It has been my pleasure coaching people who have the right attitude. What IS that attitude you may ask? Of course it’s positive but it comes from a place of trust, focus, patience, and self-respect.
I have coached so many of theses types of people (and if you are one of them, THANK YOU for trusting my process and believing in yourself). And I have had coached clients who think the grass is greener elsewhere and have zero patience when it comes to working with me. And that’s cool too – because not everyone has to be my client and I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.
So, the story you’re about to read comes from a person who is one of the most gracious people I have ever known. She has overcome hardships and challenges just like you and me. Her faith and love for herself however is quite unique. And because of her award-winning attitude, her journey to the competitive fitness stage was completely deserving.
Ok, so it’s not all about how you rank at a show – to me it’s about the FEELING you get when you step on that stage and how your ATTITUDE is when you step off. For these two reasons, Christine Yoder needs to be recognized.
Please welcome her as a special guest on my blog; her story will truly leave you feeling inspired to change for the better.
My Journey to Become a Fitness Competitor
(“How I Ended up on Stage Half-Naked With No Alcohol Involved”) by Christine Yoder
In 2014, I weighed close to 160lbs. On a 5’2” frame, that’s not an attractive look. On April 27, 2014, I attended Aubrey Worek-DeStephen’s Summer Slimdown nutrition talk and was introduced to Isagenix. At first I was extremely resistant. I love to eat and I’m really good at it. After seeing transformations of other clients, I decided to try it and give it my all so that I would have nothing to blame but the system if I didn’t see results. Thirty pounds later I was ecstatic. The Isagenix lifestyle really worked! I combined it with Aubrey’s classes and strength training and had great results.
Then life got in the way. I had rotator cuff surgery, a calf tear, two bad knees and a rotator cuff tear in the “good” shoulder combined with a pending lawsuit, a very stressful job and trying to run a business. In August 2017, I was in a dark place. I was angry and stressed and my weight was starting to creep up. One of the perks of being an Isagenix associate under Aubrey was a monthly free hour of consultation. I asked her about the Healthy Mind and Body program through Isagenix. She said it was “life-changing”…and it was. Every day for 60 days I had to spend at least a little time to focus on eight key areas: Mindset, Energy, Your “Why,” Gratitude, Nutrition, Performance, Fitness, and Exercise. On day 15, I was supposed to pick something I could accomplish in the next 6 months that would get me outside of my comfort zone. The next time I talked to Aubrey, I asked her about competing in a fitness competition. I guess in the back of my mind, I was thinking that she would say that it wasn’t really healthy or it wasn’t something that I could ever attain but that is not how Aubrey thinks – she believes in everyone and that they can reach their dreams if they really try hard enough. Crap! What did I get myself into??
My first step was to look at upcoming natural show. I picked the OCB April 28, 2018 show in Pittsburgh and we decided that I would begin training in January. I would be doing a bikini competition because it is the division where you need the least amount of muscle definition and no actual “dance” routine. In retrospect, I could have made everything much easier if I didn’t treat all of December as one last big celebration before five months of suffering. On January 1, 2018 I was 10 pounds heavier than I should have been but Aubrey was undeterred. She did promise me that if March rolled around and I was still a hot mess (not her words) that she would pull the plug. I joined her “A” Team – her fitness competitor group and she laid out a strength training and meal plan for me. Surprisingly, I was to eat more that I normally did on the Isagenix plan plus I was allowed a reward meal each week. I was actually having a hard time fitting in all of the food. Aubrey has a fine-tuned system and it works great. You just have to believe and do what she tells you. It starts with bi-weekly check-ins that included my food journals, pictures, posing videos and a questionnaire – all things I needed to keep me accountable. As the weeks went by, she adjusted my workouts and meals and the last month, she slowly removed things from my diet, but I was eating so many vegetables and whole foods that I never really got hungry – even during the dreaded “Peak Week”. Of course I had cravings – I’m only human, but I was really not physically hungry.
I attended Aubrey’s posing classes where I learned the required poses for a bikini competition and she choreographed a “T-Walk” for me which is just walking in a certain pattern and stopping at predetermined spots to pose. The T-Walk was probably the scariest part for me because not only did I have to walk in heels without falling on my face, but I also had to remember to smile and attempt to show my body at the most flattering angles in a very beautiful but very, very, tiny bikini (Thank you Rebecca at BB Custom Suits). I plastered on a giant smile that my husband, Brad, said looked like the Joker coming to kill Batman and practiced whenever I could. I was very fortunate to take classes with Aubrey at FitnessEnvi because not only are several of the classes in heels, but I was also able to subject the wonderful ladies that train there to watch me do my T-walk over and over for them. Several of the ladies are also fitness competitors, so their input and support were also invaluable to me. Aubrey, Brad and all of my friends at FitnessEnvi were so positive throughout my journey. I know that mentally, I could not have done it without them. At the beginning, Aubrey had me create a vision board. I looked at it every day and the quote in the middle – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13. It was my mantra throughout the journey. Aubrey also helped keep things in perspective by reminding us at the posing sessions that “come Monday, no one will care”. In the big scheme of things this competition was not that important, so win or lose I needed to be happy with myself and my accomplishments. Like is says on the sign at FitnessEnvi, “Sometimes you win, Sometimes you learn”.
Show day arrived before I knew it and although I felt like I could use another month to slim down, I still looked better than I ever have. Yes, I definitely had room for improvement, but I worked hard, stuck to the plan and would have to save “even better” for next time. I got spray tanned by Bronze Beauty, had my hair and makeup done by Jenn Vu at JVu’s and I felt like a sparkly princess! Kim Metzger, my dear friend and role model from FitnessEnvi was my backstage trainer because of Aubrey’s prior commitments, but I felt the love and support of the whole FitnessEnvi family behind me all of the way. My first show was such a positive experience. Everyone was so wonderful and I made several new friends. I felt like I was competing WITH my new friends instead of against them. The show was run very efficiently and before I knew it, I was onstage in my really tiny bikini flashing my “here to kill Batman” smile. Could I have done better? Of course, but I did my best, managed to not fall on my face and had a great time. The night before, Aubrey had me write in my journal as if I had already competed. She said to write what a great time I had, how I made new friends, how Brad was so proud and how I was proud of myself. I did that and then I decided to add “I placed in all of my divisions and I got my pro card”. I figured, what the heck, I’m going all out! The crazy thing was that it all came true – too bad I didn’t write that I also hit the Powerball. I got two third places and first place in Masters (40+) which earned me a pro card! I still can’t believe it!
I feel so grateful and blessed for this entire journey and for all of the wonderful people that the Lord has given me as my “Team”. I have grown so much both physically, mentally and spiritually in the past 5 months. I feel like anything is possible if you want it badly enough and if you surround yourself with the right people. If you have just the slightest inkling of wanting to try a fitness competition, do it – you will be amazed with what you can accomplish.