Brianna Wright - Bikini Competitor

I've always had an interest in fitness, having been in weight training classes in high school and casually lifting weights through college. A few years ago, I had gained quite a bit of weight (about 50 lbs) and had a moment when I couldn't zip up my 'fat pants'. At that point I knew I had to make a change to take control of my life again. So I got back into the gym and cleaned up my diet and started losing the weight.

Last summer, I started training with my uncle (who also happens to compete in bodybuilding) and I expressed an interest in competing. He was really encouraging and coached me through the process. At that time I was in the process of making the shift to a vegan lifestyle, which made the diet a bit of a challenge but totally worth it. So, I competed in October of 2016 at the Daytona Beach Classic and was absolutely hooked. I took some time between then and my last two shows in July, Beach Bodies Classic and Ancient City Classic to make some improvements.

That moment just before they called my number for the overall.... I think my uncle/coach's face says it all. I owe a lot to him (though he won't take much credit) for letting me do this prep my way, reassuring me when I was in doubt and for being tough on me when I needed to hear it. My hubs also deserves a lot of credit. Thanks for being so sweet and patient throughout this process. Oh, and for already saying I can buy a new ??! @drtopwop @kdub_321 #ancientcityclassic2017 #veganmuscle #plantbasedmuscle #govegan #eatyourveggies #stilltransforming

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Diet off-season vs. pre-contest: The biggest difference for me is tracking meals. During prep I follow macros and track everything I eat. Now in my improvement season, I may track occasionally to be sure I'm meeting caloric needs. I love being able to eat intuitively and getting to be more creative with my meals in improvement season. Eating a whole foods plant based diet makes it really easy to eat intuitively.
I've only competed following macros on a vegan diet and it's been really effective. In my past preps, I've followed higher protein which means eating more processed food like tofu, tempeh, and Gardein 'meats'. I have learned from that experience that for my next prep I want to stick to more whole foods which means higher carbs. I'm looking forward to finding out how that works for my body.

I lift 5-6 days per week depending on whether I'm in prep or improvement season. For cardio I like to mix it up with HIIT and steady state. During this improvement season I'm training shoulders and glutes twice each week as that's where I want more muscle. Right now I'm focusing on eating enough to make the gains I'm working for.

Building the self-confidence: Practice, practice, practice. I'm really fortunate that my gym, Beach Bodies, hosts posing clinics for free. During prep I also practice posing between every set. It feels a bit silly, but it makes a huge difference in your stage presence when you can get up there and pose without having to think about it.

At the Ancient City Classic, I felt so much more confident than I did at my previous two shows. I had put in months of hard work and had followed my peak week protocol precisely. I knew I had brought my best package yet and that's all I could ask for. That made me feel much more relaxed for check-ins. I also had my mom and sister with me taking care of me which was amazing. At prejudging, things moved extremely quickly so I didn't have as much time back stage to 'get in the zone' and I think I looked a bit tense on stage. So, at finals I really focused on 'getting in the zone' backstage. I listened to music with earbuds in and practice my posing, really focusing on bringing that sass. I think that really showed on stage especially during the pose down for the overall.

Life as an athlete: The biggest impact is time. I spend a great deal more time in the gym and prepping food. Prep sometimes feels like a part time job. Since I'm a teacher, competing in the summer makes things much easier. I also have to give my husband a ton of credit. He's so supportive and does whatever he can to make my prep easier.

Future goals: I will definitely be competing again next summer. I'd like to compete again at the Ancient City Classic to defend my title, make a comeback at the Beach Bodies Classic, and maybe a National Qualifier. I've also recently started blogging about my experience as a vegan bodybuilder, so I'm hoping to reach bodybuilders who are tired of eating chicken and tilapia to show another way of eating. There's lifestyle and recipe posts there as well.

Social media:
Instagram @confessionsofaveganmeathead

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