Bikini Competition Diet Tutorial

So you’ve signed up for your first bikini competition or you just want to look like a bikini competitor. The most important thing you will need to focus on during your training is your diet.


Exercise alone will not transform your body to its full potential, in fact most of the exercise you do during contest prep will be focused on losing fat and maintaining muscle. The diet is where the real magic happens.

Its also important to realize that every body is different and responds differently to different diets. Although there are general guidelines that work for MOST people, it is important to keep track of your progress and change things as needed. This is one of the reasons I think working with a credible coach is great. They can help tailor your diet to your body.

The first thing you should do is calculate your calorie requirements for maintenance.

You can do this using any of several formulas here is a link to a calculator to make it easy for you 😉

Next, you want to calculate how many calories you will need to reduce your diet to lose the number of pounds you think you will need to lose to achieve the look you are going for. Considering that a pound of fat=3500 calories you will multiply the number of pounds you want to lose by 3500. Then, you divide it by how many days you have until your competition. This will be the number of calories you will need to subtract from your daily maintenance caloric requirements you calculated earlier. Keep in mind that this is not an exact science, changes is metabolism will change you your body loses weight. As you lose weight your metabolism will decrease. Also, it is NOT recommended to go below 1200 calories a day.

For example, let’s say my caloric requirements for maintaining my weight are 2400. If I want to lose 10 pounds by my show date in 60 days:

10 lbs x 3500 calories/lb / 60 days = 583.33 calories/day

2400 calories/day – 583.33 calories/day= 1816.66 calories/day

Once you have your calories, you need to create a menu of food that approximately matches that amount. You also need to factor in the right ratio of macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

The recommendations for macronutrients are as follows:


Average or low bodyfat: 1-2g fat/ kg body weight [between 0.4-1g total weight/ pounds]
High bodyfat: 1-2g fat/ Kg LEAN weight [between 0.4-1g LEAN weight/ pounds]
Low calorie dieting: You can decrease further, but you should maintain AT LEAST 0.30g/ pound.

STRENGTH training -> 1.4 to 2g per KG bodyweight (about .6 / pound)

Research has shown that 2.2g-3g per KG body weight can help with muscle retention which may be good as you are dieting down for a show.


There are no specific requirements for carbs, so the rest of your calories (once you have subtracted fat and protein) can be carbohydrates.


Ok, now sorry but I have to throw some more math at you.  Once you have the number of grams of fat and protein your body needs you will need to convert those into calories. You can do this by multiplying the number of grams by the number of calories per gram for each macronutrient. Carbohydrates and Proteins are 4 calories/gram; fat is 9 calories per gram. Once you have figures out how many calories you will be eating based on the protein and fat requirements, divide the remaining number of calories by 4 to find out how many grams of carbohydrates you should be eating.

Got that? Hope your head is not spinning! If that was really too much math for you here is a link to a calculator to help you out!

Now, I hope you like puzzles, because you are going to have to play around with the types and amount of food you are eating to meet your requirements. If you are off by a little that is totally ok! I like the my fitness pal app to help me keep track of what I am eating and to help plan out my meals to make sure they fit my requirements.

Now you could probably plug in junk food and reach your macro goals, but I recommend eating whole foods as much as possible. This will help with your hunger levels and also help your body get all the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) it needs to function.

Here is a list of some foods I eat when I am competing (and usually when I am not competing) to meet my macronutrient goals.

Chicken breast
Lean ground chicken
Turkey breast
Lean ground turkey
Lean steak
Sea bass
Grilled calamari
Cottage cheese
Greek yogurt
Whey isolate Protein powder
Egg whites
Whole eggs

Leafy greens
Green beans
Brussels sprouts
Brown rice
Sweet potatoes
Bell peppers
Water melon
Ezekiel bread

Fish oil
Flax oil
Almond milk
Olive oil
Coconut oil
Almond butter
In general you will want to eat about 6 meals and have a serving of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats at each meal. Make sure you are paying close attention to your portion sizes. THE BEST WAY TO DO THIS IS WITH AN ELECTRONIC SCALE. They are pretty affordable and take the guess work out of measuring. Here is what a day of eating can look like for me:

Meal 1

Oatmeal with flax oil

Egg whites

Meal 2

Ezekiel Bread with P28 peanut butter

Meal 3

Chicken Breast



Sweet Potato

Meal 4

Protein Shake

Meal 5


Green Beans


Meal 6

Cottage Cheese



Post Competition Binge/Depression

Anyway, today I wanted to do a little post on post-competition blues/binging.

