Thursday, November 29, 2012

Shine Bright Like A Diamond - All On My Own and Being Supported By Many

There's something so powerful about the feeling of CHANGE. Sometimes we are asking for it and make an effort towards seeing it. Other times we feel like we're slapped in the face with it or someone just whipped a rug from under you to see you fall right off your feet. After my very first competition, I had gladfully joined a competition team and worked with wonderful people and made so many new friends over the last year. By the time I came back from Fitness Universe in Miami this June, things within the team had shifted and I was about to feel some "change". As the summer came to an end and the warm fuzzy feeling of my Fitness Universe win started to wear off, I began to prep for Fitness America. I also was adjusting to the new reality that I would be competitng at such a large show all on my own for the first time.

At about 6 weeks out from Vegas, I had the pleasure of guest performing an old fitness routine at a regional Fitness America show in Illinois (my home state). The experience was different because I was traveling to the event on my own and had been use to being a part of a team with my last few competitions. I'll admit that with the 7 1/2 hour drive by myself I had a lot of mental challenges trying to bring me down. The good thing was that I was there to only perform and not compete. I think my mind would have worn my body out. Instead I was able to relax and self-talk the night before that everything was going to be okay and that I'm strong enough to handle this CHANGE. By the next day I was able to connect with new and old friends, perform for the crowd and watch old-teammates rock the stage and win some titles!

Over the next 6 weeks, things kept falling into place for my trip to Las Vegas for my biggest competition of the year. I had saved my favorite Rihanna song "Where Have You Been" for a year to use just at this show because I knew it had my power-house style and was so much fun to choreograph too. Within a day of reaching out on Facebook about needing a roommate, a friend I met competiting in Miami immediately contacted me and said it would be great to room together in Vegas. After that I was overjoyed to find out that my friend Jacque Combs who owns Muscle Glam Competition Tanning, was able to plan on coming to Vegas and would be available to tan me. Then I had a wonderful surprise that the well-knowned photographer Don Bersano, who I met while guest performing in Illinois was also going to be at Fitness America and would be available for a photo shoot my first day out there.

My reflection onCHANGE: I've realized that either way the change appears, it's up to me to how I choose to handle it. A mentor of mine told me that there were two lessons to walk away with.
(1.) I will always be underestimated and (2.) People will try to take advantage of me. He also shared his vision for me. He told me that he saw me as a leader and a coach, but he wanted me to make sure that I focused on finding clients who I thought were better than me. This was a bold statement for me to here, but the timing was right. I was beginning to see how this change was a blessing for me and that I was meant for something bigger and brighter.
Check out this cute little vimeo video
of snapshots from my time in Vegas!
Upcoming "PEANUT" Events

I will be hosting my very first Competition Seminar! I am beyond thrilled to be focusing on how I can help other competitors with their prep and posing for shows this next season. I won't be competing until June for Fitness Universe so I have plenty of time to devote to new clients!

When: Sunday, January 13th
Time: 1 - 4pm (Bring heels for a chance to walk/pose and bring a snack)
Where: Metro Lofts Snap Fitness, St Paul MN
Cost: $45 early registration and $60 after 1.6.12
Reserve your spot today by emailing



Can't wait to go to Atlanta for this awesome event! I'll be sharing my story on how I got into health & fitness from my journey with chronic pain and food allergies. You can read my transformation story here:
Send me a note @ if you're interested in coming with me!! I'd love some friends to travel with ;)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Heading to HOT, HOT, MIAMI and reaching for FITNESS STATUS // Team Peanut Sponsors

I am honored to have a spot in the Status Fitness Magazine's Cover Model Contest for June of 2012 for a chance to qualify for the Finals in December 2012!!

It’s in the finals where The World’s Top 100 Sexiest Fitness Models for 2012 will be selected and published in a future issue of Status. One of those girls chosen will appear on the cover.
Being a fitness model is a brand new DREAM of mine that came with my love for competing last year.

Since my first shoot in Vegas last fall, I have been practicing and working hard at improving my modeling skills. I've found that with my passion for performing on stage I also like to have fun in front of the camera. There's something so empowering about feeling strong AND sexy. I would like to inspire others with beautiful images that show confidence, class and exactly who I am.

