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Confessions of a Bikini Pro

Nov 6, 2020

Host Celeste Rains-Turk speaks with Jennifer Roberts, wife, mother, full-time school district principal, and lifetime athlete who just turned pro at North Americans! 

Celeste begins by asking Jennifer what rituals she has immediately before her heel hits the stage. Jennifer says she gives herself reminders of what she’s been working on with her posing and she gives herself a physical cue to help ground her and keep her arm relaxed. She used to remind herself to “Own the stage”. This year she has focused on transforming nervous energy by saying “It’s showtime.”

Jennifer worked hard on the energy she brings to the stage. Because she got to a point with her posing this year where she moved beyond making corrections, she could focus on doing the things that make her stand out. Eight days before the show, her cousin passed away. Jennifer explained how she wanted to honor him some way during the show and how she thought about her grandfather calling her a ray of sunshine that lights up the room. Celeste talks about not posing as someone else, but as you. Ask yourself, what energy do you bring to the stage?

Celeste asks Jennifer about the unconventional set up of this year’s North Americans and competing in a tent. Jennifer says she enjoyed it even without an audience, because it allowed her to focus on the judges. She had no problems with the stage and the organizers did a great job. 

Jennifer started in natural shows in Canada, though the IFBB was always in her mind. She did local shows to keep fit and competed back in 2000, before bikini was a division. She came second in her first competition but realized she was doing it because of deep-seated insecurities. This led her down a personal development path, away from fitness. This contributed to who she is today. 

Jennifer talks about when she first met her husband, he asked her if she ever read any books for fun instead of all serious, non-fiction books. She tells the story about how he helped her see her beauty, and that was her pivotal movement. Celeste relates by explaining if you aren't willing to look in the mirror and change something, nothing will change. You have to do the hard thing. 

Currently, Jennifer has a much healthier body image, even though she says it’s not perfect. She does shows to stay healthy and because she loves them, instead of trying to attain a certain body. She still has moments, but she doesn't go to a dark place anymore. Recognizing our growth shows us that we can continue to heal. 

Celeste asks Jennifer what she would say to people who think they are too old to reach certain goals. Jennifer says it’s never too late to work on yourself or do a show. She talks about her young family and demanding job, and how you have to recognize your priorities to reach your goals. Jennifer wakes at 5 am to stretch and practice posing. Then she completes her workout and is done just after 7 am when her family is waking up. 

Jennifer says she does sometimes feel overwhelmed but acknowledges that you just have to fit in things where you can. At one point, she thought she had a good family balance, but her husband explained how she isn’t always mentally present for her family. Jennifer says she didn't realize how much it was affecting the family and focused on creating quality time for her family this year. In order to do this, Jennifer preps her food for weeks at a time. When her family gets home, she stops what she's doing and is present for them. 

Celeste asks about Jennifer’s demanding job as a principal. Jennifer explains how she has to travel quite a bit for her job and that she never cheats on her prep. Being super organized allows her to maintain her schedule. She just makes it work. Even on a trip to France last summer, she stayed on track 100 percent. There’s nothing you can’t do if you want it badly enough. During an improvement season, Jennifer still works hard but is less rigid with her schedule to let her relax. This allows her to go full out during prep. 

When choosing shows, Jennifer used to consider location, but as she improved and moved up, she realized the IFBB was something she could reach. She started to focus on shows that would allow her to qualify for the Vancouver Pro/Am and then North Americans. She took a long improvement season after the 2019 North Americans to focus on 2020 North Americans and earning her Pro Card.

Jennifer talks about how COVID changes her prep with the uncertainty of it the show would even happen. Jennifer took many virtual workshops to improve her posing and started to focus on flexibility to help her achieve proper poses. Once she got in the daily habit of stretching and posing, she had a mindset shift of thinking it was hard for her to pose. 

Celeste asks Jennifer to speak to what keeps her going through this difficult prep. Jennifer thrives on prep and loves knowing what she has to do and just doing it. She wouldn't want to have regrets if she strayed from her plan and then missed bringing her best to the show. Jennifer focused on her upper body and her glutes based on feedback from the judges. Jennifer loves mountain biking but saves it for improvement season and then switches to road cycling and hiking for prep.

Jennifer sees bodybuilding as lifetime fitness. Even when she’s done competing, she will keep working out. She does her second workout with her son and wants to be a role model and stay healthy. She wants to keep healthy and stay active for life. She had the goal of getting her pro card before she turned 50, and she did it!

Jennifer’s husband is a bug support for her. They check in with each other  regarding their workouts, keeping communication open to make sure everyone’s needs are being met. They work as a great team, even tackling meal prep together. Everyone in the family will eat the same foods. 

While eating the same foods, each family member still has autonomy in their food choices. Her husband and son don’t weigh their food like she does, but they still make conscious food choices. Jennifer’s son is also very supportive of her. He helps keep her on track and even critiques her posing. Jennifer loves that her son is involved and they both treat bodybuilding as a sport that requires hard work. 

Celeste asks Jennifer about a special tradition she has with her family post show. They share wine and charcuterie to honor their family Friday nights. Another tradition they honor daily is sitting together and talking about their day with no distractions. 

Jennifer talks about the shift that started to happen before she was even a pro. Because she was visualizing being a pro and creating positive energy around her goal, she felt like a pro before she even was one. She believes this focus and mindset helped her achieve her goal. Soon she will start visualizing her next goal. She also sets goals with her family and sets them on a vision board to help keep track of them. 

Celeste asks Jennifer to offer advice for new competitors and aspiring pros. Jennifer advises aspiring pros to look at the energy they are bringing to their routine. Always practice with your best energy. To new competitors, Jennifer urges them to go to a show and see what it’s like as well as evaluate their motives as to why they want to do a show. Trust the process. To both, she encourages family time. 


Time Stamps
[1:22] Jennifer talks about her pre-stage ritual.

[5:00] Jennifer talks about her cousin passing away 8 days before the show.

[7:34] Celeste asks if she will be taking the same energy to pro debut.

[8:14] Celeste asks Jennifer about the unconventional set up of this year’s North Americans.

[10:40] Jennifer talks about her experience in natural federations. 

[12:37] Jennifer talks about the origins of her fitness journey. 

[16:30] Celeste asks Jennifer what one thing that transformed the way she viewed her life. 

[19:25] Celeste askes Jennifer about her current body image. 

[22:22] Jennifer addresses the thought of being too old to reach certain goals. 

[25:08] Celeste asks if she ever feels overwhelmed

[27:17] Jennifer explains cations she took to be more present.  

[28:14] Jennifer talks about balancing everything with her demanding job. 

[31:20] Celeste asks how her prep differs from an improvement season. 

[32:40] Jennifer talks about how she chooses competitions. 

[34:58] Celeste asks what changed between 2019 and 2020 North Americans. 

[39:15] Jennifer talks about what it was that kept her going. 

[40:49] They discuss what improvements Jennifer made based on feedback. 

[44:35] Jennifer talks about different forms of cardio. 

[46:57] Celeste asks about Jennifer’s past athletic experiences. 

[49:35] Jennifer speaks about her husband’s support. 

[53:15] Jennifer talks about her family’s eating habits. 

[54:33] Celeste asks what Jennifer’s son thinks about what she does. 

[57:50] They talk about children with parents that compete. 

[59:33] Jennifer talks about a tradition she has with her husband. 

[63:21] Celeste asks Jennifer how her mindset has shifted since winning her pro card. 

[68:04] Jennifer offers advice to new competitors and aspiring pros. 

[70:30] Close out.