In the last issue of the Juniper Berry, I told you how I started bodybuilding training. It was a hard road to travel, but I was motivated, and I did it. This is how.
Every day I would follow the same routine and each day was a challenge: I had to make sure I packed the right order of meals, finished drinking my gallon and a half of water, and somehow find time to do schoolwork. I spent my weekends food shopping and meal prepping for the week. This took usually 2-3 hours and was a very tedious process. Everything had to be weighed by the exact ounce. Check-in happened on Saturdays. I would send progress photos, weight updates and measure my body fat so we could document progress. Over the course of 18 weeks, I lost 25 pounds and about 10% body fat.
When prepping for a competition, there is no I'll make up my cardio tomorrow or I'm tired and sore, let me take a day off. There are no days off. You give it your all every single day because there is no going back. I wanted to get on stage and know that I did everything in my power to bring the best package I could. The sense of accomplishment that comes along with such a challenge is something I never experienced before, particularly because I didn't have to do this. I could have quit, and almost did, a few times. There were days where I cried on the treadmill, forced myself to eat cold salmon, and cried to my mom that I was sick of prep. But I wanted to prove to myself that I could do anything I set my mind to. I was consistent and I kept at it even when things got hard: the results followed.
October 3, 2015: NPC Brooklyn Grand Prix. The day finally came after 18 long weeks of hard work, sweat and dedication. I got two coats of spray tan, glued my bikini on and walked on stage. All my hours of cardio, posing practice and lifting counted now. I had ten seconds to showcase my 18 weeks of hard work. Dozens of beautiful girls surrounded me, but the sense of confidence and accomplishment I had in that moment overtook every bit of nervousness.
Backstage was filled with competitors from all divisions pumping up, touching up their tan and practicing their posing. I lined up backstage, said a prayer before I walked out, and surprisingly was calm enough to walk on stage with a huge smile on my face while nailing my posing routine. I looked out into the audience and spotted my family and friends among hundreds of people. They smiled at me; I held my pose and smiled back. I heard my name and 200, my number, being screamed.
I placed first in the Junior class, and fifth in the Open class. I was nationally qualified at my first show. All I wanted was to get to the stage; coming home with two trophies was the cherry on top. The night was followed by a well-earned juicy burger, fries, and some ice cream.
So what did I get out of all of this? Why train like crazy, eat so precisely and revolve my life around something for just one day? The thing is it is so much more than just one day. I will carry the lessons I learned from this experience with me forever. I developed a better sense of time management and understand how important it is to do the most productive thing possible at every given moment. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and it's up to you as to how you want to spend them. Aside from skills, I learned so much about myself. I have never been so dedicated or determined, never completely devoted myself to something so much in my life.
I learned to never take my health for granted. Days when I didn't want to complete my cardio, I reminded myself some people don't have the ability to even walk. When I didn't want to eat cold chicken out of a Ziploc bag, I reminded myself some people don't have access to food. Every day I made sure to remind myself to be grateful for the ability to have had such an experience.
I learned that things take time. Be patient. You may not see results right away, go through rough patches, and maybe even lose hope. But that's when you become a champion, when you don't quit because things get hard or it's taking longer than you expected. Keep going, stronger than ever – that's when the change occurs.
So what's next? I plan to compete in another show in Fall 2016. I will also compete in a national level show, with more intense competition and judging criteria. I am continuing my college career with a major in Nutrition& Dietetics. I am now an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, allowing me to share my knowledge to help others achieve their goals. I hope to inspire others and be a motivating force in their decision to start or continue on their own fitness journey.
Never be satisfied and continue to better yourself.
Do it all with a smile, a sense of pride, and your head held high.
To see more of my journey, follow my Instagram page @Cat_Fitt
or e-mail me at Cat_Fitt@AOL.com