Dayna DeMarco - Bikini Competitor

I always enjoyed fitness and being healthy ever since I could remember. Lets take you back when I was 16 years old. As long as I could remember, my father would get home from work after a long day in the city, eat dinner with our family, and go to the gym every night. I went with him one night and I was hooked. The gym was a place where I felt strong, stress free, and had "my time."

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Fast forward to about 5 years later, when I was about 26 years old, I became a personal shopper in the city for BCBG where I styled and dressed people as well as a visual merchandiser in Menlo Park mall. I was ALWAYS working, but I loved it. I find that I work better in stressful environments and when I’m constantly being busy. I love feeling needed and I was always someone, and still am someone that loves to help people. Whether it was dressing someone and making them feel confident or blogging and inspiring others to live a better lifestyle. I had gotten in a terrible car accident and was out of work for 6 months. I was out of work for SIX MONTHS. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was always used to working and running around trying to get things done, that being home all the time just felt uncomfortable.

I was depressed with what I looked like, I was upset not being able to work, and devastated that I wasn’t there for my clients. My clients always came first. I would be at dinner and if they needed me, I would drop everything and run to them. I felt I was letting them down. After being out of work for so long I knew that this career was over and I would have to do something else. The truth was I was so scared to ever be in a car and traveling to the city was out of the question. Being home, I would think of all the things I did and loved to do. Besides work I really enjoyed working out. I was and am someone that loves to be in shape. The gym was my outlet. I remember being 16 and my father taking me to the gym the very first time. I would go with him to NYSC every night. He would teach me what to do and the more and more he taught me, the more I wanted to learn.

I remember this girl that went to my high school competed in a bikini competition and I thought to myself, maybe I could do this. I was finally dating someone that supported me and pushed me to go after anything I said I wanted to do. I loved the thought of having a goal like this that takes a lot of work, working toward it and then being able to achieve it. Nothing feels better then setting a goal for yourself and then actually doing it. It was the first time in a long time, after my accident, I felt happy. I thought to myself competing is a way that I have control over the outcome. No one could control it but me.

Competing I felt would open up a world of opportunities for me. It was a start of a new adventure. I have found sources of adrenaline, challenge and discipline in my everyday life which made me feel like my old self again. After my first show, I had a cheat dinner to celebrate and was told by my coach to take a week off. I ate anything I wanted and realized my body changing real quick. During my prep I wasn’t allowed to have sugar or salt and as soon as I ate it I gained weight. I would call her, but no answer. I then felt defeated and gave up on competing. Three years past and I remember being in the gym with my dad after getting back to a normal routine. It felt good but I started to think about competing and how bad I wanted to get back into it. I didn’t know who to go to which was most of the reason why three years passed. I wound up asking the girl at the front desk if she knew any good coaches and she said she did! Michele Frankel. She told me that she deals with macros which was another language to me.

I was eager and contacted her immediately. I made an appointment to meet with her and I instantly fell in love. I didn’t need anytime to think about it, I booked her and I was ready to start. I felt excited and did everything she and her husband Randy told me to do. I had an amazing experience with diet and exercise while preparing for my competition. I began macro-counting, which completely changed my outlook on food and diets. I competed in a show with them and placed top 5! I competed in a national show right after and placed 16 out of 40 girls!

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When I started to train for my first bikini competition (which was in November 2013), I had to eat really clean. I was told I had to eat certain meals at certain times. I was moody and frustrated because I was not nourishing my body with the right amount, portions, or meals of food daily. I knew this, but I listened to what my coach told me to do. Therefore, all of the hard work I would put in at the gym did not matter because I was not treating my body right, whether I thought I was eating “healthy” or not. I was exhausted doing 45 minutes a day of straight cardio, but did it because I had a goal and just listened to my coach.

My diet is based on macronutrients- carbs, fats, and protein. I eat what I want, but make sure it fits how much of it I'm able to eat. My coaches give me numbers in grams based on my body goals. I lift about 5-6 days a week doing legs 3x a week and the rest mixed with shoulders, triceps, biceps, back, and Chest. I barely workout my abs as those are made in the kitchen! I will sprint 30 sec on treadmill and put my Feet to the side for 30 sec for 30 min or I like to incline the treadmill and go to a steady pace of 3.5 speed.

You know these moments when you have to give a speech at a birthday or wedding or even worst in front of colleagues or business partners? Yeah, feeling “uncomfortable” is not the right word for what you truly go through. What if I fail, how do I look like, what shall I say? Being on stage for me makes me confident- it's about learning and becoming better every time you chose not to be afraid of public. I get an adrenaline rush right before I hit that stage and I love every second of it. It's about showing what I worked so hard for.

My last bikini competition was July 1st at Team Universe. It is a 2 day event where June 30th you had women's prejudging and on July 1st it was men's prejudging and women and men's finals. I arrived on June 29th where I checked in, received my number, and relaxed for the next day. It was nothing I ever experienced before. A national show is a whole another caliber of athletes. I got to share the stage with my coach and she won her pro card. I placed 16th out of 40 girls which wasn't a placement but was happy with the outcome.

My life changed because I have such a passion for this sport and it made me who I am today. I love becoming better and better at this sport and inspire others to want to compete or just get on a healthy track. To me, Compete Every Day means show up, BE PRESENT and hustle every single day. It means to be relentless and passionate in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire on a daily basis. It means to believe, have faith and know you are blessed in opportunities that come your way. It means MAKE THINGS HAPPEN! I want you guys to know that I count my blessings everyday. Although I went through a tragic car accident, it made me so strong as a person. You could do anything you put your mind to. Do not ever give up on your dreams!

My future plans is to take this off season to gain more muscle about 5-10% and lift very heavy. I will be competing next summer, doing three shows. I would like to get pro card!


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