What NOT to do when preparing for your first show



The other day I was speaking with a woman that is starting her first competition prep.  I asked if she had any questions for me.

She did, “What is a mistake you made, that you would change?”

Huh! That is a great questions that I don’t get really ever.  Normally I’m asked what my secret is, which we have already established is hard work and discipline. This question is great because this sport is a bit of a guessing game, because the target is always moving. I asked a few IFPA Pro’s that I respect because they are genuine, thoughtful, and really tell it like it is. It was interesting but not shocking that a lot of the IFPA Pros had the same thoughts when I asked them this question.





Don’t stalk girls Instagram fitness models and think that the process is so beautiful and easy because it’s not in reality ins very challenging. People tend to follow these “model” accounts and think you should look shredded everyday all year! It’s just not realistic.




Don’t have expectations. …if you place first or last,you are doing something that the majority of people would not be able to endure..if you walk on that stage knowing you have done everything in your control to be your personal best YOU have already won.




Don’t forgot you need carbs (you and your coach will figure out how many and the other details)!


jenn samm


Do not compare yourself to other competitors that you see on social media! I’ve seen more than my fair share of newbies literally drop out after being PSYCHED out!




Don’t to worry about the placing. This is a subjective sport and you can’t let that ride or die on the fun you should have during the day. Your first show is always a huge learning curve. Take the time to look around, talk to other competitors and learn what worked for you and what didn’t.




Don’t Be Nervous on Show Day: Chill out, relax, breathe. . You did it. You won. This is the culmination. You’ve stuck to the plan, you’ve sacrificed your lifestyle, you’re better. I always tell people, “This is the graduation!”. By completing this process, you’ve just grown immensely. Go on stage, do what you’ve prepared to do, and celebrate.

Remember.. Focus on becoming more, rather than obtaining more. There is joy in the process.


I’ll end with my DON’T… have to many chefs in the kitchen.   You will read, see, or even seek out advice from other… because you don’t know what you are doing! That’s ok…  you can try different theories, but you have to give each theory a chance to “work” or “not work”. When you do to many thing or change your plan to much you will never know what really worked for you.


Good luck to you and best wishes on your journey! Enjoy it… it’s one hell of a ride!

Interview with Courtney Cronin

Hi everyone!

This week’s is a little something different. Courtney is a fellow competitor and blog, so we decide to interview each other and share our stories and blogs with each other’s readers.

Check out her blog:

When the Tan Fades- Fitness Fun and other Shennanigans
click here to see Courtney’s Blog

You started this journey in 2012 (correct)? How have you seen the sport change?
I actually started in the spring of 2011 with the OCB Spirit of America as my first show. Holy mackerel has it evolved! Just taking our division of Bikini, I remember there were 9 girls in my class…I think that show this year had over 40!
Not only are there more participants but the competition is increasing dramatically…in a good way. OCB Bikini hasn’t had a lot of street cred in the past but now you look at the lineup of Pro Bikini ladies at the Yorton Cup and it’s comparative to those at the IFBB Olympia…incredible.


You had an injury, back I believe. How did you deal with that (mentally) and how did you come back from it?
What a learning experience! I had started feeling back, hip, and joint pain about 2 years ago and thought it was contributed to a mix of a bunch of different factors- stress, improper lifting form, too much cardio, etc…
A year later I found myself in the doctor’s office getting diagnosed with an early onset form of arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis. As with most forms of arthritis, movement and activity of the body is encouraged so I had that going for me! Between proper rest, better nutrition, and learning how to properly lift I experienced dramatic improvements in how I felt. I can certainly still feel it, even on the best days but
its been an amazing lesson in perseverance and APPRECIATION. I took my able body for granted before, now I am so very grateful for every step and movement it allows me to take.

You’re now fiancée is a bodybuilder and part of this life style. What are the pros and cons you guys have during prep and in off season?
Great question! We’ve experienced both prep and off season life for each of us and as with all relationships and the events that take place in them, there were/are some awesome pieces and challenges.
Our first date was to a Red Sox game while I was in prep (and he was not). I remember bringing my huge cooler of food down to Boston and sharing, laughing, and enjoying the day with someone who truly understood and respected my choices. It was the first time I dated someone who could appreciate planning ahead and striving for a goal, and that food choices were a component of that.
I think we balance each other. He’s VERY excited in the offseason, enjoying varieties of foods and drinks…I tend to be a bit more reserved with my indulgences. He gets me to try new things and understand I can’t be in prep mode 365 days a year. I get him to throw some veggies in his eggs once in a while!



You have a ‘normal 9-5 job’ where you sit most of the day. How do you deal with having most of your day in the corporate world?
Well, funny you ask because I’ve learned you can also bring the fitness world into a corporate environment. Bringing my meals and putting them in the office refrigerator, having a CONSTANT glass of water going on my desk, and taking frequent walks around my building helps. I also discussed the benefits of movement/standing with my boss and am now one of two users in the office demoing standing desks! It’s pretty nice and enlightening to others I work with as well.

