Muscle Club Apparel spokes model contest finalist submission: This Is What I Wrote

Most of my followers know that I recently participated in an online voting contest to earn a spot as a finalist in the Muscle Club Apparel spokes model contest. I finished in the top 20 and was confirmed as a finalist on December 1, 2014! As a part of the final judging submission, I was asked to tell the brand more about myself and submit 5 photos that depict who I am. This Is What I Wrote… Enjoy 😉

I am a 24 year old mother of one daughter, Aria, who will be 5 in February. When I’m not in the gym I hold a retail position at Zumiez and I also work as a promotional model for various companies, including my own company, #BendEvents. I have been a small business owner for two years now, and mainly, I subcontract other promotional models to work for my clients in the beer/spirit and food/beverage industries; talking about brands and products that I love is literally my job. I currently live in and grew up in Bend,Oregon, the beautiful Pacific Northwest high desert where you can see all four seasons in one day and where my life is your vacation. With Mt. Bachelor less than an hour from my doorstep, the Cascade Lakes another half an hour past Bachelor, the Deschutes River running right through town and Pilot Butte right in the middle of town I am immersed daily in an environment that encourages healthy living and physical activity.

Through school, I participated heavily in organized sports and by the time high school came around, I was a year-round athlete competing in varsity level soccer and basketball, dance team and cheerleading. Being in the gym and lifting weights was always a part of being better at those sports, but once high school ended, I hit a wall. What was dedication and desire quickly turned to laziness and excuses. The college life took over and I leveled myself with everyone else, drinking beer on the weekends (because there are over 25 breweries in Bend!) and stuffing my face with happy hour dishes that I just couldn’t get enough of. I was never “out of control” by any means, but I was always wishing for a healthier lifestyle and better physique. Hitting the gym was always a variable on my list of things to do, usually only having been motivated by friends that claimed they would be workout buddies.

I had my daughter three months before I turned 20 years old and battled Hyper-Emesis throughout the duration of my pregnancy. I threw up all day, every day and keeping a regular fitness routine was entirely out of the question. I could barely even get through a shower, let alone putting on “regular” clothes or make up without becoming sick or fatigued. To this day, I tell people that I would never wish what I went through in pregnancy on my worst enemy! In pregnancy, my appetite was completely off, and most of the nutrients I did take in were given to Aria in my placenta. Even after I had her, my desire to consume wholesome and healthy foods on a regular schedule was completely off-kilter.

Fast forward to January 2014 when I began volunteering my time at a local thrift store and non-profit in Bend called City Thrift. Aria turned 4 in February 2014 and I hadn’t yet entered my position at Zumiez, so City Thrift and #BendEvents were my only obligations. During my first shift at City Thrift, my managers Rick and Kevin made it very open that they were into fitness and bodybuilding and joked that I would be seeing lots of coolers and Tupperware because of their diets. Looking back, I can remember how silly I thought this was and even scoffed off their warning with an “oh yeah, I’ve been to the gym, too” reassurance. Little did I know how big of an impact not only Rick (a seasoned bodybuilding competitor) and Kevin, but their lifestyles and habits, would make on me. Winter turned to spring, and when Pilot Butte opened up its trails for hiking, I began using the motivation from the people around me at work to get out there and get active again. Within a month, I could not only complete the entire Pilot Butte trail hike, but I could run it the entire way – 1 mile uphill and downhill. Between seeing my own progress and continuing to watch, especially Rick in his progress, I knew I wanted more out of this whole fitness thing. In mid-April 2014, Rick and I planned a music fundraiser with a live raffle to benefit City Thrift and I became the lucky winner of a free 3 month membership to Fitness 1440 here in Bend. And with that, the fire was ignited!!

With Rick’s guidance I began a firm, but flexible, diet plan so that I could gain control over the appetite and digestion issues I was still having 4 years after pregnancy. I quickly noticed how eating fresh and healthy foods made me feel, and quickly learned that just because I enjoyed “clean” foods didn’t mean I had to give up my indulgences. By June of 2014, I was following a 5-day lifting plan and clean eating schedule that Rick had outlined for me to follow and the gains just came pouring in. My mental clarity was becoming a force to be reckoned with and I learned that my body is capable of much more than lifting a 15-pound weight. I quickly decided that I would begin working towards competing for my first NPC Bikini show and set my sights on a first show debut in May 2015.

When August 2014 came around, I had been plugging away at my goals. Progression after progression was happening in my physique and my physical abilities. Alas, the professional environment was suffering and City Thrift had determined that they were facing a temporary lack of work and my position would not be continued the following month. Zumiez was the first place I applied to, and within a week, I was hired onto the crew. Rick and Kevin had agreed between themselves and me that I would still be welcome to volunteer if I wanted to, and that they would be calling me when they had extra work. Simultaneously, Rick accepted a position with a wellness firm where he would be writing diet and nutrition plans for over 100 clients, so he gracefully handed my training coaching over to the owner of Fitness 1440, Bill. With the change of tide, I also enrolled myself in my first organized hip-hop dance class since before I had Aria, and began running a 5-10K once a week to challenge other areas of my fitness beyond strength training.

Within a month of watching my routines and tracking weight and body fat, Bill and I agreed that I would be ready before May 2015 and decided to begin prepping for a March 2015 debut. Not only will I be making my NPC Bikini debut in March 2015, but I will compete in April and May 2015 before taking June off to celebrate my 25th birthday. I am now head-on into my journey and see progress and gains every week. I’m in the best shape of my life, and I am the healthiest mentally and physically that I have ever been. I can legitimately say that what used to be my entire work out is now just my warm up! My daughter sees how hard I work and talks about exercising all the time, my family is proud of what I’m working towards, and my friends have become motivated to better themselves all because of what I started to do for me and myself.

The only thing that could truly put the cherry on top of an already incredible transformation, is finding sponsors and nation-wide connections that support my hard work and goals. I look forward to the accountability I receive from sharing my story and journey with others; it’s a great feeling to know that I’ve inspired others before I’ve technically achieved “on paper” accomplishments that are backed up by hardware and trophies. I am honored to have been given the opportunity to be considered as a Muscle Club Apparel spokes model and look forward to competing and becoming the best version of me that I possibly can!

aria

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