Issue #6


by HardFitness

2005 Chicago Jr. Nationals Contest Coverage

2005 Chicago Jr. Nationals Review
by HardFitness

Tanning Video, Part 3 by Shelly Leversage

Can Caffeine Make You Stronger?
by Allison Jones

Video Interview: Randi Post

Training for the Emerald Cup and Interview
by Karen Patten

First National Show Experience: Taking 2nd Class A at Jr. Nationals
by Alex Galvez

Muscularity by Shelly Pinkerton

My Journey to Turning Pro
by Amy Peters

20 Questions with our Cover Model by Andrea Giacomi

Video Interview: Andrea Giacomi HardFitness Sponsored Athlete

Video Interview: Breean Loepp

Fitness Competitors: Help Prevent Injuries
by Kristi Wills

Interview with Traci Redding, a pro physique, competing in the amateur division

Andrea Giacomi, Monica Guerra, Shelly Pinkerton, Traci Saba and Zhanna Rotar

Video Interview: Jodi Miller speaks up

Video Interview: Sarah Dunlap about Female Bodybuilding

Jr. Nationals Experience by Andrea Giacomi

Video Interview: Nikki Warner

Motivation: It is no Myth
by Jodi Leigh Miller



Motivation: It is no Myth by Jodi Leigh Miller

I sat on the dusty gym floor earlier today and shut my eyelids tightly, knowing that if I opened them, a flood of tears would spring free and run rampant. A grueling leg workout always coaxes the inner child out of me, and with fists on my knees, I wanted to pound a hole in the ground as anger flooded my body. “What the hell am I doing all of this for?” I muttered deep within the recesses of my mind. With legs the consistency of Jello, I meandered my way towards the gym locker room, opened up the vault to my belongings, and searched for an oasis: my cell phone. Down the list I went until someone finally picked up on the other end.

Twenty minutes and a bitch session later, I downed a protein shake, gobbled up a few strawberries, cursed at the short life of my iPod battery, and grabbed my book before heading to the treadmill and to life the way it was before my little tantrum.

One phone call. One friend. One weak moment transferred into a strong one. Day in and day out, this tug of war exists within me as I ride a roller coaster of emotions while preparing for a show. I don't know that I would have it any other way, though. The intensity of emotions allows for mistakes to be made and lessons to be learned, thus pushing me closer and closer to answering the very question I posed earlier.

And honestly, I don't know what I’d do without the competitors who have stood by me in this industry. I know there was a time when I thought I needed to be like King Arthur, sword in hand, ready to slay dragons—or Mordred—in order to attain peace at the Round Table of life. When that didn't work, I decided to go in search of Camelot by relying solely upon the help of others and never relying upon myself—my gut instincts—to push me into the future. Those guides to that fairytale land failed, though. When I ignored myself, my own conscience, when I broke my own bond of trust, I became a puppet, merely allowing my strings to be pulled and my wooden body to be moved. My resolve nearly broke into pieces. But if I never experienced both ends of the spectrum, I would never have found the happy medium that took me into the recent Junior Nationals.

I believe that mistakes in life can motivate a person as much as the threat of fire can empty a crowded hallway. Instead of belaboring and bemoaning these mistakes, one can turn them into strengths, using them like dumbbells to lift spirits and grow wings of fortitude. Whispers of previous mistakes can add background music when the idea of quitting invades a competitor’s mind. I don't mean to utilize them as a form of punishment, because that is negative reinforcement. Instead, train the brain to understand the need for the mistake and the lesson to be learned from it, which in turn creates strength and balance, and thus a positive aura erupts out of what was once a negative bed of heat.

I could run through a laundry list of specifics that kept my mind focused on the actual act of stepping onto the Junior Nationals stage during an abnormally cool Chicago summer. Pretty suits merely covering one’s private areas, an already postmarked money order waiting in the U.S. mail, a promise to my fans sitting in the public eye, angry Korn blaring in my ear at 5 a.m. I won’t bore you with the details, though. I think the thing that pushed me the hardest was the desperate wish to go back in time and make right what I felt I had done wrong in the previous Junior Nationals. This year, I suddenly had an opportunity in my hands, my own magic wand, if you will. I got to play Merlin and King Arthur all in one fell swoop. I got to teach myself how to pluck the sword out of the stone and find my own power from deep within by trusting my own instincts, listening to my own words, and feeling my own strength…not just in my biceps, but in my heart and soul. This is an individual hobby, this competition thing. We lift the weight with our own two hands (or two legs). We put the food into our own mouths. We set our own alarms and step onto the cardio equipment by ourselves. We choose our shows, we step into the suits, and we prance across the stage alone. And yet we’re not alone. We have each other, we have our friends, we have our families, we have our fans. We have so much strength and so many avenues of motivation that when the times are rough, when it seems the rock won’t release the sword of powers, we have people and things to turn to in order to contemplate a new way of doing things and to gain a new sense of purpose.

So, I ask again: what the hell am I doing all of this for? Me. Just me. Plain ole’ little me. After all, at the end of the day, that's the only thing staring back at me.

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About the Author...

I wrote this under the influence of chocolate and am not responsible for any grammatical errors that you might find due to my newly licked fingers sliding off the keys and thus making typos (hey…it was a scheduled cheat meal…pfff!). See, I have an English degree from the University of Texas at Austin, having graduated from there in 1996 before moving on to teaching high school English for several years at my alma mater. This would mean that I'm how old? 32? Please tell me it isn't so! Lol! Actually, just humor me and say I don't look it. I certainly don't feel it. I am a veteran of the fitness industry though, having competed in 3 bodybuilding shows (I won my very first one—The Texas State Championships Novice Division) and 14 figure shows, most of which have been on the national stage. I placed fifth in the 2003 Figure Nationals and the 2004 Junior USA’s, and placed second in a very talented group of girls at the 2004 Emerald Cup.

While I also have personal training, bio mechanics of resistance training, and dietary guidance certifications under my belt along with years of professional training experience, I currently work as a human resources manager for a high end retail corporation. I teach business leadership classes as well as computer skills courses, and I'm now a librarian. I kind of giggle at this, and while I sort of wish I was surrounded by Shakespeare, Faulkner, and Oprah’s book club choices, I do get a kick out of stamping library cards and sending out warnings for overdue materials. All I need now are the glasses, the hair in a bun, and the pursed lips uttering, “shush,” to everyone who walks by. I love my job, I love the look I've brought to the stage this year, and I love being back home in Dallas, even with the 100-degree weather (some girls like it hot!).

If you want to find out more about me, just visit my website at I'm very active on my website, and updates in the members’ section are quite regular, especially with Jon Howard of at the helm. I also want to thank Pete and Apple Grubbs of www.maxmuscle
for working with me on my diet and cardio details in preparation for the 2005 Junior Nationals. I waved my wand, pointed it at Pete, and then he worked his magic so I could in turn work mine.

And I can’t forget to remind y’all of this: look for me in the July issue of Oxygen as I detail the do’s and don’ts of performing bench dips in the “Resolve to Evolve” column.

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