Medina Robert's Story
Here is Medina Robert’s story. This is how she entered the world of competing, judging, and entering the shows:
First of all, I want to thank many people for the reason behind where I stand today. Those who deserve this recognition are Robin Pultz, Peggy Hayes, Monty Mombre,Shelly Howard and Dennis Overton.
From Fast Food to Fitness
In 1995, I was working as a manager for McDonald’s in Germany. I know, right, from fast food to fitness?! I never was very overweight even when I had daily meals there. I did not want to blame the bad food choices on what dictates your life. I was always moving...this is why I was not gaining. I’m serious- I ate the McDonald’s meals once or twice a day. (I ate some good foods, too) But I ran five times a week and was constantly moving. I am still a runner and enjoy it today. So please MOVE!!!!
However, even though overweight was not a health issue for me, there were other conditions that did plague me. I developed back pain that gave me constant headaches from work and definitely struggled with sleep too as a result. And at 26 years of age, I developed arthritis; which is a family related condition and it affected me primarily in my shoulder. I can’t truly describe this creepy pain when detailing how arthritis feels, but I do not wish it upon anyone.
Now, despite some of my own health conditions, I still have always admired the look of a female athlete. The strong musculature in her physique represents the strong, independent woman I strive to be.
I remember one very good friend of mine Albin Rosso, who looked very fit and muscular. I I approached him one day and said, “You look great, I would like to join you the next time you go to the gym, would you take me?" That is where the fitness story really begins. I signed up immediately with the gym in Foer Bach, Stuttgart, the gym that was owned by Miss Olympia, Anje Longo. I started to lift four times a week after long hours at work. After only one year, I started to feel the major changes. I felt a difference in stress, mood, and sleep. The arthritis pain faded. The migraines and headaches dissipated almost completely.
Because of these changes, I started to really research, study, and read everything on the science of exercise. Ah, I wanted to share with the whole world how exercise had improved my life. I felt that my mission was to help others, because our bodies are really made to move. Especially here in the United States, because there is such a sedentary emphasis. Americans more than Europeans are in their cars sitting and not as active in general.
Now, in 1999, I moved to the United States as a refugee. I began to work through Burlington Coat Factory. I had just transitioned and was working on my English. I continue today to still work on my English=)
I dove right back into fitness and lifting at the apartment building in the small gym where I lived. Then, in 2000, in one year, I got engaged, married, and pregnant. I was a high risk pregnancy and as a result was not allowed to move as much and gained 30 pounds through the nine month pregnancy. In 2001, I had a dear friend, Angela Lee, who took me to Sport & Health where she was already a member. We went to Robin Putz’s classes. From then on , I signed up for membership at Sport & Health in Fredericksburg, VA and entered every class that Robin taught. I fell in love with her. She pushed me. She educated me. She is the reason I began now to study and pursue the field of group exercise and personal training. This huge piece of educating oneself on how exercise improves and changes your life changed me forever.
In 2003, I took the WIITS personal training certification. It was an eight week, intensive program to become a personal trainer. By 2004, I signed on with Sport & Health as a personal trainer. Soon after, Robin recognized my potential and allowed me to teach some of her group exercise classes. I was thankful then and still thank Robin now for this and for all she has done.
Enough about me and talking about health. How did I get into figure?
In 2005, I was coming from the group fitness aerobic room and there she was…. the woman of my dreams...this strong, muscular, but feminine woman captured me. I wanted to look like her. Before I knew it I was following her onto the fitness floor and watching. What was she doing to look like that?!
Three months later, in our staff lunch room, I saw her again there in our break room….she was introducing herself as a personal trainer on our team. Her name was Peggy Hayes. I immediately said, “you look amazing.” She humbly smiled and said back, “thank you.”
I blame it all on my six pack. =) …...
One day, in the same year in Robin’s class while I was sweating (usually I had long pants and a tank top and a cover shirt tied up around my waist to cover up my big butt), I was so hot that I took my tank top off for the first time ever. Then, in that moment the whole class stopped. They all stared. I was,in my mind, completely unaware. I was 22% body fat and just had big belly muscles, but I guess some of them call these a six pack and a few from class even came up and touched my stomach. So that is when I started to feel comfortable in my skin and took my clothes off a little more. This was a big step for me! I now just wore the little tank top and pants which made me feel half naked. Within two days of walking around the gym like this, a photographer approached me and wanted to do a photo shoot because of my amazing physique and great potential with my overall look. He told me I would get everything for free and so I did the photo shoot and had about 300 photos done which I really felt great about.
