Stephanie Ramirez - WNBF Pro Bikini, NPC Bikini Competitor

Right around the time I decided to compete I was in a negative space hanging around the wrong crowds. I was just at a low point that caused me to have low body image and negativity about the world. Itís kind of funny now how it all came about because I started to feel like I didnít fit in anymore, kind of like there was more I could be doing in life, like I wasnít challenging myself anymore. I always considered myself as a fitness enthusiast and was working out hard. I followed a ton of influencers and competitors on social media but never thought I could compete myself, I didnít think I was good enough or had the body for it.

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It wasnít until one day randomly one of my followers on Instagram reached out and told me how I inspired him and that I should really consider competing. I was first shocked because well how did this little woman inspire a grown man to improve his life? His comment really stuck with me, it was so honest and kind so much so that I started to consider competing. I call it divine intervention, he must have been an angel guiding me because I could not shrug off his words, not even till this day. I thank him for that because it was right at the time when those around me were putting me down. Those pure words of kindness are what made me decide to compete. I decided to compete for myself for me because I wanted the challenge and I had nothing to lose. It was almost like my New Yearís resolution in 2016, I took a leap of faith, I removed myself from the negativity found a coach and began the process.

My diet is purely macro tracking and based on what works for my body type. I also follow the If it Fits your Macros diet (IIFYM). During competition preps I have a coach who helps me calculate my macros and keeps me accountable to sticking to clean foods so I donít follow an IIFYM diet on season. When I am off season I slowly increase my macros from what they were on prep and follow the IIFYM diet. Basically what that means is offseason for example I will eat a cookie if I can make it fit my macros for the day versus on prep I will not.
What the changes in between these seasons has taught me is what works best for my body and more about my body type and what diet works for it. I have found that for a tall lean female who falls in the ectomorph body type like myself, a diet high in carb, moderate in protein, and low in fat diet works best. My nutrition comes from about roughly 45% carbs, 35% proteins, and 20% fats. I follow this diet when trying to lose weight, maintain and even bulk. The main difference when I am trying to build muscle is that I am more flexible with my diet and I will increase my proteins and fats a little more to put on weight.

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Building self-confidence: Practice, Practice, Practice. I am a very confident woman but I do tend to fall on the more reserved side when I am in front of strangers and not to mention being half naked on stage judged for your body would make anyone a bit uncomfortable. To overcome this I practiced in public at my gym. I also had weekly practices with my coach and teammates. Slowly I came out my shell, whether I am shredded or not you can catch me still practicing posing. That time dedicated to learning the poses and being comfortable in my skin in front of others is what helped me build the self-confidence to strut on stage. Now posing is my favorite part about competing and almost like second nature to me.

My competition training consists of a mix of lifting and HIIT training. Since my body leans very fast I tend to not do a ton of steady state cardio, almost barley. My plan rotates on a weekly basis, one week may be a heavy weightlifting week with 1-2 HIIT cardio sessions and another week could be moderate weight lifting with supersets and HIIT cardio. To train this way it is difficult when you are cutting your total calories and your intake is low. To balance and make sure I have energy to train this I am very precise in the time I choose to workout. You can find me at the gym every day at 5:30am, first thing in the morning after having a small meal. This allows me to have the most energy to dedicate to my training and also sets me up for success throughout the day.

My first ever competition is something I will never forget. I arrived at the hotel for my spray tan and check-ins. That first spray tan was the worst experience of my life! My coach had prepared me warning me how cold it would have to be to dry up but I seriously thought she was kidding! So for the spray tan, you go in a tent naked and you are covered in this sticky liquid. You stand for what feels like hours with fans blowing on you to dry up, all while not moving, and donít forget low body fat. Iíve felt so cold in my life, I could have sworn I was turning purple but I was too dark to tell. This now makes me laugh because I love getting spray tanned now and the smell, it brings me fond memories!
After getting tanned, I went for check-ins as a cold hungry nervous wreck. I remember seeing the line just multiply by the minute with competitors and freaking myself out. To my surprise everyone was so nice and it was friendly competition. I met some really cool people while waiting and even got the name of a really yummy burger joint that I went to after the show. Thank you local competitors!

On show day I woke up did my morning devotionals and got ready to head to the venue. I was actually pretty calm throughout the whole time backstage waiting to go on. When my time came I definitely remember feeling nervous but in a good way, nervous excited. I stepped on stage just thankful to be there. I remember being moved to the center during pre-judging and staying mid center the entire time and mentally freaking out. Then when finals came and they announced me as 1st place in my class I was floored, I almost cried when I stepped off that stage because I was now a Pro Bikini for the WNBF. My first show, I am still so thankful to God and beyond amazed. I was not supposed to compete, I was not supposed to place or let alone win, I was not good enough but yet I had proved myself otherwise. Pure joy and gratitude because I proved to myself I could.

God is good???? Your looking at the 3rd place WINNER in Bikini Open class E ??My first NPC show and one of the most competitive, congrats to all the competitors we are all winners for daring to step on that stage! ... HUGE THANK YOU to all who came to support and have been there for it all! #teampeachbums @tattedbabriex3 @brianagarodel @krys_fit91, thank you to my awesome coach @trainingstationllc.com9590 ?... MORE PICS TO COME! I apologize in advance ??/ also thanks to tanning by @protan_official / suit by @maggie_suits * * * * * #fitnessbyflaka #fitchick #bikinicompetitor #npc #cutlerclassic #jaycutlerclassic2017 #npcboston #progressnotperfection #glutes #legs #goals #beauty #beast #nevergiveup #fitnessisalifestyle #blessed #Godschild ??

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Being an athlete has changed my entire life. I no longer looked at myself the way I once use to, I no longer relate to the same social groups as I once did, and I no longer function the way I once use to. Bodybuilding has only brought me positive changes. I look at myself and I love myself now, inside and out because I know I can do whatever I put my mind to. I have gained an entire fitness family with my coach and teammates. I am so thankful to God for bringing bodybuilding into my life and using it to change my life for the better. I see the world differently. I see opportunities everywhere and ways to improve and it doesnít make me sad, it excites me. It excited me so much to want to bring about changes and help other see what I see in themselves.

In the near future I plan to compete once more for the WNBF Federation as a Pro Bikini competitor. After the fall I plan on taking a year off to build and just rest, competing takes a lot out of you. I donít know what the future holds for me in my fitness career or what God's plans are but I am excited to have more free time to continue to grow and help others. I am an open book waiting to be written, taking it one chapter at a time.

For training and or business please contact, IG: Fitnessbyflaka.

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