Nationally Qualified Bikini Competitor
I'm Cassandra, and fitness has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I was a competitive swimmer (think 4 am swim practices, two-a-days, and monthly Championship meets!) for nearly 10 years, during which time I also ran long-distance track, and cross country. In college, I played a semester of water polo for a club team, and focused more on running on my spare time. But Virginia winters led me down a different path. Cardio burnout paired with the cold winters eventually led me to the gym. And I'm not talking the machines, I'm talking the free-weight section and squat racks, you know, "where the guys are."
Long story short, I fell in love with lifting and to this day still credit weightlifting me for pushing me to grow mentally, physically and emotionally. I mean, I can't tell you how driven I was to get to the 200 pound squat club once I got the hang of squatting, how hard I had to push my body, and when I squatted more than 200 pounds for the first time, the euphoria. But in addition to changing my body, most importantly, lifting transformed my mind. I was very timid - I had a low self-esteem and extremely low self-confidence. Lifting - especially squatting - changed all that. My strength grew and with it my confidence and self esteem. Everyone has tough times, but I'll let you in on a secret - fake it 'til you become it is a real thing.
I started out counting calories and when that drove me insane, through much trial and error I learned to find balance and eat intuitively. As much as I loved bodybuilding and weightlifting, I never thought I would compete as it was something I was never particularly interested in. But in 2018 I met some amazing people and after having a great year of strength progress, I decided “Why not?” and competed in my first NPC Bikini show. I placed top two in each of the three classes I competed in and qualified for Nationals at my first show.
My friend who introduced me to lifting told me "You're stronger than you think," and it couldn't be more true - mentally and physically. That was my mantra in addition to telling myself that I was the shit every day. Sounds cheesy, but I'm telling you it worked. Maybe I'm a little cocky now, but I like to think that's just my confidence. I don't remember a specific “Aha!” moment, it was rather a slow process until one day I realized, "Hey, I can do this. And I'm good." When people complimented me, I stopped being shy about it and started saying “Thanks, I built that.”
So, now it's your turn. Every journey is a different story, each with its own trials and tribulations. Trust me, I've had my share of ups and downs. But you know what? As with life, that's fitness! I'm here to help you on your journey - whether it's to start or continue. I'm a gym rat by choice, but I also love to travel and sometimes access to gyms is limited. I don't eat salad (unless I crave it in which case something might be wrong), and eat chocolate every day. A fit lifestyle is about finding ways to incorporate fitness and exercise into your life through your actions and food choices. It's not about being stuck in a gym for 2 hours a day (unless that’s what you want!). There's too much out there in the world to enjoy; your workouts should just be one part of the big picture.
P.S. I'm obsessed with building my booty, it's pretty much the only thing I post, and leg day is the one day I will do everything to avoid missing. I'm half Asian, which means I was not born with a glorious booty - but with enough time, patience, and heavy weights (and food!) I built one and if you can't tell...I'm very proud about that. Don't forget to have pride in what you build.