 Photography by Leigh Hagen

Please VOTE FOR ME HERE, I need as many votes as I can get for the month of June to really set me a part. You can vote 5x per 24 hour period and I would love the support. It's actually great timing to be on their site right now since I will be competing at Fitness Universe and STATUS reps will be there.

This opportunity is a great way for my name and face to hit the fitness industry while I work so hard at my competitions!

SHARE this for me if you'd like too ;)

THANK YOU for your time!

I am off to Miami, FL to compete in both Figure and Fitness at Fitness Universe!!! I am thrilled to be performing in such a large scaled competition and will do my best to make everyone proud. I also will have the opportunity to shoot with the well-known photographer Eva Simon who lives in South Florida. She is an expert when it comes to shooting on the beaches of Miami so I am estatic and can't wait!!! All of the hard work will be worth it, especially the few days of relaxing in Florida before heading back home to Minnesota!

I will make sure to post pictures and videos when we get back. The destination alone has me extremely excited since I have not vacationed to many warm locations before. My close friends and I will be staying in a house only 15 minutes away from South Beach. I plan on sleeping in the sun quite a bit once the show is over. I'll be saying "Bring on the sushi and cocktails!!!"

You will be able to watch my performance and strut it on stage LIVE on the Fitness Universe Webcast or ESPN2. Check out the schedule here LIVE TELEVISION

Because of you I have been blessed with this amazing opportunity to do what I love and reach for my dreams. Whether you are my close friend, a new fitness friend, or someone I bump into the gym now and then...words cannot express enough how much I want to say THANKS! I hope to make you all very proud in Miami at Fitness Universe!

I wanted to make a list of all of the wonderful TP sponsors for an official SHOUT OUT! If I missed your name please let me know so I can add you. Oh and BTW, the pictures are AWESOME!!!

Tara Haertzen,
Aly ProTrainer,
Kay Jordt,
Sienna Bahlmann,
Jackie W,
Tarah Andrews,
Al Norby,
Tracy Norby,
Stephani Bloomquist,
Eric Johnson 
Sarah Stenbeck,
Alex Aimling,

Monica Simpson,
Kimberly Lowell Klenner
Krista Jensen,
Dan, Que,
Frank Jones,
Heidi Mason,
Laura Berenstein,
Nick Bez,
Mark Lallo,
Angie McLain,
Amber Blom,
 Katie Haggerty,
Olivia Baker,
Annie Wylie,
Melissa Connelly,
Jasmine Loveland,

James Loveland,
Jade Loveland,
Sandra Avelli,
Lori Trotter,
Sarah Bono,
Lynn Weatherson,
Kim Marcotta,
Carol Kramer Smorch,
Lauren Nietzel,
Trisha Hartung 

See you all when I get home!!!
~ BethanyJN (PEANUT)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sometimes You Need More Than A "Sports Bra" For {SUPPORT} // Team Peanut Apparel

~ Surround yourself with those who lift you HIGHER.
The world is full of those who want to put you down ~
Last year I was overwhelmed with the amount of support I was receiving from friends in Minnesota and on Facebook while I started competing in Fitness Competitions. People I saw everyday watched my physique transform and how excited I was for upcoming shows. Close friends of mine came to my very first competition and endured almost 4 long hours to cheer me on while I was strutting my stuff on stage. Hearing my name called for my first win and knowing that my closest friends were there to experience that with me was one of the best feelings ever.

After my first show, I was scouted by Tara Thatcher who introduced me to a local network of "fitness women". Right away I made new friends and connections with women who were just as passionate for fitness as I was. Of course being the "shorty" of the group I would stand next to my new girlfriends in our 6 inch heels and they would just get a kick at how petite I was.