Then, Peggy Hayes saw these pictures. She said, I looked great, but could look even more amazing if I went on a diet with her to get leaner. So to first assess how to put me on a diet, she asked what I was currently eating. I told her and she replied, “How can someone look that great eating all that crap?!” The first thing she changed was the chocolate cake with coffee. This like my own mom, was my time in the morning. I loved this time before my breakfast. I enjoy eating carbs and am used to filling up with pasta and always eat about 3000 daily calories. (I come from south Europe where people like to eat a lot, but we are blessed that we do eat well...lots of olive oil, vegetables, good things...except for the cake.) I think this is how my body has been able to process so many calories because they came from good food, again, except the chocolate cake.
So Peggy, took the chocolate cake and white carbs out and in two weeks, I lost eleven pounds. Peggy was amazed and said, “You are perfect to compete!” She was excited!
So then I did my second photo shoot and did a lot better. I borrowed Robin’s competition suit and she helped me learn how to pose and feel comfortable instead of just feeling half naked in it. I really remember those moments. The pictures also really did look better the second time and I recognized what Peggy was talking about. In two weeks, I changed completely. The body just melted down from 22% to 14% body fat just from taking out the white carbs and bad fat.
So this is when I started to really read and study nutrition. With my background in chemistry, I really learned how nutrition affects how you look, how you feel, and how we are what we eat. Thanks to Peggy, I started to research and study more about foods and supplements, etc.
Since then, Peggy had approached me many times to compete in figure. I appreciated it very much, but in my mind I just did not have the confidence and felt that I needed more muscle. Til one day, I saw a couple of girls who had trained at the Four Mile Fork location that were telling me that they were ready to compete under a trainer named Shelly Howard. I looked at them and felt like a monster next to them. My muscles as I started at the mirror were looking bigger than theirs. Now I understood the potential Peggy was talking about when I was standing next to these girls. I was now ready to enter the competing world. At that time, Peggy was herself competing and getting help from Shelly at Four Mile Fork gym and training herself. Shelly had this big group that she was training so I did not want to bother Peggy and therefore approached Shelly to help me get ready for my first figure show. This was 2007 at age 37. My first show was scheduled on November 10th, Mount Rogers in Woodbridge, VA. I always will remember his because it is my oldest son’s birthday.
So here it is: my first show ever. I was already registered for the show on November 10th, 2007. With a new program to get ready for the show. A diet plan that required you to prepare meals and eat a certain time each day. Most of you know who are reading this what this required because you have or are competing. I was doing all of this at the same time in October I had to take the NASM exam which I had already paid for. I had already planned for the AAAI conference in Baltimore. And the cycle, pilates, and kickboxing certification process was a very interesting experience while trying to squeeze in all the water and meals and staying in the class for eight hours. It was not possible. I was scared for how I was going to look because I was not able to do all that I was supposed to do. But I did all that I could and did the best that I could for all the time that I had. But I also was interviewing too for the fitness director position at Sport & Health. I guess there is never a perfect time to compete. There is always something. And on November 1st, I had thirty six paintings to hang and prepare for my grand art opening in the local studio.
Again, I did what I could. But I was not able to do everything exactly as planned. I remember doing my cardio at 1:00 a.m. in the morning. Not having a treadmill or bike in the house, my cardio was jumping on the bosu. Yes, most people think that because you work in a gym, you get to have your own exercise. But as a trainer, training seven hours and teaching classes, most of the time for myself came at my house or at the end of the day when it was very late and I felt like I was a dead person trying to lift and push and pull with whatever I had in me. So yes, I do not have an understanding when figure girls come to me and tell me that they are tired. I just say to them, “You have no idea what tired means.”
