Last weekend I had the pleasure of accompanying Mikayla Custance to the 30th Annual Emerald Cup Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure, Bikini, Expo and Physique Championships in Bellevue, Washington. The Emerald Cup is North America’s largest amateur bodybuilding show with competitors from as far away as Alaska and Bermuda competing in their division on this special anniversary year that attracted over 500 athletes.
I first met Mikayla when she was just 16 years old. Her mom, Kim, brought her to see me with concerns about her lower back and weak core. That was four years ago, and we have long surpassed those initial concerns. As Mikayla got stronger, I caught a glimpse of her natural potential – potential to compete in figure competitions and pursue her fitness modeling dreams.
As soon as Mikayla made her decision to train for competition, we set some tangible goals, solidified a progressive workplan and got down to business. She competed in her first figure competition in 2009 at just 17 years old. It allowed her to get a feel for competition in this sport (she was already an accomplished 3-day eventing equestrian competitor). Most importantly, it solidified her belief that her goals were indeed possible with the help of an experienced mentor, some positive motivation, a solid work ethic and a determined mindset.
The Emerald Cup encouraged Mikayla to set a future goal, take action on a progressive plan to meet that goal, overcome the nerves and fear of failure that are part of any experience that challenges you just beyond your comfort zone, rise to shine on the day of competition, celebrate achievements and reflect on the journey afterwards. All significant ingredients in personal development – an opportunity encouraging growth into the absolutely amazing young woman that she is.
Mikayla’s journey involved a whole lot of weight-training, cardio, eggwhites, chicken breasts, practicing posing and walking in 4” heels, spray-tanning, copious amounts of water and the whole gamut of emotions.
The result? Well, let’s ask Mikayla:
“I have always been a competitive person. I love to have a goal to work towards so for me, I do this first of all because I love it! I love training, I never had any pressure to get up on stage. I was always told from the day I was asked to do a show til last weekend that if at anytime I wanted out I could. I do it for ME! As much as I love to train, of course there were days when I would get to the gym at 6am and just wanted to cry though my workout. I was tired, hungry and just felt weak. But knew I had to push through, I knew it would all be worth it, and it was. In bodybuilding, you learn more about yourself then you would ever think possible, if you can do this you can do ANYTHING! If you can dedicate yourself to train 3x a day for about 1-2 hours at a time, practice posing 1/2-1 hour a day, stick to a strict diet plan and push yourself to do 5 more reps when you think you’re done, just think what you are capable to do in any aspect of your life. The competitor in me always trains and goes to a show wanting to win! I knew going to this past show it would be hard to do, there were girls who had been doing it for years, and the classes were huge! I ended up placing 9th in my class. It all motivates me to get back in the gym and do even better next time. The industry is also great for fitness-modeling connections, another hobby I enjoy doing and have met and got great feedback from photographers. I am very fortunate to have such a great trainer in Charlene, I couldn’t imagine doing this on my own. I hope to keep working with her and continue competing. I would love to one day earn my pro card and compete with the pros.”
When you want something to happen, you have to take the first step and show the Universe that you are ready. It’s not enough to have wishes, dreams or goals. You have to commit. Mikayla committed to her goals and as a result, both confirmation and opportunity arose at her recent competition. One of the judges approached her and asked her age. When she replied that she was just 20, the judge remarked, “You’re young and have great potential just keep doing what you are doing.” You’ve got to love that kind of confirmation!
A magazine that recently featured a photo of Mikayla also approached her at the show to let her know that they have plans to expand into Canada and when they do they’ll be looking for athletes to sponsor and will be contacting her. What a great future opportunity!
I’ve always believed that if you give a young woman (adult) something to focus on, help them find their passion, build faith in their potential and help them recognize and maximize their natural talents and abilities, you will build champions. I don’t mean winners, I mean champions. Champions have a healthy sense of self, a clear purpose and defined values with the focus, dedication and persistence necessary to reach their goals.
Mikayla is just such a champion!
The CSJ CREATORS Competitors Club is set to re–launch in June for women interested to compete in bodybuilding, fitness, figure, physique or bikini competitions. It is not mandatory that all members compete. We are also looking for members interested to train like a competitor but perhaps with different goals in mind such as a trip, event, special occasion or photoshoot. Affiliate members to help with admin, fundraising, support, promotion and organization for the Club are also most welcome. For further information please contact Charlene at 604.741.7985 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.