Why This Competition is Different

trainIt’s hard for me to believe that I’m already four weeks into my competition prep.  And, I’ll be honest.  There are many times I wanted to quit. Many.  For many different reasons.  But, unfortunately/fortunately, I let everyone know I was going to compete and I don’t want to be seen as a quitter. 

Preparing to compete is no easy venture.  When I competed from 2008-2010 I was worry free.  I was single and ready to mingle.  The main thing on my mind was competing and I went at it full force.  The main thing I had to worry about when I woke up in the morning was what color sports bra to wear to the gym.  My abs were cute, I was cute, I was on a mission.

Now, all of that has changed.  I am married.  I am a mother of a toddler. My priorities are completely different.  I wake up thinking about the activities my son and I are going to do together.  At night I can’t wait to spend quality time with my husband.  It sucks not to be able to eat dinner with them at night and eat the same things they do. We went on a vacation to DC for a week. While I cooked most of my food, I enjoyed two meals with husband. I’m so over chicken breasts.  I’m so over tilapia. 

The other thing that is different this time is the category I’ll be doing.  I LOVED competing in fitness.  The surge of energy doing a two minute routine is thrilling.  I actually started as a figure competitor.  That was cool too because I was able to build muscle, but not too much muscle.  But, now…… Now, I am a bikini competitor.  I remember when bikini first became a division and I thought very little about it.  Even now it’s my least favorite division, although it’s the most popular when it comes to numbers. I now must get on stage in an itsy witsy teeny weeny (I don’t know the color) bikini!

So, I’m just weeks away from my first post-marriage, post-pregnancy competition.  I had a major setback last week when I became sick with meningitis type symptoms.  I was in bed and out of commission for almost six days.  It sucked.  I didn’t eat like crap, I just didn’t eat.  But I learned it’s one of those things you either let hold you back or use as a comeback.  Mine is going to be a comeback baby.

Oh yeah, one more thing.  My good friend Larry Jackson is my trainer.  Some people think that could be weird, but it’s actually been a good thing.  He knows me and I trust him.  While I may call him and very briefly complain about eating tilapia three times a day, he know when he gets off the phone that I’ll eat it. He and his wife have fallen in love with the competition industry and I’m proud to be a part of his team.

So, please wish me luck and say a prayer that these next couple of weeks go as planned.  Pray my butt gets smaller and my smile gets wider.  Pray the judges say, “That’s one hot mama!” and award me first place. Now, off to eat some asparagus I go.

What in the World?!

My First Figure Competition (March 2008)

My First Figure Competition (March 2008)


I always told people that I would never do it again. I said that I didn’t miss it. I talked about how I enjoyed watching other people do it, just not me. Well, fast forward two years and I take everything I’ve said back.

I was sitting at home on my bed and this random thought came into my head. The voice yelled in my ear, “Michelle, you need to compete again!” I NEED TO WHAT?! Huh? Do you realize I just had a baby last year and that my body is no longer shaped the same? What?! Have you seen my mommy pooch or my ‘close to 40’ butt? Yikes!!! Do you know how much I value a nap? What in the world?

I then found my fingers reaching for my cell phone to see when the next local competition is. It’s 9.5 weeks away. Oh boy! I begin to wonder 1) where were these thoughts coming from and 2) who will think I’m crazy for wanting to do it and talk me out of it.

So, I first call my friend Larry Jackson who trains ladies to compete. His response was, “Let’s Do It!” He said to throw on a bikini and send him a picture. A bikini? Me? I used to rock a bikini with pride, but now they hide in the back of my closet. Whew. I told him I needed to pray about it and that I’d either send him a photo in my bathing suit or some random crazy picture to let him know my mind isn’t right.

I knew there was one person I could depend on to talk me off the competition ledge – my husband. He always talked about how he didn’t like it when I competed because I was no fun to be around when I lack carbs. Surely he doesn’t want Carbless Barbie Michelle laying next to him every night. I picked up the phone to call him. His response – “Go For It!” Say what?! Do what?! Huh?

Everyone around me was supporting my decision. I thought it would be cool to try to get in shape to compete. My body is in no way the shape it used to be and my muscle defiinition has decreased. I may have to enter bikini instead of figure (which bothers me) but it could be fun.

