Christiana Bailey-Green - Bikini Competitor

I've been active since middle school, when I learned I had inherited my dads high cholesterol. I began running, and ran an hour almost every day of high school. My mom began worrying that I was overdoing it with running, and so she introduced me to strength training through some home videos, and then got me a gym membership! I also was involved in inline aggressive skating and dance through high school and college!

Fast forward to years later, in the first year after having my son, where I ran 2 half marathons and decided I wanted another level of challenge. I realized I didn't want to spend hours running, and I remembered an old college professor who had done bodybuilding in his younger years. I looked into it, began lifting, and was hooked! It was only natural to want to step on stage to provide a time-bound, highly motivating goal. I've loved everything preparing for stage has done in transforming me inside and out. I am stronger mentally and physically! There is nothing like pursuing a goal you are passionate about to ignite positive changes in your life, from the inside out!


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Diet off-season vs. pre-contest

Really, my diet does not change very much! What changes MOST is the amount I eat, and generally as I have a reduction in intake, I tend to prioritize volume-Foods that keep me fill. I am grateful to be working with my coach Adam Atkinson of See You Later Leaner who is a 'macro magician.' He's very attuned to changes and differences in his athletes metabolisms, and is able to optimize muscle gain and retention while maximizing fat loss in season, and minimizing fat gain while in season. He utilizes an 'if it fits your macros approach' to maximize his athletes lifestyle flexibility while still allowing them to reach high-level performance and physique goals. I generally incorporate a lot of whole foods so that I have adequate nutrition and satiety, but I am well known for my sweet tooth and enjoy my favorite foods, like ice cream, pretty much every day :)

I have used 'set' meal plans before, and while the structure can be very helpful in learning macro apportionment, I found it mentally burdensome to never eat according to my choice, and to always be eating differently than those around me. If I ate slightly off from the set plan, I'd either feel very guilty or would go way off the rails. Having a flexible approach allows me the freedom to satisfy many of my cravings and often remain participatory in food based social events while still working towards my competitive goals. I've had an easier time achieving some balance in my life, even through large swaths of prep.

Training

My training is fairly dynamic. My coach changes my programming frequently, where we engage in different macrocycles, spending some months focusing on hypertrophy and higher reps, and others a blend of strength-focused work, as well as hypertrophy. I try to train fairly intuitively, looking to maximize mind-muscle connection, and to improve on something every session. My training time is pure joy and life for me, it's always one of the highlights of my day. I love it. I usually train 4-6 days per week, anywhere from 50-90 minutes depending on the workout. As a group fitness instructor, I can easily be doing 4-6 hours of cardio a week, even in offseason, so if my goal is growing muscle, I simply eat more. Last season I did HIIT training 2-3 times a week, with cardio on most days. The most cardio I did for a show was an hour a day.

I appreciate having put in that work while in a caloric deficit, because now when I have more energy from food, I find my body adapted so well to that period of depletion that I am able to put in even more work and intensity than before that time frame ! I've theorized that in some ways the stress bodybuilders undergo in prep, where work out put is high and food intake is relatively low, can be really beneficial in creating positive athletic adaptations. Obviously you do not want your body to be chronically stressed, so seasons of greater rest and intake are important, but I've come to believe periods of increased out put and decreased intake can actually be beneficial when carefully balanced with recovery seasons. Our bodies evolved to survive both seasons, and to thrive under a balance of stress and rest.


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Building self-confidence

I would say stepping on stage is the thing helping me build confidence in life! I was lucky not to fall over at my first national show I was shaking so badly, but I've found that since entering back into 'normal' life post-season that I am far more comfortable in my skin and willing to take risks! Often it's the 'doing of the thing' that builds confidence! I think learning to get up on stage even when I didn't feel ready has been one of the best things I have done in putting to bed my perfectionism. Furthermore, it's a bit of a feedback loop. Competing built my confidence, and I found myself now more willing to take risks interpersonally and professionally, which also builds confidence, which I will then take with me to the stage next season!

On stage

My last show of the season was Team Universe in July of 2017. It was easily my most challenging prep, with the most cardio, and lowest intake because my metabolism had been a bit compromised before hand. However, it was easily my best package to date. My posing was at its best; my hair and makeup had me feeling fierce; and my coach had me both full and shredded. It was my 4th show of the season, so getting ready for shows and peaking had become pretty commonplace- the week before I spent on vacation visiting family in New Jersey and NYC! And I just sort of rolled into this show, my second national show, as casually as could be!

I got to spend the day with amazing women, including by See You Later Teammates. I was surprised and dismayed though, that despite feeling SO good and so ready, that as I walked on stage I was once again nervous- self doubt is a kicker! So this is a huge area I wish to grow in before next season. I felt I didn't show case my physique as well as I needed to do. I remember as they were reaching the end of the 3rd callouts, and Judge Udit paused, looked at me, and then nodded me in, how grateful I felt! It's like he gave me that chance! So I proudly moved up from 4th callouts at Jr Nationals to 3rd callouts.

Did I blow the show away? Not by a long shot. But my coach told me after how proud he felt because I looked like I truly belonged up there with the other national level competitors- which is exactly how I felt. What a good feeling! We don't just say we're going to deadlift 300 lbs and then do it the next day. We bit by bit work towards that goal.

I am so pleased by this finish to my first full season of competing and am excited to get a little bit farther next time around. Never in my wildest dreams when I first started bodybuilding did I imagine walking across a national stage and feeling like I had put in the work to be there! It was an honor and blessing to have been brought that far- it took the time, energy, and care of so many individuals from my son and husband, to family and friends, to stylists, to my unbeatable suit maker CJ from CJs elite, to my friends at Slap! Nutrition, and of course my teammates and coach. Every show has been a gift- but especially this one.


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Life as an athlete

I am hands down better as a person for competing. At times, it brought out the ugliest and most broken parts of myself for which I am grateful. It's pushed me again and again to ask myself 'who do I want to be?' And I've come to believe more and more as I've trained as an athlete that I not have a choice about who I will be, but that I can follow through on that choice. I am more confident, and really more comfortable with myself- which at the end allows me to be note present and loving to others. Through competing I've learned that the goals I most want to meet are humility, confidence, kindness and love. Honestly, this pursuit has been healing at soul-level. Not easy, but good medicine.

Future plans

I am currently in an offseason, preparing for Pittsburgh pro of 2018 to wet my feet for Jr Nationals 2018. I'm also working on my nutrition certifications so that I can offer more to my personal training clients. I hope to eventually grow a business servicing women primarily, helping them reach peace with their bodies with changes in their approach to fitness and nutrition as a catalyst. I realize I still need to live my own journey of self acceptance a bit longer before doing this- which also gives me time to gain those extra skills I'll need to offer truly effective coaching. I also hope to grow my family! If that happens soon we'll simply push my show date out a bit. Life is full and rich, every season is precious in its own way!

I can be reached at Christiana.green@gmail.com or via Instagram https://www.instagram.com/cbg.fit.


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