Everyone who knows me, knows I was VERY resistant to competing. Steve has asked me to compete with him for years, and I finally (reluctantly) said YES (with a grouchy face and all). haha! Well, now that I’ve done it, one of the most common questions I get is “will you do it again?“
A matter of fact, one of my friends (Susy B, who’s thinking about whether or not she wants to compete or not) asked me Friday night after weigh-ins, “would you do it again?” and my answer was “ask me tomorrow!”. At that point, I could honestly say I loved the whole process. I loved putting science to work. I loved being pushed to stick to my diet and training. I loved having goals. I loved the challenge – and I loved the results. I just wasn’t sure how I’d like the stage. And, at that point, I was pretty sure I’d hate it.
What have I got myself into?
I really DREADED the stage. I dreaded being half naked in front of everyone. I dreaded the stress. I dreaded the unknown. I dreaded the posing. I dreaded standing there all alone. I dreaded the attention. I dreaded the awkward long moments where you have to hold a smile forever and pretend you are completely comfortable torcing your body into a pretzel to look your best (yes, we may look like we are standing normal, but there is nothing normal feeling about posing). I dreaded the “judging”. I pretty much dreaded every single thing that could possibly happen on stage.
Here I go!
I woke up that morning already feeling like a winner. I met and surpassed all my goals. I was in the best shape of my life. I could have just stopped there, but I knew I was supposed to step out of my comfort zone and finish this. I never anticipated doing well. I knew it was a big show and there would be a lot of girls up there who worked just as hard as I did. I would have been happy with 12th place, because I was at my personal best. Then I got the call out. Wow! Top 5!
Then I waited as they started announcing places. “5th place goes to…. 4th place goes to….” and was just waiting for them to call my number. At that point, I was just stoked I got a call out. Truth is, I hadn’t even looked at the other girls, so I had no idea how we’d all place. Then they called out the 3rd place winner and then the 2nd place girl – and it wasn’t me! I remember making a funny face as I processed “oh my gosh, I’m the only one left!”
Then they called “24, Bonnie Pfiester” and I heard, “THAT’S MY GIRL!” from the audience – and that’s when I really felt like a winner. I made my husband and trainer proud. I made myself proud. And, sure, there could have been someone more fit that could have showed up to beat me, but none of that matters. A trophy doesn’t make me a winner. My hard work did – whether I took 1st or 5th!
So, the million dollar question: Would I do it again?
The answer is (drum roll…….) I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Don’t get me wrong, I still am not fond of the stage. However, the stage is a necessary part of the process. It’s what makes you get up early and do one more cardio. It makes it easier for you to say “NO, I’m not going to eat that”. Did I like being on stage? It honestly wasn’t nearly as bad as I anticipated (you can’t hear or see anything with all those bright lights, so as far as I was concerned I was up there posing for no one! haha). Nevertheless, the results, the discipline I learned, the experience I had with Steve and the things I learned about myself and my body were SO worth enduring the stage for 2 minutes.
First, I like the new improved me. I like the higher level of discipline and I like having parameters with my eating and weight. Basically, I’d like this to be my new norm. My new top weight (the highest weight I want to be) is now lower than it used to be. I’m now officially in maintenance mode. I am already thinking about next year – not for the purpose of getting back on stage, but to set new goals to hold me accountable for the off season.
My first goal for the fall is to keep weighing in regularly to hold myself accountable so I don’t gain weight back. I will diet (which means count calories and eat clean) during the week and allow myself some more freedom on the weekend as long as my weight doesn’t creep up. If it goes above my mark, I will go to competition diet until I get below that mark and then go back to maintenance again.
The next part of my goal is to continue sculpting. There are spots that still need work. I need to narrow my backside and also maintain a smaller size so my skin continues to tighten up. I need to work my abs more and I want to practice and improve my posing. I’m not doing this to win, I’m not doing it to look better than anyone else. I’m not doing it because I’m vain – because no one sees my butt and abs except for Steve and the few people who may see me at the beach! I’m doing it to have training goals, to keep myself in check, and so I don’t find myself aimlessly going through the motions at the gym. Competing gives my training purpose, and helps me stay more disciplined. Now, I better get off this computer and get to the gym!
A big thanks to all who supported me through this journey.
Thermo Heat – for their killer fat burner system & new pre-workout!!
Sewn In The Sun – for making my awesome suit (in the middle of giving birth!) & my jewelry!!
Designer Whey – for providing me with low-calorie protein!
