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fitness competition

From Skinny to Strong : Melanie's Journey To The Stage

From Skinny to Strong : Melanie's Journey To The Stage

 As a former ballerina, Melanie used to obsess over her weight and body image. Training for a figure competition changed that for her. "I used to weigh around 90-95 pounds (BMI around 17-17.5), which is unhealthy," she admitted. "I'm a perfectionist, so I wanted to control everything. I had a hard time dealing with weight gain. When I met my current boyfriend, he helped me get through that fear and accept weight gain." Now, Melanie weighs a healthy 115 lbs and feels more comfortable in her own skin than ever before.

How Autumn Pushes Her Limits as a Fitness Competitor

How Autumn Pushes Her Limits as a Fitness Competitor

With the help of the PumpUp community, Autumn made more strides with her nutrition than she could have ever achieved on her own. By the time she stepped on stage as a fitness competitor, she lost nearly 25 lbs in 11 short weeks by making changes to her eating and exercise habits. This was an incredible feat for a female over the age of 30. "I learned that less food isn't always the answer," she shared.

When Emma lost her excuses, she found her results - PumpUp Success Stories

When Emma lost her excuses, she found her results - PumpUp Success Stories

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"To be fully frank with you, my lifestyle was still a bit of a mess," admitted Emma, who became fully invested in the PumpUp community 9 months ago when she decided to make health her first priority. A number of negative influences weighed her down the summer before she joined  PumpUp. "I was depressed, lonely, drank hard liquor constantly and only worked one job for 10 hours a week," Emma recounted. "Ordering pizza was never much of a concern. I didn't give much thought as to what I was putting into my body." Slowly, Emma began to integrate cardio and weightlifting into her routine and began to research how she could best attain her health and fitness goals. "I found out about PumpUp from a fitness bikini competitor that I follow," she divulged. "She mentioned how motivational of a community it is. At that point I had only been a part of the community at Bodybuilding.com, which was informative but slightly different." 

When emma lost her excuses, she found her results. Here's her arm progress pic.

Emma is a firm believer that you are what you invest in. Once she began to invest 200% into her mental and physical health, everything fell into place. "I transitioned into a healthier lifestyle by researching everything: from exercises on Bodybuilding.com to following influential females on Instagram and PumpUp." The adjustment came easily for Emma. Her passion for food made it easy for her to see how she could be creative with healthy cooking and  share about it with an online fitness community such as PumpUp. "My old trainer, who used to professionally compete, saw my hunger for growth and power and he suggested that I should try to compete in a bikini competition that was hosted at my old high school." Now a full-fledged fitness bikini competitor, the rest is history in the making for Emma.

Since Emma began her journey with PumpUp, she began to make a photo-diary of her progress toward the stage and even switched her career paths. "I went from going to school for fashion design in Manhattan to going back to school for Dietetics and Nutrition this coming fall," she elaborated. "My heart bursts every time an old acquaintance, classmate, or coworker comments about how I am a role model and sees me as motivational. It's both humbling and heartwarming and keeps my drive intact. PumpUp is also full of constant positivity and support, it's my second family. I'm finally surrounded by positivity and I'm never looking back!"

When emma lost her excuses, she found her results. Here's a photo of her incredible muscles.

Emma has been able to pursue her passion for health and fitness head-on, despite financial obstacles that she faced along the way. "For awhile, my mother was telling me that [fitness competing] was a hobby and wanted me to get a better-paying government job, as well as return to school for Fashion," she mentioned. "I'm back at my mom's place and I'm currently saving up money for my own apartment later this year. Having no car has been stressful with financial difficulties, my competition prep, loan repayments, and more." Her dedication is admirable: Emma holds three different jobs at the moment, working at Starbucks, Mac Cosmetics, and Athleta. "I love every minute of it," she enthused. "I stopped creating excuses!"

She urges her fellow PumpUp members to tackle every fitness goal one day at a time. "What separates those who are successful is  those who aren't afraid of failure, but welcome it," she insisted. Emma has had slip-ups throughout her journey, but chooses not to ruminate upon them. "Recently, even during my strict preparation schedule for my competition, I had a slip," she confessed. "Take it all in stride and don't be afraid to ask for help. Smile and have fun! Remember that fitness is not a job but an adventure!"

When emma lost her excuses, she found her results. Here's her full body progress pic

As Emma continues to share about her progress with PumpUp, she hopes to spread more positivity with the community. "I want to grow with PumpUp in more ways than one," she insisted. "I have been in dark places and kept forgetting that my family and friends were there fore me. I will continue to do more competitive shoes throughout the winter and constantly strive for more progress."

Biggest Motivation

"If you asked me this a year and a half ago I'm not sure I would answer the same way. My biggest motivation is my mother completely. She is the craziest, most loveable superwoman I could ever ask for. I've come to understand her side of things and she's never left my side despite me leaving college and creating an opposite lifestyle. She has lived through multiple wars, brought our family to the states, is getting her degree in the next few months all despite being a single mother and working two non-stop jobs. She even works out and was using protein powder among other things before me!"

Motivational Mantra

"Fuel and train your mind and your body will follow!"

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Fun fact about Emma

"I'm actually going to get a little company started this summer selling protein desserts! Wish me luck! I can also do crazy special effects makeup!"

