Emsculpt is an FDA-cleared body-sculpting procedure that builds muscle and burns fat. It delivers high-intensity focused electromagnetic energy (HIFEM) pulses to the muscle tissue, creating supramaximal muscle contractions that activate more muscle fibers than what you can achieve through normal exercise. 

This nonsurgical treatment can tighten, tone, and strengthen the large muscle groups of the abdomen and buttocks as well as of smaller body areas, including the upper arms, thighs, and calves. The result is increased muscle definition and reduced circumference.

Emsculpt Neo, launched in fall 2020, is a next-generation, FDA-cleared device that combines enhanced HIFEM technology (delivering up to 20% more electromagnetic pulses than the original) with radiofrequency (RF) energy in the form of heat, to burn fat more effectively. 

Emsculpt Neo can treat all the same areas as the original Emsculpt device, though treatment of the butt, arms, and calves is typically done without heat, to avoid the volume loss that would come with fat reduction.

Four sessions, typically spaced two to five days apart, are recommended over a two-week period, with either the classic Emsculpt or Emsculpt Neo device.

Session 1 (left) versus Session 4 (right)

I honestly had avoided doing anything along the lines of cool sculpting, fat burning technology that has been offered me via social media promotion. I felt like 1. It made me a fraud & 2. I had heard from friends that these sculpting machines were overpriced and ineffective. 
But the more I saw the emsculpt before & afters, the more curious that I got. My stomach area has always been my problem area. Even at my leanest, I would hold body fat in my “love handles”. 

When ADARA Body Sculpting & Anti Aging Center reached out to me to collaborate on the Emsculpt Neo, I was instantly attracted to the professional, clean look of the office. From my experience with laser facials in the past, I know how important it is to find a place that you can trust. The quality of your results depend on the state of the art technology, trusted and licensed estheticians, and professionals that you can trust with your procedures. ADARA Body Sculpting & Anti Aging center in Wall Township, NJ was definitely somewhere that I felt I could trust.

I decided to give the emsculpt neo a try after hearing that JLO uses it regularly. (Who doesn’t want to look like JLO?) I agreed to collaborate with Adara under the conditions that I would be providing 100% honest feedback with my followers. This also allowed me to be transparent with what I do. 

So, I chose to do emsculpt neo on my stomach, and the first session was intimidating. I was worried that it would be painful, but it was very tolerable. Way less painful than laser hair removal (if that helps!). It’s slight discomfort but mostly just the weird feeling of having your abdominal muscles contract against your will. They started it off on a lower setting and gradually climbed to the max power setting. Even at the highest setting I found it to be incredibly tolerable. 

It was bizarre that after the session was over, I was sweating as if I had done a workout. My abs were also noticeably more pronounced. My second session was the same as the first. 
I was slightly disappointed after my second session when I would have a big meal and my stomach would bloat as usual. (I was hoping for magic LOL!)

Session 1 (left) // after second session (right)

However, the third session is where I felt like that magic really happened. They began the session this time at the highest setting so the entire time it was at max effort. I’m not sure if it was because of this or because it was my third session but after that session I noticed a profound difference in my stomach. It looked as if not only my abs were more pronounced, my belly button looked very lean, and it looked like my stomach was cut in on the sides as well. 

The fourth session only made it even better (again starting from the highest setting in the first minute)! 
My conclusion is that the emsculpt neo is totally worth it. If I were to do it again I would definitely start at the max setting from the first minute for the first two sessions. I almost wish that I had two more sessions to do at full effort to see how insane my stomach could look. I also feel like I’m instantly stronger at ab workouts that I used to struggle with. 

Final Results (four sessions!)

It DEFINITELY feels like cheating, and I don’t know if I’d ever work out if I had this machine at my disposal every day. I am so curious what I would look like if I did two more sessions on my stomach. I feel like the results would be absolutely insane! I also am so curious what this machine could do to an area like the back of my arms because that area does not fluctuate as much with food. The Emsculpt Neo gave me a leaping advantage in my training and body progress that would have taken me years to get to! 

