In June of last year (2014) I took home first place at the SAF pro Fitness Model competition. It wasn't the first time I'd taken the top spot but it was one of the most meaningful moments; I had two girls who I'd been training for months who had also both placed top three in their categories. And, I relished every moment because I was convinced it was the last time I'd be stepping on stage. I quietly announced my "retirement" from the sport in this blog post.
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Me and my girls, Aisha and Nancy.[/caption]
That was my 12th show. My 12th show in just two years, I should mention. A challenge I wouldn't wish on anyone. I was driven to enter my first show at age 29, as a sort of turning 30 freak out. I was lucky enough to win that first time and so began the obsession with competing. It's very addictive and I know of very few people who've stopped after one. That 2 year span was a frenzy of dieting, intense workouts and spending more money than I could afford on bling bikinis.
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And don't even ask how much I spent on themewear.....[/caption]
It was an incredibly rewarding time which saw me become empowered, enriched with new experiences and friends. Being visible and successful on the circuit also boosted by career as a personal trainer. But those 12 shows burnt me out, as they would anyone.
After the last show I bowed out, let myself put my feet up and almost 10 pounds on. I stopped following competitors on Instagram, stopped thinking about my next routine and skipped the live web broadcast of the Arnolds. Finally, the obsession had loosened its grip on me on I went to dabble in other interests.
The time away from competing was fantastic but slowly but surely -- as I knew I would -- I felt the tug coming back. I missed having something to train for, a goal and something to drive me. I also missed the glamour, the girly fun and the pageantry of show day, a point that was driven home when I was allowed backstage to take photos at the show I'd won last, a year later.
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The girls pumping up backstage[/caption]
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The pro girls[/caption]
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Emilie Provencher, winner.[/caption]
I've been quiet about my decision to compete again but consider this my public notice - I'll be competing in a mere three weeks at the SAF Toronto Spectacular on September 12.
My prep this time around has been very different. In the past I've had time to bulk. But lately, I've always been "on". I shoot pretty regularly for BodyRock, and a few other things, so I haven't had the time for a bulking period. But I think I've managed to retain most of my muscle mass and I'm pretty much ready to hit that stage. And, I'm excited too.
In most of these fitness competitions, stage presence and presentation -- everything from the walk, the bikini, the the themewear and even the accessories -- count, but even more so with SAF. I've got a brand new bikini, though I'm customizing it myself. I've chosen a stunning new themewear, which is still being made. I've chosen my strutting music and I'm thinking of how to bring an a new presentation to the stage. I never tell anyone about what I have in store - so just like everyone else, you'll have to wait. Though I will be covering much of my prep on this blog and stay tuned and wish me luck!
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