Within a couple of weeks of hanging out with my fitness girlfriends, I was given the new nickname Peanut. I loved it and it made me smile! When I filled out my entry form to compete in Vegas I was asked for a "stage name". PEANUT seemed to be the best option and by the time we arrived in Vegas for Fitness America the pet name had stuck!! Once I got home from competing in Vegas, I made a timeline of FITNESS GOALS for 2012. One of them was to create "Team Peanut" shirts for my friends to wear at my upcoming competitions. Well, after making one proto-type and posting a photo on facebook I had a great amount of supportive friends and fans who were anxious to support my fitness career. Before I knew I had 4 different shirt styles that I had designed to cater to all different types of people, even my male supporters. The lion artwork that I drew for the T-Shirt design is a reflection of what I think I look like on stage performing. I love getting fiesty with the crowd and scrunch my face with a "GET IT!" attitude. That's what inspired my "lioness-get-it" shirt design.

I was fortunate to have another entrepenuer friend who owns his own custom printing company and they've been more than happy to produce my TEAM PEANUT apparel.

ABOUT COED MONKEY: You've probably heard the cliche stories of 2 college in a dorm room living on Romen while startng their first company... well, Coed Monkey pretty much started that same way. Back in 2003 Bill & Ryan (2 ordinary college guys) started their first company offering custom t-shirts in Minneapolis and St. Paul to colleges around the entire country... all right out of their college dorm room at North Central University in Minneapolis, MN... well, they didn't print in the room, but they did answer phone calls and emails in their room. For more on their story visit

If you're looking for custom t-shirts in the Twin Cities or anywhere else in the country check out Coed Monkey... Join the Coed Monkey Facebook Fan Page!

Coed Monkey wrote a super nice blog feature about my story and T-shirt line. Check it out here: Blog Feature

- 1st Competition for 2012 -
Fitness America (Great North)

Getting ready for my first show of the season was exciting and nerve wrecking all at the same time. There was new music to have mixed, choreography to do, suit blinging and more! When it came to show day the energy was contagious around our group of Perfectly Prepare athletes! I felt so much support throughout the day when I would be stopped by random competitors and viewers asking if I was performing in Fitness later that night! It was ON! I hit the stage and experience that amazing rush I can never get enough of. The crowd was entertained and it felt amazing. My fitness competitor Heather Flock hit the stage next and she showed myself and everyone that this was going to be a close call. Her routine was powerful and PACKED to the brim with technical stunts and gymnastics. During the awards presentation, the emcee announced that our 1st and 2nd place scoring was calculated with only 1/2 a point difference. In that very moment I felt overwhelmed with pride and joy to be a part of something so competitive and exciting! They then called my name for 2nd place and Heather's for 1st place. It was a whirl-wind of emotions at this point. I realized that I was so close to achieving the goal I had set out to meet, but came up short by such a small amount. And then a wave of happiness came over me and I couldn't hold back the tears. I knew that even with placing second alongside this seasoned competitor that I had accomplished so much and grew in my technique. The placing gave me the proper push I needed to realize that I can never play it safe and always go over and beyond what I think I can do. I never want to underestimate myslef again from here on out.

Along with my 2nd place title in Fitness I was overjoyed to win 2nd place in the Open Figure Short class as well. It was a night of winning and placing right up against women that I respect and inspire to be like someday. Our Perfectly Prepared team had a ton of amazing wins and our Coach Tara couldn't have been more proud!

JOIN OUR TEAM! We are now offering a PERFECTLY PREPARED Monthly Membership! This includes a monthly newsletter, packed with information, a clean eating meal plan, discounts on ALL A La Carte Services, exclusive Photo Shoots, events and opportunities, access to a private client page, and bi-montly check ins for added accountability! Right now there is NO INITAL fee! Just $39.95 per month! Follow the link to join today!

I'm traveling to Miami and competing in Fitness Universe this JUNE!!! I am thrilled to be performing in such a large scaled competition and will do my best to make everyone proud. I have the opportunity to shoot with the well-known photographer Eva Simon who lives in South Florida. She is an expert when it comes to shooting on the beaches of Miami so I am estatic and can't wait!!! All of the hard work will be worth it, especially the few days of relaxing in Florida before heading back home to Minnesota!

You will be able to watch my performance and strut it on stage
LIVE on the Fitness Universe Webcast or ESPN2.
Check out the schedule here LIVE TELEVISION

Friday, March 30, 2012

Time Flies When Your {GAINING MUSCLE} // Change Your Body in a YEAR!