Preparing for a Photoshoot

One of my goals for this year was to do a fitness photo shoot to document the hard work that I have put into my body. Luckily my coached helped me schedule a group photo shoot (to reduce the costs) with my team mates and renowned photographer Brian Landis.


Brian was a total pro and helped with posing and definitely made me feel comfortable but I wanted to share with you a few tips to help you prepare for a photo shoot in case you have not done one before. I had no clue what to expect when I arrived at the photo shoot and I was VERY nervous.

1. Choose a great photographer- This may seem self explanatory but it really is key to your photo shoot success. Remember, you get what you pay for and if you are doing a free photo shoot expect to work with someone who is not as experienced and just building their portfolio.

Try looking for images you like online or in magazines and find out who did the photographs. Ask around, if a a friend is posting gorgeous professional pics on social media ask her who she worked with and how her experience was.

A good photographer will know lighting, help guide you in your poses and make you feel comfortable without pressuring you.

Another point is that if you shoot with a published photographer and they like working with you they may decide to have your pictures published. This can be a great way to break into fitness modeling!

2. Learn how to pose- It is always a good idea to practice your posing and know what looks good on your body before you do a photo shoot. Also understanding what you want your photos to convey and how to show that. Here are a few links to some guides on how to pose:


3. What to bring- Clothes, clothes and more clothes! Bring more than you think you will need, but at least 6-8 looks. Try one your looks before your photo shoot and make sure everything looks good together. You will want to bring a few pairs of shoes to go with your looks too. Usually dramatic more extreme fashion statements are great for photo shoots. Some photographers work with a stylist and will bring clothes you can wear– so ask what they recommend. In addition here is a list of items you may want to bring:

  • Baby oil
  • Make-up for touch ups at least a lip gloss, powder and blush.
  • Scissors- you never know when they might come in handy
  • Snacks- make sure you have healthy fuel that will make you feel great
  • Music- Something fun to help get you in the mood

4. Hair and Make-up:  Unless you are really great at doing your own hair or make-up I recommend hiring someone to do it for you. This will ensure that you look your best in your pictures. Bring touch-up make-up or ask your stylist for a touch-up kit. Ask your photographer who they recommend for hair and make-up if you are not sure where to go. A good photographer will have a great network of professionals to recommend.

5. Body Prep: You want to go into your photo shoot looking great but you don’t have to be completely ripped. A softer look can be great for photo shoots. If you are a competitor, a few days after your competition is a great time to book your photo shoot because you will have that left over glow from your spray tan and you’ll still be in great shape if you don’t go too overboard on your after competition meals! Also make sure your skin looks great by staying hydrated and applying lotion.

I hope this post was helpful. Good luck on your photo shoot!


Is the Fitness Industry Broken?

Hi Guys!

Hope you are having a great week! I know I have! I went to New York this past weekend to visit a friends and take some fitness classes. They have some really kick @$$ fitness classes in New York. Anyway, I came back feeling refreshed rejuvenated and re-motivated.


The thing is, when you start to get into the competition scene you see a lot of the broken aspects of the fitness industry. It can be very depressing and disheartening.

First of all, you realize that the skinny fit girls that inspire you (ahem Oxygen models) are not all that healthy. Many of them are on starvation diets doing hours of cardio a day, taking banned substances, and wearing waist binders and/or getting plastic surgery. Not that I think that there is anything wrong with any of those things, however I think that it can be really misleading to present these images to people implying that diet and exercise did it all.

Secondly, I have been re-evaluating my goal to “get sponsored.” While it would be great to get some extra money to help with competitions, I see a lot of competitors promoting products they don’t even use or care about. Additionally, the relationships between competitor, coach, sponsor and judges who also can coach and work with sponsors make me wonder what is genuine and what is not.

Finally I have been very disgusted by the attitudes and egos I have seen. Shouldn’t we be trying to help others on their journey to getting fit? The selfish egomaniacal personalities I have seen out there are simply not what the fitness industry should be about. Let’s help each other get fit and look great rather than being jealous and holding secrets.

Like any industry, there will be people doing good and people doing bad. Let’s make the good overshadow the bad. Let’s make this industry about caring about others and helping them get healthy and reach their goals.