I passed my exam. 98% with low carb diet! You know what I mean. My opening went very well. I sold eight paintings. I had fun in Baltimore at the conference with Robin and Roxanne (even being hungry and feeling tired). One night, while I was eating my egg whites, Robin gave me her protein pudding, which felt like heaven! I will never forget how delicious and good that pudding felt. Thank you, Robin! I also got my position as fitness director which I was prepared to start on November 1st. This would be the same month that I was competing.
The week before the show, Shelly was seeing all the girls to meet and see how we looked. She was very professional and I loved the way she worked and learned so much from her. I think right now because I admire so much the way that she worked that I am working in some way similar as she did. But I remember one embarrassing thing in particular. She was looking and checking up on me and said, “how are all of your supplements, the glutamine, BCAA, & creatine, are you taking them?” I looked at her and said, “what’s that?” I had not taken any of the supplements! I had never taken any supplements in my life except protein shakes! And then Shelly looked at me and said, “how do you look the way you do right now without any of those supplements?” I then went after that to research and study the supplements. I became addicted now to learning about supplements more and decided to gain a sport nutrition certification.
Finally the day before the show came and my dear friend, Tracy Sisson, was helping me put my color on. After the color dried, I needed to go see Shelly at the Four Mile Fork gym so she could see how I looked. Of course, as soon as I saw her face, I knew something was wrong. She said I had the wrong color and was blotchy. She said I did not look good because it was the bodybuilding color and yes, looked splotchy. She told me to go home and take a shower so that I could put a different color on right before the show in the morning called Jan Tanna. Peggy was with me when Shelly was talking to me and Peggy offered to come early at 5:00 a.m. to put the right color on me. I was so tired. I was so hungry. And I was so depressed that I cried that night because I felt everything had gone wrong in my mind. Tracy was right there and really told me I had to go through it because at that point I did not want to compete. Thank you, Tracy! Peggy and Tracy showed up in the morning to help me get ready. Finally, I got ready. But in my mind, I had no idea of how I looked. But all that went through my mind was that I hoped I would not fall on my nose on stage or that the suit in the back would stay hooked so that nobody would see my ???? showing to the audience. Nobody wants to see that. You know what I am talking about.
Finally the day of the show now had come. I won my class. I could not believe it!
he fun part is that for overall, I went to fight for the pro card against our dear, Naomi Murdoch who is now a close friend and OCB judge and hopes to become an NGA judge soon. Of course, Naomi won overall for her amazing physique as my glute muscles were not even close to being ready and my posing was horrible. Now as I look back, I see the pictures and teach others not to do what I did in my first show. That is why it is important to practice posing not in the mirror because I got lost on stage not having the mirror in front of me to recognize how I looked or moved. This is how I got hooked on figure competitions. I thought I could do just one show, but could not stop. I never was a figure girl that competed every month or three months. I would take eight months to a year off and then compete in back to back shows because if I’m ready to compete I want to do more than one show in same time and then return to the off season.
This is the story of my first show and now the second is to follow. I thank my family who has had to deal with me going through lots of emotions going into the show.And I want to thank many of my friends, like Susan Buchanan who let me pose at her home. To my friend Tracy Sisson who was always there, to Robin supporting me and Peggy and Shelly training me I am thankful to all the Sport & Health members who came to watch my first competition. My friends Valeh Nazemof , OH YEA SHE WAS 20 SUPPORTERs NOT JUST ONE, SHE WAS SO LOUD I CAN STILL HEAR her voice look at those abs go Medina or what ever my number was. Susan B, Rosario G, Michelle W, Jill T, and Donna Irvine who sponsored some of my shows Donna is my Angel , Caroll w, Tammy B Without all of them in my life I would not be able to do this without their support. It was so beautiful that there was so much love and support, but honestly, I was so scared I almost wanted to just be somewhere where no one knew me. But this is not how it came to be. And still, I was so thankful!
Onto the second show! Now comes the OCB show which of course not knowing much about things, I pick Yorktown Cup and I already mentioned not wanting to do things big and yet this was the biggest OCB stage...how smart am I?! That was November 2008 and a week later I registered or Mt. Rogers 2008...these would be my second and third shows ever.
As always, whenever I register for a show, something private happens in my life. At that time in my gym, three of us were getting ready for the show and probably the three of us would be in the same class which kind of put a little more pressure on you to do your best even if you love and admire your competitors. I will now share something about myself that I am not proud of.