It was only a year ago that I started training for my very first Bodybuilding/Fitness Competition. I started telling friends that I was considering doing one last February and attended Aaron Callister's Competition seminar. I'll admit I was completely intimidated by how many women there already looked the part. I had only recently lost an additional 10 lbs off my frame from going Gluten Free so I felt leaner, but did not have any significant size on my frame yet.

Picture on Left: 1st Competition in May 2011
Picture on Right: 2nd Competition in November 2011

My main goal to compete was to be able to do FITNESS so I could perform and dance for a crowd again. My friend and trainer, Al Norby suggested that I network with fitness professionals to learn more about what this would entail. At the seminar I met Lenore Theobald, a local figure competitor, who was immediately warm and friendly. She reassured me that the "stereo-type" of figure women might be true for some competitors, but ones like her were down-to-earth, sweet and extremely approachable. This made me at ease that if I could pull this off I would want to remain level-headed like Lenore and do this sport purely for fun and for MYSELF!!

Photo taken in February 2011 - about 15% body fat (118 lbs)
After that I had a consultation with pro-bodybuilder Aaron Callister and my trainer. He gave me the run down on how the training diet works and that it had to start right away since we were about 13 weeks from his show at that point. By looking at me he could tell that I was at 15% body fat and he firmly stated that I would have to get under 10% and close to 9%, maybe 8% body fat to even compete at his show.* I'll admit, walking into the meeting I felt confident with my weight and newly trimmed self, but all of the sudden I was asking myself "CAN I DO THIS?" Quickly I remembered that it was only a year before that that my body fat was double (24%) and I had already accomplished most of the hard work. With my new Gluten Free lifestyle, eating clean and carb-cycling was just more for me to learn and I WAS READY.

* CLARIFICATION: 8-9% body fat is not a healthy percent to maintain. It's a lot of hard work to get down to that # and would be impossible to stay at all of the time. The 9% is just for competition day and is mostly from water depletion. It's just how our physiques are judged ;)

My Body at 18-20% body fat.
This was a shot from FALL 2010 - The old "curvy" me!

I decided to train for not only Fitness, but Figure as well. The best part about this journey is that I had no idea what to expect the entire time. I've always had curves, thicker arms and dancer legs (strong quads and yes, my calves are the one defined muscle I've had since I was a teenager). Aaron Callister set me up on a carb-cycling diet and I was supposed to check in with him once at week at the end of the lowest drop and email him my weight. The goal was for me to drop at least one pound each week.

March 2011 - 12% body fat (115 lbs)
At about 8 weeks out from the show I was feeling pretty good about my progress. I was excited to order my very first figure suit from a designer in Las Vegas. When it came in the mail I quickly wiggled the thing right on and took a look in the mirror. Here's where my mind came in to play. I thought "HOLY CRAP, I have some more work to do!" This was a good motivator. I could've let it freak me out, but instead I knew that I could keep going and make the neccessary changes in the next 8 weeks. Well, I didn't exactly know I could do it, I just decided I HAD TO!

I stuck to the program and didn't give up! Certain weeks were harder than others and sometimes I didn't drop a pound like I wanted. But then there was one week were things really shifted and my metabolism must have been shocked because I dropped about 3 lbs. That was just the push I needed and I knew that this was going to happen. The best part was having the close friends around me be so supportive and encourage me as I got closer to the show date.

Picture on the left shows I had built muscle,
by the right picture shows a leaner version!

I tried my hardest to maintain the goal of losing 1 pound a week on the carb-cycling diet. There was also quite a bit of water depletion the couple of days before the show so part of the show weight is simply dehydration. I went into my show feeling as good as I could feel my first time and had a blast. The fun suprise of the night was to find out that the judges thought I looked great too. Against about 17 other first time beginner competitors the judges scored me the highest for my overall look giving me the 1st place Beginner Figure Title. On top of being able to perform my first fitness routine, look and feel the best I had ever in my life, I also won!!!

