What clients are saying....
I have no set intentions of competing again, although, never say never! I do thoroughly enjoy the strength and heavier lifting though! I do want to thank you SO, SO much for walking me through every step of prep. I dont think I would have ever come close to lean enough (without being a tired hangry bitch alll day every dayyyy) without your help! Your knowledge and passion of this sport truly shows!
I’ve been competing for 15 years.... and TRUST me when I say I STILL need practice and guidance with posing. Posing is often overlooked when it comes to competing but it can- literally- make or break you on stage.
If you are ANYWHERE in the vicinity of Center Stage Athletics & Team CSFP I HIGHLY recommend you book with Tina Peratino. She’s by far the best posing coach I’ve had. I drove two hours to work with her and it was WELL worth it!!!
I may have truly called my last show my last show if not for Tina. I have many things about my 60-year old physique that need improvement, however, Tina has a way of making everything better. She coaches to build technique and ability and also builds hope and confidence in her clients. Love Tina an dI'm so grateful for the opportunity I had to work with her. - Yvonne Jones
My name is Olivia Stivers and this is my testimony of how honored I am to be considered a member of Team Center Stage Fitness and Physiques: My journey with team CSFP began in September 2018. Competing in fitness had always been on my bucket list. It was something “I just wanted to do once.” I was in need of a new challenge and my thought was I could totally be ready for a show in 3 months because, well, all the other bikini competitors could do it. And yes, initially I thought I would be a better fit for bikini.
I read many reviews of team CSFP on bodybuilding.com and thought “What the heck, I’m applying.” Tina contacted me the very next day for an online interview. My respect for her experience and expertise grew immediately when she was honest about my expectations of competing in 3 months. She was genuinely concerned for my health and was opposed to the crash dieting and the quick fat loss techniques I had read about. She encouraged me to eat, grow and prime my metabolism before beginning prep and she assured me she would walk me through the process.
Over the next four months, Tina invested in me. She taught me how to count macros, how to properly train and be consistent, and she backed all of her recommendations up with proven research, not the “bro science” garbage. I trusted her, trusted the process. She held me accountable and set standards for me because she believed I would do well. Her positivity kept me motivated and I wanted to exceed her expectations. That’s the definition of a leader. I grew in size and strength and, instead of bikini, Tina challenged me to compete in Figure category. Fast forward to March 30 th 2019 where I competed in my first figure show in Nashville and took 1 st in Figure debut, novice, open class A and won overall earning my OCB pro card. I get emotional thinking about it. It still doesn’t seem real.
I owe it all to excellent coaching by Tina. I owe it all to my team. I’ve not only been fortunate enough to enjoy this experience, but I’ve made many friends and connections along the way. I have found a sport my heart loves. Going back to my initial statement, I don’t think this is something I will ever do just once. I look forward to future competitions, new challenges, meeting more friends, and inspiring others along the way.
In February 2019 I competed in my first Figure Bodybuilding competition. In March won my 2nd competition and earned my Pro Card. I had not considered competing until around the summer of last year. Although I have experience in sports and fitness training, I knew if I wanted to achieve this goal I needed someone such as Coach T. #tinaperatino for accountability, guidance, and expertise to help get me there!! From day 1 Coach T. was every bit of honest, patient, concise, attentive, and consistent. She answered every question and encouraged me when the dog days tried to get the best of me. She even went the extra miles and traveled several hours to my debut, which encouraged me all the more. She’s an awesome coach and has built an awesome and supportive team. #teamcsfp I am forever grateful and look forward to our next time working together and future competitions!!!
Oh gosh where do I begin, because thank you(s) is not enough. Tina Peratino is my rock on my first official bodybuilding show. She’s very professional, web based check ins, and i super love the flexible eating diet (not just fits in your mouth kind of approach). Her coaching skills and knowledge are like no other! She will give you all the tools that you need to succeed not only in prep but in everyday living. I love her detailed approach on everything, the more information she gets the better she can help and guide you. The communication aspect is excellent, it’s well scheduled and always ready to answer your questions. She made sure that you know your role as a client and will be reminded of your expectations and hers. As a team, both parties must be in sync and ready to conquer what ever struggles there is in the process. With that said, she don’t play around, she will not sugar coat it for you and will tell you what you needed to hear. And i knew that when i hired her as my prep coach that i will be gaining more than what i paid for. And sure enough...she went above and beyond and made sure that i have everything that i need on and off prep. One thing that i really love about her is that SHE cares for your whole entire well being. She is indeed a one badass mama and SHE IS MY COACH! Thank you...Love you Mama T
*PS i remember when i set my goal that i want this as a gift to my 35th Birthday, little did i know that it was Tina Peratino who was my gift to my 35th Birthday! Thank you for everything that you do!
