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Confessions of a Bikini Pro

Aug 14, 2020

 In this week’s episode, host Celeste Rains-Turk sits down with IFBB Bikini Pro and Coach Jessica Dolias. As a certified holistic nutritionist, Jessica shares insight on how holistic nutrition has helped her own mindset and relationship with food and how she passes this insight on to her own clients. Jessica stresses the importance of eating foods that make you feel whole, both mentally and physically, instead of cutting things out of your diet.

As Jessica shares how her interest in holistic nutrition began, she dives into her past with disordered eating. She talks about how the numbers she constantly chased (the scale, the macros, the calories) had negative effects on her body image and her eating style. Jessica explains about the moment she recognized that something had to change in her current lifestyle as she noticed the lifelessness in her own reflection.

Jessica proudly discusses how she worked through her recovery by herself and how her mentality made a shift from focusing on eating as little as possible to instead focusing on eating healthy. Although this shift has been made, Jessica talks about how it wasn’t an instant shift. She talks about how although she has been recovered for 10 years, she still finds herself dealing with disorder thinking and shares some of her best advice to competitors who may be going through what she has in the past.

As the episode progresses, Jessica talks about her career and her education. When she lost her job due to her company shutting down, Jessica decided to seize the opportunity to start her own business so she would be able to pursue her dream, training clients and becoming a coach for Bombshell Fitness. She shares how her background in dance has aided her to becoming a posing queen, with one judge giving her the feedback that when she is on stage posing, she “lights up the room”.

Like many of us, Jessica has had to make adaptation in the recent months due to quarantine. She shares how her unorthodox gym has helped create a new passion and drive for the sport. While she’s squatting with tree trunks she recognized that the quarantine only reinforced her passion because although the circumstances have changed, the excitement for the sport has only grown.

Finally, Jessica shares her own journey to the stage. As she fought her way to the top through 10 shows, three of which were national levels, she shares how important it was for her journey to get a “less than optimal” placing. Her 16th place at her first national show made her realize how badly she wanted to push harder to earn her pro card. She also talks about how important it was for her own journey to be involved in the industry outside of her own training and coaching. She talks about the passion she has developed for the sport in things such as working with the tanning company and expediting the stage. She shares how important it was for her to take her competing career to the next level by working behind the scenes.

In this insightful and powerful episode, Jessica reinforces the importance of building a life that competing fits into and visualizing your way to success.



[2:17] Pre Stage Rituals
[3:14] The Importance of Daily Visualization
[5:20] Holistic Nutrition and its Definition
[6:53] Living with and without an eating disorder
[8:50] Eating Disorder Recovery
[9:55] Choosing to study nutrition
[13:20] Recognizing the Goal Value of Food
[14:14] “Coming out the other side” of an Eating Disorder
[17:43] Importance for Competitors to be Mindful of their Relationship with Food
[20:49] Reinforcing healthy behaviors and thought patterns
[23:21] Being Mentally Prepared to commit to competing
[26:31] The Journey to Becoming a Competition Coach
[31:42] Starting a Business
[33:03] Obtaining a degree from the Fashion Institute Technology (FIT)
[35:00] A Dance Background’s Impact on Competing
[36:59] Feedback received from the judges
[38:40] Favorite Exercises for Glutes, Shoulders and Hamstrings
[40:21] Evolving with the Bikini Division
[43:44] Prep under lockdown
[47:57] Maintaining an unwavering commitment to the sport for over five years
[51:30] Journey to becoming an IFBB Pro
[53:48] The Experience of winning the overall at NPC Universe
[55:29] “Leveling Up” and creating new goals
[56:23] Spousal support in the competition world
[58:20] Pets and easing into the farm life
[59:37] Ways to become more involved in the industry
[1:01:34] Best Advice for New Competitors and Competitors looking to go pro

