Erika Relova - IFBB Bikini Pro

I first heard about competing in summer 2013 because of social media (go figure). I started following girls who were similar in height to me because I knew I could eventually achieve the bodies that they had. The following winter I made it a goal to lose weight and start working out. Prior to this I was never one to go to the gym or do any kind of work out, I stayed fit throughout high school with dance. Working out never crossed my mind because I was always so busy with dance and dance competitions. That year through dieting with a genetic test and at home workouts I lost 20lbs and was extremely proud of myself. Once I felt confident enough I finally joined a gym and started to lift. It was at this point I met my boyfriend, who immediately encouraged me to compete without even knowing it was something I wanted to do. Through him and one of his coworkers at the time, I met both of my coaches and the rest is history.

#flashbackfriday 2014 vs 2017 Three years and lots of work. In 2014 it was just a dream to even compete, it was just a fantasy of what I could look like. 2017 is only the beginning and I'm so excited for more! Never lose hope, never give up, and ALWAYS keep your focus on your goal. Life will throw millions of things at you especially when you're pushing your hardest, keep your head up and preserve. You only come out stronger and wiser than you were before ??

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My on season diet is super strict, as with all competitors. My coach and I stick to clean eating because that is what my body responds best too. This past season my diet didn't change too drastically leading up to my shows. We kept my fats and carbs high all throughout prep. Last season (2016) we learned the hard way that if my fat and carb intake was low, I looked like a string bean on stage. I also carb cycle during that time. My offseason diet is pretty similar, fats are super high, carbs are high, and no carb cycling. I also have my cheats and small treats here and there if I want them.
Diet fails - Prior to competing and weight loss I never dieted before. When I wanted to lose weight I tracked my calories and macro according to what the genetic test told me and it worked well for me. As of right now, clean eating is working really well for me.

My training is pretty simple, I weight train 5 times a week followed by 20-25 mins of cardio 4-5x a week. In prep, cardio is usually increased, but never anything too crazy.

Self confidence - I started strutting my stuff on stage at the age of three and I was never nervous, that's what helped me a lot with my first show. I looked at it like a solo dance competition in a bikini. I also practiced my posing everywhere and anywhere (I am not exaggerating) I made it a point to practice in front of people that made me nervous that way when I walked on stage it would be a breeze. Practice is the key to self confidence and also having a great support system, like my Sassy and Classy coaches Yorkanis Montanari and Patrice Vignola.

My favorite experience from competing is from my last show, NPC Universe (view photos). In the moments before prejudging I was so excited to step on stage. They had a great playlist going, which consisted of some 90s songs (I love 90s dance music). I remember doing a cheesy dance move backstage and saying a little prayer to myself- I just felt great and confident. I knew in my heart that regardless of the outcome I was 100% happy with the physique I brought to the stage that weekend. I walked up on that stage and did my routine with total confidence and left it all on the stage. The week following up to this show I had SO many obstacles to overcome outside of prep, but I made zero excuses and focused on my goal.

Being an athlete affects a lot of my life. When I'm in season I do A LOT of explaining at family gatherings and social settings. When I'm on off-season people are always asking me questions about my shows and what I'm doing for diet. Balancing life can sometimes be hard, but it's needed. If I need to pack my meals and bring my jug of water with me somewhere, I will. Others may look at me funny, but I don't care.

As of right now, I am taking the rest of 2017 off. I juggled a lot during prep and a nice "chill out" period is what I need now. I'm doing my best to rest and relax as much as I can right now. I want to be fully energized and ready to go for my pro debut in 2018.


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