Friday, December 30, 2011

"TOP 10 FINALIST" at my very first "Fitness America Competition" // LAS VEGAS - Nov 2011

"THAT WAS THE BEST THING I'VE EVER DONE!!!" I get choked up just thinking about the final rounds of Fitness Division at Fitness America in Vegas. I came out from backstage to greet my friends and said those very words with tears in my eyes. The love and support that I had from my friends who were there and watching me back home made it all the more AMAZING!

Myself and 9 others had just been called out for TOP 10! 

The whole "Vegas Experience"... ...started a couple of days before the competition. I flew out with my coach Tara and some of the other Perfectly Prepared competitors. We all got settled in at the Golden Nugget in Downtown "Old" Vegas (I highly recommend this hotel if you don't plan on staying on the Strip). The next morning we had an early wake-up call of 5:00 am for tanning, hair and makeup to get ready for our photo shoot with Eva Simon. Before heading out to our shoot location we made it through the line of over 300 competitors to register for the Fitness America Competition.

(click on any photo to view larger)

getting settled in at the Golden Nugget hotel

beauty PREP and van TRAVELING for our EVA shoot

The photo shoot...
..was held at a fun, old-fashioned styled tourist location in Nelson, NV about 40 minutes from Vegas. We were styled in a sexy western look to collaborate with the breathtaking backdrop of the dessert and sandy surroundings. We were even warned about the rattle snakes and dangerous cacti!!! Eva and her assistant got to work right away and began short 15 minute shoot segments with each girl. The weather was perfect at a warm 70 degrees and it felt even warmer in the sun!

All of us felt very comfortable with the photographer Eva and had the support of our coach Tara as well. The shoot was so much fun and all of us ladies were taking each moment in. We were so thankful for the opportunity and knew how big of a deal this shoot could be for each of us!

with the amazing Eva Simon!
on the road in VEGAS!

feelin' FRISKY!

gorgeous day for a photoSHOOT!
the one and only Miss TARA ANDREWS

We wrapped things up at the location to continue shooting back at the Golden Nugget in Eva's hotel room. We had one more look to create with a white-screen backdrop! You could do either "swimwear" or a "fitness" look. As I got started, Eva adjusted the fan so it could blow in my hair and I was immediately hit with chills. Not literal chills, but emotional chills. The moment was something I will never forget. I thought to myself, "how did I get here?" My girlfriends were standing in the background, all cheering me on and saying wonderful things.

But the best moment... of all was seeing my proud Coach T's Tara Annemarie Haertzen (Tara Annemarie Thatcher) face with tears in her eyes as she watched me pose away! As she peaked at Eva's camera and then looked up at me, I could just see her excitement which gave me the perfect amount of confidence and ease as I hit each pose. I give all of the credit to Tara for pushing me to get where I am today and for always seeking great new opportunities for me. I would not have gone to Vegas, had a life-changing photo shoot and competed in Fitness America if it were not for her. I am proud to call Tara my Coach and Fitness Manager. She is one of the best in the business and always has MY best interest at heart. She's honest, trustworthy, dedicated, giving and has become one of my closest friends. I believe that Tara has been put in my life for such a specific reason and I couldn't be more grateful.

Now onto the competition! Being in Vegas for such a big show was exciting and overwhelming. Keep in mind that this was only my SECOND time competing in both Figure and Fitness. On Friday I felt lean and mean with butterflies in my stomach.Walking and Posing for the Open Figure Short prelims got my nerves out of the way and I felt more comfortable with the larger scaled stage. Now onto FITNESS! Friday evening we started in our performance costumes and the Open Fitness class had 35 women. After the Men's class and Classic Women's class finished, we got ready to hit the stage one-by-one. As I hit my beginning pose and danced through the first 2 eight counts of my routine I felt the crowd's energy and knew the GAME WAS ON!

First time on a Fitness America stage!!!

Perfectly Prepared crew having a nice meal!
Performing my own choreography and feeling stronger than ever on the stage for Fitness America was THE COOLEST thing I have ever done and fulfilled a dream that I never even knew that I had! Before I knew it, I was up on stage with all of the Open Fitness Competitors after dancing the opening number (see YouTube video below this post). We all lined up in anticipation as the announce the TOP 10 ladies who were able to move on to the FINALS round. I'll admit that I had this sudden "good luck" feeling before they called my name since I somehow ended up smack in the middle of the line. I tried to keep myself composed after hearing my number and name called out. That was it, the dream had just happened. I made TOP 10!

{OPEN FITNESS DIVISION - 35 competitors}
(click on photo to view larger)

{Beyonce Girls Run The World" FA Routine}

To view a better taping of my Fitness Performance check out this
VIDEO CLIP recorded from the Fitness America live webcast.

Finals Comparison Round
The next couple of hours was a BLUR! The Top 10 girls had to perform their routine again in front of a whole new batch of judges. After our routines were finished we had a quick wardrobe change in to our swimwear. Each competitor had a highlight walk and posing to impress the judges with their physique and personality.We were also split into two groups of 5 for comparison rounds in our costumes and swimwear.

