Joelle Rutledge - Bikini Competitor

I started to compete more as a bucket list thing. I did my first show at 38 and have done 4 shows since. I love it!

Diet off season vs. Precontest: It changes huge. Off season I eat healthy but I don't count calories per say. I still meal prep 90% of the time but if I want a piece of pizza, I eat it. On prep, I basically have very low carbs. I am insulin resistant so my body doesn't process carbs like it should. I use healthy fats instead of carbs a lot of the time. Seems to work the best for me. I feel like I've tried everything. I find the easiest to stay consistent on is a low carb meal plan. I feel the best on this plan and it allows by body to make the changes it needs.

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What a difference 6 years can make. On the left I had just joined the military. Was in pretty good shape. Was competitive in military drills and exercises. Was very confident and happy. On the right I am exhausted, overdieted, dehydrated, and seconds away from my husband actually taking me to the hospital for sever dehydration. Perception is everything. Both versions of me I am very happy and confident and proud of how I looked. Both are very different images of strong. Military drills are no joke and nothing short of exhausting. Training for body building shows are equally exhausting with extensive training, cardio, strict meal plans etc. I was and am so happy with both packages but looking at both shows me what I am capable of and I am so proud of both versions of me. Love yourself at every stage and level of fitness. Our bodies are amazing and we are so blessed to have them. #iggirls #smile #progress #progresspic #comesofar #wow #military #competition #thenandnow #love #loveyourself #strength #nevergiveup?? #nevergiveuponyourdreams #strengthandconditioning #smile #motivation #slevetattoo #fitnessgirl #fitnessmotivation #fitness #giveit100 #gym #bikini #igfitness #fitmom #toxicangelzbikinis

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How do you build the self confidence required to strut on stage and show your physique? You just don't think about it. You can't. Just go out there and do it. I try not to look at anyone. I look where the judges are but really not focusing on anyone. I can't or I get too nervous.

Training: Fasted cardio, Weight training, evening cardio. I have spaced out my training this prep. I don't workout more than two days in a row with weights. I allow my body to have the break it needs. But I have done cardio every day of the week. It is not always easy, as we can always have things that come up and get in our way,

Each show I have done have had different experiences. I did a show in Texas this summer. I found back stage as very spread out so not many athletes could visit or meet. It was very chaotic back stage and not well organized. I decided to do my on tan which I loved. Best tan by far so far. I wasn't dialed in well at this show so my placing wasn't as good as I would have liked. But you learn from experience. But that aside, I will not go back and compete there. I didn't enjoy it. Utah was by far my favorite place to compete. MY very first show and looking back my worst package but the show was so well organized and all the athletes were so nice. It was amazing.

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Being an athlete: It affects everything. Your social life is dictated by what you can eat. When you train, everything, Some people don't want to hang out with athletes who watch what they eat. They don't want their friends to bail early to accommodate late night cardio etc. My family embraces my fitness goals and supports me as best as they can. ITs not always easy, but weve made it work somehow.

I plan to compete again and I plan to take some actual time off. I've been competing basically non stop for almost two years. My body needs a break and my poor family needs a break.


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