View Full Version : Hello everyone!!

04-07-2011, 12:53 PM
Good morning everyone! I discovered this community yesterday while putzing on the internet looking for stage makeup advice and fell in love with this board!! It's so inspirational, supportive, and informative!!

My name is Amber and I'm doing my first Figure show April 16 (Fitness Atlantic) in Connecticut. It's mainly a practice one for a show two weeks later -- the Jay Cutler Classic on May 8. I plan on competing primarily in NPC shows in my little area of Boston but decided as an amateur the more competitions I do the more comfortable I will get with being on stage. :)

I've been actively training for the Jay Cutler classic since December which is not very long I know. Before that I was a competitive fencer and casual weight lifter. I started lifting weights a couple of years ago to start losing weight (I was 210lbs at 5'1") and fell in love with it! It's the main thing I used to lose all the weight -- I am 1/2 lb away from losing 100lbs -- aside from a brief stint of half-marathon training/racing last year from December-February. I finished the half and promptly decided running is just not my thing.

In my non-training life I am a full night time massage therapy student who works full-time as a receptionist during the day and for a bath and body store when I have time because I love their products. I decided to go back to school after getting my bachelors because I really dislike fixing computers at this point and wanting training in something that was a form of alternative/complementary medicine. With my free time I love to cook, hike, read, and brew beer (which I sorely miss having at the moment).

So ummm that's me. I attached a few of my most recent progress photos from 2 weeks ago. Please ignore the goofy smile -- we take them at about 530am after cardio and I'm always a little loopy/sleepy.

Becca Staggs
04-07-2011, 12:58 PM
Hi Amber! Welcome to SC! :sc: Glad you found us. Make yourself at home!

Good luck on your first show next weekend. It's quite the experience.

04-07-2011, 02:22 PM
Thanks Rebecca!!

04-07-2011, 02:38 PM
Hiya, Amber, I'm happy to see you can log in now. :waving:

Looking at those photos I would not have guessed you were once over 200 pounds. That is amazing, and congrats on transforming your physique!

One of our moderators, Ripitupbaby, works NPC shows in New England. You will see her on the right side of the board here. If you have any questions about the Jay Cutler Classic, shoot her a private message. :)

04-07-2011, 03:01 PM
Welcome! Good luck at your first show!!

04-07-2011, 03:24 PM
Thanks for the advice Siouxcountry!!

Thanks Scarl3tbutt3rfly!! I'm super excited! :)

'Lil Dynamo
04-07-2011, 05:13 PM
Welcome Amber!:waving:

Good luck at your show and have FUN!!!

04-07-2011, 07:25 PM
Welcome, Amber! Way to go on your transformation! You should be so proud of yourself. And I absolutely love your suit. The design is great. Work on relaxing your hands and your rear lat spread. Keep up the good work!!

04-07-2011, 07:29 PM
Thanks! Berns from Passion Fruit Designs made it. By work on my lat spread do you mean work on having it come out more? Any tips?

I hear you on the hands thing...it's something I've been trying to remember but then I get distracted by everything else lol

04-07-2011, 08:11 PM
Thanks! Berns from Passion Fruit Designs made it. By work on my lat spread do you mean work on having it come out more? Any tips?

I hear you on the hands thing...it's something I've been trying to remember but then I get distracted by everything else lol

I think hands are always tough.

Easiest way to practice the back is to think about doing a lat pull down...just to the motion until you figure out how to spread those lats by just pulling your shoulders up and back. It takes time and practice. You'll get it but have to be viligent about it. :) Good luck!!

04-07-2011, 08:14 PM
Just did it at my desk and that makes total sense! I can feel how it is different from before. Thanks!!

04-07-2011, 11:35 PM
Looking at those photos I would not have guessed you were once over 200 pounds. That is amazing, and congrats on transforming your physique!

You look great! :bowdown:

04-08-2011, 04:40 AM
:bowdown: You look amazing! Great work. Enjoy the next few weeks! 

04-08-2011, 07:52 PM
Aww thanks everyone!!

I'm definitely trying to enjoy these last few weeks -- it's all about the journey right? :)

04-08-2011, 08:09 PM
Welcome, congrats, and good luck! :respect:

My husband and I work for the NPC in the New England area, and we will be running check-ins and scoring for the Jay Cutler Classic on May 8. Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions about the show.

I'm always crazy busy and super stressed at the shows, so I will apologize now if I don't take much time... but please be sure to introduce yourself to me and tell me who you are when we check you in that morning!

OH...LOVE the suit!