If you are considering any kind of body contouring device- skip the coolsculpting and go straight for emsculpt neo. Not only will you lose body fat but you will see noticeable lean muscle increase! It’s magic and worth every penny. Also, where you go matters (as with any laser technology). Adara Body Sculpting & Anti Aging Center has the most up to date equipment and state of the art facility with friendly technicians.

My Holy Grail Skincare Routine (UnSponsored)

My skin type: Oily, Acne-Prone, mild rosacea, big pores/ very red/ very sensitive

After years of trial & error, I’ve found what works best for me. These products have been magical for my skin!

When looking for advice & a new skincare routine, you have to be super careful where you get the recommendations. Many influencers are promoting products that pay them to promote- even if they don’t actually use them! This is especially common if they are posting for them. (A lot of influencers with large followings post NOTHING for free).

This post is entirely genuine & real products I purchased & paid for.

Here it goes:

A.M. Routine:

Step 1: Cleanse skin with CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser. (Hard to find but amazing!)


Step 2: Paulas Choice–SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant My miracle in a bottle for rosacea, acne (hormonal, cystic, blackheads) and redness! Made my skin glow overnight.


Step 3: Benzoyl Peroxide gel 5% (add a pea size to face once daily).

CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM – matte finish with SPF which I love!


P.M. Routine

Step 1: Cleanse skin with CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser. (Hard to find but amazing!)


Step 2: Paulas Choice–SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant My miracle in a bottle for rosacea, acne (hormonal, cystic, blackheads) and redness! Made my skin glow overnight.


Step 3: Acne Treatment Differin Gel (pea size amount)


Step 4: Skinbetter Alpharet Overnight Cream 50ML (only available by physicians) but is my holy grail serum! Somehow still hydrating while incorporating a retinoid.


Step 5: (For extra hydration because the acne products sometimes make my skin dry) Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Gel-Cream Face Moisturizer to Hydrate & Smooth Extra-Dry Skin, Oil-Free, Fragrance-Free, Non-Comedogenic & Dye-Free Face Lotion, 1.7 oz

10 Unsponsored Products I love

I wanted to compile a list of some of my favorite products – beauty/ makeup / etc. that I actually spend money on. These are just a few of my go-to favorites !

  1. Favorite Conditioner

Aveda Cherry Almond Softening Conditioner

This is by far the best conditioner I’ve found. It detangles my hair effortlessly, leaving it soft, non-greasy, and silky after washing.

Link: Conditioner

2. My favorite concealer

Tarte Shape Tape concealer in color “light sand”

Link: Concealer

3. My favorite hair styling product:

Leaves my hair shinier and healthier looking than ever. This single product has improved my hair’s appearance so much.

Link: Smooth infusion

4. Favorite makeup brush:

Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection 203 Tapered Shadow

I just ordered another one of this brush on Amazon after searching for it forever. It’s the only brush I’ve found that has been easy for me to blend eyeshadow with. I will leave the link here for you:

Eyeshadow Brush On Amazon

5. Favorite everyday foundation:

ISDIN Skin Drops in color “SAND”

I know I talk about ISDIN skin drops often on my story, but they’re not a sponsored product ! I LOVE these skin drops because they’re light weight and I just put a few drops on over my moisturizer using a foundation brush and it looks like I have zero makeup on- just perfectly clear skin.

My only complaint is that they do not come in light enough colors. The lightest color : “SAND” just matches my skin, but if I were at my palest ever they would be too dark. If you have super fair skin, these aren’t the best option for you. BUT if you have my skin tone or darker these are AMAZING.

Here is the link to buy these:


6. My favorite foundation for full glam

Too Faced Peach Perfect

My foundation for when I’m going full glam is different from my everyday foundation.

