Australian Model Vanesa Puerta shares, "To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” When I first embarked on my fitness journey I did it for myself. I followed my heart as I wanted to live outside my comfort zone, to challenge myself, to see how strong I was, to see what I could achieve if I set my mind on a goal. My mum did not agree with it at first but now encourages me to enter competitions. My husband (although supported me anyway) didn't have any interest in it but now proudly hangs up all my medals and trophies. My friends at first did not understand it but now praise me for my achievements. Strangers were hating on me but now ask for my advice & guidance. What has this taught me? To always follow your heart and chase happiness. Never settle for anything less. Be who YOU want and do what YOU want. Those who love you will remain by your side and those who don't were merely only meant to cross your path to teach you a lesson "
Full-time student and Published Model Gabrielle Dawn Torres looking back at our 2017 Fitness New Mexico competition!
Gabrielle shares," I had a blast as always it's always so much fun getting to catch up with all my fitness friends in New Mexico! I cant believe took home 1st place in Model New Mexico and 3rd in Bikini Open now to prepare and embark on this hectically beautiful summer!"
Ms. Bikini Universe Pro Jessica Vasquez showing us a piece of reality today. There is a healthy balance between being competition ready and off-season.
Jessica says, "This is my current off season body. What do you think I should improve??? Comments & Suggestions below please! I would love to hear from you!! Eating Whole Foods & Training daily is my LIFESTYLE. Some of you may be able to understand the bothersome feeling of not knowing what’s next in your life journey when you are hungry for success & NEW adventures! I am beyond ready for the NEXT CHAPTER in my life regardless of what is destined to come!! Every moment simple or not is helping me to transform into the person I was meant to be.
I haven’t competed in 1 year and many people ask when I will jump on stage again!!! I honestly don’t know. The cool thing is I am still super active w/ Photo Shoots, Fit Club World™, Campaigns, 2018 JV Calendar Release, Magazine/Print Work, Team ON, Appearances & much more!! I love to travel + taking up new challenges!! Let me know if there is any way I can assist you with your nutrition or body goals. I have 7 solid years of experience within Fitness Competitions, Fitness Modeling, Spokes Person, Nutrition/Supplementation, trial & error + support from various pro coaches, mentors and fitness experts! I am ready to HELP educate you towards reaching your GOALS!!! Reach out!!! Lets start TODAY!!!"
Fitness Universe Star Christine Woods shares, "Commit to more, meaning commit to something bigger than YOU! This was almost 9 years ago.. a year after the birth of my daughter. And it wasn't about getting back to a certain weight or fitting into my pre-pregnancy jeans. It wasn't about the achievement, rather it was about DOING...Getting back to regular exercise, eating better, more consistently, doing the work to feel better.
After birthing a nearly 10 pound baby, having an emergency C-section and living through daily injections of blood thinners because I developed a blood clot, I felt like my body was wrecked and I was extremely fearful of never feeling like myself again!
What I realized was that I couldn't push myself when I wanted to and sometimes I was just too tired ... Feelings that still surface today ...But consistent efforts got me back into a happy and healthy place. I worked mostly with my food since It was what I had immediate control over. And I took a slow approach to the process. Better food choices, controlled portions, timing...A focused effort.
Just because life takes a turn, doesn't mean you have to accept the outcome. Eat, move and live...BETTER! Take care of your body so it will take care of you :)"
Model Universe Champion Brittany Cherie Williams shares, "Motivation posts should not only be on Mondays! I sure need some motivation mid-week! Make some time to find some peace and be still. The situations may not change, but regrounding yourself surely does make it easier to pick it up and keep it moving."
2017 Model America Champion Kara Bellum shares, "My reaction when one tells me that my competition physique is too masculine
Nobody will ever make the unanimity simply because it does not exist. There are as many aesthetic criteria as there are people... that are uncomfortable in their own skin
Not enough this.
Not enough that.
What counts in the end is your own opinion about yourself, it is what makes you happy. And don't forget, sometimes when others criticize you, they may well be criticizing what is actually a projection of themselves.
Whatever your battle
You are enough "
No matter what our personal best in the gym is, one of our biggest strengths is that good ‘ol woman’s intuition. Sometimes the plan that we have made or the vision that we have created isn’t exactly the plan meant for you. I personally confirmed that once again at Fitness America last weekend.
