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Confessions of a Bikini Pro

Sep 4, 2020

In this episode, Celeste speaks with Kim Sermeno, a Salvadorian immigrant who learned English in three months, obtained US citizenship and her college degree in nutrition, and who is a soon to be gym owner who earned her pro card at North Americans in 2019.

Celeste starts off the episode in her usual fashion by asking Kim about her pre stage ritual. From there, Kim shares with listeners how she got started in fitness and competing and what led her to pursue achieving her pro card.

Kim shares that growing up she was always athletic, participating in various sports such as track, soccer, and softball. When she came to the United States she discovered the gym and it was then that she started the transition from being a runner to immersing herself in the world of weightlifting.

After being asked by other gym goers if she was a competitor, Kim started researching the sport and decided to give it a try. Next, Kim talks about her experiences with her first two competitions being self coached and the approach she took to her nutrition. She then goes on to share how she started off competing in smaller shows to allow herself to manage her nerves and allow herself to get comfortable with the stage and the sport.

Celeste asks Kim if her nerves have progressed as she’s climbed through the ranks from amateur to pro, yet Kim shares how she believes her background in modeling helped her feel comfortable on stage. Since Kim jumped into competing without knowing a lot about what bodybuilding entailed, Celeste asks Kim if, looking back, there is anything she wishes she had known prior to starting in the NPC.

Kim explains that her approach to nutrition has changed since she started, from being self-taught to now working with a coach who has her on a structured meal plan for competitions. Then, Kim gives listeners insight on how her approach to nutrition changes during the off season and she admits that she doesn’t track macros or calories. She shares that she doesn’t feel the need to count meticulously in her off seasons as this has become her lifestyle and she understands how to fuel her body properly regardless of her current “season.” Kim and Celeste discuss the concept of treating the body like a treasure and how that translates to leading a healthy lifestyle.

From there, Celeste transitions into Kim’s competing career and asks how her approach has differed over the years. Kim explains that she follows the plan her coach gives her and that she never sees competing as a chore, as it’s something she  loves chooses to pursue.

She shares that although she does have cravings during prep, she never gives in and loves seeing how her body changes the closer she gets to a show. With that being said, Celeste asks Kim to share her favorite prep meals and the ladies discuss their shared love for meals including oats. Next, Celeste asks Kim to share her favorite exercises for glutes, hamstrings, and shoulders if she could only choose one exercise for each muscle group.

The ladies discuss how much they both love smaller isolation movements and band work as well as typical heavy compound movements, which many prefer to emphasize when it comes to building muscle. After discussing training, Celeste asks Kim to walk listeners through her experiences competing in various national shows and how she addressed the feedback given to her by the judges.

Kim shares how she took first her class at her first show, the Olympia Amateur, then from there proceeded to do well in other shows, almost achieving her pro card, yet at one national shows she landed in one of the last call outs, making her reconsider if competing was for her.

Despite being on the fence about her future in competing, Kim had already signed up for the next national show and also had plans to vacation with her boyfriend. Kim recounts her experiences of being on vacation and how the time away from her training and diet affected her physique. After coming home, Kim realized she was up 10 pounds being only 11 days out from her show and she explains how she and her coach addressed the setbacks and persevered regardless.

Kim felt a newfound sense of confidence in herself during the show after hearing other women compliment her physique backstage and how that was the day she achieved her pro card. Celeste and Kim reflect on the various challenges Kim faced before finally reaching her goal and how that only made her a stronger athlete. Celeste then asks Kim what she would like to accomplish with her IFBB pro status and Kim shares her hopes and aspirations to one day step on the Olympia and Arnold stages. 

Switching gears from all things competing, Celeste asks Kim more about her journey to citizenship; how she ended up in the United States being an immigrant from El Salvador, and what inspired her to come to California.

Kim explains that growing up she was one of five children and after seeing how hard her mother worked to provide for her and her siblings, Kim knew she wanted a better life for herself. She also shares how life in El Salvador differs from that in the United States, stating that the weaker economy and lack of options and opportunities in terms of higher education and jobs limits ones potential. Kim sought a better life not only for herself but for her family as well.

She opens up and reveals that she originally came over as an illegal immigrant, recounting her experiences on her journey to the United States, which she plans to write about and publish, titling the book “29 Days,” as a tribute to the time it took her to cross the border.

Next, Kim talks about her plans to not only become an author but to open a gym in her city of San Juan Capistrano. She explains the reasoning and motivation behind wanting to open up her own facility as well as the some of the challenges she has faced thus far. Kim shares that she has always wanted to be a business owner and explains some of the other projects she is working on both in business and in education, yet how all her goals are interconnected.

Celeste then asks Kim how bodybuilding has helped her as both a business owner and a mother. Kim talks about how she admired her mothers hard work ethic and how that inspired her to be a hard worker, a good mother but also enjoy the fruits of her labor. Kim also mentions the point of the greater the risk, the greater the reward, and how she has taken that approach with her business ventures.

​After discussing business, Kim shares how she learned English after arriving in the US not knowing the language at all. Kim shares her strategy of immersing herself in the language every way she could and how that helped her learn the basics before being able to take classes. Celeste also asks how Kim met her now boyfriend and how he and her son not only support her but keep her accountable during her competition preps. Lastly, as always, Kim shares her best advice for first time competitors and for girls on their road to pro.

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Time Stamps:
[1:45] Kim shares her pre-stage ritual with listeners.

[2:15] Celeste asks Kim to share how she got started in fitness and when she found competing.

[4:38] Kim shares how she prepped herself for her first two competitions.

[7:50] Celeste asks Kim if she’s ever experienced nervousness before hitting the stage as her competitive career continued to progress.

[9:20] Celeste asks Kim if there’s anything she wishes she had known prior to competing in her first NPC show.

[12:40] Kim shares her approach she takes with nutrition in her improvement seasons as opposed to during prep.

[14:00] Celeste asks Kim if she takes an intuitive eating approach during her off season, given that she doesn’t track her food or macros.

[17:25] Celeste has Kim share the differences, if any, amongst the various preps she has done.

[18:50] Kim shares why she loves bodybuilding.

[20:20] Celeste asks Kim about her favorite prep meal.

[22:00] Kim shares her favorite exercises for shoulders, hamstrings and glutes.

[25:00] Kim discusses her experiences competing in various national shows and how she addressed the feedback she received from the judges.

[32:15] Celeste asks Kim to share about her time on vacation before North Americans and her thoughts about the physique she felt she would bring to the stage.

[35:30] Celeste asks Kim if she felt she brought a different physique to each of her national shows.

[37:40] Kim talks about what it was like to compete at the Olympia amateur.

[40:00] Celeste asks Kim what she would like to accomplish as an IFBB Pro.

[42:40] Kim shares her path to citizenship and her journey from El Salvador to California.

[45:00] Celeste asks Kim about the actual citizenship process.

[49:00] Kim talks about her plans to open up her gym.

[52:00] Celeste asks Kim how bodybuilding has helped her as a business owner and mother.

[55:40] Celeste asks Kim how she learned English.

[59:15] Kim talks about how she met her boyfriend and how he and her son keep her accountable during prep. 

[61:25] Kim shares her best advice for first time competitors and girls on her road to pro