SHOW TIME - Being judged against the other winners!
SHOW DAY: 108.9 lbs, 9% body fat, 5'1"

After that night I was on such a high for life and wanted to do more! I was blessed to meet my Competition coach Tara and we made plans for the fall. The best part about deciding to compete in the fall was that I kept going with my workouts and clean eating. So in a sense my training never stopped! On Saturdays a bunch of us fitness ladies get together to workout and practice posing and later in the summer I remember a specific day when a friend couldn't help but notice how different my upper body looked from a month earlier. I was just as shocked around the changes. In May I already thought I looked strong and didn't know that I could keep growing. And GROW...I DID!

MUSCLE GAINS started to show by July/August.
After new muscle gains with the Perfectly Prepared ladies!

Progress photo in October 2011

November 2011 - Photo Shoot before Fitness America

After I saw this image from a photo shoot, I was stunned by how different my upper body looked from May. I had no idea that with continuing my training all summer that I would gain so much lean muscle mass. Choosing to compete in the fall was the best decision I've made! Since this fall I've been able to really work on gaining size in specific areas like my lats and glutes. It has been fun to feel like a sculptor and literally change how my physique looks with targeting certain muscles for a better look.

For example, by the time I had depleted for my show in Vegas I was surprised that I had lost so much cushion in my glutes. I was hit with the reality that my glutes did not have enough muscle, just fat. In the photo below you can see what I did post-Vegas with gaining a bit weight back and hitting glutes hard. My mission is to create a super strong backside that is built of all muscle!!

Glutes progress photo - February 2012

I talk about CARB-CYLING as my diet routine. You can find out more about how I carb cycle in this post:
Recently a friend asked me about a book I would recommend so they could start a no carb/low carb diet. Here's what I shared with them You want to CARB CYCLE not just do a LOW CARB DIET. Good Carbs will make you skinny and strong ;) (P.S. I love my carbs and would'nt have transformed without them, people who go super low carb and never allow some high days will eventually crash and binge) If you guys have any more questions let me know, I'd love to help and encourage!!!!

This is the book I'd recommend:
by Roman Malkov
Optimize your health, lose weight, feel great—without giving up the foods you love!

Build muscle and lose fat with the real-life answer to no-carb/low-carb diets.
Low-carb diets like Atkins and South Beach are notoriously difficult to maintain over time and have been deserted by millions of people. Health-conscious people all over America are ready for something better. Discover the secret that athletes and trainers have been using for years with a healthy carb cycling diet.

By allowing you to eat full, nutritionally balanced meals on any day,
The Carb Cycling Diet breaks away from the "deprivation model" of most diets onthe market today. Alternating between limited-carb and normal-carb days, you have your cake and eat it, too, without having to rely on supplements or sugar substitutes.

The Carb Cycling Diet includes easy recipes and meal plans for normal- and low-carb days. Monitoring what you eat is simple with the Carbohydrate Content and Glycemic Index tables included. Plus, The Carb Cycling Diet provides tips on exercise, sports supplements, and how to keep motivation high.

Here is an example of my workout routine that switched up throughout 2011, it was all about consistency! There was never a week that I didn't get into the gym somehow ;)

Sunday: 90 minute Hot Vinyasa
Monday: Cardio Hip Hop/ 30 minutes of Shoulders and Triceps
Tuesday: Warrior Scuplt Yoga (low resistance weights)
Wednesday: 45 minutes of Glutes and Legs
Thursday: Cardio 50/50 (low resistance weights)
Friday: 30 minutes of Back and Biceps
Saturday: REST

Thanks for taking the time to enjoy my MUSCLE GAINING transformation!! I look forward to show new photos of my 2012 Competitions so you can see how things have changed even more.

Hope to see you cheering for TEAM PEANUT next weekend
at Fitness America - Great North (MOA)
or Mr. and Mrs. Natural MN in May
(Bloomington High School)

Luv, BethanyJN

Feedback: Hello Bethany! I just found your blog through Tara's Perfectly Perfect on Facebook and you are amazing! I am gearing up for a photo shoot in August - I am making my longtime goal of becoming a fitness model a reality! You are such an inspiration. Thank so much for your article! I can't wait to read more. Good luck!
Tiffany -

(Please feel free to leave a comment or feedback below!)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

You Know What Happens When You {ASSume}... Just ASK the PEANUT!! // Fitness {Q&A} //

Over the last few months I've had a great time responding to messages from friends and people I've never even met regarding my love for FITNESS. Facebook has been a great avenue for people to follow my story and be comfortable enough to ask for help and advice. It has been a privilige to be able to share with people who are wanting to know what  type of program I use to stay in this kind of shape. Most of my answers have to do with my diet program of carb-cycling since that has been what's worked for me in getting lean and building muscle. I also love to tell people about living a Gluten Free lifestyle due to having celiacs disease.

