I have been holding out on you. Yes, yes I have. But I’m here to share with you now, that anything is possible with vegetables! I just want to inspire you to know that you can do anything you set your mind to. I’m proud to announce that I competed in my first ever bodybuilding/bikini competition at 41 years old, and took home first place in the masters class. This win earned me an IFPA Pro card on top of it! A very proud moment in my life. The competition was held on November 22, 2014.
This is not just a win for me, it’s a win for vegan athletes everywhere who are spreading this amazing message of health and kindness. It’s a win for the animals who desperately need us to be their voice and it’s a win to help break the old stereotypes of having to do things a certain way.
You CAN be kind and strong at the same time! You CAN build muscle on a vegan diet!
Why did I compete? When I turned 40, I decided to kick life up a notch and knock something off of the bucket list. Competing has always intrigued me. I used to lift weights in my teens and early twenties but the bikini division has only existed since 2010. I feel that the universe planned it perfectly. I got to compete 100% as a vegan (which I was not in my twenties). I could still keep a feminine look, which I prefer. Being 41, I didn’t have to compete against the 20 somethings! But I did that anyway! Just for fun.
Mostly, I took this challenge on because I have been so crazy inspired by vegan athletes over the past few years (check out vegan bodybuilding and fitness) that I too wanted to experience the satisfaction of proving you can indeed build muscle on a plant based diet… turns out, I feel better in my forties than I ever did in my twenties eating this way (in general and at the gym), and I like my results so much better on a plant-based diet. I absolutely love that I can compare the two lifestyles, because I have real life experience training both ways. Although I never made it to the stage in my twenties, I ate enough “bodybuilding food” aka chicken, to last a few lifetimes. I don’t even want to think about that… I’m living life outside of that box now.
Bodybuilding on a vegan diet is achievable, maintainable and super healthy. Healthy for the mind and soul as well as the body. Not to mention you spare sentient farm animals an awful fate and help to preserve precious resources on our planet (we only have one!). There is true satisfaction in doing something for more that just yourself.
My friends want to know who trained me, what my diet was like and if they can all have my plan. I am truly flattered. When I set out to do this, I was determined to never count a calorie or step on a scale. I did not want to eat differently at dinner time than my family (being that I cook every night for us) and didn’t want to obsessively meal prep or weigh food. I didn’t want to spend three hours a day in the gym because I don’t have that luxury of time anymore. I also didn’t want to obsess over my body or it’s “flaws”.
So the deal is… I did it exactly how I wanted. I did it my way! I trained myself. I take great pride in that. I created my own workout schedule and routine. I created my own diet plan. I also helped to create my own suit working with an amazing designer I found. I just loved that process. It was more exciting than picking out my wedding dress! Ok, almost as exciting (please don’t tell my husband I said that). I did my own hair and makeup for the show, putting my hairstylist skills to good use. What I did seek out, was much needed help with posing. That s#!t does not come easy! NOTE* If you are in the South Suburbs of Chicago and are looking for a great posing coach, please message me. I have a recommendation!
The nice thing about doing this at 41 is that I have grown to like and accept my self and my body, and that is certainly not going to change now with competing. It is a known fact that this industry can mess with a few minds. Not mine. I wanted simplicity and freedom and that was my intention. I absolutely enjoyed myself. I have heard the horror stories of other competitors and many women have told me they also wish to compete but can’t imagine doing it with “THAT RIGID DIET” and frankly, yes, I agree, trying to keep this lifestyle up on a standard American “clean eating” bodybuilder’s diet is not maintainable for the majority. A plant-based lifestyle, to me, is true freedom! I feel blessed with my knowledge. Sadly, I don’t think many people want this kind of freedom, most people are looking to obsess over something.
If you are interested in how I prepared for the show, there will be more posts coming, and I will share tips. Sign up with your email to follow my blog so you won’t miss anything. I never share your information, I only update you with new posts. You can also follow me on my Karmatarian Facebook Page or follow me on Instagram http://www.instagram.com/Karmatarian. Both of these accounts could use some lovin’, thanks!
The hardest part about competing for me, was reaching out to others for advice, help and direction and then still feeling lost. I had to keep moving forward regardless. I started out in total fear of the unknown and then realized I had to have faith that it will all work out. I had to believe that the right information would be delivered at the perfect time, because mind you, I had NO clue what I was getting myself into. I had NO experience with competing. But dammit, I was doing this! I didn’t know anyone who competed before me that was willing to sit with me and just share details. In hindsight, this was all for the best. I truly wanted my own experience and not to re-live someone else’s. I am the type of person who prefers a plan with details, and there wasn’t much of that… I did it anyway.
The main thing is not to have expectations of placing, but imagine yourself holding a trophy. Imagine how that would feel, and then train your a$$ off… Or on. Whatever the case.
The most fun part of competing for me was helping to create my beautiful suit, walking around the kitchen in 5 inch heels, practicing and creating my posing routine (I suppose I could still cook dinner in my heels, lol), waking up 5 days a week at the crack of dawn to workout and never missing one workout for the whole 6 months I trained (I used to be a night owl, so this was a HUGE accomplishment for me). Taking selfies to track my progress and lastly, just doing what I said I would do. I held myself accountable and I did it. Most women want to step on stage, but never do.
In closing, you can do this too! I certainly NEVER thought I had a nice bikini body with all it’s curves and teeny tiny waste. And I don’t. I never will. The competition is not about being Miss Hawaiian Tropic, thankfully! It’s about reaching personal goals, showing off the hard work of building muscle and creating the best body YOU can have. Each competitor has a story, each has their own unique body shape, and if you don’t go insane comparing yourself to the pros of the industry with all of their youth and silicone, you can have a lot of fun with this. Ps. I make no judgments on their silicone. I just don’t have any, but I have been asked if I do. So now you know.
There is something to be said about gaining mental strength through physical strength. I recommend competing or at least training like you are competing to empower yourself as a woman… or a man, and if you are vegan, to strengthen your own convictions and walk proud. So now you too can say… take that, meat eaters!
What are my plans? I originally planned to do one show. To prepare for this show I spent 6 months going to the chiropractor 3 days per week for back issues (can you say hairstylist) but nothing helped like just getting into that gym for the next 6 months after that and strength training! I recommend it. Since I won my show, I believe it is the challenge I personally need to want to take it to the next level. So I will continue with my training (for the sake of my back and also to keep representing us vegans) and most likely enter a pro show sometime toward the end of 2015. Again, doing it with NO expectations. This should be fun!!!
You can see my entire photo album on my Facebook page! Click Here