I want to thank you! I know this isn't a total journey about weight loss but a portion of it is. Over these past few months I've learned so much about myself and I've dug deeper than I ever had to...especially on days I didn't want to! Before Mama T, I'd do what I felt was enough reps or weight or cardio and call it a day. Then go home and eat cake before I went to bed. And wow, has that changed!!!
There's many things in life that I've WANTED to do and there's things in life that I say I'm GOING TO DO. If it's something I'm going to do, I do it to completion. If it's something I "want" to do, I usually end up failing because of having no willpower to follow through. Over this time I have learned of my mental strength, dug deep through some emotional strength, gained a lot of physical strength and even found spiritual strength and overcame some insecurities. I've learned what a powerful sport of individuality this is.
What a journey of self discovery! I had to let go and let the layers just peel back and learn to trust the process! I'd hear your voice and I knew I couldn't let you or myself down. I hit a number on the scale this morning that has been my goal weight for over 18 years but for one reason or another I would come close to it but never succeed. The day I met you face to face and drove away from your house, I knew I was finally GOING TO DO this competition. Trophies and medals are wonderful and stepping on the stage is something I cannot wait to do. However I feel that I've already won! I have won so many times through this journey!! I feel AMAZING and I have you to thank for it!! Thank you a million times over!! ...
After the show I went to dinner with some old friends, and I was explaining your coaching process and all of the information that is involved in every weekly report. Her husband is a "Gold Certified Olympic Wrestling Coach" (or something like that), and he was really impressed...because that level of detail and daily journaling is a recommended practice for Olympic athletes. He said that competitors at the Olympic level understand the importance of tying everything together: your food, your training, your emotions, your sleep, etc. Everyone at the table agreed that it was a testament to your coaching that you treat us as TRUE ATHLETES, and not just some wannabe swimsuit model 🙂
Also, I'm really bad at mushy stuff, so forgive me if my appreciation and adoration of you comes across as awkward: but I am so grateful to have YOU as my coach! In talking to some of the other girls backstage, even the ones that are working with some big name coaches, it seems like no one else truly cares about their clients as much as you do. I think some of my friends are a little jealous that I did so well in my FIRST show...but I attribute that all to you, and how you prepped me for even the smallest detail (like shaving all over, or using horse sheen that doesn't drip like the other stuff). THANK YOU!!
I've worked with Tina for years as a posing client, but this was my first year with her as my competition prep coach. Through her guidance I brought my best package to stage and won my first Pro Bikini competition. With Tina as a posing and prep coach I continue to grow into a better athlete.
I first met Tina and the crew at my first very novice figure competition in Key West 2015, you-tube posing and all. Needless to say I needed a posing coach and we starting working together in 2016 with posing and 2017 for prep. It was a not an easy prep, but she never gave up on me. I’ve gained so much knowledge that was not just related to nutrition and strength training. We had to overcome my high stress 24/7 job, lack of sleep and the fact my body just refused to cooperate. Even with all these obstacles I presented my best package and could not have done it without her guidance and patience. Thank you for putting up with all my shenanigans! Look forward to working with you soon.
When I finally became serious about competing I knew I wanted to have a coach that knew the sport of natural bodybuilding and had a holistic approach to training athletes. I had made fitness a lifestyle for myself and my family, but somewhere along the way I realized I had totally given up on some of my goals because I just didn't think I could dedicate my whole self or the time it would take to get there. I did some more research with Tina's book on competing, and even went to a seminar to learn more. I was actually surprised all the information didn't scare me, it actually helped me formulate a plan to actually make my goal of becoming an athlete come true! Prep was NOT easy. The training, the tracking, the photos and posing but I pushed through that with Tina's help and stopped making excuses for why I couldn't and realized I CAN and I DID.