Read about how I discovered my gluten
allergy in this blog post: My Transformation Story


Q: Is there anything I can do to feel less squishy by the end of the week? I know this is not a solution for long-term results, but just any tips to help me feel a little fitter in a few days? Thanks for any advice!

A: No problem...I'm doing that all the time right now for photo shoots I have on the weekend and trust me I've been enjoying my peanut butter and sweets so the weight totally comes back.

My "SQUISHY" before photos from over the years!
I'm on the far right (High school 2000)

(Winter 2009)

(Summer 2010)

 The best thing to do is to not "cut out" carbs completely like a crazy person, but deplete them along the week and also during the day. If you know you want to eat "heavy" carbed on the weekend or we also call it "carb-load" then have your carbs around 150-175 each day for say Friday and Saturday. The drop the # down each day until the next Friday. Like 100 carbs on Monday, 75 Tuesday, 50 on Wed, and 25 on Thursday.

Within a couple weeks of carb-cycling I dropped bodyfat!
You will want to divide the carb amount by the 4-5 meals you are having and leave the last meal for just protein and veggies/fruit if you can.Seriously experiment with this and try your own #s but just have them drop down, weigh in first thing day after lowest day and see what happens.

Then you just repeat and I promise the body fat starts to shed,  I know it did for me ;)

Q. Hey girl!! I am curious, do you do the ETS workouts or do you follow your own program? I love your physique and am working hard on gains...curious which workouts you do!!

A. I haven't done an ETS workout yet. I kind of do my own mixture of group fitness classes for cardio and low-resistance training with only a couple of days of short heavy weight sessions. I think my diet and actually lack of constant cardio has been the reason I've gained so much muscle. I cycle my carbs with 2 pretty high carb days (175 each) and then the other 5 days with 25 carbs each. I stay around 100-120 grams of protein for every day.

That's a short summary of my program and I train myself now since a trainer can be expensive. I love classes at lifetime that feel like personal training sessions, makes the membership totally worth every penny! Thank you for the kind words and let me know if you have any other questions.

p.s. I hardly ever do protein shakes or bars, just food!

Q. I'm new into the world of fitness. I find your physique inspirational - since I'm a short girl as well...and its nice to see women of our stature raise up in the world of fitness competition!! As I said, I'm just getting my foot in the door and would eventually like to compete as well. Any tips you could offer far as supplements you'd info...??

I'm a fairy active person and I do watch what I eat..but I feel like there needs to be an additonal ingredient in order for me to shape and reform my body. Was it hard getting started? Did you have to completely realter your lifestyle? Do I need to look for a coach...etc...

If there's any suggestions you could offer, that would be awesome!
Thanks lady!!

My Coach T - Perfectly Prepared

A. So glad you sent a message and you are looking to get into the fun world of fitness ;) Thank you for all of your sweet words!

I think being petite and short is pretty fun especially since it gave me the nickname Peanut ;) I started getting ready for my very first show exactly a year ago and my body was about 15% body fat, the only defined muscle that I had ever had before the was my calves.

So it's been amazing to see what a competition diet and regular weight trainging for a year has done to my physique. The changes continue to blow my mind. The diet was a bit hard to begin with just because it was so new. I met with Aaron Callister who is a PRO bodybuilder (he works with many female competitors), he gave me a carb-cycling diet program. His main suggestion for me was to only rely on lean food protein and to stay away from any supplement shakes/bars. Things would have been even harder if I didn't already have a severe gluten allergy. My allergy forces me to not even think about the bad carbs, but there's still ways for me to put it back on if I'm not careful.

Perfectly Prepared Ladies
If you are looking for a great coach you should hit up Tara Heartzen who leads the group of women called Perfectly Prepared. She does everything from diet programs to show prep and knows her stuff. Feeling confident with support before you go on stage is priceless in the experience.