Just my two cents.

What do you think?



Are you afraid to start because you are afraid you will fail?

‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.’ — Henry Ford

When I first started getting back into fitness competitions, one of the main things I wanted to change was the storage of fat that had congregated right at my belly button like a doughnut. However, I was convinced that it couldn’t be changed. I thought that because I was breastfeeding, my body was holding onto that fat and would not let it go until I stopped. Because I didn’t think I could change it I didn’t really try too hard to get rid of it.

When I hired my coach, I made a decision to give her plan 100% of my focus and really believe that I could have the body of my dreams. Guess what? That little doughnut of fat started getting smaller until it was almost non-existent.

My point is, that I see a lot of people (including myself sometimes) avoid getting started because they are not sure whether or not they will be able to accomplish their goal. When you put your heart and soul into working toward something it is devastating to think that you will not get where you want to be.

It is easy to give something half your heart and then when you don’t succeed say “See! I knew it wasn’t possible.”

That time you spend working toward your goals is never a waste. It is a chance for you to learn and grow and perhaps gather new experiences.

So, I am hoping this post can be a wake-up call to you. Is their something you haven’t done because you felt like there is a possibility you might not succeed? Put your heart into succeeding and see how far you get. Even if you don’t make it to your final goal, I guarantee you will learn a lot in the process.

Do you have an experience like this. Do you have an experience where you thought you wouldn’t succeed but ended up surpassing your expectations?

My workouts lately

So in my last post I let you know what I do to work out on vacation. In this post I will let you in on what I have been doing to stay in shape during my normal week. Right now I am in the “off season” and I really haven’t planned my 2014 competition season yet. I am just focusing on building muscle– especially glutes and shoulders– while toning down my waist.

During my competition prep I found that a traditional body building routine really worked well for my body. It also just so happens that I really enjoy that style of training. I try to go as heavy as possible maintaining good form and have broken it into an upper body/ lower body split, with one day thrown in to focus on glutes. I designed this program for myself but I am looking forward to meeting with my trainer in two weeks and finding out how she thinks I am progressing and how she will change my routine.


  • Bicep Curls- 3 x 10
  • Shoulder Press- 3 x 10
  • Tricep extensions- 3 x 10 on each side
  • Front/Lateral raise superset- 3 x 8
  • Lat Pull Downs- 3 x 8-10
  • Cable Row- 3 x 8-10
  • Incline Chest Press- 3 x 10

T, Th (Lower Body)

  • Squats 3 x 10 with 1 warm-up set
  • Deadlifts 3 x 10 with 1 warm-up set
  • Leg Press 3 x 10 with 1 warm-up set
  • Leg Curl 3 x 10
  • Leg Extensions 3 x 10
  • Calve Raises 4 x 10

Sat (Glute Focus)

  • Squats 3 x 10 with 1 warm-up set
  • Hip Thrusts (with loaded bar bell) 4 x 10
  • Smith Machine Lunges 3 x 10 on each leg
  • Pull Through Squats 4 x 10
  • Butt Machine 4 x 10 on each leg

I do mix things up weekly and sometimes change the weight and reps/sets depending on how I am feeling but this is really the bones of my program. What kind of work-out routine are you doing lately? Do you find a traditional body building plan works for you or do you do something else?

My Progress

When I started this journey, my goal was to try to get back in good shape after my baby and launch my fitness career. I had no idea I would be able to transform my body and change my perspective on working out. I’ve gained about 6lbs (mostly muscle) and feel like I look better than ever. Here are pictures to show how I have changed over these past 6 months.

npc valerieshawn ray front poseval npc nationals front pose

June 2013                                                                                             August 2013                                                              November 2013

competition back pose 2val npc nationals transition

June 2013                                                                         November 2013

I am so excited to continue with my journey and putting on more muscle while I am enjoying the off season.

Re-cap of NPC National Championships Bikini Competition

Hi guys! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I wanted to do a recap of my last competition, but between a friends wedding in Brazil and getting things together for the holidays I have had zero time.

My last competition was the NPC national championships in Fort Lauderdale and it was also my first National level contest. I was hoping to win my pro card, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. I learned a lot though and I am not too disappointed with how I did, because I did place, but I think I could have done better and I hope to next time.