So ladies and gents, my goal is to compete in 9 weeks. I’m hoping to bring my abs out of hiding and tighten up my glutes. I know nutrition is going to be key and I’ll be using a meal plan and the Visalus products in addition to my workouts. Wish me luck and say a prayer – I sure do need them!

Don’t Judge

 Don’t Judge

Why are we always so quick to judge someone or a situation?  We love to turn our nose up at something without investing a single lick of time to seeing what it’s all about.

I found this happening to me recently.  I was at an event (I won’t say where) and had a table to promote a product.  When I entered, there was a lady with a similar product at a table across from mine.  As I walked up, she immediately turned her nose up at me.  She then said something under her breath. I didn’t know the lady and I didn’t know anything about her product so I had absolutely nothing against her or what she was promoting.

As the four hour event went on, various people came to my table.  And each time someone did, she would give me this look – especially when they didn’t spend the same amount of time at hers. I just felt she had this attitude toward me and I wasn’t sure why. As the event was winding down, she walked over to my table.

I said a friendly hello and asked if she’d heard about my product.  She had not so I explained what we did.  She told me about her product and although it was in the same field, it was a completely different concept.  I told her it was a good thing both of us had tables at the event because each person has different needs and interests and we were able to reach a diverse group of people.  She thought about what I said, agreed and I saw her arms uncross.

She then asked about the amount of people that came to my table and I told her that I was involved with the community so many of the people stopping by were people I knew and were saying hello.  She now became more relaxed. As our conversation continued, she realized that I wasn’t competition at all and we really had a lot of things in common working toward the same goal. We exchanged business cards and all was well in our worlds.

Think twice before you cast judgement on someone that you’ve never even met.  Instead of listening to others thoughts about someone, take time to get to know them yourself.  We all have our own story and our own talents and there is room for us all to be successful and support each other.  It’s usually when we do work together that we often achieve the most!


November 2011

The Other M.Y.

The Other M.Y.

Nov10-3When I first started my fitness competitions in March 1998 I didn’t know anyone.  Sometimes I would walk up to a group of competitors and ask them if I could hang out with them so I’d know where to go.  I never had anyone in the audience supporting me.  It was just me, the stage and bringing my best package.  When you talk about doing something for yourself – those competitions were all about me.

After my third competition that April I realized that there was this one woman that had been to every competition I had.  We always competed in the same group and she always had a loud group of people cheering for her.  From that point on, I started taking advantage of her crowd.  Her name was Michelle.  Every time we were on stage and I heard “Let’s go Michelle”, I’d imagine that they were cheering for me!

During that competition I finally talked with Michelle backstage.  Not only was her first name Michelle, but her last name was Yatsuk.  I blushed when I told her my secret about her friends in the stands.  Instead of getting mad and walking away, she did something else.

Michelle and I kept in touch for several months.  Although I placed ahead of her in each of those competitions, she always encouraged me and was excited for my wins.  At our next competition in October in Cincy, she let me stay at her house.  Before we went on stage, she told me that she told her friends to cheer for me too!  I finally had some fans of my own.  That was the start of my friendship with Michelle and we always refer to each other as “the other M.Y.”

Two years pass and I’m in the audience at KY Muscle this past weekend here in Louisville.  It was great to see all of my friends compete.  However, the highlight of the competition was seeing Michelle onstage competing.  I sat anxious in the third row.  For once I was able to to yell “Let’s go Michelle!”, “You got this Michelle!” and “Lookin’ good Michelle!”   Michelle ended up winning her group and looked amazing!  I am a better competitor because of Michelle and was proud to return the love and support she has given me over the years.  Not all competitions are about winning, sometimes it’s about helping to celebrate someone else’s success!

M.Y. November 2010

No Comments Please

 No Comments Please

July10-4For the first time since I started competing three years ago, I am taking a break.  It’s a much needed offseason.  Although I placed in the top five in my national shows this year, the feedback from the judges is that I needed to put on more muscle, especially in my upper body.  (They also completely hated my Lady Gaga routine, but that’s a whole different story).

