ERIKA STRAUB: WBFF BIKINI COMPETITOR
From November 2013 to April 2014 my entire world has changed, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically. I have never felt more in tune with the functioning of my body and more goal orientated. I now have a direction and purpose with my workouts and a vision of who I want to be and what I want to look like. All the years of having a negative self image and disdain for the shape of my body, all of the negative energy has been fuel to work hard!
Once all of this energy was redirected I was amazed at how much I could actually change my body! It is a matter of mind set and a matter of how bad you truly want it. It is about overcoming your fears and not letting them be your limitations. I set the bar way too low for myself because I was afraid and because I didn’t have the confidence in myself. If I set the bar low I would never have to step outside my comfort zone and put myself out there.
I continually self sabotaged myself. So instead of hiding this internal pain, this lack of fulfillment, and this fear, I got on stage half naked, smiling, and truly feeling the best I have felt in my life. And now I want to be better. I was afraid I wouldn’t measure up to the women standing next to me, but what I realized is the mutual respect we all had for each other. How each and everyone of us had to dig into our cores and face our fears to step on stage. I found it to be so amazing to be around such empowering women and instead of feeling like I had to compare myself, I found myself asking how can I be better than I am today. Competing in a physique show has been the best decision I have ever made.
I would have never discovered this passion or known where to start if it wasn’t for Judy Wright-Morris. From day one walking into equinox this lady caught my eye. There was something about her physical presence and calm confident demeanor that pulled me towards getting to know her and to ask a million questions about her muscles and her lifestyle. Within a month of meeting Judy I was inspired!
I was feeling my weakest and desperate for a push and a change in a big way. So I said Judy will you coach me for a show!! We sat down middle of November and worked out a game plan for the first month, a skeleton for the next 20 weeks, and picked a show. As a trainer already I felt confident in my form and my lifts so I opted to workout on my own with weekly check ins and goals. What Judy did for me was write all of my workouts and my meal plans.
I really enjoyed the first 12 weeks of this process and Judy was the mentor I never had! I had no idea what was coming next! It worked for me to stay focused on the current present plan and not worry myself with the next steps because I was concerned I would get too overwhelmed. Judy transitioned me flawlessly through the next phases of training.
At the 16-12 week range cardio was introduced and my meal plans became precise. I also added some supplements into the mix. I would have been lost without her knowledge of how and when when to implement cardio, and what kind. At this point I was feeling quite massive and bulky and had some minor melt downs and Judy assured me to trust the process. It was nearly impossible to do this so I leaned on her quite heavily for validation and she took it in stride. Made me laugh when I wanted to just stay “fat” and told me her horror stories and mistakes as a rookie and to just keep following our plan. I was more then ready to do cardio because of how thick I felt and I think this motivated me to work hard.
In this time period my body fat percentage and weight dropped pretty fast and I was thrilled. I think this made me a little too lenient on my scheduled “refeed” days because they more or less turned into binge days. This was very emotional for me, very primal, and I had a hard time putting the fork down. I usually showed up a mess the beginning of the week for my behavior. Judy always had the right suggestions to help with this and also talked me off the ledge.
Every Monday this became an important time for us to meet, because I was emotionally beat up. Once this became a constant, more cardio was implemented. I truly believe in her ability to see where I needed to be and that I wasn’t going to be there I’m time because I wasn’t as good as I should have been on the weekends and this is a testament to her expertise. I wouldn’t have added the extra cardio on my own or wanted too, but because she said I needed to to fend off the diet mishaps I did it. She adjusted my work out in perfect time and fashion. At the 12 week mark we added some more supplements and the hardcore cutting phase was upon us. I was 100% strict with my diet 6 days a week, but damn you Saturday and your binges.
I didn’t miss one workout. And I really enjoyed the new workouts she gave me. Judy knew exactly when to change my routines so that I wouldn’t plateau or ever be too comfortable. We also started working on posing this far out. As someone who has been on stage many times she constantly told me how important this is to not leave for last minute. I will never forget the first pose I struck and her stone cold expression of concern. I’m pretty sure she said “oh shit” in her head! This has been a running joke ever since, and one day I’m going to throw that pose out there on stage just for her!
The last 8 weeks were very intense. We met weekly, sometimes bi-weekly, if nothing else for a therapy session. My workouts changed yet again and cardio became a huge part of my training. My nutrition was also monitored much more closely. We tracked everything and did bi-weekly weigh ins and measurements. I definitely was neurotic by this point.
Although I doubted my ability to compete because I thought I would never be ready she breathed just enough fear in me to work harder and enough comfort to keep me going. She organized group posing sessions and competitors dinner nights to help all of her clients to have a social life and still have fun! At this point she helped me order the right suit, pick out a ball gown, and how to navigate registering for the show and beauty appointments! The last month was just a grind. Always tweaking my program to meet what my body needed. She coached me through the last two weeks where fluid balance, sodium, and carbs are crucial to your performance. These last weeks would have been impossible without her guidance. She was there for me every step of the way, all the way to the stage, as she was backstage videoing!! I have found an amazing friend, role model, mentor, expert, and coach through this process! I am entirely more knowledgeable about this sport and am so excited for my next show.
Now we have a baseline and a better idea of what my body will do, what areas need more development, how I’ll react on stage, my binging habits and how to curb that, and my mental thresholds. I can’t wait to work with her on round II. Her other clients and I have bonded through this journey and have learned to shut our brains off and trust her! It’s the best feeling having complete trust in another’s guidance!
Thank you for everything Judy, words cannot express my gratitude! You have truly given my life more meaning!