Briana Agno - Figure Competitor

Briana: I started to compete this January, 2016, because I had an eating disorder. I would binge eat when stressed, eat out a lot, and I was gaining weight quickly. In the previous 3-4 months before January I gained about 25 lbs. I had a busy work and school schedule that didn't give me time to go home and make something to eat. On top of that, I didn't really care about being healthy. Although I was always an active person, from soccer in high school to Olympic lifting, I knew that my diet and eating habits needed a serious change, and my coaches at Iron Addiction gave me the proper help and guidance to change my lifestyle completely.

Off season I usually eat a lot more than pre-contest. It's a lot of food, but still healthy foods, and necessary to build muscle! I eat a lot of carbs and more protein compared to pre-show, where I limit carbs, because I'm trying to lean out. My caloric intake on off-season is about 1600-1700 calories and pre-show is about 1200-1300. But these calories are based on my personal macronutrients, and each individual has their own macro intake. I find that keeping track of my macros is the most successful diet to get lean and to build muscle.

I competed in CrossFit for awhile and tried many different kinds of diets. I've tried the paleo diet, but it didn't work for me. I would crash and then binge again. I also tried cutting out sugar completely, but I found out when I did that, I would just eat other junk foods without sugar. I was also unaware, at the time, of foods that have sugar in them, like some breads, which I continued to eat. After that diet, too, I gave up and binged again. In both diets, I still wasn't feeling energized and healthy. I was moody and didn't perform as well in competitions.

A video posted by Briana (@briinic) on

I lift 6 days a week, working all of the muscle groups (a different one each day, including back, shoulders, biceps, legs, chest, etc) and I do HIIT cardio 5 days a week for 20 minutes on the elliptical. The best time to do cardio is after a lift or in the morning on an empty stomach. Dieting coordinates with training. They go together and both are essential to progress. If you train without the proper diet, you won't see the progress you want to see.

The self-confidence part was the hardest for me. I didn't have much confidence in the first place, and thinking of being on stage made me so nervous. I just kept reminding myself of how far I've come and that I deserve to show off my hard work. I decided to just have fun and to not worry about the outcome. When I got on stage, I was just so proud of myself. Competing is so much more than you think it is, and I have never felt more confident in my life! I think the best part about facing your fears is that once you do, you aren't afraid anymore.

I've only competed once, in an NPC Figure show at the Contra Costa Championships. I placed 3rd in Novice and 4th in Open amongst a stacked class with lots of experienced girls. The fact that I've only been bodybuilding for 7 months now, when other girls have been doing it for years, makes me so happy to have even placed.

The whole experience of check-ins was a disaster. I wasn't as prepared as I should have been. I didn't exfoliate very well and my spray tan turned out terrible. I also did my own hair and makeup, when I should have paid to have it done. Getting up early for prejudging was stressful, and my hair and makeup didn't turn out as good as everyone else's did. I also didn't bring "loose enough" clothing to wear after my spray tan, and was uncomfortable the whole time.

I would also advise anyone who hasn't competed to buy one of those Travel Johns boxes, to avoid messing up your spray tan when you're going to the bathroom. (Just look it up on google).

Prejudging was nerve-wracking but finals weren't as bad, since I had already been up on stage and they had their minds made up already. The waiting part was tough though, make sure you find something to do in between prejudging and finals.

In 2017 I'll be competing in my next NPC Figure show. That year, I will also be in my 4th year of college, attending 3 years at Woodland Community College and 1 year at UC Davis, where I plan on getting my biological sciences degree and going to their medical school. Also, I recently started a modeling career. I can definitely give all the credit to competing. I have found my confidence because of it.

It takes a lot to be dedicated to competing when working and going to school, but it's definitely possible. If I can do it, anyone can do it. Good things in life don't come easy, they require work and persistence.

So if I could give any advice to anyone, it would be to never give up! Remember that a small step is still a step.

A video posted by Briana (@briinic) on

Instagram: @briinic

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