losing to light a fire under your ass and work harder.
So that’s what I did. My next show was 6 weeks from then; Junior Nationals. This would be my first National Show. I did everything I could to bring a better physique to that stage. Show day came. I got last call outs. My posing was not as fluid as I practiced 1000x, my physique did not look how it did just a few days before, and I was crushed.
Rewind just 9 days into the past. I had just finished my workout when I get a text from my roommate, saying that we all had to be out of our place by July 1st because the owner was selling. (The owner was her best friend’s brother who was letting us rent their condo). She KNEW that I wasn’t going to be back until the end of July/beginning of August because I was going to stay with my family after Jr. Nats to visit for awhile. We had literally talked about it weeks before, and even a few days before because we were working out how I was still going to send her my rent. So this meant that FOR ME ONLY, I had 3 days to move everything I own, furniture included, out of my place of residency into God knows where, because my flight to Chicago was in 4 days. Keep in mind that I had only lived in California for about 5 months, so I only knew a handful of people in this state, let alone close enough to help me move. So to put it in simplest terms: I was stressin y’ all.
Here’s how those next 3 days went. I got up every morning like normal, and went to the gym by 8am. Then went to work from 11-3 out in Laguna, which is about 45 minutes away from me in La Mirada, and then came home to pack as much of my life up as possible. My GM at my job, Erica, just so happened to be Payton’s mom (we were in the “talking” stage at the time, but he was already away for baseball at this point so he was of no help), and she so graciously let me use her shed as a storage unit. My best friend from college (hi Rato, I miss you!), who lived in Whittier, came down with his truck, and helped me move my furniture and stuff back and forth to her house in Huntington. Bless his soul, I paid him with all of the food I had in my fridge. So we moved every single item out of my room, and everything that was mine in the cabinets, fridge, trash, whatever, I was not leaving anything for those awful people. (Which, funny story, that fridge they were using was actually Erica’s old fridge she let us use when the fridge was broken when I first moved in. But that’s another story all together.) I left them the freaking fridge but I really wanted to be petty and take it. Also, fun fact: I did not see or hear from my roommate one time during those 3 days. I saw our guy roommate at night when he would get back from the Police Academy, but he was a piece of shit too, so no help there.
I got to the gym, I did my cardio, I hit my macros, and I successfully moved everything I own into a shed in another city, all in 3 days. Erica took me and Meeko to the airport the following morning — ahh yes. Did I mention I was flying with my cat in this story? So now that all of the roomie bullshit was over (which let me add that they moved in another one of their friends IMMEDIATLY after I left, and no one moved out in July. Good times, fam), I had to deal with getting Meeks across country with me. He pooped in his crate as soon as we got to the airport, and then scratched the shit out of throat when I had to take him out at security, then he yowled and cried for 4.5 hours until we landed. So add that to the gallons of cortisol rising and flowing through my body at this time.
Despite me thinking that I was FiNe, and thinking I was good to go since all the stressors were behind me, once I landed, the damage had already been done to my body. And although I did improve my physique in a big way in those 6 weeks, I was rightfully placed in last call outs with a stressed out looking physique and mediocre posing.
The above left picture is my 6 week back pose comparisons. The right is a few stage shots from Jr. Nats. A week later, I decided to back out of NPC Universe which was in another week, even though I had already paid for the hotel and flight. While I didn’t compete, I still went, and I’m sooo glad I did. I met one of my best friends through my other best friend (Hi Alex Mazzurco and Sarah Manns), met my future coach (Hi Adam), and had an absolute blast being a stage mom that weekend. My friends at Glazed provided me with 2 dozen doughnuts, which I kept in my room. I then opened my room up to any and all competitors wanting some air conditioning, some hangs and some chills, or some sweets. And that’s how I dragged Alex into being my friend. I literally picked her up off the floor downstairs and asked her to come to my room to relax (in the least creepiest way possible). It was awesome and in no way part of the unfortunate story time, but a good one nonetheless.
This was the physique I would have brought to the NPC Universe stage if I had decided to prep one more week. Recognize that suit? Yup, I designed it for this show specifically, and then had to wait a whole year to wear it. Oops.
Year 3: 2018 4 Shows in 5 Weeks
If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know about this prep because its all documented right here. For those of you who are new, I started this blog when I started last year’s prep. I documented everything for that season and more, so feel free to browse the numerous updates and topics I’ve laid out before you. 😉
Regardless of if you’ve been reading since last year or not, I’m sure this will be a fun reminder. Here we go.
I’ll start with the fact that I had 4 jobs at one point in time during this prep, and then I had none.