You should come to one of Tara's workout/prep sessions with me, there is one this Saturday in St. Louis Park ;)

Good luck and I'll always be here for questions and support! - Bethany

Q. Hey girl!! Curious....what do you do for your cardio intervals? And do you ever have any long cardio days???

A. Nope, I heavily rely on my "carb cycling and clean" diet so I don't have to spend hours doing cardio. I get my high impact cardio training done in group fitness glasses like ones that are "boot camp" style about 3 times a week and then add in short heavy lifting sessions (30 min) abotu 3 x's a week and that's it!! Then when I can I dance to get more cardio in :)

Fitness America 2011
Q. I hope this message isn't too .... well nosy. ;0) I am considering doing my first figure or bikini competition and I am really concerned because I'm short and all those lovely long legged tall women - I just feel like I'm going to look umm shall we say "stout"? ;0)

May I ask how tall you are? Do you have a certain weight/size you goal for before a competition? How do you know when you're ready? Do you recommend a trainer or just giving it a go on my own? Is there a trainer you would recommend? What about food? I'm pretty much eating chicken or fish and veggies at every that what really really fit people eat???

I want to be strong and fit but not overly muscle-y if you know what I mean....Anyway, thanks for any wisdom you can share. Your pics are very inspiring!

Bikini Competitor Tarah Andrews 
A. Thanks for the nice message! I can say that I am rather short as well which is how I acquired the nickname "Peanut". I am right under 5'1" and started my training only a year ago. I have never been in this type of shape before so all of it is new to me.

I have a carb cycling diet with about 100-120 grams of protein a day. I don't do that much cardio and weight train when I can. You will want to make sure that your are having good carbs as well to be able to lean out properly and build any type of muscle. If you're worried about looking stout then only do low resistance training. I like to do both low and havy weights, but I like to have alot of muscle especially since I compete in figure.

If you are looking for a good person to consult with you should meet with Tara who owns Perfectly Prepared. She is my coach and manager who meets with a lot of competitors. If you want someone to give you a diet plan you can also meet with Aaron Callister who set me up on mine.

I hope that helps answer some of your questions. I'm not sure if I can be a huge help since I am a competitor and fitness model who DOES want to be as muscley as possible. If you're worried about getting huge like a body builder, you won't unless you try.

Also if you are scared of a lot of muscle then try BIKINI for sure ;)

Q. Hey girl! I'm wanting to try carb cycling, but I'm not sure how the schedule works, like 2 high, 2 low-1 high, 3 low-high, med, low...sheesh...confusing!!! Help please!!! :)

A. Here's how you can get started! Day 1: 175 carbs, Day 2: 150 carbs, Day 3: 100 carbs, Day 4: 75 carbs, Day 5: 75 carbs, Day 6: 50 carbs, Day 7: 50 carbs - Weigh in the day after your last low day and you should drop a bit. Once you start to plateau you'd play with the numbers a bit to make things harder and you'll drop again. This will lean anyone out and drop bodyfat. Divide the total carbs up for a day between your first 4 meals leaving the last 5th meal for just yummy veggies with your protein. Let me know what you think!!!

This is a great "CHARTICLE" a friend sent
me that follows the same Carb-Cycling concepts!

Look at this CHARTICLE closer at the link below:

It's already March of a brand new year and I couldn't be more excited about what's in the works! My success story has been picked up by a well-known fitness magazine so watch for that news to be released soon. I have been working hard to stay in shape for photo shoots and my upcoming competitions. Save the date: Saturday, APRIL 21ST to cheer on your "PEANUT" while I hit the stage with a brand new Fitness routine and compete in the Open Figure Class. The regional show is Fitness America - Great North held in the Grand Room at the Mall of America. Stay tuned for more details and buy your tickets soon...only 6 weeks away!

My Next 3 Competitions!!!

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you at my next performance!!!