On June 3, 2018 at the NGA Annapolis I stepped on stage with my hard work on display and what used to be a dream became reality. I won 1st in Debut, and Open classes to go and win a Pro card! None of this would've been possible without the best coach and team ever! Thank you to Mama T - Tina Peratino and team CSFP for helping me to make this possible and the absolute best experience! Through competing I found out who I really am and what I'm made of and this experience wouldn't have been the same without CSFP!
After 20+ years of wanting to compete in a Fitness Competition, I finally bit the bullet and reached out to another competitor who recommended that I get in touch with Tina Peratino of Center Stage for Figures and Physiques.
The first thing she said to me was, “you need to eat more.” Well to most people this would be a dream come true but for me, eating a high calorie diet was hard. It was more of a mental block for me. Tina gave me the structure of flex dieting and bam! With my daily workouts and counting my macros my body fat was dropping as I was gaining more muscle.
My goal was to take the stage mid-May, knowing if I wasn’t ready I would take the stage in June. Week by week, I loved my Thursday morning check ins with Tina. She always had positive feedback, gave me things to work on, ie. my rear end and she understood my sarcastic humor. #virginonpromnight, #prettyprincess.
As the weeks went by my body responded so well that I was ready to take the stage in May. I literally worked my ass off.
So this 44 year old mom of 2 teenagers, both by c-section took they stage on May 12, 2018. I competed in 4 categories and not only did I place in the top 4 of each category, I earned my Pro Card for Masters 40+. I never would have made this dream come true if it wasn’t for Tina. She isn’t just my coach, but she is a friend who really does understand what you go through to become stage ready. Bodybuilding is a mentally challenging sport. Tina is a coach who doesn’t sugar coat the mental aspect of things. She will tell you its hard, its not easy and there are days that you want to throw in the towel, but she is there with you 100% everyday. She turned this tomboy into #prettyprincess. Thank you Tina for everything! I love you Mama T!
A fellow competitor recommended I work with Tina to tweak my flawed posing. I was so impressed with the improvements I made after a single session with Tina that I wanted to learn more about her coaching style. I was amazed at the number of competitors that knew and raved about her. Since working with Tina, I have learned how to eat flexibly so I can enjoy foods I love and even have dinner out with my family while still hitting the critical macro targets for my bodybuilding progress. Tina has taught me how to properly cut for stage without the dangerous extreme low calorie diet, water restrictions and insane cardio demands I had under a previous coach. Tina is incredibly knowledgeable and gifted with regards to coaching bodybuilders and is meticulous in her customizing for each individual client. Tina would never give a client that same cookie-cutter diet/workout plan that I've seen so many other coaches give to unsuspecting clients. I am constantly amazed at the progress I make following Tina's plans. Tina's guidance enabled me to place 1st in the 2016 United States Bodybuilding Federation (USBF) Natural Pro AM Ms. Figure and the 2018 American Natural Bodybuilding Federation (ANBF) Nationals Figure Pro. I will continue to work with Tina as long as I compete because I cannot imagine another coach caring more for me and my aspirations than she does.
I was first recommended to Team Center Stage Figures and Physiques in 2014 by a friend because of Tina’s well known flexible dieting approach. Unfortunately (or fortunately) my goal of prepping for a competition was put on hold until 2017 when all the stars aligned. I met with Tina in August, 2017 and told her I wanted to step on stage for a bikini competition in 16 weeks, after having taken a year of lifting off, barely touching carbs and doing steady state cardio daily. Her response was, “Not with me as your coach, you won’t.” And, bless her for this. . . Starting in August she backed me off of almost all cardio, we pushed my calories well over 2,000 per day and put on as much lean mass as possible over the next few months. By, January, 2018 we decided to start a slow cut so I could ease into a few Spring shows. I remember telling her, “I just need a plan and I will stick to it.” I think we both held up our ends of the deal. Tina came up with the perfect plan week after week and we made it to May, 2018 with few tears and as many gains as possible. Going into the competition season, Tina set reasonable expectations. We knew I didn’t have a lot of mass to start with and not a lot of building time so from the judges we expected to hear I will need more size and since bikini is won from the back, we knew I will continue to need to work on my glutes and hamstrings (but damn did they come far!).
