Ayana Shakera - Bikini Competitor

Back my freshmen year of college, I did a small OCB show with a friend in New Jersey. Safe to say, I was not mentally prepared to be a competitor. I actually wanted to go into fitness modeling but around the time I met my coach (IFBB Men's Physique and Classic Physique pro Frank Griffin), he got me more engaged in the NPC. I spent a few years deciding whether or not competing was for me since I had a terrible first experience. In 2.5 weeks, we go on a strong run to see where I fit in.

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I'm a class A ectomorph. I actually discovered that while working with Frank. Prior to him, I was given very cookie cutter diets with little to no progress and serious metabolism stalls. When I started with Frank, he literally stuffed me with food. I think my calories where at 2700-2800 a day. I train hard so he didn't worry about me getting out of shape. I do fasted everyday as well as post workout cardio. I train legs 3 days a week. Shoulders once, shoulders and chest together once and back one day a week. On my active rest day, I touch up on arms, rear delts and whatever else I deem necessary. Abs are done 5-6 days a week post fasted. My fasted has changed the last week to 15-20 :40 second sprints between 11-12 on the treadmill.

Coconut oil is only good for my skin. Not my food. It totally doesn't agree with me. Neither does a Keto diet. Plus, carbs are life! Carbs get such a bad rap. It's literally about knowing your body and know what foods work for you!

I'm 6'0" and awkward so working on my confidence has been the hardest thing during this prep. I remember posing with my coach the first time and he said "I want you to work on your confidence". So, I made little steps for me: wearing shorts at the gym, posing in the studio during busy hours of the gym, literally walking in my heels in the gym instead of taking them off to go get something. It sounds silly but it helps. Ladies, posing is literally as important as a cardio session. Don't think you can wing it. Don't neglect practicing it especially as your body changes. Something that looked bomb 10 weeks out when you were a little thicker may not be such a good look on you at 2 weeks out. Also, find a posing coach or someone that understands your physique. At 6ft, I can't do some poses that look great on a 5'5" girl.

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Balancing prep and life is relatively easy. I'm a certified personal trainer here in Philly so I literally get up, train a few clients, set time for fasted, go back to work and then after work, get my lift in. Days I can't get to my gym, I go to one of the studios I work at because I have a key. Most of my clients know I am in prep so they work with me in regards to my schedule, eating times etc. Most of them even allow me to eat while training them if it's necessary. My clients are way more understanding then my family and friends lol.

Right now I'm 2.5 weeks out from NPC Northern USA and then depending on how I feel, I may do a show a few weeks after that. I want to go into the off season with some good feedback that my coach and I can use to be strategic moving forward. My off season is considered an improvement season. Ideally, going pro before 30 is the goal but I have a few years to enjoy the ride.

Instagram: @yanton_soup
Email: builtbysoup@gmail.com

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