04-08-2011, 08:11 PM
One way to try to get your lats out more is to pretend like you are wrapping your arms around a tree...like you are hugging a tree...and then drop your arms down to your sides but keep everything else where it is...if that makes any sense at all... that's how someone explained it to me a looooong time ago and it kind of stuck :o

04-08-2011, 08:13 PM
I'll definitely be sure to introduce myself!! Thanks!! I actually do have a question that I'll PM you.

04-08-2011, 08:19 PM
That makes perfect sense actually!! Just stood up at my desk and tried it and it definitely feels different/like things are showing more. Thanks!!

04-09-2011, 03:58 AM
You look great! You have a itty bitty waist!!!!

04-09-2011, 12:45 PM
Aww thanks! Your sleeve looks amazing in your avatar!

04-10-2011, 04:10 AM
Your pics look great! The back pose is one that is very hard to get, I think. I always think of pulling my shoulders outward-I think to myself 'big as a house' LOL but hey, whatever works :D Also, with your hands, every time you hit a pose, wiggle your fingers. If you can wiggle your fingers, then your hands are relaxed and will look much better and not so 'posed'. Hope this helps and good luck, you will love competing!

04-10-2011, 02:38 PM
Thanks for the advice!! The pulling the shoulders outward will help a lot I think. Whenever I look at my back pictures It always seemed like they were just back or to the side....but the idea of pulling them OUT instead I thin will get the effect I want. Time to practice in the bathroom mirror!! :)

04-14-2011, 08:37 PM
Oh you look great! Can't wait to meet you at the show! :) Yayz!

04-14-2011, 08:47 PM
Oh, I just realized you are competing Saturday too :). Good luck to you too!!

04-14-2011, 08:49 PM
Oh you look great! Can't wait to meet you at the show! :) Yayz!

Thanks!! Let's definitely meet up!! :)

04-14-2011, 08:49 PM
Oh, I just realized you are competing Saturday too :). Good luck to you too!!


04-14-2011, 11:45 PM
Welcome! Good luck this weekend! You look fab! I'm a beer girl myself...oh hops, how I've missed you...

04-15-2011, 03:31 PM
Great transformation! Good luck this weekend!

04-15-2011, 03:32 PM
Thanks everyone!!

04-15-2011, 03:36 PM
Good luck this weekend!

X 2! Good luck, and most importantly have fun! :)

04-15-2011, 04:11 PM
Good luck Amber!! Have a fantastic time!

04-15-2011, 10:15 PM
Thanks!! I think I've finally arrived at the, "this will be fun" phase.

Things learned so far...

...a light spritz body sprays can cover the stench of tanner and BO
...tanner looks better once dry, so no more yelling at the poor bf, "It's not even enough!!"
...tanner makes muscles show a LOT more!
...people are very nice.

Becca Staggs
04-16-2011, 02:22 PM
Ooh be careful with the spritz on your tan!! I would advise against it on your skin at all.

Good luck today!! Fleur tweeted this pic, you guys look beautiful!

04-16-2011, 03:15 PM
You both look beautiful:respect:. Enjoy your day, you earned it!

04-17-2011, 03:43 AM
The spritz caused no issues...however, the residual deodorant on one of my sweatshirts DID cause an issue. That was unexpected!! :rofl:

Ooh be careful with the spritz on your tan!! I would advise against it on your skin at all.

Good luck today!! Fleur tweeted this pic, you guys look beautiful!

04-17-2011, 12:40 PM
Hey Amber!! how did it go? Hope you had fun!

04-17-2011, 12:47 PM
I had tons of fun!! It was great meeting Fleur and a bunch of other ladies at the show!

I do know I placed somewhere between 6th and 8th since there were only 8 girls in my class and I did not make top 5. I'm still processing the day/night though. Switching from something I excelled at and was one of the best at in every tournament I went to (fencing) to something that is going to take a lot of time to build up to doing well in (figure/bikini) is a bit of a mindfuck and I'm left feeling a little deflated. That compounded by the fact that my coach was there and I didn't hear from her AT ALL the day of the competition until after I was done with prejudging left a somewhat sour aftertaste in my mouth about the day.

Despite that large chunk of "meh" I did have a lot of fun though. It was great meeting so many women that were into fitness. I'm not sure if I should continue figure or make the switch to bikini though -- I'm really not sure where my body type falls between those two and where I would be strongest.

Thanks for checking in on me!! :D

Becca Staggs
04-17-2011, 01:11 PM
Hi Amber!! Good morning!

