Thursday I shared a post with you about my experience 11 years ago getting ready for photo shoots and getting ready for the NPC Fitness Nationals.

If you missed, "See My 6 Pack" you can view the post here.

As promised, here is the continuation to that story.

I almost quit and didn't think I could compete at Nationals.
KEEP READING and I tell you all about it here in this email. Plus some cool pictures:)

It was 11 years ago today, I took the stage at the 2004 NPC Fitness Nationals.

I went there knowing I put in 100% - my training, my nutrition, my posing, my routine. I was satisfied that I had done everything I possible could have done to bring my best.

I had no regrets. I gave it my all and I was very happy with that.

I remember attending check ins in my "Team Summer" sweatshirt and sweat pants.

A photographer came over and said, "How do you think you will do? How do we know what you have underneath there?"

I said, "You'll have to wait til I hit the stage to find out."

Meanwhile, another athlete was posing for all the photographers in her suit, showing her moves, and even shouting, "This is my time. It's my time to earn my pro card."
I choose to keep my confidence in my head and show it on stage.

I was a "nobody" going into this competition. I was up against others that had done several national shows. So I didn't have the hype behind me or notoriety.

In fitness, there were 3 different rounds to receive points.

First was the routine round.

Summer fitness nationals
If you remember, I am 5'8" and the "tall class" is 5'4" and over. So I was like a giant in that class full of girls with major gymnastic backgrounds and physiques more suited for strength moves.

Flexibility has always been one of my challenges, but I improved a ton with the resistance band stretching. I could hit my splits or make it look like it when it counted:)

Strength moves were always my favorite. I had to work hard at them, but holding a pike hold, one arm push ups, handstands and levers- I had some sequences I was really proud of, especially with my long limbs.

Nobody else had those long legs to get in positions. Sometimes I joked I wished I could cut my feet off ! Lol

Heck, I took up half the stage when I did a backhand spring. I had to really be aware of my surroundings:)

Plus I had to smile and make it look easy the entire time. So as I flip and hold and stretch and flip and move for 2 solid minutes, I kept a smile and energy to excite the crowd.
summer fitness nationals

I had a secret to how I could master that smile and share with my competitive clients:)
I did have a little bobble in my routine- my hand slipped during one of my moves, but I kept on going and smiling. I didn't let it throw me off. After all I had worked so hard to have this one chance on stage to show my athleticism in 2 minutes. How well I did in practice didn't matter. This was it. I had to perform under pressure.
Summer fitness nationals

Then I was judged in my 2 piece suit. I knew I was ready. I hit each pose with confidence. Even though I wasn't one of the "biggest" or most muscular girls, I had the symmetry, condition, and overall aesthetic look.

I was super happy with my "abs". My body type just doesn't hold onto abs and so "onstage" was their peak performance.
Summer fitness nationals


I was lean and had trained for such a long time with 100% that I was just so happy I did my best and didn't give up.

Months previous it was hard to keep up the regimen. There were many days I thought, "I'll just get hurt and then I won't be able to compete."

I had been afraid I wouldn't succeed at the national level so I would try to talk myself out of it. Making up excuses of how tired, hurt, or whatever.

I overcame that self doubt and used it to drive what I wanted to do- just compete and see if I too could become an IFBB Pro and be in the fitness magazines.

Finally was the 1 piece round. The only difference is that your abs are covered. This was actually a good round for me because again, I had great symmetry or balance. My shoulders matched my legs and I had nice curves, even on my "thin" frame.

I felt great. That self doubt was no more. I had confidence that no matter what I place, I gave 100%. I did my best for ME. I was the only one that knew how hard I worked and I WAS HAPPY with my effort.

That's the silent attitude I kept the whole time. That I was here to win and I knew I was ready. I keep pumping myself up, in my head.

So how did it all work out at Nationals? The biggest and toughest show of the year?
I earned 1st place as the NPC 2004 Tall Class Fitness Champion.
Summer fitness nationals

WOW, me? Me? Really! I am now an IFBB Fitness Pro. I earned my Pro card!

It was an accomplishment others told me I couldn't achieve because I was too tall, or didn't have enough muscle, or wasn't a strong enough "gymnast" or even that I hadn't put "my time in".

My hard work paid off that day with an achievement that I PUT THE WORK in to achieve- 100%.

I was the best that day and I was rewarded for it.

While it was a huge bonus to win and earn my IFBB Pro card, ultimately I was completely satisfied with my preparations. I told myself going into the competition, no matter where I placed, I knew I gave it my all. I did everything I could have and I was proud of myself. Nobody could take away my hard work.
Summer fitness nationals

And after I was given my award and got off stage, something else unexpected happened..... a man and his wife approached me.......
I'll tell you more about that next week.

If you have a goal, what's holding you back?

Honestly, most of the time it is us- we hold ourselves back.

When will you be ready to step up to your goal?

Nobody is ever "ready" or the time "perfect".

You just have to be willing to work for it- through the good and the bad.

Turn your weakness into strengths.

Turn your dislikes into likes.

You have the power to take action and achieve your goals.

Stop holding yourself back and go for it!

~ Summer Montabone, CSCS

IFBB Fitness Pro, Mother of 2
Founder, Summer's Fitness & Team VIP Online
Coach to Champions in Life 

Summer fitness nationals

PS- In case you are wondering. That other athlete that was boldy showing their confidence, did not win nor earn their pro card that day. Confidence is something you have when nobody is looking:) Cocky doesn't pay.

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