Finals Swimwear Round
Check out the YouTube video below this post to see my Finals Question Round. After it was all said and done, we were brought out one last time to have the winners announced. Seeing the TOP 5 winners step forward and the Fitness America champion be awarded right in front of me with the best seat in the house was a wonderful experience. To be that close to a goal of mine that I'm working towards was the best teaser a competitor could get. That moment only made me more excited to keep working harder and perfect my skills. Someday I would like to see myself standing there with the TOP 5 and then mastering the fitness scene with an overall 1st place title. My destiny is only what I make of it!


Dear Tara (my Coach T), Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to travel with your team of women to have one of the best experiences of my life! The trip would not have been the same if I would not have had your knowledge to rely on. I would not have gone to Fitness America without having met you. Your coaching, prep advice, and resources are absolutely PRICELESS! I love recommending your services to female competitors or women thinking of getting into the fitness scene. I am proud to be Perfectly Prepared!

Dear Al (my Trainer) and Tracy Norby, Thank you for your never-ending support and guidance. Whether it was personal training sessions, life coaching, gluten-free meals, or just fun nights out, you both were great friends to have around. Even with the weeks of encouragement leading up to my show, you gave me the best gift ever by traveling all of the way out to Vegas to see me compete and cheer me on. "You were meant to be on the stage!" - Al Norby   

Dear Tarah (my "competitor-in-crime"), Thank you for always loving me for who I am and where I'm at in my life. You've been incredibly giving to me from the beginning of our friendship with advice, resources and opportunities. You and I want very similar things for ourselves and I had no idea that I would become so close with another model/competitor with no desire to be jealousor spiteful. I am glad that my muscles and moves won you over from the moment we met. Love you, wifey

{World Physique's} 

You might be wondering what I would gain for winning a contest like this. I would get the chance to work with a well-known Chicago photographer, a free-subscription to World Physique's Magazine, and the title "Ms. World Physique" for the month of January. It would also help me gain some great exposure, networking and credibility in the fitness industry.

"My goal is too bring a sense of charm, character and class to any opportunity that I might have in the Fitness industry!" - Bethany JN

The voting starts JANUARY 3RD 
and closes at the end of the month.
Please show your love and support for a
fun Fitness Personality like me!!!

Click here to VOTE!

BethanyJN (Peanut)

Monday, November 28, 2011

From "Love-HANDLES" to "Love-MUSCLES" // Photos of my Changes over the last Decade!

A picture can SAY IT ALL sometimes. What stage you were in life, were you happy then, were you stressed then, experiencing new things, meeting a lot of new people, developing meaningful relationships. We love taking pictures because we want something to help us remember that exact moment. What we're doing, eating, seeing, you name it! People document events for a reason. Why do you think Facebook has become so popluar over the last 3 years? When you actually take the time to sit and revisit these photos and memories, you can assess quite a bit of your life's journey. Check out this BEFORE and AFTER comparison! There is only a year and 1/2 time-frame between the 2 snapshots.

For me, I have been in a constant transformation mode, both internally and externally, since I hit my early 20's. That's what growing up is all about, right? Over the 10 years from graduating high school to approaching my 30th birthday I can say that I have experienced plenty of "adult-life-changing-moments". There have been challenges, opportunities and blessings. I have had different jobs, living situations, health struggles, seasons with depression and counseling, changing relationships, and more.

The most noticeable change that has been easiest to keep track of has been my "outward appearance". I started to grow out my "pixie haircut", stop wearing my glasses, and searched for a new life of eating healthier and being active in the gym. My weight has always been up and down especially when my body was overcome with chronic pain. But after realizing that I had a severe GLUTEN/WHEAT allergy my appearance has taken a major overhaul. Not only did my chronic pain go away, I felt better, had more energy and felt like I could conquer anything! That's how I got into fitness competitions this year. Now here's a look at my photos over the last 10 years.

 10 YEARS of PHOTOS (2000 - 2011)

Senior Prom  - High School (May 2000)
That's me on the left in the red dress and short hair!
I was never considered the skinny or athletic girl growing up or even in
high school. I was thought as the "cute-curvy" girl who knew how
 to "bust a move" on the dance floor with the dance team.

Moved to MN - Age 22 (Summer 2002)
I struggled with gaining weight during the 2 years I attended college,
but it became even more difficult when I moved to MN in 2002. I was starting
fresh in a new city all over again which was a lot to deal with.
I hit my heaviest weight at about 145 lbs at the age of 22.
Sister's NYC Wedding - Age 24 (Summer 05)
By 23, I decided to make some changes with my diet and joined a local gym.
I started lifting for the 1st time and enjoyed feeling strong and seeing changes.
Within a years time I lost about 25 lbs and felt great!

