Monday, July 25, 2011

"Best Night of my Life!" - My 1st {FITNESS} Competition

Pictures I took along the way!
Earlier this year I decided to enter my first "Figure/Fitness Competition". I started my diet and training about 13 weeks before May 20th (the day of the show). Check out this post to read about {My Transformation Story} and how I got things started.

Everything was done in week intervals. My carb-cycling diet plan, my weigh-ins, the weight training, and the amount of cardio sessions I needed to do in order to stay on track. Before I knew it, the weeks were just flying right by. I had things to get in order like my posing suit, clear high heels, jewelry, tanning/nails/hair appointments, dance sneakers, costume and so much more! This part was just as fun as the training because I love the "girly-side" of the presentation. It was like getting ready for a Beauty Pageant made for Fit & Muscular Women.

Read this blog post
from my Fizzy Blog to see all of the fun things I ordered from
Etsy Sellers (like me) in preparation for the competition.

I truthfully had so much fun with my training during the whole 13 weeks. Go to "My Workouts" page to get an idea of what my training schedule looked like. I guarantee it's not what you would expect! About half-way through my training, my posing suit came in the mail and I was excited to see what it would look like. I put it on and tried not to panic. I already knew that I had started to get leaner (which I had) but with the suit on I had to fight those negative fears that I was too far behind and wasn't going to be able to pull this thing off. Instead of listening to those thoughts I just ignored them. I decided to have faith that if I kept forging ahead... everything will come together eventually.

3 coats of Spray-Tan!
 The week of the competition, I had my last weight training session and cardio class to keep things light and lean. In my free time, I would practice my posing and Fitness routine so I could to get things down and gain more confidence. I had an appointment set up by the show promoter to take a "polygraph test" to clear that I had been drug-free in the preparation for this show. The day before the show I had my very first couple of "spray-tanning" sessions which was interesting and sticky to say the least. I took it easy the night before. I ate light, watched a movie and tried to go to bed early.

I'll admit that the day of the show I was excited, nervous and anxious. I had no idea what to expect! It was like training for a marathon without ever have competing in a race before. When the competition started and I simply went with the flow. There were women in posing suits and heels EVERYWHERE! You could tell that the majority of the competitors had done a show before, so I tried to follow their lead. It was a little crazy at first because I had to go out on stage and pose without heels for the "X-treme Fit" category. Then run off-stage to get my clear high heels on as fast as I could because the "Beginner Short" category followed right after. My trainer, Al Norby would keep me focused and pumped up back stage with bicep curls, tricep dips and push-ups.

Competition Weigh-In: 108.9 lbs. (8-9% Body Fat)

I would have to say the most nerve-wrecking part of the night was presenting my "T-Walk" which is a solo performance of walking and posing on stage. This was my opportunity to strut my stuff and stand out from the crowd. I stayed calm and smooth once I started my walk. Hearing my friends and the rest of the crowd cheer made it even more exciting. I also made sure to focus my attention on the judges. I wanted them to feel like I was performing for them! I had no idea how my body ranked up against the rest of the women so I just did my thing!

After the "T-Walk" I quickly changed into my "Army Soldier" costume and got ready to perform my Fitness Routine. My choreography was a complete reflection of who I am: Sassy, Strong, Funky, Flirty and FUN! When I got to the 1-armed push-ups in the routine the crowd went crazy. It was so amazing to highlight my love for dance with the showcasing of strength. A combination that is the perfect fit for me!

The night went by like a blur even though the show lasted over 3 hours! Before I knew it, it was after intermission and we had the "awards section" to complete. They called out the Beginner Figure Short Class (myself and 3 other women). The swiftly named out the titles and awarded me with the 1st place trophy!!! What a feeling! I smiled as they took my picture, but in the back of my mind I knew that this meant I had another round of posing to do in front of the judges to compete for the Beginner Figure "Overall" title. Thankfully my posing coach, Lenore Theobald, prepped me for this possibility. I quickly went back stage with such a rush of excitement and grabbed my dumbbells and bands to get pumped up for more posing.