I am so thankful for Tina and the support of the entire Team. Bodybuilding is as much mental as it is physical. Throughout you question yourself a million times but Tina’s consistency in support keeps your head in the game and focused on what matters most, your “why.” Thank you, Tina!
Tina at CSFP provides everything you never thought you needed in a Competition Prep Coach! Not only does she always know what to say in any situation, her years of experience make her an expert in the rapidly growing field of#iwanttobeabikinicompetitor. Tina's no-nonsense approach builds immediate rapport with her clients as she becomes a daily fixture in your #preplife . I'm happy to say that I had the most positive experience working with Tina and now count her as a close, trusted friend. CSFP is built on client relationships and Tina works with myriads of clients simultaneously, yet has a way of making you feel like the #onlyunicorn there is! If you want a#CompetitionPrepLifeCoach then Tina is your#WonderWoman."
I've been asked multiple times why I chose to compete or become a body builder. It was about a year ago that I made the decision, and the truth is I have no idea why I jumped into it. I cant remember why, but I know myself and I know I must've had some foundational reason. At any rate, it doesn't matter anymore. Through the course of the last year I have changed from that person I knew. The same basic traits are still with me, but one massive difference is the sense of purpose I walk around with now, it's the confidence I gained from finding my identity. Through working with Tina and reflecting on those hard questions she pressed me with, I have found who I want to be. I've found the perfect balance between myself, my family, and work. It started with the first obstacle in prep. It started the very first time I opened myself up to her and we made the coach/athlete bond. I overcame a few things during this prep, the most life changing being that I developed a healthy relationship with alcohol. I can't express how much that has changed my life and future. Tina gave me personal wide-open mentoring to help reestablish my mindset in that regard. She was knowledgeable, experienced, responsive, caring, understanding, forgiving and tough. She was the kind of coach you can open up to and be honest with. Never once was I made to feel guilty for minor set backs. She knew I guilted myself enough. She gave me realistic goals, personal advice, one on one coaching, and a whole new perspective on life. I couldn't have asked for a better coach to guide me through my first prep. The knowledge you gain alone is worth it, but the intangibles like the friendships and experiences are what makes it one hell of a thrill. I cant wait to step on stage again, and I wont do it without her and the CSFP team by my side. No matter how educated or experienced I get, Tina will always be in my corner.
".....All things are possible through Christ who strengthens me" Phil 4:13 So I set out for a coach who I could trust with basically my life. To hand over the reins and say... show me the way with training, nutrition and stage posing is a big deal for an OCD person like myself. Tina was everything I needed... she 'got me'. I needed matter of fact this is how it is..trust me and do it. Was it a cake walk? NO WAY. Did it turn out how I wanted? ABSOLUTELY and more. My (6) kids watched me push through my tired hungry days and Tina had my back every step of the way. She talked me through my tough spots of limitations and calmed me through my challenges and always made it known that I was actually on target. (Or ahead which actually ended up making a category change and a sooner show date~winning/or more nerves that's actually a difficult emotion to choose..lol) Her team was there to guide and help on competition days and the people I met along the way are absolutely amazing. They appreciate your journey as they have walked it. Who knew this was a personal but team sport? The bonds with Team CSFP and
Tina are irreplaceable and will be fo' sure right there when I return next year to take on the pro stage. After all... "THAT'S NEXT!!!!"
At 41 I decided that, after lifting for many years and watching nutrition for a year or so, that I wanted to push myself beyond my comfort zone and step on stage. I had a show picked, signed up with an on-line coach, and got started. Right about 4 weeks out I was fortunate enough to have Tina and Center Stage recommended to me to help with posing. From my first session, Tina could see how uncomfortable I was. She recommended a different (and smaller) show a bit further out and group posing classes. It was so obvious from the first meeting that Tina knew what she was doing and I was getting top notch posing coaching. She pushed and challenged me those last weeks to bring my best body to the stage, while constantly reminding me that it was MY best, and that was all that was important.