When I do full glam makeup, I spend about 35-45 minutes on my makeup. My everyday makeup routine is more like 5-10 minutes.

Full glam involves under-eye concealer, highlighter, contour, nose contour, setting powder etc.

The skin drops aren’t as good for this routine because they’re so natural and blend into everything. This provides a better base for the rest of my makeup but still feels lightweight. I HATE feeling cakey. Also this one smells SO good.

Here is the link on Sephora:

Peach Perfect Foundation

7. My favorite self tanner:

Quicktan Bronzing Spray in Medium Dark

I actually don’t self tan my whole body so I can’t speak to how streaky this may or may not be for arms and legs.

HOWEVER, I love a light spray of this on my face and neck when I’m starting to get creepy pale. I’ve also sprayed my arms before and it came out great. I like to spray over my finished foundation and blot the speckles away with a foundation brush. It makes my makeup glow more and I look nicely bronzed.


Self tanner

8. My favorite setting/finishing powder:

NARS light reflecting pressed setting powder

While I HATE the price of this one- it goes back to me hating feeling cakey. Its the most translucent powder I’ve been able to find- just enough to take away the melt/ shine look when your makeup gets oily. It doesn’t leave a white cast like other powders. For me, it’s worth the $37.

Link: Setting Powder

9. My favorite eyebrow pencil

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer

I use color: “Medium Brown”. This is the holy grail of eyebrow pencils. Triangular tip- retractable .. goes on smooth- easy to define and shape brows. Will never switch!

Link: Eyebrow pencil

10. My Favorite Moisturizer

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion

My favorite moisturizer for a long time. Hydrates my skin very well, without clogging my pores/ making me break out. Doesn’t leave me feeling greasy and doesn’t feel heavy.



I hope you liked this post on my favorite non sponsored products right now! I will do another post with more soon if this one gets positive feedback. ?

DIY Lara Croft (With Links!)

I wanted to provide all of the details to my best costume yet!

I created my Lara Croft costume – mostly entirely from things I found on Amazon. When I decided to be Lara Croft – I was disappointed by the bad reviews on the Sexy Tomb Raider costume from online Halloween stores.

Reviews said that material was cheap, costume straps were flimsy & easily broke- shorts didn’t cover and created a muffin top look.

So I decided to recreate myself by finding different pieces online!

The costume was such a hit! It was a lot of work to find pieces for the costume that were so perfect- I thought it would be helpful to anyone in the future who wishes to be Lara Croft if I made a blog post detailing quick links to everything I used !

Lara Croft DIY costume :





Leg straps:


Water guns (spray painted Matte Black)


Combat boots:

(Mine were old from Charlotte Rousse but ang work!) Found these on amazon (similar):


Halter Chest Harness Tomb Raider SMALL


(from Etsy shop- Seller: Vontoon)

For the water guns I spray painted them Matte Black- here’s a quick link for matte black spray paint even though any will work!

Guns were a little small but held about 2 shots of Tequila ?? (spraying tequila in peoples mouths all night was a must for the costume!)

The arm tourniquet was a last minute edition. I just found an old tank top that was off white/tan and thin material not thick cotton.

I didn’t care about the tank top so I cut the bottom off and tied it around my arm.

Making the edges jagged is a must. You also don’t want a bright white tank top or T-shirt. I added red lip liner and brown eye shadow to the tourniquet to make it appear dirty & bloody.


The only thing I didn’t find online.

I got these the day before in a Halloween Store.

Here are similar options:



French braids. Lara Croft usually wears one friend braid with two small pieces of hair hanging out in the front. But I like myself in two French braids better so I did that.


I did my normal makeup routine and just added streaks of red lip liner (ruby woo from Mac) here and there and smudged over it gently with brown eyeshadow (Cyprus umber from soft glam palette by Anastasia Beverly hips).