I am a very spiritual person and use it to guide me through my big and small decisions on a daily basis. I try to be organized and have a plan, but the spirit trumps it all. That was no different last weekend when I made my game time decision to compete in Figure (After Bikini and Sports Model, I was exhausted to say the least.) Being an athlete my entire life and coming from a family of football and basketball players, I am just naturally more muscular than average. When I started competing 2 years ago everyone said I should do Figure, but I really just enjoyed Bikini, mostly because of my ability to get creative with fun costumes and the style of modeling. I figured one day I would eventually give it a shot, but after I quickly got my Pro card in Bikini, I figured I would stick to that.
The night before Fitness America started, I popped up in the middle of the night with “that feeling” and knew I HAD to do Figure now! Did I have a figure suit? Nope. Did I know how to pose? By the looks of my pictures, obviously not. I did not plan for it, train for it or even think about it, but somehow it came together at the very last minute. Figure Pros, Allanna Anstaett generously loaned me her extra suit and Ruby Carter-Pikes gave me a quick 5 minute crash course right before I had to walk on stage. They needed to get themselves ready, but were awesome enough to help me out. (Side note: Another reason I love being a part of this organization; the people are absolutely amazing! Fellow competitors have your back and support you and your crazy decisions, and for that I am grateful.)
I had no expectations, but had to at least see what it was like and how it would go. I really didn’t have much to lose, except for maybe a little pride. It all came together at the last second and I still ended up placing 4th. That was crazy. That, along with a 3rd place finish in Sports Model, I was pretty happy with the weekend. However, of all the times I have won or placed over the past 2 years, this Figure one ranks right up there in epicness along with last summer when I got my Bikini pro card at Fitness Universe and me winning at Muscle Mania India (another of my acts of randomness). Who knows what I will do in my next show. Sports Model? Bikini? Just focus on becoming a Figure Pro? All of the above? I am still debating. Either way, there is never a dull moment and it’s always a good time. Always stay open to possibilities and new challenges and don’t underestimate the power or your intuition, even when it makes no sense. You never know, things may actually fall into place, even if it is 5 minutes before you have to go on an international stage 😉
Life is a Beach when fitness is more than skin deep
Ms. Bikini Universe™ Pro Brittany Williams is a self-proclaimed busy body, and has been a lifelong athlete. Brittany says "Although I focused on track and field in college, I have and still do everything from basketball to ballet, Spartan Races to softball. I am even a want- to-be yogi and have incorporated a lot of meditation and yoga practices into my daily life. Being involved in the bodybuilding industry for the past year and a half, I find it even more important to incorporate variety into my routine. While most people equate fasted cardio and heavy weight training to show prep, my body craves variety and focus on balance…in the body, mind, and spirit.
As I have been more heavily involved in competing, I am asked for advice for getting in shape from people from a variety of fitness levels. As being fit seems to be the new “thing,” I have so many conversations about health and getting a bikini body. I have found that many people, competitor or not, are worried more about the aesthetics and looking good- by any means necessary. Sure, that is what the world sees at the first glance, and on stage, that is what is judged, but the part we can’t see, the inside is equal if not more important to maintaining the aesthetic, overall body function and health. That’s something that we can’t forget in this quest for greatness. There is an abundance of pills and potions on the market to pop to get our desired result, unfortunately, people have asked me more about fat burners than about detoxing and taking care of ourselves from the inside out. While the benefits versus the dangers of some cleanses are up for debate, the fact is that detoxing is important.
Being a junkie for any new way to move my body, and the fact that I get bored very easily, I am always open to trying new exercises and fitness technology. As a former arena football player and body builder, Hot Box Detox creator, and Planet Beach CEO, Stephen Smith has been through a few tough workouts himself. Even before the Hot Box Detox was completed and launched, he had me sold. Over more than a year after first learning about it, the first Hot Box Detox sauna was installed in my local Henderson, NV Planet Beach and is now a regular part of my workout routine. You may even see me as a virtual instructor leading a couple of workouts on the monitor in the sauna, which is cool and awkward at the same time.
As I prepare for Fitness Universe, I still do my weights and cardio, but I may have also become slightly obsessed with the HBX. In a semi-private infrared sauna experience, with just a 30-minute flight of isometric postures in about 120 degrees, I can burn up to 800 calories. Isometric postures may sound and look easy, but don’t get it twisted. Looks can be deceiving. It is quite a challenge and is another technique to help build strength and cardio endurance. While I drip sweat and literally feel the toxins being released from my body onto the mat, but the clarity of mind and revitalization that I feel, despite completing such a challenging workout is what has me hooked. I am more than ready for the next challenge of the day and the next workout.