I finished last in every category but one. The only one not called back to the stage, last. The judges feedback was that my physique competed, they could just tell how nervous and uncomfortable I looked. I left the show pretty defeated. However, the one thing I took with me was the community of wonderful women that I met that day. Tina checked on me right after and a week or so later, I knew that I had to keep pushing outside my normal box and do it again. I immediately hired Tina for nutrition and a training plan, signed up for every posing class that I could make, and was sold on Team Center Stage.
We switched divisions to bikini, my posing improved, my confidence increased and after 9 months I got back on stage. The difference between the first show and second was so noticeable. When it came time for awards, it didn’t matter, I felt so good about how I did that I knew whatever the placing was, I brought the best I had. That feeling did not leave and I immediately convinced Tina that I could do a third. They were relatively close together and I had vacations planned in the middle of prep, but she was with me every step of the way.
The picture below is from my last show, a month ago. The woman who stood on stage at this show was so incredibly different from the woman who took the stage in the first show. The body was almost the same, there was not much time to make any huge changes (although Tina did get me leaner!) but the changes were all over the inside. I was confident, I felt beautiful, I knew I could do it. When I got the pictures back the first thing I noticed was my smile. The first show, I am not sure if it even looked like I was faking a smile. This show I could not stop grinning. I achieved what I wanted.
I have trained with a lot of people and had more than one coach. Tina gave me something that none of them ever gave me before. She knew what I needed, and it wasn’t to win a medal or a trophy. It is not a question that she genuinely cares about every person that she coaches and wants what is best for them. Be it to step on stage or sometimes not. Tina is ethical, trustworthy, honest, and somehow becomes a bit of your best friend, your mother, your counselor and if need be your ass kicker. Each hat fits and she knows when to wear the right one. But here is the best thing, not only with Center Stage do you get Tina, you get a team of people who are the nicest group that I have ever had the fortune to surround myself with. There is not a question that they sincerely want the best for you and each other, regardless if they are standing on stage next to you. I have felt this at every show with every team member and my only hope as we start thinking and preparing for my Pro Debut a year out, is that I can give a little of this back. Joining Tina and the Team was one of the best things I ever did, I could not recommend this family more.
My name is Kellie and I am a runner [scratch that] - bodybuilder
I am not sure where my trip to the stage really started. It could have been as long as eight years ago when I saw photos of a classmate on Facebook in her purple bikini smiling wide and looking like she could crack walnuts wither her biceps. She had been a “regular girl” with a similar lean physique as me. I think at that point the seed was planted and the realization that this was something attainable by regular people formed in my mind.
Historically I am a runner. It is part of how I define myself. I have been running since I was a teenager and running long for the past ten years. I've ran five marathons (3:24 pb) and even this past spring the iconic Boston Marathon. I've ran further, and further, I've ran ultra-marathons and stage races too. There is a flow to the sport of trail running that is so freeing, there is even a freedom when it's tough, and painful, and you don't think you can go on. Everything in your mind focuses on the one task and the rest of life's nonsense fade away...it is my bliss! Or it was my bliss, until it wasn't anymore. The tricky thing about running long is to be able to do it injury free. I feel that there are only a few gazelle-human hybrids out there that run year after year without injury. That definitely isn't me! I am a conformational mess when it comes to running and I have faced it all, shin splints, runners knee, pelvic malalignments, ACL tear (from skiing actually), Achilles tendinitis, metatarsalgia. The sport that had given me so much joy was breaking me down and all of the trips to the physiotherapist and massage therapist and acupuncturist was breaking down my bank account! By June of 2017 I could hardly walk down stairs, nothing would bend anymore everything had some sort of “itis” and I applied Volteren like body lotion!
It was time for a change. Doing nothing and resting wasn't working and was no longer an option! I am a highly motivated determined type A personality. If you give me too much spare time I feel like I'm wasting my life; it literally causes me stress to do nothing! My boyfriend lifts. He isn't competitive, but I sure appreciate what it has done for his physique and more importantly his confidence. He suggested maybe I start lifting some weights. I took his suggestion and went all in. I started to search the internet reading article after article about women's bodybuilding. I was worried about getting too bulky. I do hope to go back to running again after all. I also worried about food, and body dysmorphia syndromes, eating disorders, post competition depressions. My friend who had competed years ago really struggled with this. I've never had a simple relationship with food and body image. I am 33 years old now and more secure in my own skin than ever but there was a time in my teens and early twenties where I struggled. My confidence is still quite connected to my body image. If I was going to do this, I would have to tread very carefully. I decided from the beginning that I couldn't (shouldn't) do this on my own and I would need a good coach.
