As a Division I collegiate athlete (2008-2012), I was used to making sacrifices. I was familiar with early morning workouts that lasted hours on end. Physically taxing days and mental battles were no stranger to me. I was a selfless player, ready to sprawl onto the floor to dig a hit, stay late to put in extra reps, or make a play to bring up the momentum of my team. I thrived on the pressure when we were a few points down, or down a set against our opponent. With countless years of volleyball experience, I was a confident athlete. However, I wasn’t really confident and comfortable in my own skin. I played the libero position, in other words, a defensive specialist. In this position you are constantly staying low, exploding power through your legs and have to keep them very strong, and thus train them that way—heavy. I build and hold this muscle in my legs very easily, and I was very self-conscious about that! It wasn’t until my senior year that I began feeling more “comfortable.” We all have our own insecurities, even at 13% bf as a collegiate athlete.

But once I joined the fitness industry as a competitor, I realized that I am in control of my body, my happiness, and my progress. While my training goals have changed (I currently work to balance my physique), I still train hard. The difference now is that I have incorporated more nutrition-based knowledge to keep working towards this goal. I will never always feel 100% perfect, but I am more confident knowing that sticking to my fitness regimen and healthy-eating will keep getting me closer and closer. My very first show was May 2012, exactly one week after I walked across the stage at graduation. I placed 4th and was hooked on the entire process: prep, competing, and stage day. After that, I competed in one more show to qualify for nationals. Next, my 3rd show (first national event), was the 2012 IFBB North Americans in Pittsburgh, where I won 1st out of 36 girls and earned my pro card. This is unusually quick for an amateur competitor, but I felt blessed and it happened! Now, I strive to continue to find my best self, with goals to become a top IFBB Bikini pro and be a role model for others.”

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