One of the main differences between this competition and the local ones I have done in the past was the fact that it was stretched out over 3 days instead of just 2. Check in was Thursday, prejudging for Bikini, Bodybuilding and Women’s Physique was Friday, Prejudging for the other categories and the Finals were Saturday. I have to say that this is one thing I really didn’t like. Not only was it more expensive to stay more days, but it also meant more days without deodorant and that awful spray tan.

I booked my flight to leave early on Thursday so I could have lots of time to check in and get my spray tan, which ended up being a really good thing.  The flight was just 2.5 hours from DC and since I was alone it felt easy and relaxed. Getting my car from the rental place was the only annoying thing because I had to take a shuttle and wait, but by about 1pm I had my car and arrived at my hotel.

I ended up staying at the Holiday Inn Express which was across the street from the host hotel. It saved me about $150 from what the host hotel would have costed and the location was great because within walking distance there was a grocery store, GNC, sushi restaurant and nail place (important because I still needed to get my nails done.) My room wasn’t ready so I decided to get one more workout in at the Lifetime Fitness that was about 40 min away. Nerves and exhaustion had gotten to me at that point and I just didn’t feel like staying long at the gym. I did about 20 minutes of cardio and headed back to the hotel. By that time it was 3pm and I still had to get my nails done before my spray tan appointment at 4:45.

My hotel room was ready so I checked in. It was nice, clean, modern and big enough. I set my stuff up, pumped (yes I am still breast feeding!) and then walked over to the nail salon. Everything went smoothly and by 4:15 I was all set to head over to check in when it started pouring rain. YES POURING. My coach had told me to wear a cute check-in outfit so I was dodging rain drops as I sprinted too the hotel in my pink dress and heels. My heart was racing as I looked around at all the fit gorgeous bodies.Obviously the competition was a step up from what I had seen in the past. Nationals brings out the best of the best. I tried to tell myself not to let it get into my head and feigned confidence as I walked in the check-in room, got my height taken and my goody bag. Bikini class E. Yay!

In the pouring rain, I sprinted over to the spray tan building.  If you have ever competed, you know that the spray tan rooms are full of naked competitors. It is so hard not to size up the competition. It is so hard not to compare yourself and let your insecurities crop up. For me my main area of insecurity are my abs. While i used to love showing off my mid-section, since I had Cyrus, my belly button has popped out into an outie, and my abs are not as ripped as I would like. Looking at the other girls I could tell that the competition would be tough and that the judges would have a hard decision. And for once I really didn’t feel like I was a front runner, but I forced myself to stay positive.

When I was done with my tan, the rain was still pouring down and I did not want to ruin my tan so I waited for a little break in the rain and rushed to my car. I made it back to the hotel with minimal damage and spent the night relaxing in my room. I have learned not to be so dramatic about my tan since my first competition.. Most tan imperfections can be fixed later and with the bright stage lights, minor blemishes are camouflaged.


Before Make-up– I don’t tan so my face is ghostly white lol

After make-up with hair in rollers

After make-up with hair in rollers

Competition Make-up and Hair complete

Make-up and Hair complete

Waking up the next morning I was excited.  I had a quick breakfast, picked up some things from CVS- a few bottles of water and some snacks, got my second coat of tan and then headed back to the hotel. Since it was my first time doing my own make-up and hair I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time. Even though the athlete’s meeting wasn’t until 3pm I started getting ready at around 12. I started with my hair in rollers and did my make-up according to my coach’s plan. It took me about 2 hours but I saved sooooo much money since I heard from other girls the make-up artist cost about $250. I would definitely recommend learning how to do your own hair and make-up. Its really not that hard.

After getting everything together in my rolling suit case I headed to the theater. The Broward performing arts center was a lot bigger than any other venues I had competed at. The expo was also a lot bigger. I had to pry myself away from the quest bar station so that I wouldn’t miss the athletes meeting.


At the expo with my favorite quest bars!

At the athletes meeting they told us that they would explain how our stage time would go when we were about to go on stage so basically they just handed us our number buttons. The line for bikini girls to get their number took up most of the backstage area and I started getting nervous looking over the girls. I predicted we would be waiting for about 3 hours back stage so once I got my number I headed upstairs to watch the male bodybuilders that were on before us. Boy was I wrong! I ended up wondering around the performance center, practicing my posing, and trying to stay calm for 7 hours!



