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Confessions of a Bikini Pro

Jul 3, 2020

In this episode Celeste has the pleasure of speaking with Emily Parris, an IFBB bikini pro who started competing in 2017 and competed in seven national shows before earning her pro card. Emily has her Masters Degree in Speech Pathology and works as a Regional Director of Operations for Reliant Rehab as well as a coach for competition and lifestyle clients.

Celeste starts off the episode by asking Emily about her pre-stage ritual and from there the conversation transitions into how Emily ended up competing for the first time “on a whim.” She shares that she was ready for a new challenge in her fitness journey and was drawn in by the sparkly bikinis, the hair, makeup, etc., yet even after signing up for her first show, had no idea what the NPC was or exactly what competing entailed.

From there, Emily goes on to tell listeners about her experience living abroad in Asia; how long she was there, what she did while living abroad, what made her decide to do so, and why she chose Asia. After sharing her experiences using her skills in speech pathology abroad, Celeste asks Emily to share how she got into the medical field and ultimately chose speech pathology as her career.

Emily then talks about how she manages her time between competing, life, and her full time job and how she organizes her days. Next, Celeste and Emily discuss the importance of consistency and commitment and how that is such a vital aspect of making the lifestyle work, and Emily shares her experiences of a time she had a hectic schedule being on prep and traveling between California and Utah for work.

Next, Celeste opens the conversation to the topic of relationships and asks Emily about not only her current relationship, but experiences she’s had with people who may not have been supportive of her lifestyle as a competitor. Emily talks about how growing up in Atlanta her desire to train for and participate in a bikini competition wasn’t widely understood and accepted right off the bat. She also opens up and talks about her fiancé Jeff, and the impact her lifestyle as a competitor has on their relationship.

After getting personal, Emily answers the fun question of what her favorite exercises are for shoulders, hamstrings and glutes and why she loves those exercises. Emily also admits that she has a least favorite exercise that her coach includes in her training program, yet she does them anyways!

Celeste asks Emily to share more about her coach, how she chose him and why she decided to switch coaches before competing in Universe and earning her pro card. Emily also talks about her experience competing at Wings of Strength and what it was like standing next to pros she had admired for years on social media and during her journey to becoming a pro herself.

Celeste and Emily then talk training strategy and the approach Emily took in terms of her training and time off to really transform her physique and hit the national circuit and eventually turn pro.

From there, Celeste opens up the conversation to the mindset aspect of the sport and asks Emily to share with listeners about her struggles during her off season in terms of mindset and how she had to learn to switch her perspective from “prep mode” to “improvement season mentality.”

Also, Emily talks about a setback she had during her first off season and explains the changes she has made to have more successful off seasons in the future. Emily and Celeste discuss the importance of living a healthy and balanced lifestyle, no matter the goal, as long as there as passion and self fulfillment attached to that goal.

Next, Emily talks about what she learned about her body, herself and the sport during her journey competing in various national shows before finally achieving the coveted pro status. She mentions respecting the sport and respecting the process instead of just trusting it and how understanding that respect made a difference in her outlook on her journey.

Emily also shares why its so important to have love for the sport beyond just attaining the pro status and shares some goals that she has for this 2020 season, all while wanting to keep her expectations in a specific realm of where she feels personal success - whether that means making it to the Olympia stage or simply achieving callouts in her shows.

Emily then talks about posing and presenting her physique on stage and her experiences working with a male posing coach as opposed to a female posing coach. She mentions the distinction she makes between criticism and feedback and how she uses that to continue to make necessary adjustments to present her physique the best way possible, whether that be with a male or female posing coach. Finishing off the episode as always, Emily shares her advice for the first time competitor as well as her advice for girls who are on their road to pro. 


[1:40] Emily shares her pre-stage ritual.

[2:50] Celeste asks Emily to elaborate on how she ended up doing her first competition “on a whim.”

[8:00] Emily tells listeners all about her experience living abroad in Asia; why she decided to go and what she did while living there.

[12:20] Celeste asks Emily what led her to choose a career in speech pathology.

[16:00] Emily goes into detail about what exactly she does as a speech pathologist.

[20:30] Celeste has Emily share how she manages her time between work, competing, and life.

[23:30] Emily shares how consistency is so important to make this lifestyle work, regardless of how busy she is with work and training.

[26:40] Celeste and Emily talk significant others and Celeste asks Emily if she’s had experiences with people in her life who didn’t support her goals and visions. 

[30:45] Emily tells listeners her favorite exercises for shoulders, hamstrings, and glutes.

[33:40] Emily shares when she decided to switch coaches and the reasoning behind it.

[34:40] Celeste asks Emily what it was like to stand on stage next to pros who she had looked up to before reaching that level.

[37:30] Celeste asks Emily to share what she felt made the biggest difference in terms of transforming her physique during her time away from the stage before finally earning her pro card.

[43:00] Emily shares insight as to how she shifted her mentality from a strict prep mode into a more relaxed off season/improvement season mindset. 

[49:50] Celeste asks Emily how she overcame some setbacks from her initial post show experience to her current improvement season.

[54:15] Emily talks about what she learned about herself, her body, and the sport during her time between her various national shows before finally achieving the coveted pro status.

[59:00] Celeste and Emily discuss the importance of not just trusting the process but respecting the process and the sport.

[61:40] Emily mentions how this current off season has been her most successful and how it’s helped with her goals for this year.

[66:20] Celeste asks Emily about her experiences working with a male posing coach.

[70:00] Emily shares her advice for girls who want to get into competing and the competitors on their road to pro.