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Confessions of a Bikini Pro

Jul 31, 2020

In this episode Celeste speaks with Suzanne Fargo, an athlete who has overcome major adversities through her two regional and two nationals shows to achieve the success she has today and who is a true representation that age is not a limiting factor in the sport of bodybuilding. 

As always, Celeste kicks off the episode by asking Suzanne about her pre-stage ritual. Next, Suzanne goes on to describe her experiences at her national show, where the morning of her competition did not go as expected. With the make up artist running late and a mix up of when her class was being called, Suzanne explains the anxiety she felt as she rushed to get ready, only to find out that she was ready early as the Pro class for her age group was being called instead of the amateurs.

From there, Celeste asks Suzanne to recount her experiences and journey to that national stage, including the show where the two women were able to meet in person, Gold Coast Classic, which was Suzanne’s first show. Suzanne shares what her feedback was from the judges and what she worked on to improve her physique for the national stage. 

Before diving into the challenges and obstacles Suzanne has dealt with throughout her journey, Celeste asks Suzanne what inspired her to get into the gym to start lifting. Suzanne shares that she was diagnosed in December 2016 with Osteopenia, early osteoporosis, meaning that she had weak bones, which was a condition she was unaware of having. She explains that for four years before her diagnosis she experienced various broken bones, which led her to get a bone density scan. 

Suzanne’s doctor recommended she start weight resistance training to prevent more serious problems in the following years and she found out that her Osteopenia was genetic given that was not deficient in Vitamin D or Calcium. 

Being that she is half Taiwanese, Suzanne also learned that both osteopenia and osteoporosis are common conditions throughout the Asian community. With her doctors advice in mind, Suzanne sought out a trainer at a local gym and after a few months she really began to see her body change. It was then that her trainer at the time suggested she try prepping for a bikini competition. Celeste asks Suzanne about if she ever had any pain in her bones when she began lifting weights, as it was something her body was not used to and had broken so many bones in the past. 

Next, Celeste opens the conversation to the topic of age. Celeste asks Suzanne to share her thoughts on getting into competing at her age and if she ever felt she was too old, which leads to Suzanne revealing her age. Suzanne shares that she has never felt that her age has been something to hold her back from going after her goals. Celeste asks Suzanne if she knew she would want to turn pro after her first experience on stage. Suzanne reflects on her experiences as a collegiate athlete and states that she knew that if she wanted to reach the next level she would have to reign in the necessary discipline and mentality to do so.

Since Suzanne first started training in the gym and getting into competing she has had the opportunity to work with more than one coach. Celeste has Suzanne share the different approaches and techniques each coach has taken, how her preps have differed, and if Suzanne prefers one particular training method or style over another. Suzanne notes that each coach has served a particular purpose in her journey and talks about if she had any doubts or fears while transitioning between coaches. She then shares how she likes working with her current coach, Shane, and what she likes most about working with him. 

Celeste asks about the influence Shane’s belief in Suzanne and her abilities has had on her journey to achieving her pro card. Suzanne shares that her coach never once doubted her potential to go pro and the importance of strategic planning they discussed when it came to competing at the national level. Celeste has Suzanne share her favorite part of her road to pro between the experiences with her different coaches, the methods she personally liked most, and what she’s learned along the way. 

Suzanne talks about Shane’s “old school bodybuilding” approach when it comes to training, using the same workout plan over years yet progressing in each individual movement. From there, the two women further discuss that strategy and its benefits instead of constantly switching up ones workout routine. 

After discussing training Celeste and Suzanne talk nutrition. Suzanne explains her reasoning behind eating a pure plant based diet for a portion of the week along with her meat based meals. The two women talk about their favorite preferred animal proteins yet that they can appreciate and enjoy fully plant based meals from time to time.

Celeste discusses the psychology between positive and negative reinforcement with behaviors and how that translates to nutrition and bodybuilding and seeing the physical results one desires. They then discuss the difference between actual cravings and perceived cravings and the perceived norms associated with post show treats.

