My journey to get stage ready and compete in a figure competition this spring has officially started.  I am targeting mid-April for the competition based on past schedules that I have seen for 2016 and in talking with my coach, Emily Neis.

During the past three weeks, the most challenging aspects were adjusting my body/system to this new way of eating- small meals every 3-4 hours.  I eat six small meals and drink at least one gallon of water daily plus take a Glutamine supplement with meal 2.  Just to topline what Glutamine is, it is a supplement that prevents catabolism which means losing mass, density, strength and definition. Therefore Glutamine promotes muscle growth.

The nutrition plan is precisely and scientifically crafted by Emily and will change every three weeks. Below is the total daily calories and macros (carbs, protein, fats) from the first three weeks.

Calories: 1439
Protein: 168g 46%
Carbs: 84g 23%
Fats: 51g 31%

My protein has come from eating a lot of egg whites, tuna, and a little chicken (2 oz), fats have come primarily from avocado and almonds, and carbs primarily from red potato and a little roasted red pepper. I only had one protein shake daily just before bed.

Another big adjustment is increased cardio and weights.  While I teach group fitness classes (in addition to my full time job in marketing) ranging from Spinning, weight/cardio/core, and Tabata interval formats, I am definitely raising the bar on my fitness.  The past three weeks, my cardio workouts varied from treadmill, bike and stair mill.  The cardio workouts, especially the stair mill have pushed me and my endurance is being tested. Currently, I struggle with the stair mill, but as my endurance improves I’ll be able to achieve the levels my coach is requesting.  During my weight workouts, I push myself to lift heavier each set and definitely week to week because I think (and know) that somewhere someone is lifting heavier than me.

As I journey to the stage, every 3 weeks I will take pictures tracking my progress.  Below are pictures 27 weeks out (or 3 weeks into the nutrition/workout plan).

10.30 Image 2

3 week progress
3 week progress


I don’t think there has been a bigger cheerleader in my fitness transformation journey than my fiancee, John.  The past 7 months I have seen great progress, transformation in my body and most importantly learned so much.  Without John’s support, encouragement, and love my previous journey would not have been so magical and impactful.

On or around September 15, John asked me, “Why don’t you get on stage?  You can compete.”  I didn’t know anything about getting on stage and competing, but I was and am willing to raise the bar on my fitness.

Together we did a little research, and I learned that there are different types of competitions such as body building, bikini, fitness, and figure.  To provide context behind what distinguishes the different competitions, I am providing information below from what I learned.

The expectations for a body building competition are having the most extreme tight and defined muscular look with a focus on V taper (wide shoulder, defined deltoid caps, tiny waist, lean legs and round glutes (booty).  In addition, the focus is on the most extreme muscle development with as much muscular striations as possible. Contestants in this division will perform a posing routine. Whereas in a bikini competition, the competitor will possess an overall toned, defined, athletic look with a focus on great glutes, legs and abs.  In a bikini competition, there is a modest amount of muscle with no striations.  Competitors in a bikini competition will display very outgoing, even sexy posing that shows personality.   A fitness competition is similar to the physique requirements as a figure competition (see below) but a fitness competition includes a 2 minute routine that incorporates cardiovascular endurance, strength and flexibility.

I will be competing in a figure competition which is defined as having a tight, defined look with a focus on V taper with wide shoulder, defined deltoid caps, tiny waist, lean legs and round glutes.  In a figure competition, there is a moderate amount of muscle with a small amount of striations.  Posing in a figure competition involves mandatory poses to show the V taper.

I also learned that there are non-natural (performance enhancers including steroids and human growth) and natural (no performance enhancers including steroids and human growth) shows/competitions. In natural competitions, the organizers will be performing random drug tests and polygraphs to help insure the competitors are competing on an even playing field.

I am targeting a natural figure competition in April 2017.   The schedules will be released in December.

Through networking, I found a coach, Emily Neis, who has competed internationally across multiple women’s divisions — Fitness, Figure and Bikini. Emily started competing in Figure and Fitness in 2005 and turned IFBB Pro in 2009.  Working with Emily, I will receive nutrition plans, workouts, help with posing and more.  I know that Emily’s personal experience in competing and professional expertise as a coach will be invaluable to me.

The road to the stage is a journey of epic proportions – 7 months of dedication and commitment.  Rigid eating, no alcohol, and intense workouts.  I will admit I am nervous as this is completely new frontier. I am unsure of what the end result will be, but I can say with confidence that I will get on stage, learn a lot along the way, and I know that I have the support system to be successful.

Stay tuned as I hope you join me on this journey.