Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2009 Competition Season--Its Been a GREAT One!

As Doug Schneider pointed out in my last interview in Inside Fitness magazine
(by the way, if you haven't purchased it yet, it's a great magazine with a ton of meat for the fitness enthusiast), this has and will be my busiest competition season ever!

I have three more shows on the table, including:

2009 National Figure/Fitness Championships
New Westminster, British Columbia
August 15

2009 GNC IFBB North American Championships
Cleveland, Ohio
August 29

2009 Women’s Bodybuilding & Fitness Championships
Lake Como, Italy
October 16th to 19th, 2009

***If you are interested in helping me out, please contact me at! I am looking for sponsorship, donations, tips, support, contact info, etc!

These are shots at my pro card! I know the competition will be tough, but I believe my hard work and diligence will one day pay off. I don't expect a "pity pro card." I've worked hard, and I've fought many battles to get here. I've also had my share of let-downs and disappointments, but I will always get back up swinging.

Here's a review of the year so far:

Arnold Amateur Classic, Columbus Ohio
Number of starting competitors: 34
Placing: 12

This was my first time on the US stage, and I couldn't believe the caliber of athletes! I was standing in the biggest class, next to some of the world's most fit women!

There were two challenges I faced for that show. I sprained my hip flexor, so my training was greatly impacted. I also needed to come in softer and fuller, which meant changing my diet so I wouldn't come in as shredded as I had in the past. It was a real fight for me psychologically!

Two weeks later Jebadiah and I drove to Montreal for my next show:

2009 Canadian Natural Physique Championships
Placing: 3rd
Montreal, Quebec

This was a well-run show! The only trouble with it was that it was in Montreal and I couldn't find a decent slice of carrot cake! Also, I competed in the short class--I usually compete in medium, so I felt like a giant standing next to the pretty little things next to me!

Also, I used a new tanning product, Jan Tana Ultra. At first the color went on beautifully, but then the nightmare started--I turned GREEN! Not to mention the tan itself started to look patchy and gross! Nothing like last-minute stress.

Mississauga and South Central Championships - Level 2

Placing: 1st, and Overall Figure Champion

Yeowza! I DID IT! The first time I did the Mississauga show (back in 2007), it was the 1st show I had ever competed in outside of MuscleTech, which made the psychological preparation very difficult. I placed 5th that year and was brokenhearted. The fact that I came back two years later and won the overall meant more than anyone will ever know. Perseverance pays off!

Ontario Provincial Championships - Level 3

Placing, 2nd

Again, this was emotionally and psychologically satisfying. Last year I thought I would never compete again. I returned and left victorious.

This is the hottest team of figure competitors in the WORLD! GO LUCHKA GIRLS! KICK ASS!

SAF Elite

I like doing this show because it forces me out of my comfort zone. I'm also super proud to be lined up next to some of the hottest gals in the industry! I want to promote a healthy and positive image for women and show them that it's not all about T&A. It's about hard work, integrity and respect for the industry.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Check Out My Butt in Oxygen Magazine!

Flip to page 108 in the March 2009 issue of Oxygen, and you'll see a close-up of my caboose.

That's right! For the fourth time, my booty is featured in one of my favorite fitness mags.

I must admit—I'm happy with how it looks. But it didn't feel that way while Paul Buceta, photographer extraordinaire, was telling me to arch my back, stick out my butt and hold it while he snapped away!

In fact, I didn't know much about modeling until I started doing photo shoots. Contrary to popular belief, modeling is a lot tougher than it looks.

The exercises demonstrated in magazines look pretty typical. But for a photo shoot, the art director and photographer work together to position you in certain angles that feel unnatural—and it's not always easy to hold those positions until they've captured the perfect shot.

They do this intentionally, of course, so that the reader sees the appropriate muscle groups once the magazine is laid out. And even though it can be uncomfortable, it's well worth it for the end result.

My favourite part of photo shoots is getting my hair and make-up done. Anyone who knows me knows that I typically look like a ragamuffin. Seriously, you wouldn't think I was a model! My hair is usually in a matted ponytail from my morning cardio, and I'm so rushed to get to work after training that I often don't even button my shirt correctly. Even worse, colleagues have pointed out holes I've torn in dress shirts by accidentally flexing my lats! (Thank you very much, Lina.)

