Issue #82


by Juan Carlos Lope

20 Questions with Cover Model Angela Kirkland

Video Interview with Cover Model Angela Kirkland

Elite Fitness & Figure Newsletter
by Greg Hasberry

Angela Kirkland, Lisa Watson, Betheny Harold, Jen Jewell & Sophie Simmons

Video Interview with Amateur Bikini Desiree Larios

Hustlin' with Heather Hirmer Interview

Video Interview with Amateur Bikini Magan Newingham


Elite Fitness & Figure Newsletter by Greg Hasberry

Taking the Stage for the First Time

Description: :advantage brochure images:CB064432.jpgDecember 30, 2009, Facebook let me know that I had a picture comment from Robin Fountain:  "You've got eight weeks until the Arnold!"  I laughed at this statement as the picture that was being commented on was one of my weight loss journey and a side by side of my progress and the person who made this comment had always been one of my personal "dream bodies" since we met in college in 1996.  I, of course, laughed it off even scoffing at the notion of me getting in front of people in a bikini!  Upon another friend agreeing, I replied, "Robin was just being silly.  I'll never compete."  After having my son, Jake, in May 2006, I allowed my 5'2" frame to pack on fifty unnecessary pounds and was miserable at 182.  The weight and flab were out of control and it took me looking at myself in a photo and realizing the excuse of "you just had a baby" no longer held water.  I completed a Body for Life Challenge along with a 12 week challenge that was put on by my gym.  Happy with my progress upon the completion of that goal (and having won), I found the gym to be a place of solace for me.  A place where I could just lay it out and leave it there.  I didn't know how much I would be needing that place to go over the following two years.

When my son was two and a half, people started noticing something was 'off' with him.  They couldn't place it and, being a first time mom, I was oblivious to anything.  My husband and I were devastated when the doctors and other professionals told us that he had autism.  I was lost.  The emotion you feel when not knowing WHY or HOW this happened can destroy you.  Again, I turned to food for my comfort.  I feel into a depression but had to continue forth as there was a now 3 year old boy who needed me to be strong for him.  Nothing matter.  Not my health, not the gym, not my marriage.  My husband, who is still my best friend and I'm grateful for him, and I separated and I feel deeper - bringing Cheetos along with me in my downward spiral.

Description: :advantage brochure images:CB064432.jpgI read that comment from Robin that day and I think from the beginning, knowing me as she did, that she simply had to plant the seed and let it take growth within me.  I threw out anything that didn't scream "Healthy" from my kitchen.  I found my peace again within the confines of dumbbells, benches and cardio machines.  I worked out.  Everyday had a purpose every bite of food was fuel for my body.  I took myself to 131 pounds and by body decided that was all it was going to do under my care.  I took a deep breath and on May 28, 2011, I came to Robin asking her to be my guide.  I was ready.

I could feel Robin smiling.  She knew.  She had been waiting for the call.  We met and meal plans were formed, pictures were taken, supplements ordered, workouts fashioned to fit my needs.  "I believe in you, Katie.  You're stronger than you know and you always have been."  To have someone believe in you like that?  After everything that had happened and all pain that I had experienced?  I needed that.  I was all in.

I stayed on course and planned my meals, my workouts and kept in touch with my coach via email, texting, meetings and phone calls.  She was positive every time I would send her a picture and feel let down.  She would calm me and point out the progress that I was not allowing myself to celebrate in.  I was initially going to compete at a small show at the end of August, but Robin called me one day and asked me to drive to Birmingham so she could put "eyes on me".  Once I arrived, I reacquainted myself with Mr. Greg Hasberry.  I had met him once in passing and, of course, knew who he was because of what he had done for Robin's physique.  They both spoke as if I weren't in the room upon my 'bikini walk' and the consensus was that I would be ready in three weeks for the Rocket City Classic in Huntsville, Alabama.  That was a full month earlier than I had planned.  But it was game on.  I trusted that they would not allow me to be on stage if I weren't ready.

Description: :advantage brochure images:CB064432.jpgA bikini needed to be ordered!  Tanning to get done!  Hair!  Makeup!  It was something I was doing for me and I allowed myself to be girly!  With all the doctors, specialists, lawyers and moving, this was something I could focus on and revel in.  I hadn't a clue where to begin with my walk, but studied Youtube and practiced the moves just like the girls on the videos of NPC bikini competitions.  Those three weeks went by quickly.    Before I knew it, I was checking in for my first show.  Shockingly enough, I was not nervous.  I told Robin that I was just proud that I set my mind to a goal and I followed through on it.  I know when I hear people say that, I used to roll my eyes, but it is honestly how I felt.  I looked better than I had in my entire life and my confidence was through the roof.

As soon as I hit the stage, I'm not sure exactly what came over me, but I feed off of the cheering, the screams of "Katie!" and "Number 27!"  I did just as I had practiced at my house and tried to remember to smile, acknowledge the audience and the judges and simply have fun.  The hard part was over, THIS was the showcase of all the hours of preparation and planning.  

July 23, 2011, I received a text message from Robin Fountain as I came off the stage: "I have goose bumps" she wrote.  I smiled as I grabbed my First Place Short Class Trophy a bit tighter.  She knew....she always did.  And I'm so grateful for her.


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