Eventually, they called us out, the Beginner Medium Winner, the Beginner Tall Winner and myself. We went through our quarter-turn poses twice which was intense and adrenaline pumping! The judges did their last minute notes and sent a note to the MC with the winner's name on it. After a dramatic pause, the MC announced the 3rd place title and then said "#24 Bethany Nelson" takes 1st Place for Beginner Figure Overall". My friends said they also heard the MC say "I'm sure we'll be seeing more of this competitor in the future!" as I walked off stage with my trophy. It officially was the "Best night of my life" and I hadn't even found out how I placed for the X-teme Fit category yet. It honestly didn't even matter that much anymore because I had accomplished so much already. I ended up with 2nd place for the X-treme Fit class and was proud to pack up 3 trophies for the night! What a great feeling and I CAN'T WAIT to compete again and see where things will take me!

photography by OCB Productions

photography by OCB Productions

(see more photos here)

Best Benefit:
Seeing where I could take my body physically
and learning how to COOK more!

Best Investment:
"30 minute" Personal Training Sessions
2-3 times a week with Al Norby.

New Guilty Pleasure:
A SHELLAC manicure at Salon Intrigue with Lisa

Hardest Hurdle:
Having allergic reactions to certain foods
even ones that are already Gluten Free.

Favorite Find:
BeautiControl Skin Care products.

Best Moment:
Seeing my "Family of Friends" during intermission
and then hearing my number called for the
Overall Figure Beginner Title.

Special Mentions to my Trainers,
Fitness Instructors and Coaches!

al norby
curt dahlen
aaron callister
lenore theobald
katie haggerty
nick bez

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A New Life Chapter { My Transformation Story }

Growing up I was a fairly active kid, mostly dancing all throughout my teenage years into college. "Working out" was something very foreign to me by the time I hit my early 20's. My body had a different metabolism and the weight started to climb right on. By the age of 23, I weighed in close to 145 lbs at only 5'1".

Age 25 (2007) - 122 lbs
I asked my friend who knew his way around the gym for some help. I started to lift weights regularly with him and found a fun cardio "dance class" to keep my body moving. I also started to eat a "better" diet with more protein and less junk. Within a year or two, I was able to slowly shed roughly 20 lbs. off of my very short frame. I had never felt better and I started to look much younger as I got "older" in my twenties. I used the photo on the right as a head shot for a NBA Timberwolves Dance Team Audition and it also marked my new found "healthy" body.

Fast forward a couple of years. I was currently working full-time when I had an onset of chronic wide-spread pain and fatigue. I was so crippled by this disorder that I had to quit my job and couldn't really "move" myself at all. Over the next 2 years, I struggled with having fibromyalgia and I was forced to get my "Fizzy Glassware" business up and running because I couldn't hold a job.

While I was busy painting away I wasn't "working out" from my constant pain and the weight quickly "re-visited" my body. By last summer, I was back at 135 lbs and it took a photo of me with my friends at my birthday lunch (see below) to realize that my body fat had gotten out of control once again.


Age 28 (May 2010) - 135 lbs and 24% Body Fat

I knew I had to change some things quick! I really focused on eating better with more fruits and vegetables. This started to give me more energy and my pain began to let up a little. I was slowly able to be more active as well. By last fall, I had a new major onset of pain and made a discovery. GLUTEN had been attacking my body. I have been gluten free since Thanksgiving and my pain... ALL of my chronic pain/fatigue has vanished from my body. Yes, the diet can be hard, but I feel like I got my life back! After seeing the changes in my physical health once I took gluten out of my diet I decided to take on a new life challenge. Enter my first FIGURE/FITNESS COMPETITION! So about 12 weeks ago I began a specific diet of protein while I rotated my carb intake along with working out 5-6 days a week.

NEW AFTER PHOTO - Fitness Training

Age 29 (2011) 110 lbs and 10% Body Fat

Meet My
Personal Trainer:


The biggest support I've had through this journey has been my consistent weight training sessions with my personal trainer. Al Norby has kept me motivated, encouraged and challenged throughout this whole adventure. He also kept things interesting with quick and intense sessions that were only 30 minutes long! If you are looking to achieve some personal goals for yourself, I STRONGLY recommend investing in a personal trainer who will show up when you don't "feel" like doing the work. Al trains at a Snap Fitness Club in Minnetonka, MN. It is one of the largest Snap Fitness clubs in the Twin Cities and has access to excellent cardio and free weights, cables and other fitness equipment.

"Specializing in motivation, accountability and expert strategies my passion is simply seeing clients ENJOY success." - Al Norby

Thank you for checking out my Fitness Blog!

Check back for new posts about my training,
diet tips and special features!
- Bethany

BethanyJN's Fitness Routine at Fitness America 2012

BethanyJN's Fitness Routine at Fitness America 2011

Interview Round (TOP 10 FINALIST) - FITNESS AMERICA 2011