My search for a coach didn't lead me directly to Tina and Center Stage Figures and Physiques. My search actually started with another larger company. They had great transformation pictures on a professional website and their athletes looked like perfection. Initial contact with them was really positive and they were very interested in me and my goals; until I sent them my photos and then I never heard from them again. How is that for a kick to the confidence!! On further reading and investigation of bodybuilding forums I learned that this company was highly selective of their athletes, basically picking people with physiques that were nearly stage ready so that they could quickly turn them around and add competition placings to their reputation. There was hope though, on the forums is where I heard mention of Tina, a coach for “real” people, a coach concerned about your long-term health and longevity in the sport. A coach with great qualifications and success but who wasn't as concerned about placings and was more concerned with helping you reach your individual goals.
I contacted Tina and she got back to me right away. Since I was still finishing up my racing season we decided it wasn't quite time to move into competition prep. We decided to get me introduced to weight lifting through the CSFP JumpStart Program (meant to be a “prep for prep”) where Brandi took over. Brandi was a perfect match for me. Another runner/bodybuilder and a coach. Running and bodybuilding do not make good bed fellows as distance running catabolizes everything you've got; food, fat storage, and eventually muscle making muscle gains very difficult. I felt very lucky to have found Brandi, a coach that could understand my needs. Brandi started me on a training and a nutritional plan tailored to my needs as still a runner. She introduced me to the weights side of the gym, which was intimidating at first. It didn't take long for me to start to see changes in my body. Especially muscle definition in my back and arms. I got excited for my workouts. I loved seeing my muscles pump up in mirror. I became excited to see where this new challenge was going to take me.
After about five weeks in the CSFP JumpStart Program I transferred over to full competition prep with Tina. I should mention that I live in Canada and so all of my training was over the internet! Over the past five months Tina created tailored training plans to best build my physique concentrating on where I needed it the most. She also created a flexible and easy to follow, once you are used to it, nutritional plan. We even did posing sessions over video chat! It was motivating to have direction and a defined plan, to be held accountable each week. It was reassuring to know that any questions I had or if I need her Tina was just a mouse click away! Seemingly 24/7 Tina was always quick and positive in her responses.
Right at the beginning of my prep I attended CSFP’s first ever webinar version of their “What to Expect When You are Competing” seminar (and book). It was very convenient as I was able to attend from where I was working up north and it was full of valuable information. I was a keen student, I even took notes! In all honesty I had read most of the information already online. It did help me separate fact from fiction and gave me a more solid idea on how Tina would approach my prep. It was also encouraging to [virtually] meet other competitors, people like me starting their journey. It was a source of reliable information rather that potential misinformation from the internet.
Over the next five months I committed myself to following Tina's nutrition plan, which wasn't too tricky once I learned the intricacies of MyFitnessPal. She would give me my macro numbers and what I ate to hit those macros was completely up to me. I quickly learned that although theoretically I could eat anything I wanted, with “great power comes great responsibility”. Unless I wasn't going to eat for the rest of the day my big big bowl of breakfast cereal was out, my wine was extremely limited, popcorn limited, gummy bears limited, ice cream I only had that once during my prep, wings and beer on wing night was out. Don't kid yourself, even a flexible plan is going to change your diet and social scene more than you imagined so be prepared! There were only a few times during prep that I was truly hungry. You get creative in building very low calorie highly bulky and filling meals and timing them just right. I wasn't hungry per se, just wasn't full either and that takes some getting used to.
Life is a balance and contest prep was another ball I had to juggle. Some days it was easy, but other days it felt like juggling medicine balls! I travel a lot for work and am away from home for long periods of time and this meant training on the road about 40% of the time. I trained in 12 different gyms in 7 different towns. I've been in gyms all over the place and I always worked out, even when I didn't want to, especially when I didn't want to. Not doing my workout each day was never an option and I didn't let that become a possibility in my mind even when my motivation was lacking, or I was really tired.