Bethany JN - Peanut

Thursday, February 16, 2012

{Trimming} Myself From The Family Tree // Fitness Success Story (Vol. 2)

Being healthy and fit were not topics I heard talked about as a kid. I remember watching older family members of mine struggle with their weight and feel uncomfortable with their size. However, there were never any discussions around the family dinner table regarding nutrition or exercise. Growing up, I didn't even have a concept of what going to the "gym" looked like. By the time I was a teenager in high school I realized that my body was different from some of the other girls on the dance team. For our performances we sometimes wore tiny skirts or midriff-baring tops. Looking around I could see that most of my friends had what seemed like perfectly tight and slim frames. I wondered why I didn't look exactly like them when I danced just as much as they did. But over time I grew more comfortable with my body and loved the fact that I had curves.

On the right with friends at my High School Senior Prom (2000)

By the time I graduated from high school and began college-life, my weight fluctuated even more. I was becoming aware that the food I was eating and my lack of dancing had an impact on how I looked and felt in my clothes. I figured it out for the first time at nearly 20 years old. Being an adult meant that I had to address the situation all on my own. By 2003, when I celebrated my 21st birthday, I weighed more than 150 pounds at only 5 feet tall.

On a missions trip to Honduras (Age 20)
After moving to Minnesota, I met a good friend who did weight training regularly. I asked if he would take me on as one of his "projects" and help me lose weight. Thankfully, he was up for the challenge and gave me great support and accountability. This was my "AH-HA" moment when I decided that a change was going to have to be all up to me. It was time to commit to breaking free from the vicious cycle of being unfit!

The first thing I did was join a gym (by now they referred to them as health clubs) and I started to cut foods out of my diet that I had been eating since I was a kid, such as bagels, pasta and fried chicken. I tried to make lifestyle changes, such as drinking my coffee without cream and sugar. Within two years of working out more regularly and focusing on my diet, I was able to lose about 20 pounds and felt great. I managed the weight loss for a couple of years, when out of nowhere my body was overcome with chronic pain. I struggled for years with intense pain, migraines and gained some of the weight back. Feeling hopeless and depressed, I finally made the discovery that I have a severe allergy to gluten and wheat, which was causing all of my symptoms. Within a few weeks of eating a gluten-free diet, my health and physique took a major overhaul.

My weight gain after being set-back with Fibromyalgia.

Months later, I decided to give competing in figure and fitness a try. With a new clean diet it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make my dream of being a performer come true. In May, I won the Overall Beginner Figure Title at the Mr. and Mrs. Natural MN competition and placed 2nd in Fitness. Just last November, I placed 8th out of 35 fitness competitors at Fitness America in Las Vegas and came in 6th for my Open Figure Short class! This new, fit lifestyle I've created has brought me many great experiences and so much happiness. Becoming a competitor and fitness model has been one of the best things that ever happened to me.

I'm posing with Medium and Tall Figure Winners at my 1st Competition

As I approach my 30th birthday, I can reflect back on all the new healthy habits that I have learned on my own. I love eating turkey bacon and gluten-free oats in the morning for breakfast instead of a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. I get excited to order a fresh salmon salad at a restaurant in place of my old childhood favorite, Chicken Parmigiana. I now enjoy heading to the gym on a regular basis and feel relaxed after a great work out. In addition to my passion for dance, I love my group fitness cardio, yoga, weight training, nutrition, and the amazing feeling of a new healthy life!

If you are looking to break free from an unfit family pattern or start your own new healthy journey, all you need is a couple of things.

First, GET A PARTNER. Find a friend, trainer, or coach who will keep you accountable and cheer you on along the way.

Second, MAKE A PLAN. If you don't have a visual in front of you, how will you see where you are going and how you'll get there?

Third, FOLLOW THROUGH. If you make the commitment you WILL need to work hard. Make sure you include days of rest and permission to enjoy yourself when you need it. I train hard when I need to, but I also need a good balance of rest and rewarding myself from time to time.

With only two competitions under my belt, I couldn't be happier and more excited for the future! I am looking forward to a new year with more opportunities to compete, choreograph, model and perform.

This hip-hop-loving, pussycat doll is ready to strut her stuff in 2012, so watch out!

BethanyJN's Fitness Routine at Fitness America 2012

BethanyJN's Fitness Routine at Fitness America 2011

Interview Round (TOP 10 FINALIST) - FITNESS AMERICA 2011