When getting ready for the show and spending those 8 to 10 hours training clients, teaching classes everyday, attending basketball games for my family, and getting ready for my art show...I would be training my clients training them back to back 7-8 hours and I would see the other competitors who were training 2 hours back to back and getting their meals in and I could not. So I was skipping meals, or even jumping into the bathroom to swallow a meal down real quick and I started to get jealous of these other competitors because of the time that they had to themselves to prepare. But at that time, I was not thinking that I should just accept what it is because I had a choice to register or not. And I was having sympathy for myself. I would even count the number of hours that my friend Jill Vadala who was competing would come in and train herself for three hours in the morning and then eat her meals slowly at our food bar, go home, and come back in the afternoon to train herself again. I was still at the gym training clients with no time for myself.
So I was going up against competitors who could put more time in. I wish I was able to think differently back then. My day consisted of putting my son Tyson on the bus, going to run,rain or snow, around my neighborhood, then go to the gym to train my clients, then run back home to pick up Tyson from the bus and then while I was waiting for Tyson I would run in a circle at his bus stop up and down the streets while still having his stop in view. Then, I would run back to work and train the rest of my clents and then while I was there at the end of the day I would lift for like thirty minutes. I am embarrassed to admit the places that I would squeeze meals in but know some of you have stories like me...fitting food in in the bathrooms, the locker rooms, the weirdest places. I wish I could have had the time to eat in the right way and right place but I did not.
In the end, it is a choice. This is a sport and you do what you can at that moment and that is all that matters. Some of us are lucky about how we can work and train. But others are not. And we can not be jealous. Looking back, I am being honest right now that I wish I could have thought or felt differently at that time. Now I know better because we learn. At that time, I thought, how can I go into this when I am only able to put into the training 20% of what others like Jill were able to put in?
For this show, Peggy Hayes and Monty Mabry helped me get ready. They did a really amazing job with my diet and I was ready really quick. Peggy made sure I stopped doing cardio in the last two weeks. She also would always say to me, how are you able to do this? How can you look like this with how much I worked and took care of my family? It was nice to have her recognition and kudos. She was always proud of me. I remember one day she came to my home before the show and said, “Okay, you work so hard and take care of everyone and now your house is so clean?..how do you do it?” I told her that I do not sleep. She then said that I really especially with my training should be getting that sleep. Oh yes, did I also mention that I had not practiced any posing and knew I needed to improve? So Tracy and Peggy both helped me with the posing just two weeks before the show. Tracy really still I feel is one of the best posers I have ever seen because of the way she moves and looks so relaxed and opens her back and really shows her body in the best way she can. And Peggy really also tried to help me open my back because I really struggled.
Finally the day of Yorktown Cup came. In my mind I thought that I had looked horrible. Tracy looked gorgeous. She had a really bad day prior where she had a broken toe from an accident in the sauna the day before but she hid it very well and smiled and looked gorgeous. Jill looked ready. She had amazing physique with amazing muscle, but in my mind, I thought she looked more like a bodybuilding competitor. At that time there was no physique category. Finally the class was getting ready and there were like 23 girls for the class. I was very nervous and I was used to the quarter turns where judges called out things like “quarter turn to the right” but OCB called in the front pose, “turn to the curtain” and because my English was so bad I was looking to the other girls to see how to move and was thinking, what do I do with the curtain? I was #7. And the judges asked me to move a lot. I did not know if this was good, but I was moving a lot.
The first class I was in was Masters. Then the second time on stage for Open Short was also a large class and I also moved a lot on stage and I was moved close to Jill. I was thinking to myself that if the judges were looking for muscle size I must be doing good because I was close to Jill. But I did not know if I was doing well because if they were looking for a softer look then I must be on the bottom next to Jill.
