Meet my friend Sundae Marshall:
Total bombshell, right? Let me tell you, this girl is SO MUCH more than a pretty face and a rockin’ bod. Sundae is one of the sweetest, most genuine girls that I have ever met and she has a heart of gold. She works full time, is sponsored by Optimum Nutrition, competes as a bikini competitor, and just launched her own bikini line, SundaeLu Bikini, LTD! Talk about a rockstar.
Sundae and I became friends when she started personal training at a gym I used to go to back in Boise. We hit it off instantly and it always brightened my day to see her smiling face when I would show up for early morning cardio. We quickly built a friendship that has lasted over the years, and although I don’t get to see her as often as I would like to, my world is a better place with Sundae in it 🙂
Boise hosts a big fitness convention called the BFE every June. Tons of supplement companies from all over the nation set up booths at the Idaho Center and fitness enthusiasts of all kinds make their way from booth to booth to sample products and get information about new products. There is also a big stage set up where they have contests, giveaways, and speakers throughout the event.
Sundae talked with the owners of bodybuilding.com and ended up getting a stage spot at the expo this year to launch her bikini line. She confirmed her stage spot less than two weeks from the expo date and started working furiously to complete enough sample suits to showcase at the expo. She was living in Vegas at the time, so she called up some of her Boise “fitness friends” to see if they would show a suit for her. I was one of her lucky friends that had the honor of launching her swimsuit line, and while I was completely humbled and honored…I WAS FLIPPING TERRIFIED!
I had been to a lot of bodybuilding and fitness shows in the past, but I was always either backstage or in the audience. I had never been on stage in (less than) a bikini for the world to scrutinize my every flaw and imperfection. To make matters worse, I was the only friend that was going to show a suit that had never competed before. Luckily, I only knew I was helping with the show 9 days prior, so I didn’t have a whole lot of time to freak out.
In order to prepare for my “big debut,” I carb cycled a little for the week before, slowly dropping my carbs to appear a little more lean and “dried out” to make my muscles pop. Carb cycling can be REALLY tricky and if you aren’t careful, you can look really flat and/or soft, so I made sure to watch my numbers and make sure I wasn’t dropping too low. (I plan to create a post completely dedicated to carb cycling, so keep an eye out for that one!)
I also split cardio and lifting in order to create an ideal calorie burn and also allow my workouts to be a little shorter in duration to conserve my energy (Let’s just say that If I didn’t have my BodyRush by Force Factor Pre-lift I WOULD NOT have made it through that week!!!)
I dropped my sodium (sodium can make you retain water) and I made sure that although I had dropped my calories a bit the week prior to the show, I still made sure I was getting an adequate amount of protein and healthy fats through Omega supplements.
The night before the show, we all met in Sundae’s hotel room and picked out our suits. Sundae had to create a large sample of suits without ANY of our measurements and she did an amazing job. She brought a whole slew of fasteners and extra fabric in order to create the best fit possible for each girl in the suit she was going to show. I was definitely the curviest of all the girls, I have hips and a booty (AND I AM DANG PROUD OF IT!!!!) so we added a little extra lace on the sides for a more “full coverage” effect. I still felt pretty much naked, but I learned that is just how the suits were designed to fit.
The day of the show I got ready and headed down to the expo center. We all met up near the stage and made sure everyone’s suits were fitting correctly and ready to be seen! I was SO nervous that I am pretty sure I blocked out almost the whole experience, but from what I remember it was incredible. I am proud to say that I OWNED every one of my flaws and insecurities and got up on that stage like I owned the place. It really is true that confidence is the best makeup, because I had everyone there fooled that I did this as a hobby (when in all reality I was completely freaking out inside!!!!)
Sometimes in life, we are forced to step out of our comfort zone and do something that we wouldn’t normally do. We spend so much time teetering on the edge of our fears, and all we need is that extra push to make us jump off the ledge and learn to fly. There were so many times that morning that I thought to myself “I don’t want to do this” or “I don’t look as good/fit/pretty/perfect as the other girls” the list goes on and on. But I soon realized that if I live my life trying to measure up to everyone around me, I will NEVER amount to anything. I was put on this Earth to discover who I am, what my passions are, and who I want to become. The minute you allow yourself to stop looking so adamantly to the people around you and focus more on the person that YOU want to become, you will lose so many insecurities and finally begin to move forward towards your goals and dreams. There will always be someone skinnier, someone more fit, someone smarter, more qualified, etc., but as long as you are putting YOUR best foot forward, as long as you are being YOUR best version of yourself, then I think you have already won.