Category Archives: About Me

My Fitness History

Hello Fitness Enthusiast!!  I thought it would be interested to discuss what sparked my interest in fitness to begin with. . . . That journey began about 12 years go . . . .YEESH!! It freaks me out just to say it!

 I had just graduated from college and was getting over a nasty break-up when I took a long hard look at myself and didn’t like what I saw. I was at least 30 pounds overweight and on a 5 foot 3 ½ inch frame, it made me look like a hobbit. After getting over my appearance, I noticed a fitness magazine at the grocery store. The model on the cover had an amazing, toned and athletic body . . . the type of body I admired. I bought the magazine and started reading up on healthy eating. I took another long hard look at myself, but this time the focus was my eating habits. To sum it up, I have 2 words for you . . . . GOOD LORD! I was amazed at the amount of food I had been consuming. I was having 5-6 large meals a day that comprised of things like bagels, pizza, cheeseburgers, French fries, pasta and lots and lots of SODA!!

 I immediately decided to change my eating habits but instead of going cold turkey, I did it in stages over a span of 3 months.

Stage 1 – was going from eating 5-6 large meals a day to 5-6 small deals a day. I cut the amount of food I was eating at each meal in half. That change alone helped me drop 10 pounds immediately.  The reason being, small frequent meals aid in easier digestion and keep your metabolism working, thus making your body burn calories constantly.

Stage 2 – involved me reducing the amount of junk food I was having. I stopped having french fries with burgers and switched to potato chips.  I went from regular soda to diet, started drinking more water and completely got rid of candy bars and ice cream. This change helped me drop another 5 pounds.

Stage 3 – was cutting out fast food all together and eating more whole and natural foods. This meant having to do a lot more cooking and bringing my food with me to work more often. I incorporated omelette’s, whole wheat pasta and bread, chicken salads, yogurt and tuna into my diet. This change helped me drop another 5 pounds.

 At this point I had my eating habits under control and I had started incorporating cardio sessions here and there, but I still didn’t look like that model on the cover of the fitness magazine. I, like many women, wasn’t really interested in weightlifting because I was afraid I would bulk up and end up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger or something. But after researching and reading several articles, there was no denying that in order to look like that model, I’d have to start lifting weights, so I did. . . . and that was the best decision I could have ever made. My body transformed itself from soft and skinny to hard and full. I was very happy with the results and was approached several times about competing in figure shows, this was in 2006.

 Competing had never crossed my mind but I decided to give it shot and made it another goal to achieve since I had accomplished so much with my body. I was completely clueless on the subject of Figure competitions so I hooked up with Cathy Savage, the guru of fitness/figure training based out of Massachusetts. Cathy, along with her staff, trained me via her online service and I was on my way. I looked into several different federations and decided on the INBF. I liked the fact that they were a drug testing, natural organization. Plus they held several local shows a year. I set my sights on INBF’s Long Island Experience show in September of 2006.

 At the time of my decision I had 12 weeks to get ready. Preparing for the show was, by far, the most difficult but funniest experience I’ve ever had. The time and dedication required to train and stick to a strict diet was grueling, but watching my body transform to another level was incredible!

There’s no other feeling like it. By the time I hit the stage, I felt comfortable and proud. Although, I did not place I went home overjoyed (the pic above is from my first show)! I wanted to strike while the iron was hot and decided to compete at another show a month later, INBF’s NYS Natural in Poughkeepsie, NY (October 2006). I trained even harder and came in 7th (the pic below is from my 2nd show).

There were more girls at this show and I was very happy with my placing. The following year, 2007, I competed at another INBF show in October. I came in 2nd place this time! I can’t even put into words how I felt that day . . . . it was magic!

Unfortunately, with the good comes the bad. Life happens and I got caught up with other things, one of which was a brand new job. Fitness was no longer a priority and as a result, I ended up gaining 20 pounds. I could go on and on about how this ended up happening, but who cares. I’m sure all of you can relate to a time in your life where you were bombarded with all sorts of unexpected responsibilities . . . . so let’s just fast forward three years. It’s now the end of 2010 and I’m ready to get back on stage.  I hope my story was insightful, if not, entertaining.  See ya!

In Fitness & In Health,

Icela

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