Switching gears, Celeste asks Suzanne about her career prior to competing. Suzanne dives into her 25-year career in retail fashion and how she fell into that industry after majoring in Sociology, a degree she decided on after not feeling called study subjects she did not enjoy, such as math. She shares that now she would love to become more involved in the health and fitness industry and focus on working with women over 40, encouraging them to believe in themselves and break the belief that age is a limiting factor on ones goals. 

Next, Celeste asks Suzanne to share some of the setbacks and obstacles she experienced throughout her competing career. Suzanne shares that her first national show experience was delayed because of a surgery her doctor refused to let her put off after fighting through a hernia to step on stage at her two regional shows. Suzanne walks us through her journey of fighting through various injuries and sicknesses while doing everything in her power to step on those national stages and achieve her pro card.

Suzanne shares the impact her coach had while she was going through these tough times and how, no matter what, he encouraged her “not to let anyone beat her” and to push through the struggles. While on the topic of all things competing, Celeste asks Suzanne about her plans to step on stage for her pro debut, which leads Suzanne to share her plans and setbacks she is currently working through. Concluding the episode, Suzanne shares her best advice for new competitors and girls on their road to pro. 

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Episode Time Stamps:
[1:40] Suzanne shares her pre-stage ritual with listeners. 

[3:00] Celeste asks Suzanne about the morning of her national show and what happened that made it such a crazy experience.

[8:30] Suzanne shares the feedback she received from the various judges she competed in front before hitting the national stage.

[10:50] Celeste asks Suzanne to share what inspired her to start lifting. 

[12:00] Suzanne explains what Osteopenia is and how she came to be diagnosed.

[15:35] Celeste asks if Suzanne had any pain in her bones when she started lifting due to her Osteopenia. 

[17:15] Suzanne talks about feelings she had regarding her age; did she feel she was too old when she got started in competing?

[18:15] Celeste has Suzanne share her age with listeners. 

[19:45] Suzanne shares her original thoughts on whether or not she would become an IFBB pro.

[25:00] Celeste asks Suzanne to share her experiences and approaches to preps with the different coaches she’s had throughout her career and if she’s found more enjoyment with one method in particular.

[28:40] Celeste asks Suzanne about her experiences switching coaches and if she had any doubts or difficulties leaving one to work with another.

[30:40] Suzanne shares how her coach, Shane, had an influence on her because of his strong belief in her abilities.

[32:00] Celeste and Suzanne discuss the importance of strategic planning with ones coach, especially while on the road to pro.

[34:15] Celeste asks Suzanne about what aspects she has enjoyed most about the approach she’s taken with her various coaches during her preps while on her road to pro and now starting her pro career. 

[40:00] Suzanne talks about her nutrition and her method of taking half the week to eat a fully plant based diet.

[43:00] Suzanne talks about how she’s not one to crave sweets; her and Celeste talk about honoring your body’s cravings and not stressing over what to eat, especially post show.

[46:40] Celeste asks Suzanne about her career prior to finding competing.

[50:00] Suzanne talks about wanting to help women over 40 not let age be a deterring factor from them competing and her hopes that one day there will be a Masters Arnold & Olympia.

[54:00] Celeste has Suzanne share some adversities and difficulties she overcame while on her road to pro.

[56:30] Suzanne talks about how a hernia surgery impacted her post show plans after her second competition.

[60:00] Suzanne shares how she got ready for North Americans despite not being able to do any cardio due to bronchitis.

[63:15] Celeste asks Suzanne about her recovery after North Americans.

[64:40] Celeste asks Suzanne if she’s currently in prep for her pro debut and Suzanne shares what setbacks she’s been working through.

[70:30] Celeste has Suzanne share if there's anything else she’d like to tell listeners.

[71:30] Suzanne gives her best advice for first time competitors and girls on their road to pro.