Train Like A Freak Apparel – for workout clothes that made me feel like a winner in the gym
LoseIt – for giving me all the tools I need to track my calories
Energy Spa for tanning our team
Frankie J at Cloud 9 – for doing my hair!
The Shoe Lady – for my awesome insoles that helped me run pain-free and melt fat!
Misty Lundeen – for the best photo shoot ever!!
Kristie Gallagher – for believing in me and praying for me, that I could do this and still honor God.
Team Max – for all the support each team member offers each other
Muscle Papa – for capturing the memories on camera & posting them on your Facebook so we could see pictures SO fast!!!!
My Mom and Dad – who drove all the way up to support me, just to be there long enough to root me on & fly back home as soon as I left the stage because they had to be up early to lead worship and preach. What sacrifice!
I was blown away by the people who made the drive down to watch us compete. The last time I’ve experienced that kind of support was on our wedding day. It was an incredible experience and I’m so thankful for everyone!! THANK YOU!!!
Most people really like their “box”. They prefer the known – and the familiar. People rarely want to step out into unknown territory. Foreign territory can be scary. It’s unpredictable and it’s normally riddled with questions, fears and objectives – but it’s also where we grow the most.
Time to get out of my box!
3 Months ago, Steve asked me to compete with him. Hmmm…let me think. “No thank you”. Then I felt a tugging, a convicting, followed by open doors and confirmation. It was time to get out of my box.
As we started to make our plan, Steve told me he’d like me to get down to 133, and compete at 129. At 5’9″, I normally weigh 144-146 (16-18% body fat) and couldn’t remember the last time I was below 138, much less in the 120s! Knowing Steve knows what he’s talking about, I said OK, and started my fat loss journey to hit the stage for the first time.
Before I talk about the weight loss highs and lows, I first have to go deeper into the danger of living in your comfort zone. I recently saw a post on instagram that said “the comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there“. How true is this?!
When we step out in faith, we are forced to do things we normally would resist. We find out how strong we truly are, what we really can and cannot handle, and we learn new things about ourselves that we’d never learn if we remained where we were.
For me, stepping out on stage in next to nothing, and high heels, was absolutely completely out of my comfort zone. I’d rather sing the national anthem than stand on stage in a bikini. The crowd doesn’t bother me – I could lead them through a workout, give a diet talk or entertain them with music all night long – but just to STAND THERE and do NOTHING but smile and strike a few awkward poses? OMG! Shoot me now.
But, as I tell all my competitors, it’s not about the stage. It’s not about getting a trophy and it doesn’t matter where you place. The stage is the finish line to a diet and exercise race. It’s not about the end, it’s about the process, the journey. So, I agreed to do it and felt God was telling me I had to get out of my fluffy happy easy box. I obeyed – thinking “Are you SURE you want me to do this? I’m really very ok if you change your mind God. Are you SURE you want me to be half naked? It’s awfully vain God”. He wasn’t buying it. His ways aren’t my ways and evidently He has something He wanted me to learn from this experience. And I do admit, I’m learning a lot.
GROWTH REQUIRES PATIENCE:
I dropped 2lbs a week the first few weeks, then my weight loss started tapering off – more sporadic, more frustrating. It didn’t want to let more fat go, but I stuck with it. It’s just math, it will come off if I follow the rules and don’t give up. Boy was I irritated, thinking, “I wonder if this is as low as my body will let me go. I wonder what I’m doing wrong. How can I not be losing? Why is my weight slowing down?” (mind you, I’ve told hundreds of people why this happens and I know good and well it’s just a temporary sticking phase!) At 139lbs, I wondered if this was good as it was going to get. Ugh! (And I only WISH I could day I had a good attitude while I waited! #EPICFAIL)
GROWTH REQUIRES FAITH:
I hung on to 139 for what seemed FOREVER – but I had faith in the process. So I stayed the course, frustrated but determined. Then BAM! Suddenly I dropped to 135lb last week. This Monday, I weighed in (hoping to break 135), and was shocked to see 133. Today, I reluctantly weighed just to see how I was looking – and I was 129 lbs. Wow! 3 days before the show, and once again, Steve nails it. Talk about dialing someone in! Crazy!! It was my faith in Steve (and in science) that kept me going, knowing that it works for everyone we’ve ever trained and it would work for me too.
GROWTH REQUIRES FAILURE.