Top right of forehead/ above left eyebrow, small mark on nose, small mark bottom chip right side, left side of chest and arm by tourniquet). Pro tip**- to keep yourself looking pretty and less scary try to make marks along where you would want your face to be contoured. I found the dirt look on the outer forehead, cheekbones, and jawline to be even flattering ?!

I hope this detailed explanation is helpful in your recreation of Lara Croft from Tomb Raider! Try not be as disappointed as I was when anyone under 20 asks you who you are and then has never heard of Lara Croft or Tomb Raider.

How To Stay Motivated

Tips to Get Motivated & Stay Motivated

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Throughout my competition preps (which have been anywhere from 12-20 weeks) a reoccurring question that I have gotten is: “How do you stay motivated?”

The truth: I don’t. Some days I wake up ready to kick butt and excited to tackle the day with my glittery bikini in mind. Others—well, the idea of eating cold fish out of Tupperware on my lap in my car makes me cringe and my bed is so warm I don’t want to get up and even think about fasted cardio.

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So how do I make it through prep & stay consistent? (Because consistency is the key to achieving long-term goals.)

Here’s my list of tips:

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  1. Wake Up Early.

Waking up early sets the tone for your entire day. By getting up early, you actually have time to prepare a healthy breakfast- and are less likely to settle for a quick bagel. You’ll feel much more productive. Numerous studies have linked waking up early to success and productivity. Also, sleep experts suggest that when you go to bed early and wake up early, you’re body is more in tune with earth’s circadian rhythms and you get a more restorative sleep. Waking up early also allows for getting in multiple meals a day, working out in the morning, and plenty of time to get down a gallon of water.

How do I start waking up early when I’m in the habit of sleeping until noon?

  • Prep for the morning the night before.
  • Get to bed early.
  • Start gradually, waking up earlier and earlier each morning.
  • Put your alarm clock far from your bed, forcing to get up to turn it off.
  • Do not snooze. Setting an alarm for 6 am and 6:30 is less effective than just a 6:30 am alarm. Don’t allow yourself to snooze!
  • Get moving. Make a deal with yourself that you will get up and walk around your house for 5 minutes before deciding to go back to bed. Chances are- you will be much less likely to go back to bed.

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  1. Set an encouraging picture as the background of your phone. ^^^^

My motivational pic? My lock screen is a picture of myself, unflattering angle, most out of shape picture of myself I own. My home screen is a motivational picture. Either my goal body found on Tumblr or a picture of myself in competition shape.

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  1. Post motivational quotes in view.

Take time to find quotes that really reach you during a motivated moment and write them on sticky notes. Put those sticky notes places where you may need them most e.g. the bathroom mirror or the kitchen door. Washing your face before the gym and choosing your food are two places where seeing “Ask yourself if what you are doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow” and “I believe in the person that I want to be” can come in handy.
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  1. Always have your meals prepared.

Fail to plan- plan to fail. If you have your meals prepped and packed, not only are you cheating yourself by eating other food- but I am way less likely to waste fresh cooked flounder and cave on a burger. There are starving people in this world!! You’re going to eat the food you paid for and took the time to cook.

  1. Tell people what you are doing.

Tell your parents, tell your friends, be that person to check in at the gym every morning on Facebook (WARNING: YOU MAY LOSE FRIENDS.) Accountability. That is what this is about.

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  1. Keep a Calendar.

I hang a calendar on my wall specifically for prep. I have my 20 weeks outlined and I cross off days as I go. Each week I put a sticker on the top of my calendar. Seeing that you have 5 stickers makes you feel more accomplished than thinking your only 5 weeks in.

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  1. Reward yourself.

Not with food! But think Lululemon & Nike. Each week I make through prep means a new pair of lulu leggings or a new pair of sneakers. 20 weeks= 20 gifts.

8. Write down what you eat! 

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How you know you’ve gained weight without stepping on the scale & other advice on balance post comp!

  1. People politely tell you– I’m going to start compiling a list of nice ways people have commented on my post competition weight gain.