At 9:00pm was finally our turn to go on stage. The time lapse, wasn’t good for me. In the time that my hair had fallen flat, my tan had turned an unappealing shade of green and my energy had waned. I had also spent entirely too much time in my heels and my lower back and feet were already killing me. While, Pro tan was able to help me salvage my tan a little bit, the pain I was feeling combined with my nerves meant that I didn’t give my best performance on stage. Looking at my pictures from the competition I can see that.

For this show, (unlike the others I have done) they had us all walk out do our posing, and then file off to the side, still on stage. That meant we had to  stand in the same position while all the other girls took their turn. I was in so much pain I thought me feet were going to fall off. When they started doing callouts I prayed that I would be in the first few just so that I could get off stage quicker.

I made third call outs. My legs were shaking but I was placed right in the center so I felt confident that I at least placed top 15. It was 9:30 by the time we finished and I could not wait to get back to the hotel, knowing I had another day of this and knowing that I hadn’t met my goal of going pro.

Relaxing at the hotel in my sweats

Relaxing at the hotel in my sweats

Back at the hotel I took a shower and relaxed, almost glad that I didn’t have the pressure of being in the top five. I didn’t really have to worry about ruining my tan or anything like that so I took a shower and fell asleep quickly.

The next day was more relaxed. Knowing I hadn’t won, I considered blowing off the night show and just spending the day on the beach but figured that would be unsportsmanlike and that at least it would be fun to watch the show and see the results. I did get some time to visit with family and walk by the beach though. The weather was great. Determined not to waste so much time waiting around, I ended up missing the athletes meeting for the night show. I was freaking out internally on my way to the venue but luckily it wasn’t a big deal.

The night show ended up being a lot of fun. I really enjoyed watching the different categories especially women’s bodybuilding and physique, which have to do routines to their own music.  I also liked watching the show from the judge’s/audience’s perspective. This time my wait was only about 3 hours. My stint on stage was about 2 seconds– just an introduction as I walked by– since I didn’t place top five., but I was glad that I had stuck around for it. I also got a few great pictures from backstage.

I ended up placing 14th. Overall, I think the girls that placed top 5 in my category did deserve it. Since the NPC website is awesome, the pictures were available pretty much as soon as the show was over and I spent time looking and comparing myself against the winners. I didn’t hear any thing back from the e-mail I sent to the main judge, Sandy, for feedback but I know I need to add a little muscle mass and work on my stage presence.

val npc nationals front pose

My expression is strained and I forgot to flex- not my best front pose

Looking good from behind ;)

Looking good from behind 😉

I am excited for my next competition. Sorry for the long rambling post and Thanks for sticking with it if you read all the way to here, but I really did want to share my whole experience. I would have loved more info about how a national level show is run before I competed (maybe then I wouldn’t have spent 7 hours backstage doing nothing) so I hope this helps those of you who are considering competing at the national level.

Have you competed at the national level? What did you learn? What mistakes (if any) did you make?

Happy Holidays!!!!

Bikini Competition Posing Tips

Hey guys,

I just realized I have been blogging for over a year and I can’t believe how quickly time flies! I just competed in my second bikini competition this past weekend: The Shawn Ray Classic. It was a great show and really cool to meet Shawn Ray, he is an awesome guy and I totally didn’t realize that his daughter is Asia from the show dance moms. She is so talented, too!

Anyway, I ended up placing 3rd in my class in this competition and while I was a little disappointed that I didn’t place as well as I wanted (Hey a girl always wants to be the best, right?) I was totally thrilled that I did place and that I am now qualified for nationals.

There are two national shows left in the season. One in two weeks and one in November. My goal is to do the one in November. I hope that will give me time to build the muscle mass that I need. I spent a lot of time last night looking at the girls who are pro bikini and trying to objectively assess how I could improve my body. I think that I really have a lot of muscle mass to put on- maybe 10 to 15lbs.

Here is a Comparison between me and Tawna Eubanks, a competitor I look up to.

Image Image


I feel like I look like a twig compared to her. I definitely need more mass in my quads, shoulders and glutes. Also, I feel like boobs make a big difference, unfortunately. I think my smaller chest makes me look immature and takes away from the hourglass shape the judges are looking for.

