In my early twenties I was always sick. I caught every cold and flu that went around, and I was always tired. My poor eating habits over the years was catching up to me and putting on more and more fat on my small frame. I felt depressed and miserable everyday, and I would turn to food for comfort. My relationship at the time was dragging me down and caused a lot of stress in my young age, which made things much worse. I would always think to myself, “why am I putting up with this life?”
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. – Thomas A. Edison
The light bulb finally turned on in my head the day I looked at a picture of myself in a tiny yellow bikini, holding a beer can. That very moment I thought, “What am I doing to myself? I am much better than this and need to live a better life!” I couldn’t believe I allowed myself to become so unhealthy and so unhappy. When you feel unhappy, life is not good anymore. When you are unhappy, it’s time to change things.
I decided, while I stood there holding this picture, that I was going to change my ways. I was going to stop eating ice cream and cookies for breakfast. I was going to stop eating pizza every day and stop drinking beer 3 times per week.
I was going to stop watching hours of endless TV while eating a bag of chips. What I WAS going to do is start eating more fruit and vegetables, more protein, and start working out.
I didn’t know where to begin and started buying magazines and copying the exercises in my living room using dumbbells that were sitting in my closet for years. I actually enjoyed it! I also decided I would take up jogging, and I enjoyed that too. Pretty good for a lazy girl!
When I bought my first Oxygen Women’s Fitness magazine, I fell in love. I wanted to be those strong girls! I wanted to be up on stage showing off my hard work! That same week I got my very first gym membership.
It was hard being at the gym at first. I was so shy and so scared to work out in front of everyone. I didn’t want to look like I had no clue what I was doing, and the ripped girls in my gym intimidated me extremely. Even though I felt this way, I didn’t stop. I stayed in the women’s side until I collected enough courage to start training in the big gym with all the ripped guys and girls. And you know, it wasn’t that bad! I felt at home right away.
One of the best things I did in my young life was dump the negative and unsupportive people. It was hard to try to be healthy when those types of people were around. I had my fair share of setbacks with food and alcohol with past friends, but I never stopped my training at the gym. I would go regardless of weather, or if I had no ride, it didn’t matter. I would go even if my training partner stood me up again, and I would go even if I was tired. I would go even though my boyfriend at the time thought it was ridiculous that a girl was lifting weights and made fun of me. I will always remember the day he laughed at me when I talked about how heavy my dumbbell chest press was. He really tried to make me feel stupid. I felt so angry, but his negative attitude pushed me even harder at the gym. Needless to say, shortly after our poisonous relationship came to an end. I was not going to miss my workouts for anything or anyone! I would not allow myself to give in to excuses, and I would not allow the negative people in my life drag me down. The gym was my time to get away and unwind. The gym was my second home.
I had three goals: get in shape, become a personal trainer and help others achieve their goals, and get on stage and compete. I finally got that chance in 2008 when I decided to sign up for the WNSO Fame West in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I decided to train for the fitness model and the bikini model category. I was so excited but so nervous! I had no idea what I was doing.
2 months later, I was at the athletes meeting freaking out. I saw all the ripped and tanned people, and I thought to myself “wow I really have no clue what I am doing.” I saw one girl eating yams, and another girl holding a 4-liter bottle of water. I felt so confused. I signed up for a fitness model camp after the athletes meeting with Fatima Leite Kusch, and I was overwhelmed. Fatima was going over T-walks and poses and I felt panicked. She asked me if I was putting my tan on when I got back to my hotel room. I asked, “What tan?” I’m pretty sure she felt awful for me. My poor husband drove us around downtown Vancouver at 10pm to track down some Protan, and we were painting my skin until 1am. What an awful experience that was! We had no idea what we were doing, this stuff was getting everywhere! All over the bathroom, and all over my husband. I also got it all over the hotel sheets, not good.
Needless to say, on the day of the competition, I failed miserably. I wasn’t lean enough, I didn’t know how to pose, I had no stage presence, and I had the wrong kind of bikini on. Even though I failed, I was determined to learn more about competing and do better next time. I researched for 1 year before competing again. The following year I did two more Fame shows, and took 2nd place at the Fame Canadian Nationals in 2009 in a large fitness model category of 25 girls. I will always remember it. I was so happy I cried on stage. Since then I have competed 12 times with some great placings. I even made it all the way to Nationals at the Canadian Bodybuilding Federation in 2012.
I have now achieved all three of my goals and have been a trainer in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada for the last 7 years, training people hard and guiding many women to their first competition the right way. Any woman I train will never feel lost during their competition prep.
Currently my life is filled with great people that are supportive, and have the same health and fitness goals as myself. When you have that support around, goals are so much easier to achieve and life feels amazing! The biggest support I have in my life is from my husband. He has been with me through most of this, and has supported me all the way. He has gone to every single one of my competitions, and would probably be a good judge! He has helped me with my goals and would tell me what I needed to improve on for my next competition. He was a good eye in the audience.
The point I am hoping to get across to my readers is never give up on yourself. Always believe in yourself that you can do the things that YOU want to do. You don’t need others to tell you if you can or can’t do something. Their opinion doesn’t even matter, what matters most is what YOU think you can do. If you think you can do something, go out there and do it! Life is all about the chances you take, and you will never know what you are capable of if you don’t try. Only you can do this, don’t wait for someone else to do it for you because it will never happen. You are the author of YOUR own novel, be your own hero. Make your own dreams happen.