Cheer Emma on as she reaches her goals with the help of the PumpUp Community! Find her on PumpUp @emmakeshchyan and on Instagram @Emmageorgiyevna! When was the moment that you learned to stop creating excuses for yourself? Let us know if you relate to Emma's story in the comments below!

Is a bikini fitness competition for you? Here's what to expect

This is part of a series of posts by Jennifer (@liftingfairy on PumpUp), a bikini competitor. Check out her blog here and vote for “Jennifer Reis” so that she can achieve her dream of attending the Miss FIBO power beauty competition.  Everyone has to start somewhere… For some athletes, their first round of competition preparation launches their journey into “Fitness Land.”  Starting can be intimidating. Some people are unsure of what to expect. I faced the same hesitancies last year.

The pros and cons of preparing for a bikini fitness competition

  • In my first ‘post-competition’ post, I wrote how taxing contest-preparation is. It will challenge you not only physically, but also mentally. Don’t expect it to be easy. Your first time preparing for a competition will be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. If you consider it easy, go harder because that’s what makes the difference on stage.

  • Once you start your prep, you will see your body change from one day to another. The last two weeks for your prep will be mind-blowing. Prior to my first competition (and still today) I took pictures at least once a week to remind myself about how much I already achieved. Don’t only look back on your progress. You also have to look forward and focus on your goals and what you want to accomplish.

 

  • There will be A LOT of sacrifices. You don’t see me in a restaurant during my prep, rarely in the cinema and even less in a bar. When I decide to go to the movies, I always have my Renee Tote at hand with the meals I need, because planning meals is the key and it will keep you from getting anything at the candy shop. I never stay out too long in the evenings during that time, because I have to get up early the day after to hit the gym, or simply because my body has adapted to a regular rhythm (more about this soon). I left a lot of people behind, because negative words aren’t what you need during a contest-prep, especially from people who won’t even attempt to understand your lifestyle or those who eat pizza, pasta and burgers all day long and want you to do the same. They don’t have the slightest idea of what you are going through. (If you need some positivity, have a look HERE).
  • You will be amazed by your own results. Even if you have never been a very sporty person before, contest preparation will allow you to be in the best shape of your life because you pay much more attention to your eating habits and training routine. You have to put everything in your preparation and knowing that you will look the best you could possibly look is just an amazing achievement.

 

  • Sometimes you will be hungry and want to do a table-flip with your whole diet, which is totally understandable because you are slowly cutting carbs and at the same time training even harder. YES, you will be hungry and damn tired, but in the end it will be totally worth it.

 

  • The mirror is going to be your best friend and greatest enemy. It shows you how far you’ve come, but at the same time it plays very dirty mind-games with you… You will NEVER see yourself like others do. If someone else tells you ‘oh, you look great!’ you will be like ‘naahh… still not satisfied yet…’ The further you get in your prep and the closer the D-day comes, the more you will start to freak out and worry that you are not lean enough already and that you won’t be dropping fat fast enough etc. But let me tell you one thing, there will ALWAYS be one thing that is 100% honest with you. It’s the process.
  • People will tell you that ‘you are going too far’ or ’ you are too skinny and muscular, eeerrww…’. BUT there will also be positive people who support you with simple words or tiny actions like ‘wow, you are really inspiring’ or ‘because of you I started to hit the gym and watch over my eating habits more’. You are going to experience great support from people you never ever expected.

 

  • Most of your thoughts will be dedicated to FOOD. Because the only thing that matters during your prep is the right food. I am convinced that you will find yourself looking at other competitor’s food-posts to see what they are eating. And you will be spying ‘food-porn’-pictures because you have enough of chicken, broccoli, tomatoes and turkey-steaks.

 

  • Try not to follow your opponents on social media, it will drive you crazy. You can’t control what other athletes are doing or how they are training to get their physique. Focus on yourself and on your own preparation to achieve your personal goals. If it motivates you to get it on, go ahead. And while following those athletes you can also leave a positive comment to cheer them up, because it will cheer you up as well.

 

  • The week prior your competition-day will be the most exciting week of your entire preparation because you are doing something different every single day. You will have to decrease your water intake because you start the water-depletion, as you want to get REALLY lean and then load up on carbs during the last few days. Your final preparations are going on, like showering, shaving, scrubbing, and putting on a tan (HERE some tips for your first tanning). Depending on your own preparation plans, you should be allowed to go grocery-shopping and get yummy food like gums, sweets, chocolate or whatsoever to get a little pump before the show or simply to devour post-contest. Believe me or not, you will look like a little child on Christmas when you are buying delicious treats.
  • The big day will be so much fun and thrilling. The time has finally come to be paid for your hard work. You can put on as much make-up as you want. You can style your hair as fancy as you’d like it to be. The best is yet to come… the moment you line up backstage. You will be so hyped up but still, you won’t be thinking about anything else than stepping out on that stage and rocking your banging body. That moment on stage is the best and most thrilling feeling ever, and you will always remember it. Even if you didn’t get the ranking you wished for, you can be damn proud of yourself that you didn’t give up and that you stayed strong.

 I wish every new athlete best of luck over the course of their first preparation and competition(s), may the chicken be with you. Enjoy your season!