Like I mentioned above, I worked for Erica in Laguna. I was a host, and had been working there for almost a year. I also got a job at my gym as a personal trainer back in December (2017). I wanted to leave the gym job, so I had been looking into other options so that I could eventually just have one job and not have to drive to Laguna anymore either. (I count my online business as 1 job. But that is a constant here.) So I have 3 jobs right now. So this exact time last year (2018), I got an opportunity to bartend at a bar that was a family friend of Payton’s. They said they would train me and everything and that I could come in to start right away. I began my training, and the owner made it clear that if I wanted this job, I had to leave my other two. So, I put in my two weeks at the restaurant and left my gym job, then went full force into training to be a bartender. I was very excited about this! But just as fast as it started, it all ended even quicker.
I think I trained for 4 days, for a total of maybe 11 hours. Ironically, again during my workout, and again through a text message, I got some bad news. I was getting fired because he said that I wasn’t taking the job seriously, and that they needed someone ready by April (which was that weekend). He also threw in there that he “thought he made himself perfectly clear that there should not be any outside jobs or hobbies from this job.” He was referencing my bodybuilding, which I had cleared with him before I took the job, in which case, he had said that it wouldn’t be an issue. Ok.
So, to recap. I quit both my jobs because he told me I had to. Then he told me I wasn’t taking it seriously? I trained for 4 days, when he said he would give me 6 weeks of training (personally, I think I would have been ready by the beginning of that next week. It was going well in my opinion, but what do I know?). And so I went from once having 4 jobs, to having none. Luckily, Erica let me keep my job at the restaurant, and it was an easy transition considering I hadn’t even finished my last 2 weeks. I chose not to go back to the gym, but that was a roller coaster right?!
Even though all that shit happened, and then I got swindled into making less money from leaving my other job anyways, I was actually very chill about it all. It didn’t really bother me because it was a major blessing in disguise. 1. I did not want to work for someone like that guy. 2. I got to keep my host job, and still got out of the gym position I didn’t want anymore. And 3. Because I didn’t have any strict job responsibilities, I decided that I was going to spend the majority of the summer with my parents in Cincinnati once my shows rolled around.. I also planned to go visit Payton in Illinois while he’s out there playing ball. So I worked in Laguna until I flew out to Ohio for my first show of the season, and stayed out there until the end of Payton’s season in September.
Long story short about my actual shows: I was going after my National Qualification so that I could compete at Junior Nationals again, but at my first show, I fell short by one place. Aaaaand again the next weekend. So, I didn’t get my NQ in time for Jr. Nats, but I had one more shot to get it in time for NPC Universe. So I did 3 peak weeks back to back to back, and finally got that top 2 spot for my NQ. Then WEEEE! A one week “break” before another peak week into NPC Universe where I broke top 15! So not an ideal schedule of competing that many times in such a short period of time, but hey, racked up 3 first call outs, and didn’t get last call outs at my 2nd National Show! And I improved each show, which is huge in spite of being in peak week for almost a month straight. I was so NOT stressed about anything in that time, it was all just me having fun to be honest. If I got my NQ cool, if not, I had a good season and a great summer. I wanted my Pro Card, but I knew that year wasn’t it. This year however… 😉
I’ve come into my own as a very care free person in the last few years. Even when I come across very stressful situations in life, as I often do, they don’t seem to phase me like they used to. Before I moved to California, I worried and stressed about a lot of different things. Even as a kid I was a huge worry wart. But I’ve realized that none of this stuff matters. I will always find a way to make things work, and if I can’t, I have a great support system to help me figure it out.
Now as for this season:
Year 4: 2019 Pro Card Hungry
I’ve been in prep for 15 weeks, and have 11 to go before my first show of the season, and 13 until I finally step on the Jr. National stage again. The only unfortunate story I can think of at this time is the fact that I’ve been unemployed since November. So all of this prep, I have only been making money from my online business, and no other job. I have been doing fine, but with Payton about to leave for 6 months for baseball season yet again, I want to make sure that I’ve got a more steady income for Hula’s sake.
Also, funny story: I DID get a job back in February at UFC Gym, and the pay was going to be really good, but I quit almost immediately because I don’t want to work in the gym setting anymore. I knew that a long time ago when I left my other gym job, and the only reason I took this one was for the money out of necessity. I hated the thought of spending all my time doing something I know I was going to be unhappy and ACTUALLY stressed about. I hate working in sales, and being the annoying trainer at the gym, trying to sell you on training in the middle of your workout is my least favorite part of the corporate gym setting. It was a no from me, so I moved on, and although I was being quite picky for someone who’s been unemployed for 4 months, it paid off. I now have a job I genuinely enjoy, and one that can benefit me in multiple ways, all because I stayed patient and persistent.
Not too many outstanding stories from this year (so far), so that’s good! But there’s still a lot of time left. 😉 Tune in for more updates here, and on my Instagram @carafit3
Ps: as far as my suit this year; GO GREEN! 😉