25th Birthday (May 2006)

26th Birthday (May 2007)

Colorado Girls Road Trip (Summer 08)

27th Birthday (May 2009)

(Summer 09)

New Years Eve (December 2010)
 Here I was probably at one of my heaviest points and the scale
didn't really show it, so I had no idea! My body fat had just increased
from the lack of working out without adding any more pounds. Crazy huh!

28th Birthday (May 2010)
These photos from my birthday were a real shocker to me and I knew
something had to change. I signed up with my trainer Al Norby for strength training
sessions and changed my diet. My body fat was at 24% the summer of 2010.

(Summer 2010)

Halloween - Katy Perry (Fall 2010)
 This was right around the time that I discovered my gluten allergy so I had
completed the Master Cleanse (10 days of liquids) and I dropped at least 5 lbs and
felt amazing! This was a kick-start to my "eating clean" lifestyle.

Pin Up Photo Shoot for Business  (Feb 2011)

I really felt great at the beginning of this year and decided to start training
for my 1st competition. I was at 15% body fat at this time.

Beginner Figure Overall Winner (May 2011)
By May, I won two 1st place titles in Figure and 2nd place in Fitness at the
Mr. and Mrs. Natural MN competition. I had the time of my life
and was a little under 9% body fat.

Modeling Shoot the week before Fitness America (Nov 2011)
I started training again in late July to compete with Tara Thatcher's Perfectly Prepared
team at the Fitness America Competition in Las Vegas. I gained more muscle
and leaned out even more! The transformation has been the most amazing journey!

Thank you for taking a look and hopefully
you were motivated and inspired!

Click here to read my recent post
about how I did at Fitness America!

Love Your Figure/Fitness girl,
BethanyJN (Peanut)

(please leave me a comment/message below!)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Getting Ready To STRUT IT in Las Vegas!! { Fitness America 2011 }

The week after my first competition in May I was hit with my very first "Post-Show Blues" which I was warned about, but wasn't prepared for. I had just experienced the best night of my life, worked so hard for something and made huge accomplishments. Now what!? I thought "there's NO way I can wait an entire YEAR to do that again!" I jumped on the computer and searched for fall competitions, but most of the fall shows were scheduled for October which was a month that was just not going to work for me. My blues quickly turned-around when Tara Annemarie Haertzen owner of Perfectly Prepared found me on Facebook saying she had loved my performance and style at the Mr and Mrs Natural MN show!! She told me about the ooportunity to go to her and a group of women to Vegas in November for the Fitness America Pageant. I was sold!

Tarah and I practicing our posing!
 Tara also invited me to join her Perfectly Prepared training sessions called "Fit and Sassy Saturdays". We spend the first half with cardio and weight training and finish the class with "sassy walks" across the floor in our high heels. Along with the awesome workouts, Tara and her counter-part Megan Moon provides special one-on-one coaching to each girl on their presentation walks and posing. This has been the best thing for me over the last 3 months. It has kept me focused and helped me fine-tune my competition skills along the way!

Brook and I with Insanity &
HipHopAbs creator SEAN T!!
Aside from the training aspect, the friendships I have made has been absolutely the best part of getting into this sport! Seeing the girls on Saturdays and getting to know them is something I look forward to each week. There have been birthday parties, sweating it out at the gym, lunches, and coffees. We've been cheering eachother on the whole time, with our walks, preparations and so much more. I never thought I would be so blessed to meet more and more women (and men too) that care about this sport like I do and be so supportive and encouraging!

Me with some Bikini bombshells (Angela, Tarah and Christina)

Getting some luvin' from Miss Tarah at a Fit and Sassy Saturday!

Now there is this "posse" of women that I train and practice with and we get excited for everyone's upcoming competitions. In October we had a couple of girls in compete their first time in bikini at the NPC North Star in Eden Prairie. In November we rallied at the NANBF Natural Classic in Elk River to see some of our girls in both figure and bikini.

It was so much fun to experience the other side of things and cheer these ladies on! Everyone has their own journey, the support makes all of the difference.


Everything is coming together now for one of the BIGGEST experiences of my life! I've blinged my posing suit, choreographed my fitness routine, practiced posing with the Coach T, shot my first fitness video (check out this awesome promo video by Ramon Moreno) and photo shoots. I've been working out hard, dieting hard and loving every moment of it. My body continues to change and look and feel stronger, I'm the happiest and healthiest I've ever been. Through the recent ups and downs, life stresses and struggles, my faith keeps me going and the blessings never seem to stop showing up! Life is good and I'm can't wait to have a blast in Vegas!

Make sure you tune in to the LIVE WEBCAST
of the Fitness America Show!
Cheer me on from home!!

"You have to BE the change if you wanna SEE the change."

BethanyJN's Fitness Routine at Fitness America 2012

BethanyJN's Fitness Routine at Fitness America 2011

Interview Round (TOP 10 FINALIST) - FITNESS AMERICA 2011