Light-Bulb Moment: Goal or No Goal?
In February 2013, in the spirit of companywide health, Michelle Jerred’s employer, The Vitamin Shoppe, requested that everyone fill out a card that stated his or her wellness goal. Jerred was embarrassed to admit she didn’t have one. Though she had always been very thin, Jerred had never been much for exercise and had never even picked up a dumbbell. Regardless, she wrote on her card that she wanted to compete in a Bikini competition in 2014. She had recently seen a show and thought, “If I could get up in front of hundreds of people in a bikini, I could do anything!”
Jerred enlisted the help of a friend at work who literally taught her everything from the ground up. “It wasn’t just that I didn’t know how to work out; I didn’t even know where my bodyparts were,” Jerred admits. “My friend had to show me — here are your biceps, here are your quads, this is the exercise that works these muscles and this is how you do it properly.”
After a few months, Jerred joined up with Bombshell Fitness, a coaching service that helped her with training, posing, nutrition and everything else she needed to know about competition. Under the company’s tutelage, she was well on her way.
Even though the actual goal Jerred made was physical, a lot of her work was mental. Having just gone through a divorce, she was feeling damaged. “I lost a lot of confidence,” she says. “I needed something to give me a new, positive outlook, and I thought competition would help me in that way.” Jerred was also terrified of public speaking and believed that a contest would help her overcome that fear.
Positive, motivating thoughts helped carry Jerred through the tough times in her training, even when she desperately wanted to quit. “One day, I was on the treadmill crying because I was exhausted and didn’t want to be there,” she says. “But I didn’t just want to compete, I wanted to do well. While it was hard to be on that treadmill, it would have been worse to go onstage knowing that I didn’t do everything I could have done.”
In April 2014, Jerred competed in the NPC John Kemper Classic and placed third in the masters division and 10th in her open class. “I’m actually much prouder of the 10th place because I had to go up against a bunch of 18-year-olds, and as you know, after you have kids, things change!” she says, laughing. “To do that well against such young girls inspired me to make a new goal: placing top five in an open class. So that’s what I’m going for next.”
Revelations of a Fitness Freshie
- When I started training, I was a beanpole — about 107 pounds at 5 feet 7 inches with no definition. Now I weigh 116 to 120, and I look completely different. But the thing that blows my mind is that I’m the same clothing size. That’s fascinating to me.”
- I actually love working out in front of a mirror, not for vanity — more to see the mechanics of my body working and the changes I’m making. I might look like this petite, demure person, but get me in a gym, and I transform.”
- My tan on show day was blotchy and horrific! But there was nothing I could do about it, so I made the choice to be positive and went onstage with a smile.”
- I hang my bathing suit in my bathroom to remind me of what I am doing, how far I have come, and that if I put my mind to something, there is no stopping me.”
- I used my experience to teach my daughters some life lessons, like making a goal and sticking to it. Recently, my oldest told me she wanted to climb Mount Everest. I told her that there was a lot of work involved, but that if she stuck with it, she could do anything she wanted to do.”