-“WOW! You really look like you’ve put on some muscle there!”

-You just have a fuller more womanly body now

-You look healthy!

-Your face is so round !! It looks great!

  1. Your clothes don’t fit. During peak week I get carried away ordering brazillian bikinis and skimpy tops I would NEVER usually wear. Keep in mind, competition weight is not usually maintainable. Being a size zero jeans was fun for a week. Now I have four pairs of $200 Freddy Jeans in size 0 that I can’t return.
  2. You breathe heavily doing things you never thought twice about before. I have a habit of sprinting up my flight of stairs at my house. When I find myself wheezing at the top I realize its time to kick the cardio up a notch.
  3. You opt for the loose gym tanks you used to think were mom-ish instead of the tight tanks and nike pro shorts.
  4. Your dad catches you eating out of the icecream carton in the freezer and says “JESUS JEN! Do you ever stop?!”


I’m just having fun here but the point of this is to remember that post competition gluttony has consequences! FIND BALANCE. Enjoy life and live well! Here are some tips I can give to slowly get back to a fun life after competition without packing on the pounds:

  1. Keep your water intake up. When you’re drinking plenty of water you’re less hungry. Water is crucial to fat loss and healthy body function.
  2. Get to the gym a few days a week. Even if your workout intensity is not on point every single day, hold yourself accountable to making it to the gym. This will set the tone for your eating and keep you on a schedule.
  3. Continue to log what you eat. Whether it is in a notebook or your phone, writing down what you eat will keep you more aware.
  4. Eat a healthy breakfast. When you begin the day with a healthy breakfast, you are more likely to have an active and healthy day.
  5. Limit your cheats. Earn them. Schedule them. Limit your drinking. The second you stop scheduling your cheats or working towards them, you begin to cheat on a regular basis. By “cheat” I mean a big dinner completely untracked with wine or anything you please.
  6. Keep healthy food accessible to you. If you are laying by your pool and have fresh healthy food in your fridge you are way less likely to order a pizza. If you have a banana on you, you are way less likely to buy a bag of chips or candy bar while out.
  7. Stay on track with supplements.
  8. Stay on decent sleep schedule.jennyrichfitlogo

Allie’s Progress & MY SECOND CLIENT EVER!

OKAY. So I hope everyone remembers the massive success of my first client, Allie Rackliff, in changing her lifestyle and losing a whopping 60 lbs and keeping it off! I just wanted to give a brief update on her progress. Allie continues to implement the practices of her diet regime by controlling her portions and eating clean. She rarely and I mean RARELY cheats her diet and has found great balance in her life along the way. She plans to tighten up the diet a big again and start the process all over again from the beginning, while guiding her coworkers towards healthier lifestyles as well. She has been making me proud for sure!

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Now, the second client (my second client ever) is whom I want to highlight in this blog post. I was contacted by Katie Tompkins in reply to my Facebook status about needing guinea pigs to see if I had what it takes to effectively coach and transform peoples’ lifestyles.

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Katie began the diet with slightly less enthusiasm than Allie’s diehard commitment, and opened up to me about her emotional struggle with an eating disorder. As the diet commenced Katie felt good but felt as though her progression was slower than it should be. (Many girls feel this way in the beginning of the program because the change in diet may cause bloating and results are not immediate). On a few occasions Katie confessed to binge eating and cheating the diet. I saw her desperation for change in her fierce determination to stay on the exercise program and knew her struggles with eating in the past so i encouraged her to give it another chance. With encouragement and time, Katie began seeing changes and it was as if that fueled her fire not to cheat and to push harder. Katie’s changes were extremely impressive considering how much she cheated in the beginning, because she pushed so hard the last few weeks.

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Overall, I am very proud of Katie. She lost a total of 20 lbs and looks overall healthier, happier, and glows!

