First blog posts can be daunting…so let’s start with the basics. Here is my story:

Most people know me as a bikini competitor or fitness model or just another picture to press ‘like’ with on Facebook. But that is just the exterior, the most superficial part of who I am. In fact a year ago, I would have laughed if you said I could model and I would tell you to ‘stop it’ if you tried to compliment my looks. Because in reality, I was an incredibly insecure, ‘skinny fat’, young woman who isn’t an inch over 5’4″- definitely not model material.

I grew up with my mom in Southern California. It was just me and her and it wasn’t always easy. As a kid, it’s hard to understand, but looking back I recognize that even some of the toughest moments had a part in making me the person I am today. My mom had to be the caretaker and the breadwinner, and as a single mom for my whole life, she showed me what sacrifice and hard work looked like. I always had what I needed, and I worked for what I wanted.

In high school I wasn’t one of the ‘cool girls’ and I didn’t date any of the football players. I played two instruments in the band, took school seriously and just made it through.  I played soccer. I ran in high school. I liked being outdoors. But I ate junk, thought weight training would make me bulky and never really educated myself about healthy living. I didn’t realize what it really took to get the physique I’d seen in the magazines, and I REALLY wanted to look like that.

Fast forward a few years and I graduated with a degree in Business Management and I was well on my way up the corporate ladder at one of the big hotel chains. Before I started in fitness I was an 8 to 5’er with a desk job. Sure I am good at what I do, but it doesn’t inspire me. I decided to enter a bikini competition because I wanted something to challenge myself for- I needed a goal- to at least compete against myself, since my days of team sports were behind me.

In transition between athlete and bikini competitor, I went from 24 percent body fat to 12, without losing a pound. Once I got a taste of the stage, it tapped into my competitive drive and I discovered a sense of confidence and love for the body I EARNED like never before. To become a bikini competitor, you must dedicate yourself completely to your own body. The dedication required brings sacrifices- relationships, social life and time to name the big ones. But the feeling was priceless- until then I never wore bikinis, hardly wore a skirt or dress and would never be caught dead being the center of attention. My insecurities ran so deep I didn’t even know how much they consumed me until I bared it all on stage and stood there with a smile while I waited for judgment.

It’s amazing how small moments in life define you and the path you are on.

I spent a year competing in 10 shows and experimented with every form of training and dieting to get the right look. Learning by doing was a good start, but I wanted to learn the science behind body transformation to become an expert one day. I am now a certified personal trainer with NASM, and studying to become a certified nutritionist as well. If you are not learning, you are not growing and I have every intention to continue to grow. My passion is not just fitness or modeling, it’s that I have a chance to inspire others and change lives. When people tell me they followed my journey and are inspired, it is the most rewarding thing there is.

So I guess my point is you don’t have to lose 100 pounds to transform and everyone has a story. Our starting point is not nearly as important as where we finish. Do things that scare you, break the mold, and don’t let anyone (including yourself) tell you you CAN’T accomplish something if you truly put your heart and soul into it.