One of the areas I feel I have really improved in is posing. When I first tarted working with my coach, I was soooooooo awkward. I have learned so much, and wile I am still no expert, I felt that I would share a few tips on what helped me:

1. Practice, Practice, practice: with a mirror, without, in high heels, in tennis shoes, listening to rock music, listening to reggaeton. You get the idea. I spent at least 20 min each day practicing in different ways. It is really important that you are able to display your physique with confidence and in the best way possible and the only way to do that is to practice and find out what looks best on your body. Especially if your body is changing rapidly in the prep stage you want to make sure your posing is changing to suit your physique.

2. Its all about the hips: Have you ever watched Victoria Secret models? They play up the sexy vibe by really working there hips. You can transform blah posing into bubbly, sexy posing by adding more hip emphasis.

3. Smile: You wouldn’t believe how many girls forget to smile on stage. You want the judges to believe that you are having the best day of your life.

4. Your goal is to emphasize a small waist and a big, but toned butt. The best way to do this is to twist at your waist (chest to the judges, hips in the opposite direction), arch at your lower back and flex.

5. Keep it classy: There is nothing more cringe worthy than going to an event with your family and watching a girl do things on stage that are close to X-rated. Your goal is to show off your hard work at the gym not to show how hard you can work a pole. Remember, people bring their kids to these events, you want to exude confidence, sex appeal, class and approachability all at the same time.

So there you have it, 5 quick posing tips. Again, I am still learning and would love to hear your comments so let me know what you think makes for good posing!



Hiring a Trainer for Bikini Competitions.

Hi Guys! Happy 4th of July.

I’m meeting with my coach again this weekend to talk about where I want to go from here. I really didn’t think I would place so well in my first competition, so since I did I feel encouraged to go after my ultimate goal of getting IFBB Pro. I hope that getting to the pro level will help me open doors that will lead me in the right direction for my other goals.

I wanted to talk a little bit about hiring a coach for my competition since it was something that made a huge difference from my last competition. I flip flopped on my decision to hire a coach mostly because as a certified personal trainer and avid fitness researcher (technical term 😉 for someone who spends way to much time on the internet looking at fitness blogs/articles/forums), I felt like everything I needed to know, I knew already or I could find online. Boy was I wrong.

My coach blew my mind after our first training session. I had been following a traditional bodybuilding plan- heavy compound lifts with small amounts of cardio and lots of ab work. My coach explained that for a bikini competition the judges are judging you on the sweep of your quad, your glutes and having a tiny waist. She showed me a ton of glute exercises I had never done before, had me incorporate plyometrics and she changed up my cardio, which I feel had the biggest impact on my physique. She explained to me that the cardio I had been doing (low resistance elliptical) is known for giving people a “long butt.” So my cardio changed to lunges and squats on the tredmill, high resistance biking and elliptical, sprints and stair master.

She also explained that all that ab work I was doing had to go. Turns out that the tons of oblique crunches and twists I was doing were actually making my waist BIGGER! Yikes!

After a week or two I started noticing huge changes in my glutes, waist and shoulders. My body was becoming the hourglass shape that I wanted. It also simplified things because each week she gave me a plan so all I had to do was what was written down for me. It took the guess work out of training and dieting.

Besides training, my coach also helped keep me accountable. I would thing twice about skipping a workout or overindulging because I knew I had to check in with her each week.

She also let me know exactly what to expect. One of her great but odd tips was to pee in a cup with the hole cut out of the bottom to avoid ruining the spray tan on competition day. Because of her experience, she also helped me choose the right suit, jewelry, hair and make-up. She even gave me a plan to follow for the week up to the competition to prepare my skin and come in looking my absolute best. If I ever had a moment of panic, she was there to calm me down and help find a solution. In addition, in my last competition I had barely practiced posing and I had no idea that it played such a big role in the competition results. This time the main thing we worked on together was posing, which I could not have done via the internet. She helped me streamline a routine that showed off my physique in the best possible way.

Finally, my coach helped me make connections. Because she was a past competitor, she knew the judges and introduced me to a ton of people so I didn’t feel awkward and alone back stage. Not only did it help me build new relationships, but it gave me confidence, which I think showed on stage.


If you are thinking about hiring a coach I highly recommend it,  but make sure you don’t hire just anyone. Do your research and find out who the coach is, who they have trained before and if they have competed in the past. DON’T just hire a trainer at your gym without doing your due diligence. If cost is an issue, talk with the coach and see if you can work out a deal or try an online trainer. That said, hiring a coach was one of the best decisions I made for my competition so if you are thinking about competing, I think a great place to start is with someone who knows what they are doing :).