Jessica Dolias

  1. Competing in 2015, 10 shows before winning pro card at Universe (3rd national show) in 2017, certified nutritionist and holistic nutritionist, has degree in fashion, works with ICE tanning hair and makeup and works as expidiotr 
    1. [[2:17] Prestage Rituals: gets into her zone, gets quite and visualizes herself on stage, when lining up she likes to perk herself up and talk to everyone around her, get conversation going
    2. [3:14] Importance of daily visualization, using it as fuel and motivation
  2. Holistic Nutrition [5:20]
    1. Definition [5:27]: eating foods that make you feel better and incorporating foods that are full of nutrients that help make your life better
      1. Following a diet that makes you feel whole, not cutting stuff out of your diet
    2. [6:53] differences in life with/without an eating disorder
      1. ~9-10 years ago, her main focus was not about the food but the control of the food, she is an “OCD” person
        1. Focusing on numbers, macros, getting it really low and not paying attention to the food, just looking for low numbers
        2. “How can I get food in so that people don’t realize that I am undereating?”
        3. 5’4” and under 90 pounds,
      2. [8:50] recovery: one day she actually saw herself in the mirror, noticed the lifelessness in her own eyes and she missed the life in her eyes
        1. “I am who I am and I have a lot to offer for life”
          1. [9:55] how she got started in studying nutritionTurned discipline from eating low calories to eating healthy, that’s when she started studying nutrition
          2. Started focusing on her health and that it’s okay to enjoy different foods, but it’s important to life wholefully.
          3. Choosing foods based on what she likes and what will help her build the physique she wants
    3. [13:20] Recognizing the Goal Value of the Food (i.e. enjoying a part of life that isn’t focused on how it’s going to help you change)
    4. [14:14] when she realized she had “come out the other side” of the eating disorder
      1. It wasn’t instant, it took years to get to a point to where those thoughts don’t creep in and they still do try to creep in, 10 years later. It took YEARS to get to the point where she was feeling good about her eating choices.
        1. First ~3 years it was a constant battle, recovering from that on your own is so difficult
        2. You HAVE TO give yourself grace
        3. Don’t know of anyone that has recovered and has been able to instantly change their mindset about it.
        4. You have to be able to have a rational conversation with your thoughts about what you really want
          1. This is a daily, hourly, by the minute decision to change.
    5. [17:09] full recovery is possible but you have to be prepared to handle these thoughts and give yourself grace
    6. [17:43] Importance for competitors to be mindful with their relationship with food
      1. Competing is so regimented that negative relationships can creep back in
      2. There is a fine line between having a good relationship with food and competing, you have to be able to disconnect yourself from the regimen and not let it control your life
      4. Once you can learn what you need and are able to communicate it with your coach you’ll be able to choose your relationship with food is
    7. [20:49] reinforcing healthy behaviors and thought patterns
      1. Learning from experience, how to eat well, fuel yourself well, looking at your fitness as an overall picture as opposed to just the eating or just the training
        1. What you fuel yourself impacts everything, your emotion, your decision making, your energy
        2. You are free to be fit and free to be healthy.
      2. [23:21] don’t forget about the passion, love, fulfillment and lessons that comes with competing
      3. [23:35] being mentally prepared to commit to competing
        1. Girls have to already have a decent relationship with food, yo-yo dieters or those fresh out of an eating disorder are likely not ready for an eating disorder.
          1. Not about pushing people to the stage if they’re not ready for it. If you’re not read for it, it can be so discouraging.
        2. Best factors: You enjoy training, you are an athlete, you like competition, not seeing competing as a diet or to reach a certain weight
    8. [26:31] the journey to becoming a coach
      1. Bombshell fitness coach
      2. Started competing in 2015 doing her own prep, was inspired by the bombshell athletes.
        1. Started as an athlete after her first show, it’s a powerful sisterhood that takes an individual sport and turns it into a team thing. Visualize herself being a bombshell coach.
        2. Lost her job when company closed in 2016 so she ended up opening her own computer programming business to help pay the bills while she was starting her own personal training business, what she was doing when she turned pro