My extended family and I went on an all-inclusive vacation just one month before my competition. This trip had been a long time in the making. There was no way to change the dates and my show was one of the very last of the season. This trip was extremely stressful and difficult, and I would never, ever recommend someone go on one of these so close to their show. I continued my workouts every day. The resort had a small fitness facility and I could approximate most exercises in Tina's plan. It was sticking to the diet that caused so much stress. Tina and I planned for this trip. We cut calories and carbs in the weeks leading up to it. I brought lean protein sources and a food scale, protein powder, rice cakes but it was difficult. I wasn't able to get things prepared the way I wanted. I couldn't bring myself to weigh my food at the restaurants (what can I say - I'm shy). I was guesstimating my calories and stressing that I'd gain back loads of fat in the week I was there. I wasn't able to drink alcohol with my family. This was huge. My family really likes their drink and it was party time all the time. The whole week I was there I consumed only four alcoholic beverages. I'd go to the bar and ask for water. The bar tenders never failed to ask what I wanted in my water; to which I'd reply “ice”. In the end it turned out well. I had a good trip and with all of the activity actually managed to lose two lbs at an all-inclusive resort. I do have some regrets here though. I feel like I spent more time counting and stressing over food and macros than enjoying this once in a lifetime vacation with my family. In hindsight I would move heaven and earth to keep these two events as far away from each other as possible. Regardless, with proper planning and guidance, it is possible to vacation while on prep. I credit Tina with making this difficult situation as good as it could be.
On December 9th I stepped on stage and competed in both Novice Fitness Model and Novice Bikini at the drug-tested IDFA Universe. I thought I would be more nervous than I was. I mean isn't it supposed to be a nightmare to be on stage in front of a couple hundred people in your “underwear?” I was definitely nervous in the days leading up to the competition but on stage I was calm. It may have been the hair, or the make-up, the crystal dazzled suit but for one day I was transformed. I was rockin' the “best” body of my life, I'd worked hard, Tina had literally spent hours teaching me over video conference how to best show off my “ass”ets. I was proud and confident. I won first place in Novice Fitness Model and third in Novice Bikini. More importantly I got to be a proud, confident, goddess for a day and it's empowering to know that that person is always a part of me.
My journey isn't quite over. I am now putting the body fat back on, which is necessary for overall health, but mentally it is a challenge. It's hard to spend months leaning out and striving for a certain physique and then to turn around and cover up all the hard work. To watch the definition fade in the mirror and to watch the numbers on the scale rise. I'm still calorie counting. I'm trying to eat intuitively so that I can stop tracking and be “normal” again. It's very hard, some days my body intuitively wants to eat a tub of peanut butter!! I worry about where I will settle out. Old habits in regard to negative thoughts about my body image start to rise. This might be the hardest part of this whole journey. Tina has helped me through the past five weeks post competition but ultimately It's up to me. Where this journey truly ends is still not known.
Competition and prep is not for everyone. Actually, I wouldn't recommend it for most people and I'm not sure I will do it again. The prep wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be and I attribute that to Tina. She gave me a straight forward plan and all I had to do was what she told me to do. Do what you're told, be honest in your check ins and your body will transform. It will be hard on your relationships, it will be isolating at times, it will be very expensive. It may give you more confidence, it will give you more physical strength, it will make you see yourself differently, it will introduce you to a self that you didn't even know existed. You will get an inside look at a whole new world of fitness and athletes and competition. It is a completely different mindset to be judged strictly on how you look and not what you can do. The judges don't care how much you can squat! Changing diets, calories, low carb days, re-feed days may completely mess up your body if like me you are sensitive to it. It is hard to find a balance. Prep becomes very time consuming and is always on your mind. Try not to take it too seriously!
All of this being said if you are sure you want to start down this road then I highly recommend travelling it with Tina and Center Stage Figures and physiques. She is knowledgeable, welcoming, understanding, motivating and always available to her clients. She is so welcoming!! She has your health as her number one priority and she gets you results! She is a great coach and now my friend.