Bikini Competition: Behind the Scenes


Roller coaster of emotions is an understatement. I would say though, it was one of the best weeks of my life…. “

Pre and Post PEAK WEEK

Roll back to the beginning of March 2016. This was just 3 weeks ago and I was on PEAK WEEK. This is a term used in the fitness competition world. This is the final week before you take the stage. My workout and diet was changing by the day. Nevertheless I was tired from all the changes, but my excitement from it all kept my adrenaline up and I was on the move. I continued to workout up until the day before the show. However I felt like a princess because Thursday and Friday I did all my pampering. Waxing, nails, massage, checked into the hotel and had my spray tan. I felt on top of the world, although 100% nervous and still kinda questioning what the heck I was doing, I felt confident and amazed at what I had done over the past 12 weeks. It was show time! Roller coaster of emotions is an understatement. I would say though, it was one of the best weeks of my life…. I took home 2 trophies that day, First place Novice and Second place Overall..


So what happens post competition…

Honestly the mental fuck doesn’t stop, if anything it might even increase, if you can believe that. The thought process that you have to maintain or want to constantly look like you did during peak week and while on stage is something that is frankly not realistic or achievable. If it is, not for long and is completly unsafe and unhealthy. Therefore, not for me. I already knew that going into this process but that HIGH that you have during peak week is well high and the day of competition is the only thing I can compare it to is when you do something for the first time and you love it. Something that you excel at. All the jitters the nervous feeling, the feeling of accomplishment and feeling proud of all your work. I’ve only ever experieneced this probably in comparrison to running my first marathon, maybe dating back to high school when I realized I had fallen in love for the first time,won a debate, completed my masters degree, got a raise / promotion at work. These are other things I could say are relatable experiences when you just feel ultimately at your BEST performance. But like I said, those of just moments in time, they don’t last forever and like all of that the after math happens.

When I woke up the day after it hadn’t sunk in what had happened yet. Trufully,

Photo Credit: Per Bernal

Bikini Competition Prep – What to Expect


For those of you that have been thinking about doing a bikini competition, any fitness competition, or taking your health and fitness up a couple of levels… KUDDOS!!!

Here is a little bit about my history and how I got into this, where I’m at now and my journey. I’m currently 10 DAYS out from my FIRST VEGAN BIKINI COMP!!

So here we go, a few years ago my friend and I were talking about how cool it would be to do one of “those shows”. All the glitz and glam and how we could test our strengths to get to that level. After years of us just bouncing this idea around we both went FOR IT last year.  LESSON ONE and proof that everyone is their very own competition; her and I have VERY DIFFERENT stories. I actually started official training earlier then her  and she has already done 2 shows and getting ready for her 3rd. Here’s why! Last spring I hired a trainer and long story short after months working with him,I fired him because I was NOT seeing the results, even more my health was in jeopardy. The program he had me on was UNHEALTHY and was hurting my body internally. Very little food ( the wrong foods too) and WAY TO MUCH CARDIO ( 2 plus hours a day). He also was mentally and emotionally abusing me!!! Because I wasn’t seeing the results from this terrible plan he would tell me that it wasn’t the plan or him that everything was my fault. Very manipulative and not a good person. Once I broke away from that scenario instead of GIVING UP I knew it was just the beginning and I still wanted to achieve my goal of being a vegan bikini competitor. I searched and reached out to vegan female coaches and found my current coach. She has HELPED me tremendously. She worked with me for a few months to get my HEALTH back in check and then about 12 weeks ago I went on prep for my FIRST SHOW!!

First and foremost when you say you are going to do this or do anything for that matter, you need to be 100% and GO ALL IN!!! You have to give it your everything, all day, everyday. Be committed. The beautiful thing is that you will LEARN a lot about yourself while on prep….

I’m going to share with you guys the REAL DEAL (at least from my experience) as much as I can without making this to lengthy and p.s. not even my friends and family know all this. I want you all to know the truth, it’s not all about the glitter and shiny bling you see on stage. It takes weeks, months, years of WORK to get up there. It’s about the journey and DIGGING DEEP…knowing WHY you are doing this and yes constantly reminding yourself of it.

you are awesome

The first 6 weeks  I had a scheduled workout plan for each day and a weekly meal plan to follow. I was eating a flexible balanced diet made up of carbs, fats and plant protein. I didn’t feel like I was deprived at all. That is a BIG difference guys too from vegan/natural prep vs non vegan “cookie cutter” preps. STARVATION is not the way to do this. Also, my coach did not want me to fall back into Ketosis ( where I was after working with my previous coach). Ketosis is when the body is LOW on food, specifically carbs causing itself to burn body fat for fuel. Symptoms include migraines, fatigue, cravings, foggy thoughts, dry mouth, etc

