I have always been overweight. I was bullied in elementary and middle school and lost all confidence or hope that I would be comfortable in my own body. Supportive and loving friends in high school and college always made me feel like I was enough, but deep down I knew that I could be so much more. I joined the Fitness Asylum 2 years ago, a few days after graduating from college. After my first Bootcamp, I didn’t go back for 3 months. It was hard, I was sore, excuses, excuses, excuses. When I finally committed to FA in August of 2015, I immediately knew that I had found a place where I could grow and thrive. Through 3 body challenges I developed confidence, strength, and most of all determination. The Bikini Challenge was never something I strived to do or ever considered. If you ask anyone who has ever met me, this was SO FAR out of my comfort zone. After finishing my first Spartan with FA in November, I wondered how else I could push myself, while still having the full support of the fitness asylum. After tossing the idea around with a fellow FA member (shout out to Michelle), I decided to jump in and fully commit to 17 weeks of working out and eating clean. It’s funny now looking back that that is all I thought I would be doing. Food prep, grocery shopping, working out, posing class, and EATING has consumed my life over the past 4 months. Besides work, it was all I did. I sacrificed time with my friends and family and living like a “normal” 23 year old. But every day, I knew that it would be worth it. Every Bootcamp, every Hiity Biity, every meal prep, I was working towards not only the goal of getting on stage, but I was building my confidence and making myself proud. Though there were many days that I was cranky or exhausted, there was not one day that I regretted my decision. The FA instructors, all of the women competing, and Bonnie kept me going day in and day out with their inspirational stories and encouragement. On show day, I was a mix of relief, excitement and a LOT of nerves. Walking on stage was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had, but not as great as waking up that morning, looking myself in the mirror, and knowing that I had done it. I had committed myself and finished something only 1% of the world will do. Losing 25 pounds, feeling strong, confident, and proud is a feeling I will never get over or take for granted. I would not be here without my friends, the Fitness Asylum staff, Bonnie, and especially my family. It’s not easy living with someone doing a bikini prep and I am forever grateful for them supporting me throughout this crazy time. I did it!!!!!