And if that's not bad enough, my pants are falling off because I'm dieting again.

Hmm. Sounds like I need to work on a few things in my day-to-day appearance!

But once I'm at the studio, the transformation begins! Hair and make-up are done, wardrobe is assigned, my body is oiled up and … WHAM! I feel beautiful! BAM! I'm ready for my close-up!

I've also learned a lot from the shoots I've done. One of the most important lessons I've picked up is that you have to feel confident and smile naturally. A forced smile is obvious and will ruin a photo.

Try it for yourself: Take one photo with a forced smile and then a second with a natural smile and compare the two. Natural smiles need to come from within.

During my last photo shoot, I thought about things that made feel happy … particularly what I was going to eat as soon as I left the photoshoot—carrot cake!

Naturally, the fact that I've been lucky enough to appear in Oxygen also makes me smile. This shoot, like the others, was a fantastic experience—one that helped me grow as a model and as a person.

And I'm looking forward to future growth (just hopefully not from the carrot cake).

Monday, January 12, 2009

Finding Inspiration at the Olympia!

We all go through slumps during training.

Motivation? Where are you?

Often, we ask ourselves why we pursue such an unforgiving sport. Our muscles ache, our moods are unpredictable, we can't seem to lose weight fast enough for a show, and we feel alone.

Ice cream is calling, and we are close to picking up the phone—or a spoon.

I felt this way last fall. Post-competition blues hit me harder than ever. Training seemed meaningless. But then the opportunity of a lifetime came along: I was asked to present awards at the 2008 Olympia.

Backstage, the air was electric! Smelling the Pro Tan and seeing the stage lit up was intoxicating. I was drunk on excitement!

I watched each athlete in utter awe and admiration. I studied their movements, their energy and their presence. In those precious moments, I fell in love with competing all over again.

My happiest memory from the Olympia was presenting the Fitness Olympia award to the incredible Jen Hendershott.

When her name was called, I felt like I had won! She embodies fitness and is an incredible athlete, one who I look up to.

Now I secretly romanticize about competing in fitness. But I'll save that for another post.

Standing on that stage with so many of my heroes, I learned that you can't always find inspiration in the gym. So if your regimen is getting you down, go out there and get inspired!

Go to a local show or watch a video of a competitor you admire on to get your mindset in the right space.

Or maybe you've already found your own special source of inspiration.

So tell me, what motivates you?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Take Your New Year's Resolution to Lose Weight and Shove It!

During my third workout today, I finished reading Diary of an Exercise Addict by Peach Friedman.

Fitting, huh?

In her memoir, Friedman describes how she suffers from a combination of anorexia, bulimia, overeating and overexercising. Thankfully, Friedman recovers from her eating disorder, but her struggle to refrain from relapse and accept her body continues.

The book was unsettling because I found myself relating to many of her habits and thoughts. If you're like me, you'll see yourself in this passage:

Many women work out as a way of undoing. They work out to undo what they have eaten, to lose what they have gained. They are persuaded by magazines to "fix your tummy flaws" or "lose twenty pounds by summer," and they develop a pattern of self-loathing that is perpetuated by our culture.

How many times have you found yourself running an extra mile because of those cookies you ate last night?

And how about the time you tried on those jeans you wanted, only to hide in the change room and fight back tears of disgust over your soft muffin top?

Chances are you think about your weight constantly. You think about how your exterior appearance is flawed. You think about how you'd fix it.

And you tell yourself, tomorrow I will start my diet.

I'm the first to admit that I constantly focus on my problem areas instead of accepting and loving those parts of me that are perfect.

With that said, I would like to announce my New Year's resolution: to lose my unhealthy thinking patterns that weigh down my self confidence.

And I will enjoy the journey to the stage as Anita Kus-Roberts, not as someone I'm not supposed to be.

So tell me, do you obsess over your weight? If so, does it get in the way of your normal day-to-day activity?