After all the prejudging was over, Peggy came to me and said it was between me and Jill. I was very honored and surprised because of all the training that went in, I felt Jill really deserved to win and I would really just be happy to place in the top five because of the little time that I had to put into training. Finally the evening portion of
of course they lost my CD so I went onto stage with a Dolly Parton country song and I just did what I could in my T-walk with the music that I got. Finally the awards ceremony came. I was called out in the top five and was more than happy and pleased. There was a big class and I had so much stress and little time in training and admired so many gorgeous women from my class. I especially remember one girl whose name is Chikondi Mseka. They called fifth, then fourth, then third, and finally I was called second and I was very happy. I really felt that Jill deserved to win with all the time and training she invested. In the open category, I placed second and we all placed the same as the Masters. I was more than pleased and happy. After the show, I went to the judges to get feedback to help me get ready for the next show. I remember talking to Nicole Weeks, a judge, who looked at me and said, “Medina, I loved you and placed you first.” The only reason I think the other judges might have placed you second is because of your extreme abs. They also look for symmetry and the abs might have thrown them off but I love you and placed you first.” Then I went to the second judge and the second judge also had me first. I went to the third judge and the third judge had me first. The fourth judge had me first almost to the end but then placed me second because my smile was off and on. So I lost the pro card and Yorktown Cup because I was not smiling all the time. Then I got upset. I cried all night. I had lost one point, not because of my physique or training, but because of my smiling. I learned the hard way. From now on, my smile was on!
Looking back, I am embarrassed that I cried about it because it is what it is. We all worked hard for it. Everyone deserves to win with all the work each puts in. I think I was arrogant and I look back and am happy and blessed with how I placed. And there are more embarrassing stories to come, but I want to share with you so that you can just enjoy every step of this journey for yourself with whatever comes. We all work hard and we all deserve to win. But in the end, there is only one group of top five and one winner and we must be happy for whoever wins.
Now comes my most embarrassing show story which is good and bad. IIt changed the way I compete and my approach to competing. My expectations are much different and pressure is a lot less. Here is my most embarrassing story from Mt. Rogers 2008. I am not proud but happy to have it in away ……
Right after Yorktown Cup, I went to do Mt. Rogers. As always, Dave Spindel put on a great show. It was a big class with beautiful ladies. I placed second and was very happy with that. I was happy until I talked to judges in the evening at the pizza party. So I talked to every judge and every judge placed me first in the pre-judging in the two-piece suit (At that time, they still had prejudging in two piece and evening show in one piece suit). I found out that my competitor beat me by one point in the evening show because she had a better suit. It did not make sense to me that if I beat her 100% in the morning, every judge placed me first and if I lost the evening show by one point, how could she win overall over me? This did not make sense to me. So I got upset. I felt that I was screwed and I even said to one or two judges. I do not agree with what they say to me. Not only was I twenty years older than her, and my only chance to win an NGA card, the judges took this from me. I even went to the corner and started to cry. I felt horrible. I just wanted to leave. I left that place very upset and not happy. I even emailed Dave Spindel at that time and I guess I did not say the whole story but I complained about scoring.
Now that I look back, I am not happy about what I did. It took me a month after this show to realize that if I want to really compete and enjoy the ride, I should not worry about where I place. I should do this for me. I should compare myself to myself each time I compete. I should expect myself to look better than the last time I competed. How long I do accomplish this, I should be satisfied. We never know who is going to come to the show or who we are going to compete against. We cannot control that. The only thing we can control is that we look our best and do our best. We cannot control who is going to judge the show or what they are going to look for. Sometimes they prefer softer look, sometimes they like harder look. Sometimes they like you very lean and sometimes they like you very full. Sometimes they punish you for bad posing and sometimes they don’t . So please, do not punish yourself like I did. Do not suffer. Please enjoy every minute of it if you love this sport. For whatever happens, be proud of yourself. Because you are competing in the hardest sport in the world.
What we call “off season” , it is never off season. We are always in season. We have to make time for our family and time to exercise and time to eat. And sometimes we lose friends and relationships. Because of the way we look, we intimidate them. We face them with an enemy that they must recognize when they see us. And they are not ready to deal with it. We prove to the whole world that it is possible if we work hard. It is on you to take it or leave it. So please, do not hate this sport. Love this sport if you are already in it. Do not waste time blaming others or judges. Do not talk down about other competitors. We all work hard and deserve first place. How arrogant does it sound if I say, I look better, I should win first place? Who am I to say that? Why is my work more important than someone else’s work? Be happy for whoever wins and share happiness with them. Embrace others, but still work hard towards winning when you step on the stage. Fight for your first place. But when everything is over, cherish and celebrate all of you. We are all together in this. Since I live this way and compete this way, I am much happier and I love this sport and embrace this sport even more.
