Saturday, December 31, 2011

::Another Year of Opportunities::

Hello Everyone! Happy New Year!!!!

I hope that everyone has enjoyed time spent with their families during the holidays- I know I have. With New Years Eve in mind, everyone has their plans of celebrating with friends and family tonight, but I would like to take the time to reflect on the accomplishments of 2011 I have done, and the goals I have for 2012.

At the end of January 2011 I started my contest preparation for my first NPC competition: Fox Cities Showdown where I would compete in the bikini class, and my brother would compete in body building. My social life came to an end, and my priorities revolved around the lifting, cardio, constantly improving my body, cooking, posing practice, working two jobs-oh and being a full time student.

In Feb I started this blog. It was my sister, Amanda's idea for me to do this. She thought it would be a good way to record my thoughts and emotions during the prep for my first NPC show. It is almost a year and I am still writing, and people are still reading. I like documenting my success and struggles with being both a college student and competitor. It is also nice to have so many supporters and followers. Thank you!

I continued to work hard every single day, and by the time April came along, I decided to compete early, in NPC MN Army National Guard Gopher State where I took 2nd place and qualified for nationals at my first NPC competition. I'd like to thank my good friend, Jerome Dinh who supported me along the way and encouraged me to do this show. Another thank you to my partner in crime, Sara Lynn who guided me through my first show and helped make it a memorable experience. GO TEAM SARA!
At this show I also made some more great friends. {Lori, Mo, Tasha, Lucy, Willie, Tina....thanks for the memories<3}
Jerome at I after I earned my 2nd place trophy at Gopher State

Just four short weeks after that, April 30th came along and I made it to my goal of competing in the Fox Cities Showdown with my brother. We both earned a 3rd place trophy in this show. This was an unforgettable experience that I was able to share with my brother and I will never forget it. I am so proud of you, Joshua. Thank you for believing in me. Another shout out to Demetruis for putting on a kick-ass show!

My brother, Josh and I
3rd Place trophies

At Fox Cities Showdown, I made a life long friend, Diana Kersten. I am so thankful I met her. We have shared so many memories together already, and she has been there for me though the great times, and struggles. She is an amazing individual, and I am looking forward to continuing on our fitness journey together.
Diana and I at Fox Cities Showdown

In June 2011, another successful semester wrapped up for me in college. I did well in all of my classes, and was excited to only have one more year of schooling left. I had a few more weeks to complete my last NPC show for the year, NPC Army National Guard MN State which took place on June 4th. Diana and her daughter also came to this show for support.

MN State: 2nd Place Bikini B
SARA JEAN Bikini Princess shirt custom made from Ken and Miss Fit clothing :)

I took 2nd place at MN State and I knew that it was time to give my body a break from competing, and to focus on other things in life. I moved home for summer to live with my mom. I had the opportunity to spend more time with my family. I always enjoy summer time and being able to reconnect with family and friends back home. I worked as a nanny for the summer for 2 great kids as well.

Inside WI Sports magazine article

In July, my brother and I were featured in our first magazine, Inside Wisconsin Sports and they wrote a story called Building a Bond about our relationship and shared passion for bodybuilding and fitness. It made me feel very proud to see myself in print.

Quad progress: July 2011
I added 3 inches to my quads

I still went to the gym everyday and worked know me...NO EXCUSES ALLOWED. I made some great gains in the summer, and saw noticeable size added on my quads, and also started adding more to my upper body.


Summer came to an end, and my final year of college would begin in September 2011. In this this semester of college, little did I know, I was going to have the time of my life and I was going to make some amazing, life long friends. I made friends a priority this semster, aside of school, and decided for the first time in 5 years of college, I was going to live a little.

Halloween 2011

I went out on the weekends, and went to hockey games with my friends. Thank you to my room mates: April, Brenda, Grace, and Candace showing me what it is like to experience college.

Emily and I...we love going to our hockey games!!!

I also had the opportunity to train every day with my good friend Corey. I learned a lot more variations to exercises and increasded not only my strength, but also added a substantial amount of mass to my upper body. I was very proud, that by the end of the semester I was successfully benching plates-something I never would have imagined myself doing. Thank you Corey for believing in me! You will be missed!

In October 2011, one of my photos was featured in a newspaper in Ohio titled: 5 Exercises to take the Gluteus to the Maximus. That was quite a surprise to me, and I was excited to see myself in print again, especially it being in a different state.

(Note: Date on photo is not correct)
At the end of October I began my 8 week placement in a classroom teaching 2nd graders. This was an amazing experience where I was able to apply so much that I have learned from my education professors and my own peers. I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with this same group of students in the spring for 18 weeks for my student teacher placement.

Thanksgiving project I did with my second grade students.
Just as the year was wrapping up, I was surprised with being featured in a Golds Gym advertisement. I had no idea this was happening and I was very proud when I saw it. Never in a million years did I ever think that I would be doing this. If someone would have told me two years ago that I would be in a Golds Gym ad, I would have laughed in their face. Heres to show....never say never!

Golds Gym advertisement
I also ended the year with purchasing my very first "real" car. For those of you that know me, I have never had a reliable car that lasted more than a year. Knowing that I have freedom again is unexplainable. I am very, very thankful.

Looking back on the year, I am very proud of everything I accomplished. I am enjoying the journey that I am on, and all of the wonderful opportunities I have been given. I am looking forward to what 2012 has to bring for me. I have one more semester left of college and then I graduate, hopefully some competing...maybe at the national level, and looking for a full time teaching job. I am going to continue working hard in every area of my life, and hope for the best. I have so much to be thankful for. Thank you everyone who believes in me.

-Remember to :NEVER: settle for good enough-

Have a safe, and very Happy New Year!!!!!! I am staying in tonight so I can start the new year off right with my two a days :) Super excited!
<3 SJ

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