Here’s what Katie had to say about her experience:

Before Jenny’s diet plan, I wasn’t out of shape, but I also wasn’t in great shape. I was always pretty chunky as a kid and always knew I was overweight, but it didn’t bother me until I got to high school. My relationship with the gym started when I was 16 but a very unhealthy relationship developed along with it. I had become obsessed with the way that I looked. I was undereating which was making me over eat and then I got into a bad habit of purging. I was diagnosed with bulimia and struggled with it for over 6 years. I went to the gym everyday thinking that if I did 2 hours of strictly cardio that would help me lose a bunch of weight and solve all my problems but people don’t realize that 85% of losing weight is a good balanced diet and that’s what Jenny helped me realize! I’d be lying if I said it was easy. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cheat through this diet. I was open and honest with Jenny when I did cheat and she helped me work through it. I completed the diet and lost 20 lbs total. I have control over my bulimia and I stopped “dieting”. I don’t believe in diets anymore. I believe in living a healthy lifestyle. I learned a lot about myself in the process and continue to learn more everyday.”

Katie’s story is overwhelmingly impressive and shows that the path to success is not always a straight line. She struggled and overcame her bad relationship with food and is living healthier and happier than ever now. Thanks for reading!


How to Pick a League (ANBF vs. NPC)

The Difference Between Leagues in Competitive Bodybuilding

In today’s post I want to explain the difference between leagues in bodybuilding competitions.

It’s crazy how little is written on this topic readily available online. When I began competing I thought every bikini competition was the same thing.

This is not even close to true. Leagues are different competitions held by different organizations for competitive bodybuilding. Each organization follows a different format, has different rules and regulations, and has pros and cons to participation.

I am not entirely knowledgeable on the widespread list of organizations because there really are SO many leagues. I will discuss the two leagues that I have competed in.

The First League I want to discuss is the NPC or National Physique Committee.

-This organization is the most popular of all leagues in competitive bodybuilding.

-This is the organization associated with the Olympia and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

-This is also the largest organization for amateur bodybuilding.

-The NPC is the amateur extension of the IFBB (international federation of bodybuilding.) What this means is after winning an NPC competition a competitor may continue on to compete in the IFBB.

-The NPC is also not drug tested, and many of the competitors use steroids.

-The NPC features classes such as Bodybuilding, Bikini, Fitness, Figure, Men’s Physique, and Women’s Physique.

-To join the league there is a yearly $120 membership fee known as your “NPC card”

-Many people look down on leagues outside of the NPC as less legitimate, and sometimes judges discredit competitors that may compete in other leagues.

The second league that I want to discuss is the ANBF.

-The ANBF (American Natural Bodybuilding Federation) is an all natural organization

-This is a brand new league. Here is their mission statement taken from

“The American Natural Bodybuilding Federation’s main focus will be to standardize the promotions of natural bodybuilding competitions.  By accomplishing this, the competitors, audience, vendors, and anybody else involved will have a more enjoyable experience and leave with an awesome impression of what they just saw.   In order for an organization to be customer friendly with great service to go along with a great product it must have structure.  The ANBF will be set up in a corporate structure (president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary).  The ANBF will also have a representative appointed for each division such as bodybuilding, pro bodybuilding, master’s bodybuilding, physique, and figure and bikini.  These reps will be there to listen and/or address grievances and questions and to also update the divisions on any new programs or pertinent information.  The ANBF will also have a Judging Director.  That person will be responsible for the training and recruitment of a pool of judges that will be available to judge at any ANBF shows.  They will be required to meet specific standards before they are allowed to sit on a panel and have their scores counted.  No conflict of interest will be allowed, including nepotism, client relationships, etc…

The ANBF also wants to have uniform pricing throughout its shows.  All entry fees and ticket prices will be consistent from one show to the next, including coaches passes.  We want as many of a competitor’s friends and family there as possible and we don’t want to make anybody dig into their life savings to do it.  And the last thing we want to happen is for a competitor to say that they can’t do a show because the entry fee is too expensive.