So, for the first time in a long time – I get to eat a larger number of carbs. Carbs help with energy which also helps to lift heavier weights.  It should be an interesting, yet hopefully fun, process although I haven’t been successful thus far.  Last week was my first week in the offseason and I ate everything off my “temptations” list.  Maggiano’s lasagna and chocolate cake; waffles; Famous Dave’s Sausage, baked beans and apples; pretzels;  Qdoba breakfast burrito; Panera Bread muffin, Avalon lobster macaroni and grilled cheese;  Wild Eggs Creole Omelet; Red Lobster biscuits;  Zaytun’s gyro and cheese bread; Homemade Pie Kitchen Boston Cream Pie; Skyline cheese coneys; Dairy Queen Oreo blizzard ; Blue Dog Bakery muffin and bread; Southern Cravings catfish, macaroni and sweet potatoes; Red Lobster Chocolate cake; IHOP pancake breakfast and Domino’s pizza. Wow oh wow, yum uh huh!

Yes, it was all VERY good (in flavor).  Yes, I helped to support the local economy.  However, by the end of the week my stomach was poking out so far that people probably would have thought I was pregnant.  I even wore a t-shirt at the gym so people wouldn’t start spreading rumors about me.  Although it was okay for me to splurge for a week, I knew that I couldn’t maintain that eating forever.  So I’ve come up with a plan.  I will be eating more carbs, but there are healthier carbs that I should be eating.  I also must watch the portion of the carbs I eat and try to eat all of my carbs before the afternoon ends.

Most people don’t look forward to gaining weight, but I’m excited to get a slightly larger muscular frame. To put it in perspective, I generally compete at 110 lbs (which is about 10 pounds under my normal weight).  The goal is to be a solid 115 lbs on stage (which means in the offseason I’ll possibly be 10 pounds over that). Here’s the kicker – in order to gain muscle, you must gain weight – which also generally includes gaining fat.  So I may be “thicker” over the next couple of months.  If my jeans fit a little tighter or my face looks a little fuller, don’t assume something is wrong.  I may look a little more ‘phat’ than usual (for me).  Just know it’s part of the process!  Cheers to sweet potatoes, whole wheat pastas and fruits!

M.Y. July 2010

When Lightning Strikes

When Lightning Strikes

July10-1It was time for my first national competition of the year.  Chicago, IL.  I had a lot of people on my side predicting that I would win my height class and turn pro.  All 25 fitness competitors were backstage warming on.  The first woman was lined up to perform – and then the lights went out.  A storm with 70 mph winds swept through the city.  We were without electricity with over 300,000 other people.  No tv or radio for updates.  No clue as to how long, or even if, it would be until we would compete.

For the next hour and forty minutes myself and the other competitors sat backstage and took the time to get to know each other.  And then out of nowhere, the bright lights came back on.  They asked us if we wanted to warm-up again on stage, but some women said “no, let’s just go”.  I hate to jinx myself at shows, so I usually don’t watch the competitors that go ahead of me.  On this day – it was a bad idea.

I sat in the dark for an extended amount of time, I never looked at the stage before going on.  When it was my time to perform and as my music started playing, I stood on the stage and couldn’t see a thing.  My eyes hadn’t adjusted to the change of light.  I just had to wing it.  As I walked off the stage, I knew I didn’t perform my best routine.  I was disappointed in myself.  It was a good routine, but not the great routine that I knew I would need to win.

And I let that get me down.  I wanted to win.  People expected me to win.  There were some amazing competitors there and I assumed that I would place 3rd.  But when the awards were presented, I ended up placing 5th.  I was so disappointed and frustrated and thought about just hanging up my competition shoes for awhile.

The day I was contemplating what to do, I received this great email message from OnyxLouisville reader Margaret Davis.  “You may have had some unfair things happen, things that you don’t understand; but let me tell you, you have come too far to stop now. Instead of allowing those things to hold you back, why don’t you let go and take a step of faith into the new? It’s time to get a new, bigger vision; it’s time to get a new, fresher outlook; it’s time to rise up with a new attitude! Instead of settling where you are, pick up and move forward. Have the attitude that says, “I may not understand it; it may not have been fair, but I am not getting stuck on this page. I know God has a new chapter for me-a chapter filled with blessings, favor and victory!” Her email was related to something completely different, but it was just what I needed to read at just the right time.  We need to quit dwelling on the past and what ‘could have been’ and instead stay focused on the opportunity that will exist in our future!  Thank you Margaret for helping put it all in perspective!

M.Y. July 2010