The first half I was struggling with confidence. I was back and fourth thinking to myself if I had made the right decision, if I was going to be ready in time, what people were thinking when I told them what I was doing. Did they think I was crazy, that I was fat, that I was to muscular, to short,  that vegans can’t compete, what were they thinking and why did it matter?  Every Monday I checked in with my coach. I took progress pictures and weighed myself. Sometimes the scale didn’t move and I had to shift focus onto measurements changing and other non scale victories to measure my progress. As a recovered binge eating disorder girl and scale addict that was hard. It took A LOT of personal development. No matter where you are in your journey when you start and no matter how confident you are in yourself and what your doing, first thing you need to add into your routine is PERSONAL DEpersonal developmentVELOPMENT.

Not that the first 6 weeks weren’t tough with all that, but the second half is where it really kicks in. As much as my meals and plan was well balanced after week 6 I had no more cheat meal (this was typically pancakes from my FAV Miami spot, Choices Cafe)


  1. Emotions run WILD – On top of all I’ve mentioned already about the first 6 weeks.. the emotions INTENSIFY! Can you say MOOD SWINGS?? One moment I had all the confidence in the world and happy one moment and then the next self doubt kicks in. It’s a mind battlebuff bukinu EVERYDAY. Asking myself frequently, is this worth it?  Even with all the personal development I do and leadership roles I’m in, I am human and emotions are hard to control. This part takes training too, just along with the physical strength. PREP is MENTAL. Most mornings I wake up feeling like I can conquer the world and then by the afternoon I start to question myself, I look at myself in the mirror constantly thinking how am I ever going to fit into this ity bitty bikini. I feel tired, hungry, grumpy and digging for energy to do my next workout. Ok it’s not all that bad, just depends on the day.  Like last week I felt like this every day and was in constant battle, but this week I think I’ve just now more EXCITED to see all my work coming through.  My  WHOLE DAY is planned out… when I eat, what I eat, when I workout, what I workout, sleep, posing practice etc. I’m telling you every day is challenge. At any given moment I have gone from being super happy to almost or in tears. I have cried twice in the middle of workouts, literally tears running down my face while doing lunges, squats and cardio. I know exactly why I’m doing it and its normal to have all these emotions. It’s a true testimony of strength and character. Dispute the tears I always pushed through and finish every workout. It’s not that I can’t do the workouts physically or that I dread them, its more of building the control over how I feel about the way I look and trusting the process. Having control over your minds thoughts all the time is exhausting and BIGGIE is not caring what others say about you. Sometimes I’m ON and IN THE ZONE and other times not so much. Emotions ALL OVER!! Nervous for the BIG DAY, yet excited. Other times scared, defeated, tired, drained. Oh and anxious.
  2. .  Sacrifices – Giving up time with friends, family, significant others. Giving up other hobbies,activities, and traveling. This means going out to eat, events, or whatever. I mean sure you can go but it’s 100X harder. You can’t eat anything, you  just order water and bring food, going out in general and bringing your food everywhere you go with you. Dependabsing what you are doing and answering why your doing it and how your doing it to everyone that asks you while they see you carrying a gallon of water around and your meal pack bag. How about time? Maybe you can’t even go to events anymore because they are to late at night or conflict with your workouts. I’m in bed at 9pm and awake at 4am so I can do fasted cardio for 30min and get my first meal in at 5am. I need to do this so I can make sure I get ALL my meals in for the day. If I don’t wake that pushes the whole day back meaning I will be up late trying to get all my meals finished before bed. I’d have to say I’ve done a really good job with all of this and have awesome self control when I’m out with others. Temptations while I’m  around people are no problem, it’s temptations in the house that were a weakness in the beginning. However, a big part of going out and socializing is the food aspect and so it does suck while everyone is indulging and enjoying yummy vegan food and I’m not. I love running and yoga and happy that my coach has allowed me to keep that once a week in my training schedule, but I’m not practicing as much as I use to or running races. That sucks to, but I know its temporary. I also love to travel and be able to go wherever whenever. Being on prep kinda has held me back from being able to enjoy doing that too. Had wanted to go to Europe this Spring, but postponed it because I wanted to do this first.
  3. Time: Planning everything! I have always been a pretty organized and scheduled person, might be one of the reasons I was attracted to this lifestyle and sort of training. If you armuffin snakce going out for the day or some time but not sure when you will be back you HAVE to bring everything with you JUST IN CASE! So many times I thought I could make it home in time to make foo

d because I didn’t want to bring it with me and didn’t make it. Then I would get upset and kick myself for not learning my lesson. It’s all about time, if you are suppose to eat, DO IT! Which often times means I’m eating salad in between red lights and snacking on rice cakes and protein muffins between appointments. Planning is essential to survival with all this. TIP: do the best you can and don’t beat yourself up if you get a few mins off schedule or behind. Yes that happens I found myself numerous times choking up and fighting back tears because of this. #hotmess