On the flip side of pricing, all promoters who are holding a pro class must post their minimum payout on their fliers, not the max payout which is very deceiving.  When this happens it is very discouraging for the pro athlete and it will make them have a bad taste in their mouth about the promoter and the organization itself.

The ANBF will be a 100% drug tested organization via polygraph for a period of 6 years and will also be backed up by random urinalysis.  The ANBF will also be implementing off season random urinalysis.  All pros that have competed in an ANBF show and all amateurs who have qualified to be a pro will be subject to this as well.  This is a very exciting step for the ANBF and we are very excited about it and it should be very encouraging news for the competitors.

The ANBF is opening up a brand new page in natural bodybuilding.   It will no longer be the show is only as good as the promoter.  The new standard will be the show is only as good as the organization and whether you are competing, coaching, judging, spectator or a vendor at an American Natural Bodybuilding Federation event, you know it will be an efficient, fair, and enjoyable experience for all involved!

We are looking forward to our first year of competition.  Good luck to everybody in 2013!”

-My experience competing in the ANBF was extremely positive. I took first place in my class.

-I enjoyed the straight through format of the show despite the fact that it was still a very long day.

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-I felt that the promoters were much more considerate of the competitors than the NPC promoters were. The judging felt more elaborate. Stage time was more fair. There were fresh flowers for all first place winners. The quality of the trophies were nice. They had pizza and Gatorade and waters for all competitors backstage.

-competing in ANBF was overall less costly.

I would recommend trying both and deciding which you prefer!

My Own Weight Struggles & TRUE HONEST feelings about Competing

I am going to do something I really never have done before. I’m going to talk about the phases of my weight fluctuations and my most honest feelings about competing.

I have never considered myself overweight in my life. As a kid I was extremely active. I did cross-country, soccer, softball; you name it. I was a very finicky eater, and hated vegetables. I had 1% milk with dinner every night and frequently drank Coke. I loved McDonalds and tacos and ice cream. However, I also loved fruit and was naturally smaller.

I remember always being called small growing up. I never felt that I would ever have to worry about my weight. However, with slightly overweight parents I wondered if one day I would have to watch what I ate. I always thought that would be when I was a mom, or something.

I remember my freshman year of high school beginning to feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I had just finished cross-country season and was not doing a spring sport. I enjoyed drinking every weekend. I would have English muffins with butter, scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese and orange juice for breakfast. I would have either a bagel with cream cheese or chicken nuggets with tator tots for lunch every day in the cafeteria. I would come home and have a grilled cheese or tacos and lay in bed and watch Netflix and do homework.I ate power bars as snacks. I remember getting to the point where I felt uncomfortable in my own skin, but I never remember feeling fat

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            By my junior year of high school, I began watching what I ate more. I felt uncomfortable in bathing suits and made healthy switches. I made smoothies, and ate vegetarian chicken patties or veggie burgers. I would eat salads, and began taking classes at the gym such as Zumba or Power classes.

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(Above picture gym obsessed, mostly healthy eating but lacked protein and cheated weekends)

            Then, when I was a freshman in college, I was gym obsessed. My diet wasn’t great. I usually ate healthy Monday through Thursdays and fell off the wagon on weekends. But I spent hours at the gym doing cardio. I consider this my skinny fat phase.

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I struggled with disliking the shape of my body and admiring Fitness girls I followed on instagram. I began attempting to lift weights but didn’t know what I was doing so much. I ate a lot of fruit, spinach, and salads and drank lots of water. I cut out sodas and milk and white bread.

As time went on, I met people who liked to lift and tried cross fit and learned a lot about efficient workouts. I loved feeling sore, and when I saw girls compete in fitness competitions at my gym, I decided to give it a try.

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(First competition versus second)

            I had a horribly rocky prep my first time around and thought I would never compete again. All grilled chicken, fish, and asparagus felt miserable. I didn’t do it the healthy way because I switched coaches mid way and almost quit a few times. My stage weight was 102 lbs.