A fusion of old proven methods of exercise along with new technology, I am a fan of HBX for many reasons. Especially after hard training days, particularly leg days, reduction of inflammation and recovery time is essential. Unfortunately, I am very guilty of cutting my stretching time short (I know, I am bad) the postures and stretching help with flexibility, too. By absorbing the radiant heat to the core, there are so many other benefits. Fat burn, cellulite reduction, detoxification, collagen repair and rejuvenation from the inside out, there is so much more to this sauna than meets the eye. And that is precisely what I believe that we should be as competitors and industry leaders, more than a pretty picture."
MS Bikini Universe Pro Chanel Collette has started her competition prep for the Fitness Universe Weekend in Miami Beach and she will be Vlogging her journey on youtube. Chanel says " As of right now I am planning to compete in both the Bikini Pro division and Figure amateur. I am excited to open the YoutTube world up to Fitness Universe and use my channel to share with more women about the federation."
Follow her Journey at YouTube
Ms.Bikini Universe Pro Chanel Collette shares her experience in competing in the Figure Universe division for the very first time. Chanel says "The figure suit, borrowed from a fellow competitor, sat in my closet for 8 weeks prior to Fitness America weekend. I tried it on once after it showed up in the mail; but I was extremely discourage how my physique looked. The bikini division swim wear always suited my physique and this figure suit was not very forgiving at all.
I remember another figure competitor once telling me that figure suits typically only look good the day you present on stage, but I didn't want to think that was the whole truth at the time. Discouraged I took a couple selfies of me in the suit and decided the division was probably a bit far fetched for me. The suit sat in the same spot for the remaining 8 weeks leading up to Fitness America weekend.
Knowing I would be able to return the figure suit to it's owner at Fitness America weekend, I packed it safely in my carry on. During peak week I was extremely satisfied with where my physique was heading and part of me started re-thinking the whole figure division. My upper back and shoulders gained significant size during my training in the past year, and I was able to reach a level of leanness I had never obtained for the stage. I was beginning to think that if I was going to tackle the figure division - this was my chance. As a bikini pro I have limited shows in the states to compete in so I knew I needed to make it happen this year.
The night prior to figure registration I tried on the suit just one more time. I recruited some much needed posing help from the owner of the figure suit and she graciously helped me turn my stiff presentation into something a bit more graceful for the stage. I really can't thank this competitor enough for loaning me her suit and convincing me try out this division.
The morning of registration I went for it. Now I was Chanel Collette Bikini Pro & Figure competitor, and from what I know regarding the history of Fitness Universe, that particular title has not been used yet.
Competition day rolls around and I think I was more nervous for my figure debut than the Bikini Pro division. The bikini division is like second-nature to me. There aren't those first time jitters and the adrenaline rush is just a little less each time I compete now. Don't get me wrong; I love being a seasoned competitor and I love being a bikini pro. But every competitor can agree there is just something about the first time you compete and standing back stage thinking about my figure debut gave me all those "first timer" jitters again.
Immediately after I got off stage for the bikini round I didn't hesitate to jump into the figure suit. After getting settled back stage I knew my husband would be looking for me to come out at this point. Instead of being dressed and ready to go celebrate my 3rd place win in the bikini division he saw me for the first time in the figure suit. I think a part of him knew I would eventually want to tackle this so with a little eye roll he gave me a hug and said, "Go for it. Looks like you're ready."
Surprisingly, I was very relaxed backstage. My fellow figure competitors were very welcoming and helped me learn a little bit about the pre-stage pump up routines. I was nervous for sure but I just kept repeating to myself, "You've got nothing to lose." And I truly didn't. I came to Vegas looking to place in the Bikini Pro division for the first and I have already accomplished what I came for. Now it was just time to have fun and try something new.
I enjoyed every moment of my posing routine and really took it all in. I can say it wasn't a blur - I remember every foot step, every arm movement, & every smile I presented to the judges. The figure posing was much more routine and methodical in comparison to my Bikini presentation; which is part of what I like best about being a Figure competitor.
Awards line-up rolls around, and like most competitors underestimating themselves, I zoned out after 4th and 5th place were announced because I didn't even think I would place - let alone get 2nd!! I think anyone who was watching would have seen the shock on my face. I remember even making eye contact with my friend from the stage while awards were starting and mouthing to her 'No way' but not because I was disappointed but I was trying to be realistic with myself.
My figure debut was just the icing on the cake to an incredible weekend in Vegas for me. In all the years I have competed I had not placed on the Fitness America stage and that weekend I left voted twice as the Most Aesthetic Physique and with a 3rd place and 2nd place finish. It was a experience that will be hard to live up and it may never happen again in my career.
We all reach milestones in this sport but what keeps me coming back to the stage every year is pushing myself just a little harder than I think I am capable of. Now I just have to work towards being the first woman in Fitness Universe history to earn 2 Pro Cards. "