When I first started competing, I researched competitors to see the skills that I’d be up against. I remember being intimidated by certain people, like Allison Ethier. I just wanted to represent myself well.
Last year when I went to my first national fitness competition (in Charleston, SC) nobody could have cared who I was. I was a skinny, black girl that stayed to herself backstage. I didn’t work with one of the powerhouse trainers. I was just Michelle Yeager from Kentucky. Out of six women in my class, I finished third. I was pleased, determined to come back stronger for the next one.
Then September came, and my next competition was in NY, NY. I had a better routine and worked on my physique. This time when I showed up, I was a familiar face. I was a friendly face. People remembered me from the last show, but still didn’t think too much about me being there. Out of 10 competitors in my class, I finished third. The top two turned professional. Just one spot away. I received compliments on my routine and was told that my glutes were holding me back. (I’m a black woman – what do you expect?!)
Then came the Arnold this past March. Instant international exposure. While I was waiting backstage to compete, a competitor said,” I Googled your routine, it was awesome.” Various people were interviewing me. And, I won my class! Great, great feeling. I was on a high for several weeks. Then I realized – I’M NOW THE PERSON TO BEAT!
I’m at the top with the expectation of turning pro this year. And as exciting as that is, the stress is just as tremendous. I’m expected to bring a powerful routine, one that will have folks talking. The judges are looking for my glutes to be smaller than before. It’s go big or go home!
So, I have two chances – June 18/19 in Chicago (where I have to win my class) and then July 9/10 in New Jersey (where the top 2 go pro). I want to go pro. However, I know all things happen for a reason and that when it’s my time to shine – it will. The smell of success is at arms length away ….. and it smells just like pizza!
M.Y. June 2010