Training for a show is the craziest science project I’ve ever worked on! What a cool experiment full of trials and errors along the way. Realize, with the trials, comes the errors (AKA: failure). How can you know what works if you are to scared to find out what doesn’t work? You can’t have success without the risk of failure. Did I fail along the way? Heck yeah! I’d go over my calories one day, and have to do an extra cardio to run it off the next day. I made a few mistakes, but I made a lot more successes. I reached several goals – and I could have never reached one of them if I wasn’t willing to also risk failure.
Was it worth it to step out of my box? I haven’t even stepped out on stage and can already say it totally was worth it already. Even though I still dread the stage, the process has really grown me, and helped me to surpass any goal I’ve ever hit before.
Thank you Steve Pfiester for helping me get out of my box – out of my comfort zone. …and thank you for putting up with my grumpy butt! At least it’s a smaller grumpy butt! I love you! ❤
ABOUT THE SHOW
Click here to get information about the NPC Daytona Classic competition Team Max is doing. The Daytona Classic is a relatively new show, but a GREAT show with a fantastic turn out, and put on by a wonderful promoter, Mike Matassa. They always have the best entertainment and programming.
Last year, our team (Team Max) was honored with the best Team Award, recognized for our positive attitudes and support back stage for other competitors. It made us so proud – and we have nearly 20 competitors returning this year to do it all over again!
Go Team Max!
“When Is the Last Time You Attempted Something Great?”
This is a very powerful question. I believe many of us avoid attempting great tasks to avoid experiencing great failure. There comes a time you have to ask yourself, “What is worse? Attempting something great and possibly failiing, or not attempting anything great at all and succeeding?”
I’ve recently been asked to do some pretty scary things – scary to me at least. My first instinct was to say “no”. Then I had to ask myself why I was saying no. Was it because it would hurt me? No. Was it because it would hurt anyone else? No. Was it because I was afraid to fail. The answer was yes – but that should NEVER stop me from trying something. When it boiled down to it, I had no other choice but to decide to do it because I really had no good reason not to at least try.
Sadly, many people never really ever try to do something great simply because they don’t want to fail. I believe we are looking at success all wrong. Success is not reaching your goal without opposition, struggle, failures or setbacks. Success is reaching your goal, or getting closer to your goal, despite all of that. Success is also not just doing what you are good at. You can be successful in just trying. You can be more successful attempting success, even if you fall short of your goal. Your goal may be in trying alone. Let me explain…
The Success In Trying
Someone recently suggested my mom be in the Ms. Senior Pageant. She thought long and hard on it and decided it was time she step outside her box and do it. Her goal was not to win. Her goal was to get out of her comfort zone and to experience personal growth, as well as encourage the other ladies there. Her goal was to show up.
Her dress didn’t come in time but she didn’t stress (I admit I would have freaked!). She could have easily used that as an excuse to back out. She could have taken that as an omen, “well it’s just not mean to be”, but she didn’t. She pressed on. She was scheduled to be out of town for work a lot, and she could have used that as an excuse for poor timing, but she found a way to fit it all in. She had never done a pageant before and struggled with the perception of being in a “beauty pageant” but she focused on what good could come out of instead. She had plenty of really good excuses but decided to not use one of them.
Just showing up for her was a big win. We were all so proud because we knew she was way out of her box. She was proud of herself. She said she would sit there at practice thinking “I can’t believe I’m doing this.” As I watched her on stage, I marveled at her bravery, knowing it wasn’t easy for her. I gleamed with pride and reflected on my own need to step outside my comfort zone. She not only did it – to her surprise, she won.
What If You Fail?
What if she failed? What if she didn’t even get to be a runner up? Would she really have failed? Absolutely not. She met some amazing ladies and she could celebrate the victory of stepping out of her box. The moment she said “Yes, I’ll do it” she succeeded. The moment she stepped on stage, she was a winner because she attempted something great. She practiced and performed her song. She memorized her philosophy. She learned how to walk, dance and prepare for such an event. She walked away with more experience, more confidence and more ways to encourage people. Whether she walked away with a crown on her head and a sash across her chest or not, she would have left a better person, a more fully developed person with one more great experience under her belt. Victory was inevitable.
I want to challenge you today to try something great. Don’t just attempt to lose 20lbs, attempt to lose the full 50 you need to lose. Ladie,s don’t try to just get any man, aim to find the BEST and GREATEST man for you. Don’t settle for a job you are miserable, keep applying for the job you’ve always wanted. Don’t settle for an average marriage, work hard to develop a phenomenal marriage. In every single attempt, you will likely see much improvement whether you reach your desired goal or not.
“Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.” (Les Brown)