In March of 2009, I checked the OCB schedule and I saw that there was a May show in Richmond. This was close to where I live and I just had a feeling that I should compete in that show. My financial situation was not good at that time. I was thinking, I have a suit. I have left over color from the last show. I had my jewelry and makeup(which I do on my own). a. So I decided to play with my diet and do it on my own because I was not able to afford Peggy or any other trainer to help me with the nutrition plan. Peggy was always nice to me and never asked me to pay but I respected her and knew that she was a single mom and always paid her. I would never take advantage of anyone and appreciate everyone’s help. So that was why I did my own diet. I kind of combined what I learned from Peggy and Shelly together and from what I learned about nutrition on my own. I did not want to tell anyone about me doing the show. I just wanted to be alone at the show. But two weeks before the show, Peggy saw that I had changed a lot and asked me directly. Are you planning to do another show?
At that time, she was training a couple of people for other shows so I was not able to lie to her. I admited to her, yes, I would love to do the May Richmond show. She said that I did not look ready and that I should not be doing that show. I appreciated her comment, but I still inside of me wanted to so bad to do that show. The timing was right. It was right before the summer break and I wanted to be with Tyson during the school break and spend time with him over the summer and not worry about diet or training. So I decided against Peggy’s advice to enter the show. I was thinking, I still have two weeks to go and can change a lot in the last two weeks. I went alone to the show. I got sprayed that morning from Studio A and Bridget who did the color did an amazing job! She on her own was a pro figure and one of my favorite pro figures. I fell in love with her physique when I saw her at my first Mt. Rogers show. I was behind alone. Not alone. There were other competitors, of course, but no one who came with me to support me. Yes, I am that lucky because this class was huge too. I went on the stage with seventeen beautiful girls. They kept us 56 minutes on the stage. I have video to prove it! I remember very well thinking very well because they kept me in the back, I guess Peggy was right since the judges did not move me to the front, but I am having fun. They finally called me to the front and then moved me to the middle. And then, they asked me again to go to the back. So, I really thought that I did not place in this class.
In the evening part, they called the top five and I was in the top five and I could not believe it! I was more than happy! I forgot to mention that while I was on the stage, when they called me to the front, I heard two voices that were cheering my name. Laslo Balas and I think in the background I heard Tonya and Yvette calling my name. In that moment, hearing them call my name really made me feel good. In the evening show, right before we went on stage, I remember beautiful Yvette saying good luck to me and telling me that she knew I did well. I remember not thinking that but she really was encouraging and she gave me such support and said that the judges really did like me. So when they called top five and I was up there in the top five, she said, “what did I tell you?” I was more than happy being in the top five! Then they call fifth place and it was not me, wow, I’m fourth. Then they called fourth place and I though okay, I’m third place. But then they called third place and I was thinking I cannot believe I am second. They called second place and it was not my name. I just stood there. From then on, I did not hear anything. Except I heard Tray’s voice. Tracy had come to the evening show with her husband. So I guess I won first place master. I won third place open which I was again very proud of it and I was more than happy that night.
Two weeks later (embarrasing), I am reading scores next to my name and next to my name I am seeing the letters “MP”. So I email Matt, the owner and promotor of the show, and I say, “what does ‘MP’ mean? I knew that it meant Master Pro but I was in disbelief. I needed to hear it from him. So Matt emailed me back probably laughing. I see him laughing in my imagination. Medina, that means you are a Master Pro! So I was so excited and the first person I called was Peggy and I still thank her because thanks to her, to Monty, and to Shelly, I am doing this and got where I am. I did recognize her as my trainer at the show because I think at most Peggy deserves to be recognized and I think she was happy to have a girl who won her pro card. In my first year of winning the pro card, I needed to enter a pro show to keep the pro card. So I emailed Matt and asked him if I was eligible to enter the pro open since there was no pro master category at the Yorktown Cup. Because there was no pro masters, he let me enter the pro open. At the same time, I found out that when I won second place at the Yorktown Cup in 2008, that I had placed over two pro open competitors and whenever you place over a pro competitor you are eligible for a pro card. (So for those who do not understand, when you win a pro card, how long you do not enter a pro show, you still can enter an amateur show). As soon as you enter a pro show, you can not enter an amaetuer show or you will lose your pro qualification. This is what happened in this case. These two pros entered the amateur class wanting to win the Yorktown Cup title. And they had a right for it. So I entered my first show Yorktown Cup, I got too skinny, too lean, and I did not look good. But I still placed eighth place and I still placed over a pro open so I became eligible for my open pro card.