4. Relationships: A lot of people are not going to get it. So not only will you have to constantly explaining yourself, if you choose to posing but you will learn who is on your side and who isn’t. Relationships will be tested. Especially with the mood swings, those that truly care and love you will be there for you. Don’t hide the way you are feeling but I know that I have been alert of what to say and how much to say. For the most part my family support my lifestyle because they support all my decisions, but yeah they have no idea no matter how many times I tell them why I do this. They don’t understand why I can’t go out with them sometimes or if I do why I don’t eat with them. They ask me consistently why I can’t eat certain foods and they think I’m on a “diet”.  I’ve had to separate myself apart from many friends who don’t understand and surround myself with new friends who do. SUPPORT is major.

5. Hygiene: Yup I’m going there. To start I was working out once a day with one rest day a week. As the weeks went on I was working out twice a day and now sometimes 3. That means 3 showers, tons of laundry and trying to upkeep with hair and makeup is a struggle.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some things, but don’t want this to be so lengthy anyway. One more lesson learned as I said first, this is a competition with yourself. It’s about making PROGRESS not perfection (literally will go cray cray analyzing every part of your body or someone else’s if you do). No matter what happens over the next week, I know that I did my BEST.

progress not perfection

Thank you guys for reading this. If you want to know more about my journey or have questions please reach out. One of the reasons I am doing all this is to share my journey the good, the bad and the ugly. NO BULL with you all. I will be posting my results after the show!

Love and Light

Coach Rachel


My Vegan Story


Every vegan has an interesting story of when and why they became vegan, myself included! Here is mine…


Rewind to three years ago, the Summer of 2012.  No, I didn’t wake up and know I wanted to be vegan, I wasn’t even positive what being vegan meant. What I did know was that I didn’t like the way I felt. I was always tired and felt sluggish. You know that low energy feeling, both physically and mentally. I certainly didn’t like the way I looked either. I was about 15 pounds over the weight I wanted to be (not knowing at that time how little the actual number on the scale matters). I realized that the way I felt was probably a consequence of the way I was eating. The relationship the body has with food is unbelievable. I wasn’t eating all that clean, consuming a lot of sweets, snacking, and eating bad carbs. I knew I wanted to feel better and look better but wasn’t sure how to start the transition to a healthier lifestyle. Then I was introduced to the Beach Body Ultimate Reset.

The Ultimate Reset is a 3 week detox. Okay, okay, okay I know people go running for the hills when they hear that word. I swore to myself that I would never touch a detox either. I thought they were all unhealthy, all those master cleanses, juice thingies and such. This one is DIFFERENT. You DO NOT starve. It’s 21 days and each week there is a different phase. Reclaim. Release. Restore. You have 3 meals a day plus optional and additional snacks. The recipes are fabulous and by week 2 you are eating completely vegan. I was so excited during this time in my life, I remember it like it was yesterday. The amount of energy and mental clarity I had over those 21 days felt unreal. I was going to bed before midnight and up without an alarm clock. My body was becoming in tune with itself naturally. I couldn’t believe it was because of the foods I was eating. This was when I realized the TRUE power food has over the body. I was cleaning and organizing my whole condo and cooking all my meals. Learning and trying new foods too. I had never had beets or roasted vegetables and wow are they good!

To this day I still make some of the Reset meals like the Sweet Potato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup. So good especially for parties and holidays. The foods were tasty and not bland. (Interestingly, when I saw the recipes in Ella’s Six Weeks To Sexy Abs Meal Plan, they were along the same lines as the Reset meals so I’m psyched to try them now!) Once I completed the Reset I didn’t know what to do next. I knew I loved the feeling I had when I was on the Reset and I was afraid of loosing that feeling if I went back to eating meat and dairy. Scared and unsure where to start I decided to gradually go back to eating my old habits. I wish now I didn’t do that. I was an ice cream girl and also liked to eat eggs in the morning, chicken for dinner, oh and I thought whey protein was good for you. Shortly after adding these foods back into my routine I found that I had indeed lost that high on life mental clarity feeling.

hello im vegan

It wasn’t until January 2013 when I committed to changing my lifestyle to a Vegan Diet. I didn’t know anyone else at the time that was vegan. Shakeology had just introduced a chocolate vegan flavor (amen) that I started drinking daily. Besides that I didn’t know what else to eat besides fruits and veggies and grains and nuts.  I was eating a lot of peanut butter (I wish it was its own food group). I hadn’t ever been a fan of tofu and I didn’t know about other soy protein sources. The STRUGGLE WAS REAL! There were A LOT of challenges to go thru to get to where I am today. I later realized it’s vital to educate yourself and surround yourself with others who are going vegan or are already vegan. This will help you tremendously instead of doing it all on your own like I did.