Congrats on making it to the stage for your first competition. Losing all the weight you have lost and stepping on stage in next to nothing to have your body judged is no small feat. :respect:

As far as your feelings yesterday...those are all normal feelings I think! First - fencing? Very cool! Not something we hear about much these days it seems. But anyway taking on a new hobby/task and making it to the top at your very first try isn't something that happens to most people. This sport can take a lot out of you both mentally and physically. Some girls are training hard and adding muscle for YEARS before they snag a first place win, so no worries there. :)

I personally think you have a great look for bikini. You're built similar to me! Your waist is INSANE tiny, and you don't have a lot of upper body muscle (shoulders/lats) that they like to see in figure. Why not give bikini a try if you want to continue to compete in the meantime?? It is fun, honestly. My first show was Figure and I didn't do well at it either. At the time bikini wasn't available. When bikini came out, I thought- WHY NOT? And did it, won, and never looked back. If figure is where your heart really is though, you can just continue to build up over time and then bring a better package to the stage, it's not going anywhere.

PS Your suit is AWESOME. Love the peacock design!!

PSS!! THat really sucks about your coach!! That's super unfortunate. I would start looking for another coach if you haven't already, yesterday's things and the other stuff you have mentioned, it's just unprofessional and sounds like she doesn't have time for you. :o If you're paying someone to help you, you deserve more. Hearing that she was at the show and didn't even talk to you till after prejudge is unacceptable to me.

Tim and I aren't always able to make it to all of our clients shows but we are on standby throught the day for their calls and talk to them multiple times per day leading into a show and day of. I think you can expect that from most coaches who train competitors.

Time to update your avi!!:awesome:

04-17-2011, 01:23 PM
Hey Amber!

First off (aside from repeating everything that Becca said:D), congrats!!! I'd have to go back and look at pictures to let you know my thoughts are bikini vs. figure. But, maybe it's worth taking a stab at bikini just to see. :)

Anyway, remember now that you are switching from a sport where there is a clear cut winner to one that is completely subjective based on what the judges think. So that is something you have to get used to.

I'm sorry to hear about your coach. I think it's time for a new one (although I think you already started a thread on that). So good luck.

Keep pushing and don't quit!!!

04-17-2011, 03:34 PM
Congrats Amber! I didn't do well at my first show at all, I think 7th out of 9, but really the first show is very overwhelming IMO and a lot to take in. You learn a little something more at each show and you can come back more prepared.

I think this sport, unlike fencing where I believe there is a clear winner by scoring (correct me if I'm wrong), is very subjective. I have noticed a lot of differences in judging show to show. I think you just have to come in the best you can and that's all you can do. Having done both bikini and figure now, I like the structure of figure better as I feel bikini is a bit more "pageant" like and that's not so much me. With that being said though, I don't have the muscle to be competitive in figure and due to some back injuries can't push as hard as I would need to in order to be competitive, so I will stick with bikini. I think you can go either way.

04-17-2011, 03:50 PM
Congrats Amber! You've accomplished quite a lot. To lose that amount of weight, and then to step on stage looking amazing is no small feat. Don't let your placing get to you. Like Becca said, you can try bikini and see if it's a good fit for you, but if you're really into pushing yourself when lifting, it may be best to stick with figure. I think you looked great and could go either way really. Never hurts to test the waters!

That really bites about your coach though. I'd be shopping around for a new coach for sure! Good luck to you :)

04-17-2011, 09:53 PM
Thanks everyone!! I am definitely going to get a new coach for my competitions later this year. For now, I am going to do the ones I planned on doing but try my hand at bikini. Using my bf as a sounding board for the ride into Boston helped me clear my head a bit. Maybe I'll like bikini a lot. At the very least, it will give me more time on stage which will increase my stage confidence...at best, I will discover I love it! Then, if I decide I still prefer the idea of doing Figure I'll spend time building muscle so whoever I hire as a coach has some to work with.

What going to this show definitely helped me learn though, is how muscular Figure girls are. It's awesome and they look great! I, however, do not have that much muscle. It's hard to learn/know that when the bulk of the people you are surrounded by are either obese or runners with no muscle (I'm around an odd cross section of people).

Also, as many on here and elsewhere have reminded me -- just getting on stage and doing it means a lot. That and the amount of time I spent training for it (even though I was ill-advised when it came to training) and losing all that weight can never be taken away from me.

04-18-2011, 12:04 AM
Keep smiling, Amber. This whole process is for you to better yourself (in ways that go far beyong the physical) and get to know yourself. Never allow a panel of judges to define YOU. :)

I'm happy to discuss coaching/trainers with you privately any time you are interested, but that's entirely your call.

Best wishes!

04-18-2011, 01:21 AM
Sorry about your coach, Amber. You deserved better.