(Below is post prep weight gain, lack of muscle tone from not going to gym)

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After my show was over, I decided I needed a mental break. I was tired of planning and eating and living at the gym. But a mental break turned into a gluttony lifestyle. I felt like my mind worked differently and that I always needed to eat everything in sight. I found myself waking up and eating pancakes with tons of butter and syrup and not letting myself get hungry before planning my next meal. I would snack in between meals, and literally every meal I would eat beyond stomach- ache. I would buy ice cream bars and eat them in my car alone so that no one would see and then throw out the wrappers. In two weeks I put on twenty pounds. I slowed down after that but consistently put on about two pounds a month after that. Finally, I felt uncomfortable and miserable again. I went from my dream body to the worst body of my life in two weeks. I felt embarrassed in even a sweatshirt and sweatpants. My face was so full and puffy. I had no energy to workout. I decided that the only way I could lose the weight was to train for another show.

 (below is post show gluttony)Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 11.33.23 PM

            So January 5th, I picked three dates for competitions and started cold turkey with a coach I trusted more than anything. My prep was much more livable. I was never hungry, had six cheat meals along the way, and had carbs almost every day. My workouts were strenuous, but I wanted to be successful more than anything so I found myself pushing harder than ever.

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My first show was last Saturday and I placed 6th. I was so happy with my improvements from my last show, however disappointed not to get a trophy or be nationally qualified. (Top 5). I have two more shows to go, and find myself mentally struggling through these last peak weeks.

I ask myself now, is having a perfect body worth the mental strain and sadness you feel through the process? Is this a shallow sport? Am I a soul or a body? Has this been worth all of the holiday sacrifices and time spent in the gym? Will I be able to maintain this?

This is my honest opinion. Competing has its place. It has been an amazing experience for me. It has let me push my body to an extreme and see myself reach a level of fit that I never would have achieved without it. It has given me confidence, pride, and purpose. It has taught me patience, endurance, and that hard work brings success. However, competing has its dark sides. It is extreme and not everlasting. You will find yourself in your best shape of your life, and still criticizing your body instead of appreciating your success. You will find yourself at times miserable, tired, sad, and lonely. You will find that people appreciate you for something as shallow as the shape of your body, and you will feel like you are missing something in your life. You will not be spending your holidays and your nights drinking and getting dinner with friends. You will not be baking cookies and laughing and eating ben and jerrys on movie nights with the girls. You will be waking up early to do endless cardio, pushing yourself through workouts, and going to bed early. Your days will revolve around work not pleasure. However, it will be worth it.

I see myself competing but not forever. I hope to become nationally qualified one day, and maybe go for my pro card. Maybe I will help other girls train for shows or reach their goal weight. But ultimately this is a hobby for me. A passion, yes. But a hobby. This will not be my career. I hope to find balance in my life after this. I hope to find that I can eat well for my body, and workout every day. But I will not miss weddings and holidays forever. I want to be able to celebrate my life, and taste good food! And not constantly worry about prepping and cooking and cardio and sleep. I want to get married and have a family and be successful. I will not go back to blind eating, gluttony, or obsession. I will prep when I feel like prepping for shows and go for my goals as hobby. But maintaining a stage ready body is not realistic, and there is a very dark, lonely side to competing. I do not regret it, it has taught me so much. It has been the best experience of my life. However, there is more to life.

The Importance of Stage Presence and Posing

One thing that competitors tend to underestimate is how crucial posing and stage presence are in your placing.

Your overall presentation is a HUGE part of whether or not you place.

My first show I completely blew my posing. I definitely recommend getting a posing coach and practice, practice, practice.

I have just begun working with posing coach @sassyandclassyposing ! Follow her on Instagram and check out a clip of my posing practice 🙂

[wpvideo SNLVlmPr]