Promix Athlete and online fitness coach, Jessica Eme, has always been athletic. A life long lover of sports, she has done just about everything over the years: dance, field hockey, track & distance running, even triathlons and bikini competitions.
Trying New Things
After an injury kept her from running track in college, she took some time off to heal and find the best way to get back in the game. As you can imagine, she also had to make some decisions about what her next challenge would entail.
Wanting to look and feel stronger, she decided to compete in a National Physique Committee Bikini competition. A self-proclaimed “cardio queen,” Jessica found that she greatly admired the strength and musculature that came to women on more intense strength training programs. Training for competition changed the way she thought about working out and fueling. She became more empowered in the gym, learning proper lifts and smarter workouts, and tailored her nutrition specifically to her goals. Feeling knowledgeable and in control of her work “increased [her] confidence extraordinarily.”
A Learning Process
Much to her surprise, Jessica discovered that she didn’t need the “fanciest meals or workouts to see results.” The changes she was experiencing on a higher protein diet encouraged her, and, thrilled by the new lifestyle she was learning, an idea began to form in the back of her mind.
During her training, she watched many women struggle and feel self conscious at the gym, doing unnecessary things they picked up from the latest fad workout in a magazine or on instagram. It occurred to her that these same women were probably yo-yo dieting, always trying to hit an unrealistic goal in an unrealistic amount of time.
Energized by her own success, she wanted to help. She started to think about becoming a personal trainer to give other women the tools and knowledge needed to hit their goals and feel amazing.
It was a thought she pocketed and held onto. She still had her eyes on a prize of her own and a lot of work to do to get it.
Hard Work Pays Off
Jessica’s bikini prep diet was “very strict,” but was also a drastic, unexpected change for her because “it was SO much food.” Building lean muscle means eating more, so she refocused her eating habits to fuel difficult strength training sessions and stayed on top of her macros by logging all of her meals. Her high protein, moderate carbs, low fat diet meant that she was cooking without oils, and “cheat meals” were completely off the table.
She also aimed to steer clear of “diet foods” that were, somehow, loaded with artificial junk and unnecessary ingredients. She stuck with whole foods and real, simple, natural protein supplements. “That’s why finding Promix supplements was so important to me.”
Another thing that really helped Jessica?
Her workout buddy!
“I had a partner in training, so it was easier to have someone with a similar goal to motivate me and be supportive of my training and diet schedule. Find someone in your life who is supportive of your lifestyle changes.”
It’s good advice, even if you’re not training for a bikini competition. Studies show that working out with a buddy increases the effectiveness of your training sessions (1). It’s also been proven that having someone by your side to provide positive, performance-focused encouragement keeps you feeling motivated and confident (2).
Jessica’s training companion kept her in line with her new habits inside of the gym, but what about in real life? In this day and age, we are bombarded with a constant stream of social media content sending intensely mixed messages. This is especially true in the world of lifestyle and fitness (3). But Jessica was getting smarter about both her physical food consumption and what she consumed culturally on instagram.
“Because I had seen a lot of competitors come out of the industry with eating disorders, I found pros with a look I also wanted to achieve and only followed their social accounts. I wanted the competition to enhance my life, not become it. I still ate a donut on rare occasions, but it was more about keeping my mind healthy and not falling into a bad relationship with food.”
Having been an athlete for so long, Jessica was also able to be intuitive and create her regime around things she knew worked for her. She worked with her coach to alter her program on an ongoing basis so that she never felt bored and remained focused and energized toward her end goal. While she could have simply followed her program word for word, speaking up and using her voice allowed her to walk the line between restricting and listening to her body with more stability.
“I also believe in balance, even when competing. I knew that my morning coffee was non-negotiable. I slowly cut the sugar out but kept almond milk. It may seem like a small effort, but mentally, I didn’t want to feel like I was giving up my whole life.”
The Day of the Show
It was finally time! Our girl walked into her show, excited to get on stage. She wasn’t nervous. She knew she’d put in the work. The competition was exhilarating and fun, and more than anything, helped her see how far she could push herself.
Standing up there on stage, feeling stronger and more confident than ever, Jessica realized something. When she looked out into the crowd, all eyes were on her, and she welcomed it. But she also remembered those other women at the gym, remembered how it felt to not be sure of herself, and remembered that whether someone is ultra confident or struggling, we all know the pressure of feeling like all eyes are on us. There onstage, that idea she’d put to the back of her mind came forward to show itself.
Jessica decided to become a NASM certified personal trainer to teach women that “once you push past fear and realize it’s about you and no one else in the gym, you will succeed. It takes getting past that threshold, but building self confidence is a gift that strength training gives you.”
Competition = Check.
Self-transformation = Check.
Jessica was ready to start changing other people’s lives for the better.
It’s only natural that after getting into peak physical shape for competition, the lean look of chiseled delts and washboard abs is something you’d want to hold onto. But the truth is, the ultra low body fat Jessica had reached wasn’t sustainable for the long term, nor was the rigorously regimented bikini prep lifestyle. But – though her body fat inevitably crept back to normal post-competition – she saw many benefits to shedding a bit of the shred.