One challenge I faced was how strict of a vegan I was going to be.

paul farmer

At first I thought I was just strictly cutting out direct forms of meat and dairy like ice cream, yogurt, eggs, chicken, ground turkey, milk, cheese etc. I didn’t realize until I started reading labels how much dairy related products or ingredients are in other forms of snacks, processed foods, pastries etc. I would say for all of 2013 that’s where I struggled and learned about ingredients, and how far I was willing to go to change my diet to go fully vegan. So during this year I definitely cut out meat, but dairy was harder for me. I was a cheese lover too so I had the occasional pizza and thought it wasn’t so bad if I had a granola bar with milk chocolate dipping or ice cream here or there. I felt bad after eating it though knowing it wasn’t all vegan,  and then later on feeling bad physically because of the way it would make me feel on the inside and the mental guilt. I knew I couldn’t continue on and would have to completely cut these forms of dairy out too. Saying NO to ALL of it. It’s crazy how SO MANY foods like cookies and have dairy. Like cereals with frosted coated stuff that has dried milk, powered forms of milk, or butters in bars, shakes, syrups and flavorings at Starbucks. Its everywhere! This is something throughout the year I struggled on a personal level. Again I still didn’t have a foundation and found my niche in the vegan community. If I had that would have helped. Now I’m involved with international vegan awareness groups online and active in the local South Florida Miami Wellness Club, Plant Pure Nation, and fitness communities.

everyday a vegan saves

2014 was the year I ate a 100% plant-based diet. I was aware of what foods contained animal-based ingredients and avoided them. I felt in control of my body. I felt high on life. I felt good about my decision to transition to a vegan diet for the health benefits.

One question I had to answer for myself was, “How about when you are in group settings or going out to eat?” I hear it all the time, people ask me I can eat or why I cant eat that. I found it important to be patient, and no get mad. The question is usually asked because people simply don’t know. just don’t know and they want to learn. Others already have a formed opinion and will want to argue. Being in groups can be hard. Especially when choosing a place to eat. You turn into the vegan of the group, aka “ that person”. Or called the healthy one, the one that only eats rabbit food, the weird one, the different one, the boring one, I’ve heard it all. You learn to grow some tough skin and stick up for what you’re doing and why your doing it. You also learn what restaurants cook with chicken broth, oils, butters, and other animal products. You start to be aware where you can go and there ARE more options besides salad. A lot of restaurants are accommodating if you can’t find a vegan/vegetarian spot. Just tell them that you have allergies. I find saying that can make it more likely you will get what you ask for, rather then explaining the reason over and over why you are vegan. Best advice I give about this is be true to who you are and plan ahead. 🙂

Throughout 2014 and 2015 too is when I discovered there are other CHALLENGES. Remember when I was talking about those different levels of living a vegan lifestyle? Well I had come full circle back to that point again. Many vegans are vegan for health reasons, some for the animals, some for the environment, and some for all of the above. The education continued.

                                                   become vegan

**Did you know that 91% of the rain forest lost to date is destroyed due to raising livestock? And that 1 acre of the rain forest is cut down every second for this**? Did you know to feed all the livestock they eat 20 TONS of grain PER WEEK?**? Did you know that 209 lbs of meat are eaten per year per person**? Did you know that it takes 250 gallons of water to produce 1 POUND of meat?*** These startling facts go on and on….

I began to watch documentaries like Cowspiracy  and get involved with the vegan community, educating myself on how living a vegan lifestyle is more then just the diet for the way it makes me feel. I knew I had a duty to do more. Next step was to learn about products that animal test. I did not want to be a consumer that promoted products and industries that test on animals. I researched cleaning products, hygiene products, even clothes and slowly switched. This includes make-up, shampoo, soap, coats, and shoes. All our fave brands like MAC, Clinique, snf Herbal Essences animal test.

animal testing

A lot of people ask WHY are you vegan and WHERE do you get your protein. Instead of getting annoyed or frustrated I feel it is my duty to answer and educate others on the world we live in and how ONE person CAN make a difference. This means more to me now then when I started 3 years ago. Like I said, everyone has a STORY. What is yours?