As the Organization of Competitive Bodybuilder’s (OCB) Mid Atlantic Battle of the Belt drew to a close after seven hours, I was astonished that I had finally conquered my goal of becoming a professional bodybuilder. Not even a full 365 days since I first stepped on stage, I was now the overall winner. I would no longer qualify for any competitions that weren’t within the pro-ranks.
After my first two shows during the fall of 2018, I went into off-season to bulk until February. I began training for the Jersey Natural Open in May, only to lose the overall by one measly point. Picking myself up by my stilettos, I was determined to take that belt in August. I literally told myself that I was not going home without it.
Day in and day out, I put everything I had into my workouts and practiced posing for my stage routines to ensure my presence was unparalleled. I wanted to be completely on point and on fire – hence the new red suit.
My daily routine consisted of fasted cardio in the morning, make breakfast, go about my errands, then hit the gym. During prep, my whole schedule revolves around puzzling the gym and practicing stage routines into my life. Even during off season, I don’t lose that hyper focus and drive: I have a goal and that goal doesn’t stop being my priority simply because a competition isn’t right around the corner.
When I began my journey as a bodybuilder, it completely changed my lifestyle. I found that I was taking better care of myself, prioritizing sleep so that my muscles could repair, and truly valuing nutrition – which lead to me enrolling in premed school and minoring in the field. For the first time, I was actually reading the labels on food products and actively comparing items on the shelf to one another, paying very close attention to what was more beneficial for my body.
For those out there interested in competing, there’s certainly a lot more that goes into it that often gets left behind the scenes: the price of food, your coach, the jewelry, the tan, makeup, hotel, supplements, and so on. Stacy Longenecker, my coach, was essential to keeping me on track and made it possible for me to compete. She monitors my nutrition, oversees my workout routine, and practices posing alongside me. Having an experienced professional who you can turn to for insight, advice, and support is crucial to succeeding – and winning.
On the day of OCB’s Mid Atlantic Battle of the Belt, Longenecker was backstage keeping me pumped up and making sure that I got my Blood Rush ready to go. Meanwhile, I was focused on bringing the sass, fire, and fun on stage. After all the hard work prepping is said and done, these competitions truly are about having a great time and embracing your best self.
Throughout the entire show, I kept reminding myself to just have fun. I was only on stage briefly, despite having spent months preparing. I felt incredibly confident and on top of the world, almost like a queen. I knew I had done everything I could possibly do to present myself in the best shape possible.
When it had boiled down to the final three and they called my number, I was completely
and utterly overwhelmed. Going into the Battle of the Belt, I may have been determined to win, but hearing my number called live on stage washed a wave of shock over my entire mind and body – and you can see it in the expression on my face in the photos.
Bodybuilding completely renewed my perspective and revitalized my physical as well as my emotional wellbeing. It’s encouraged me to become a very goal-oriented person and has given me something to strive towards every day. Winning my pro-card was a huge accomplishment and personal victory that made all of my hard work and time prepping feel worth it. Prepping consumes you, but it pays off in the end. Now that I’m a professional bodybuilder, I’m even more focused and excited for my next competition, which would be my pro-debut.
Look out, 2020. Here I come.