@hollsbarksfitness Every time I step on stage, I feel I am deserving of first place. I compete to win. I have never placed first. So in answer to the above question, I could choose to answer that with every competition, I have not placed how I wanted, but I have never failed. I have truly won every time. And I continue to win every day. My purpose as a competitor is much more than winning a trophy. It’s reaching an audience to inspire. In 2013 - When I competed in Montreal, as the bikini ladies were lined backstage, one beautiful girl looked at me and said, ‘you are the reason I am here and why I have decided to compete’. From that moment on that day, my placing did not matter. I had won. What is your best advice for a competitor that isn’t happy with their performance or placing at a show? It’s not a sprint. With fitness, you can only get better with time. The more knowledgeable you become to what works best for you and what you truly want out of the process, the more you will continue to progress to your best. It’s what you do with the knowledge you gain and the tools you gather throughout this process. Invest in yourself and live your potential for you, no one else. There is no failure when you try. What do you do to maintain this lifestyle in a long off season? My life is not segregated to off season, in season, on season. I train every day. I live every year with goals to accomplish in mind heart and body. I want all of this hard work to continue to work for me as I grow. It may be the finance graduate in me, but I can’t live for just one day. I need to invest in myself and by doing this every day I enjoy every day, every process, every adventure that I create. Body image, depression, and poor relationships with food and training can occur without a planned off season. What are the top things an athlete can do to ensure a positive post competition experience? I absolutely relate to all of the above and believe that we are all affected by this as women and the image that we feel we must portray. The social media effect has increased the acute awareness that every minute of every day someone out there may be better than you and living the life you want to live better than you could. This is where we as competitors need to ask ourselves; are we living this healthy lifestyle truthfully? Do not lie to yourself. Do not wish for someone else’s success. Put in the work and get knowledgeable. Focus on your mind heart and body. When we decide to compete and step on that stage, we take on a responsibility to promote fitness. Yes, in the last week out, there are manipulations required to bring your body in just right, but the idea is to promote health. To love the process. To live the lifestyle for years to come. Every plan must have a plan for after the plan. Put your new-found passion and knowledge to work and continue to inspire. Lastly, give yourself a break and appreciate what your body allows you to do. Do not reward your successes with reckless behaviour. And do not expect results that you do not earn. Maya Angelou said it best; “when we know better, we do better.” So if we go back to the things we were doing when we did not know better, we will never grow. er lly Bark XO Ho 24.