          1. Dream to turn pro and dream to work for bombshell
          2. BECAME A PRO July 2017
          3. Started working with bombshell as a posing coach, then asked her to be a coach
      3. [31:42] Her own computer programming business
        1. Certified programmer, is a service provider for her business, program “smart home” systems and design graphics for it
        2. [33:03] degree from FIT (fashion institute technology)
          1. Moved to manhattan to earn the degree, wanted to be a professional dancer, injured herself in high school and it helped her see things she enjoyed beyond dance
    9. [35:00] does the background of dance help with bodybuilding
      1. 1000%, reason for starting competing was because she missed being on stage, when she got into weight training she was able to combine her love for the stage with the love for weight training
      2. Dance background helped a lot with posing, it’s a forte of hers because it comes naturally with her dance history.
    10. [36:59] Feedback from judges
      1. Been told her posing is great and when she’s on stage posing she “lights up the room” with it.
      2. Been working on building up legs, has built her glutes up way too much and her glutes overpower her legs and shoulders (upper body width)
    11. [38:40] one exercise for shoulders, glutes and hamstrings
      1. Shoulders: lateral raises
      2. Hamstrings: sumo deadlifts
      3. Glutes: reverse lunges, but if she was doing heavy glute training, she would pick hip thrusts
    12. [40:21] changing her diet/training to evolve with the bikini division
      1. Focuses on going heavier
      2. “old school” training for heavy compound lifts, i.e. squats, deadlifts, presses
        1. Higher reps, heavy weight
      3. Eating a lot, more food volume
      4. Everyone should have a different approach because all of our bodies are different
    13. [43:44] Prep under lockdown
      1. No access to gym, hasn’t been in five months ☹
      2. This has been her best/favorite prep yet
        1. Training at home has allowed her to focus more
      3. Unorthodox gym
        1. Bench, dumbbell, squat racks, husband cut down some trees and she is literally squatting with tree trunks, a pulley system made with cinder blocks
      4. Reinforced her passion for the sport because she feels able to still prep for the sow under these unknown circumstances, this was a “blessing in disguise” for her competitive journey
    14. [47:57] maintaining a commitment to the sport for 5 years without wavering
      1. Loves it that much
      2. Sees her own athletes go through ups and downs,
      3. You have to power through it and it takes years to get there, before you hit your “normal”.
      4. You have to be patient with yourself because you are completely changing your lifestyle and your mind doesn’t change overnight.
    15. [51:30] Journey to IFBB pro
      1. 10 shows, 3 national shows
      2. [51:45] most memorable part of journey to IFBB pro
      3. Got 16th place in her first national show, it made her realize how much she wanted to push and had to work harder to earn that spot
        1. Developed a new approach, mindset going into next year (2017)
        2. Got overall in two prestigious NPC shows and rode that high into NPC Universe
        3. Everything felt “right”, it felt like her time
      4. [53:48] experience of winning the overall at NPC Universe
        1. Most overwhelming feeling of chills/butterflies, thinks she cried but isn’t sure
        2. When having a bad day she visualizes that experience and brings herself back there
        3. Surpassed what she dreamed of happening
    16. [55:29] “Leveling Up”, what her new goal/accomplishment is
      1. Placing at a pro show, earn points
      2. Make it to Olympia (I don’t care how long it takes I want to make it happen)
    17. [56:23] support of her husband in competing
    18. [57:20] using shows as a reason to travel together
    19. [58:20] Pets and easing into the farm life
  3. Importance of Food Relationship
  4. Making Dreams Reality
  5. Ways to get Involved in the Industry [59:37] and the impact in the experience as a competitor and coach
    1. Work with tanning company, expedite the stage, takes it to the next level to be behind the scenes as well as on the stage
    2. [1:01:34] Best advice for one who isn’t competing but thinking about it and road to pro
      1. Never competed: look into getting a coach who is involved in the industry and understands it. They’ll help you prep better and if they understand the industry they’ll know what the industry is looking for
      2. Looking to go pro: keep going, if it means that much to you, do not give up, don’t live or die by the win of each show.