If someone told eight-year-old me one day I’d be labeled “the best body in the world,” I’d have told them they were crazy. Not because I thought it was impossible to be fit or even have the “best body in the world.” But because I might’ve been the last kid anyone would’ve thought to actually achieve it. Honestly, I was not an active kid growing up. I was a girl who would much rather read and learn than do any physical activity. And even when I started going to the gym at 16 with my sister, it wasn’t because I was conscious of my appearance. It was simply something to do after school. There was no real intent beyond that. Hardly sounds like the beginning of a fitness career, huh? Looking back, there are two things I realized about that time that would go on to transform my life: I found a supportive community and was making friends at the gym, and equally, I was enjoying how working out made me feel. I truly loved both of those things. So, I found myself going more and more often longer and longer. There was no end goal, though. No Arnold Schwarzenegger blueprint. At least, not until a guy at the gym who was a fitness competitor asked me what I was training so hard for every day. When I didn’t have an answer, he told me I should look into fitness bikini competitions, and I did. Suddenly, I had a goal, a dream. For the next year, I dedicated and prepared myself to be ready so when I turned 18 and old enough to compete, I could. It paid off, too. I won that first show. Then the next competition. And then the next two provincial (aka. regional) ones after that. I made it to the national competition in my first year, finished fifth … and was devastated. I was not used to not winning, and I didn’t like it. I told myself after that I was going to come back the next year and be undeniable, and I was. It was also during that time I began setting my sights on something even crazier – winning the Olympia. Honestly, I had a hard time believing I could. How could I not? It’d be like someone who’d only played football for a year saying one day he’d win the Super Bowl. It was a crazy, huge goal, but even if I had only a .05% chance, it was all the hope I needed to fuel myself going forward. Seven years after my first show, I achieved that unfathomable goal. I won the 2021 Miss Bikini Olympia competition. It’s hard to describe what that moment felt like. I was so overcome with emotions. I was happy, crying and relaxed all at the same time. It was like reaching the top of the mountain and finally getting to soak in the view, but it was almost too much, too beautiful to describe. Now, a few months after winning, it’s finally starting to set in. I’m enjoying the well-earned break of the offseason and setting my sights on new goals. But I’m also enjoying looking back to when I was 18. It’s crazy how much I’ve progressed and grown not just as an athlete but as a person. The friends I’ve made, the supportive community that’s embraced me, the things I’ve gotten to do and incredible places I’ve gotten to see. As it’s set in, it’s also been crazy and important to look back even further at eight-year-old me. I think how great it would’ve been to hear one day I’d be where I am, even if I didn’t believe it at the time. What I definitely would’ve liked to hear, though, and what I want to pass on to any young girls out there is this – you can create your destiny. You can grab hold of it. That’s what I love so much about fitness is no one can do it for you. Someone else can’t go into the gym or go for a run and you see the results. You have to put in the work in order to see the results, and if you don’t, that will show, too. Eight-year-old me would’ve loved to hear she’d one day do that, how she’d create her own destiny. How she put in the work to achieve a dream. She’d probably still think it was crazy, but I know she’d be proud.
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