In 2010, Peggy recommended me to train directly with Monty Mabry and only with him to help me prepare for my first NPC show in July 2010 at Linda Murray. The only reason I wanted to do this was to qualify for the Arnold Amateur. The way Monty trained me and talked to me on the phone reminded me of Peggy and the way she trained. He did an amazing job and feel that I looked best ever at that time. I was very happy with the way I looked. At the registration, I got lots of competitors knowing my name and calling my name. And they mentioned that I was a judge for OCB in front of the NPC judges and I do not know if that was good for me. While the judges were checking my suits, I almost felt that I had a bodybuilding physique in comparison to other figure girls because they looked softer. I called Monty that night and told him I was too ripped compared to the other girls. He put me on hamburgers and cheeseburger diet that night and morning to help me look fuller and softer.
So, the show went very well, it was very organized and there was food behind stage for competiotrs. The venue was beautiful. There were guest posers. It was just one of the best show experiences I have ever had. And Linda Murray was so humble and approachable and helpful. She all over is an amazing person. I just could not believe that an eight time Miss Olympia would approach me and ask me if I was doing okay or needed anything. Just seeing her and being next to her and talking to her was worthy for me being there. I then didn’t care about the trophy. All I wanted was to see her. And I just kept thinking, oh my gosh, I am talking to Linda Murray. You know how everyone has movie stars that make them star struck, I did not have any movie star, but Linda Murray was my star that I admired for years. So I do admit, that I was so amazed to be that close to her. The show went well. I did not place. I was happy the way I looked and that is all that matters to me. I was just thinking that maybe I looked a little too hard compared to the other girls. And from the pictures that I see now, I did not open my back. The only reason I was sad is because I did not qualify to do Arnold.
Because the show was in Norfolk, we stayed for vacation in Virginia Beach the next week. While on vacation all week, I am getting a phone call from Peggy that I should try to enter another NPC show in two weeks. At that time I had gained 10 lbs from probably water. I was now in a position to get two weeks ready for another NPC show.
So I returned home and put myself on only egg whites diet and had no time for training because I promised Tyson we would go to Kings Dominion and the pool since it was summer break. Now, here is another funny story that I am not sure if I should share with you but I will. While goign to Kings Dominion, they do not let you bring food in. Last time, they made me take my food back to my car. So this time, I did not want to risk that. I put my eighteen egg whites in a plastic zipper bag and then because I am flat chested, each bag of eight I put in one bra cup. Finally my boobs were big. So I spent all day in the sun with my son eating my egg whites...yum, yum, yum.
This show was on August 7th which was my birthday. So on August 6th, I worked during the day. I got home at 6:00 p.m. I painted myself and I asked my husband as a present for my birthday to drive me back to Norfolk to enter the show. So at 4 a.m. after sleeping two hours, I got up. I drove to the show and go the host hotel which was right across from the venue. This is where Tracy was staying with her family as she was competing in the same show. I was very early and did not want to wake her up. So I went to the host hotel bathroom to do my hair there. I also did my make up there. And I think I sat on my bags and snored a little. Later on, Tracy called me and we went across the street together. So while I was in the competitors meeting, I think I feel asleep again. I was completely dead! Then I saw Jill was competing that day too which I was excited about because it was the Yorktown Cup repeat competitors again. Jill looked her best ever to me. Her quads were not as big and she really looked like a figure girl. The girls behind stage were very nice and we took lots of pictures and I really had a great time. I did place in this show. I placed third. And I also placed fourth. I was so happy because I qualified for Arnold! I did not care about first place. Jill won again and looked amazing! To me I looked horrible and was mushy and my muscles were flat and all that hard dieting in two weeks did not look good on my body and I was very tired with no sleep, but, I still placed third and fourth. But you never know! You just keep trying!