What’s one thing you have learned about yourself from doing shows? (Good and ‘bad’)
1. I have learned healthy living is my passion. By that I mean when I competed initially, I wasn’t very healthy about it- standard too much cardio/too little food situation. Through time, trial, and research, I have found that sincere healthy living is far, far more enjoyable and beneficial long term. It has taught me that competing is a hobby but health, movement, and proper nutrition is a lifestyle and my passion.

2. I have also learned that I am my biggest critic. After competing multiple times, I no longer really care what others think of my body/physique…I care what I think! This can be good and bad- if someone doesn’t enjoy my physique, whatever! If I don’t enjoy my physique, well that’s a different story and something I’m trying to consistently work on mentally.

What advice would you give a first time competitor… That they won’t read onbodybuilding.com?
ENJOY THE DAY. So many articles, coaches, competitors, and websites focus on the necessary details of the food, the suit, hair, shoes, getting there on time, etc. very few mention to simply sit back and enjoy the day. Introduce yourself to a new person backstage, sit and watch a division you don’t know much about, step out in the sun for a few minutes and enjoy how freaking awesome your tan looks…take these moments during the hectic day to just BE.

Why did you start your blog?
I was seeking an outlet to express the thoughts I have an overabundance of! After writing a few a finding some people enjoy them, I realized I could also use it as a source of motivation and inspiration. I think it’s incredibly important for humans to feel like they can relate to others- I like sharing what we all may think, feel, doubt, or do.
I continue my blog because it’s enjoyable, I LOVE putting thoughts into words and knowing others read them. It also helps me process thoughts and learn more about myself than I ever thought possible- and yikes, there’s a heck of a lot to this little lady!:)



Thank you Court for your time! I love your point of views and I’m excited to see what the future holds for you in this sport… and Life! 🙂

Interview with Heather Mowry

This week I thought I would change it up a little.  This week I thought I’d have you hear from someone else.  A bikini competitor that I think has a great story.  Yes, I’m a little biased because she is one of the people closet to me…  but if you need a little motivation her show will help.


When I think of Heather Mowry the first thing that comes to mind is drive.  I’d call her the BIKINI ROCKY BALBOA.

Heather has been competing for about a year and a half.   She has competed in 8 shows.  She has won a show (BEATING ME!) 🙂 , won her class, not placed, and placed in the top five.  She has been in the running for her PRO CARD (her goal) twice… losing both times by 1 point!  I don’t know if you have every been so close to a goal but so far… it sucks.  But Heather always keeps her head high and sets a goal for the next time.  Sure, she gets upset! Who wouldn’t! As a fitness competitor you would love to win… you work so hard to be the best you.  It’s nice when the judges think you are the best of the best too.  But when it doesn’t happen that is when your character shows.  Knowing her like I do… I know there are moments she isn’t 100%. (No one is).  But she shakes it off and focuses on the next show.  


I personal think she is one of the most, if not the most decided person to a goal that I know.  It’s always easy to keep going when you win… but it takes an extra something deep inside to push forward when you don’t!   She keeps a good balance of being humble but aggressive! She doesn’t let anyone tell her she can’t… trust me she’s been told she “couldn’t” or “shouldn’t” One of the typical things she hears… “You should just do figure”.   Maybe in the future she will try her hand at figure, but she sent a goal over 2 years ago to compete and win her PRO CARD in bikini and she is driving forward towards that.  


I worked out with Heather the other day and asked her a few questions to give you all a little more insight about her.


What motivated you to start doing shows?

I was going to the gym daily and not seeing the results I wanted. So I decided to train for something. To see what I could turn my body into… To see how dedicated I could be to a goal. And I fell in love with the process.

Heather and I in the Pine Tree State 2013 (our 1st show)
Heather and I in the Pine Tree State 2013 (our 1st show)

Favorite exercise?

I would have to say my favorite exercise is squats… Heavy squats!
What is your favorite thing to eat on prep? I would say my favorite thing to eat while on prep are my protein pancakes! Who doesn’t love pancakes!!!

Heather at the Cape Code Classic 2013 (1st place in her class)
Heather at the Cape Code Classic 2013 (1st place in her class)

What is one piece of advice you would give other fitness athletes?
Once you see the results you will fall in love with the process. And once you step on stage and feel that rush you will be hooked! But it’s stressful at times with diet and training. And def isn’t easy on the wallet.

Heather @ the Yankee. (placing 1st in her class)
Heather @ the Yankee. (placing 1st in her class)

We all know you have been fighting for your PRO card for while… What keeps you going?

Knowing I do have people rooting for me and want to see me succeed. And also, I just love this sport. I love the workouts, I like eating healthy (but do miss my ice cream) and the people I have met are amazing!

heather with pics

Fast forward, you won your pro card… Now what?

Omg I honestly don’t know! I would love to get on a pro stage and see how I can compete there. Keep moving forward and never give up…

just heather


Best of luck to you Heather in your next 3 shows (maybe 4)… I look forward to standing on stage together as IFPA PRO.  🙂