“Once I started eating with more balance and restricting less, I found my workouts got better because I had more fuel and was able to lift heavier. I wasn’t as lean, but my body was curvier and I felt very feminine, which for me was kind of the ultimate goal. As a runner, and having always been tall, I always just felt skinny. I wanted to feel strong and feminine.”
She stresses that the stereotype of women looking more masculine when they lift weights couldn’t be further from the truth for most ladies. “I was lifting more and felt the strongest and most feminine I ever had in my life! As I put on more muscle, the scale went up, but I knew the weight was coming from muscle mass.”
Back to (the NEW) Normal
Jessica began training others and now runs her own online fitness coaching business. Knowing how much it helped to have advocates for her success while she worked toward her goals, she aims to serve women just like her: busy, but determined to feel empowered!
One thing Jessica openly professes to her clients and on her instagram page is that her own personal notion of the ideal physique has changed over time. “Competition physique is definitely not everyday ideal. It is a great achievement and speaks highly of someone’s discipline, self respect, and work ethic, but it cannot be maintained… I don’t identify as a competitor now by any means, but it was a great experience. I’m happy I was able to learn through it.”
“I feel ideal now if I’m consistently active, balancing my diet, and being happy with how I look, whatever the circumstances. For females, our bodies fluctuate all month, so it’s important to feel good in your body in every stage of that process.”
One of the best compliments Jessica gets from friends and family is that she doesn’t “act like a fitness person.” She maintains a robust social life, enjoys eating out (with the occasional drink or two!), and takes time off from the gym.
For her, it’s about balance. However, she does believe that one aspect of bikini prep continues to be essential for her healthy lifestyle: meal prepping.
Prepare for Success
That balance so many of us seek is more easily achieved by finding foods we love and making them in advance so we’re never caught without a healthy option. Plus, it’s been Jessica’s experience that meal prepping cuts down on grocery costs, food waste, and time spent cooking!
One of her favorite things to prep and grab on her way out the door in the morning is the Promix Coffee Cacao Banana Meal Replacement Shake (however, her version substitutes Promix Grass-fed Chocolate Whey in place of Peanut Butter Whey, and skips the crunch of Promix’s Protein Puffs for a hair+skin+nail boost from Promix Unflavored Collagen Peptides! We love when our athletes fine tune a recipe that fits them and their tastes. YOU should do the same!).
What She Eats
A sample day of Jessica’s maintenance diet might include:
Breakfast: 3 eggs over rice + coffee with Promix Unflavored Collagen Peptides and cashew milk
Lunch: A kale salad with quinoa and tuna
Dinner: Salmon or cod + broccoli + a sweet potato
Dessert: “At night, I like to have Promix Grass-fed Chocolate Whey Protein Powder in a shake with cashew milk! It tastes like a milkshake to me, so I use it as dessert!”
For training: “I always have a shaker of Promix Preworkout mixed with Promix BCCA Powder before and during my workouts for an extra boost of energy and quick recovery. Right now, I’m loving the Wildberry mixed with Lemonade.”
How She Trains
“I think it’s really important to change your workouts to avoid getting bored, and I personally have different goals throughout the year, which just keeps it interesting. Now that it’s warmer out, I will strength train every other day, and run outside on alternate days.
I still have to force myself to vary my intensity. As much as I encourage my clients to push themselves, I know the struggle. Self-motivation is hard, and it is easy to hold yourself back. I still try to workout with a buddy or in a group setting as often as I can to keep testing my limits and pushing myself.”
Word to the Wise
Even if you don’t sign on to train with Jessica, you can follow her on instagram for inspiration and education. Her best advice for fitness first-timers is easy to implement and totally relatable.
She recommends being aware of what you are eating day to day by logging your food in an app, such as MyFitnessPal. “I guarantee you will snack less knowing you have to enter all of that office candy and face your truth!”
Also, drink more water 😉 (4).
Jessica’s biggest tip for those new to fitness? “Take progress pictures, because the scale isn’t the only measure of success. It will also mentally teach you to love your body. So many women are afraid to look in the mirror, but you appreciate your progress when you accept your body at every stage of the process.”
So here’s to Jessica, athlete-turned-Promix-Athlete! We couldn’t be prouder to call her our teammate, and think she’s just the type of person we’d want to be our workout buddy.
(1) Does Working Out With a Partner Affect Performance? American Counsel on Exercise Website. https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/3014/does-working-out-with-a-partner-affect-performance. Published Nov 30, 2012. Accessed April 28, 2019.
(2) Risher, Brittany. Why You May Feel Worse About Your Body After a Workout. Buzzfeed Website. https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/why-you-may-feel-worse-about-your-body-after-a-workout/. Published April 30, 2019. Accessed April 30, 2019.
(3) Praderio, Caroline. Fitspiration is supposed to help people get healthy — but it’s backfiring in a major way. Insider Website. https://www.insider.com/fitspiration-social-media-negative-effects-body-image-2017-11. Published Nov 9, 2017. Accessed April 28, 2019.
(4) McIntosh, James. Fifteen benefits of drinking water. Medical News Today Website. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290814.php. Published July 16, 2018. Accessed April 28, 2019.