While I talked to judges, I just remember especially one judge Muriel Brewer who left a big mark on me and the way I judge today. She almost sounded like she was mad at me but only because she cared. She said that my body deserved better posing but only because I did not open up my back. I have a shapely body but look straight on stage since I just stood there. And I was thinking in my head that I did just stand there because I was so tired I did just stand there and was afraid I would pass out. This was my worst preparation for any show I ever had. Then I remember one judge which was a complete surprise to me telling me that he placed me first and that I would really be a pro potential. Later on, when I checked the scoring I was really amazed that I was ranked from first to last place. Everyone had seen me differently! You never know!
Now comes the Amateur Arnold. I decided to really get ready for this show. For this show, I decided to really train and get ready for the show for the first time in my life. And I did train more than I usually do -four times a week..=). I ate better than before. And Monty and Peggy were doing my program together. Peggy did a great job of taking care of me. I will never forget three days before the show that she came and brought me hamburgers to carb me up before the show because I got so lean and ripped. Peggy even came with Monty to the show (as Monty lives in Ohio) to support me. Peggy flew and I drove together with Jill, Donna, Kendall, and Tyson. They all came to support me all the way from Virginia.
Thursday night came. I went to pre-judging. It was an amazing experience with so many competitors. In my class was my old friend and IPA figure pro, Rachel Baker. I remember me seeing Rachel and almost could not recognize her because for OCB shows she always looked so hard and ripped. For this show, she looked a lot softer and still amazing. I know I approached her the wrong way because I remember saying, “Wow, Rachel, you look so soft.” I meant to say that she looked beautiful in this look, but it just came out wrong. I placed in the top ten. So the top ten had to go back Saturday morning for finals. That was very exciting and again I had my friends cheering me up. I will never forget that experience and am so glad I did it. I did not place top five but was still very happy with the way I looked and how I did. This was the first time that I really got to open my back and it was the first time I had posed 100% and I was so happy. Finally, I had learned to pose!
Finally, I will share my Richmond Pro-Bowl story from 2012. For this show, I asked Peter Gordon to do my nutrition part. I was very happy with the way he worked with me. His nutrition plan worked so good on my body and the way I felt getting ready for the show. It was just amazing. He had me only on fish and vegetables with no carbs. In the begining, I was nervous about this but was willing to try something new and see how that would work on me. His diet was high in calorie and high in fat but zero in any starchy carbs. There were no oats, or grains, etc. Only type of carb was carbs from vegetables. It was funny because I had more energy than ever and slept better than ever. I did not go through hormonal spikes or anger/emotional spikes which I had experienced in prior diets. It seems that when I am on carb diets I get more hungry and shaky and am more emotional. On this fish diet, I just felt great! My skin was better. My hair was better! All over, it was the best experience getting ready for the show. I looked to me my best ever the day before the show.
But here comes the part when you know how lucky I am, I got my period that night (yes, even at 7% body fat I do get my period). I talked to my doctor about this because most girls do not when they get that lean too, but it has to do with my estrogen levels is what she said. I was in the hotel room together with Kim who was there as my support getting me ready for the show. I was in pain with both cramps and migraine associated with the period. And of course, my legs started to hold water. That is why I was also sad because my legs had looked so good and now they looked just the same as previous shows. I was just praying that they would not hold us too long on stage because I had a very heavy period. That would be very embarrasing. But, they did not hold us too long so at least I was lucky about that. But not in my wildest dreams did I feel I had placed because in my legs and glutes, I was holding water. I forgot to say that after pre-judging because I thought I looked so bad, I drank a whole bottle of soda which makes my legs look even worse. So when I saw my video in pre-judging, I looked 100X better than in my T-walk, just 20 min later. So please do not make the same mistake that I did. No bottle of soda in between pre-judging and t-walk. When they called my name as top five, I just stood there. I did not react to it. People were pushing me out there on stage because I was not moving or reacting. They said “Medina, they are calling your name.” Of course, I was more than happy! Right after our Pro Finals were done, I went to the hotel to change and then I returned to judge the amateaur show. This is the story about me competing. Next will come the story of how I became a judge.