Carolina Araujo - IFBB Bikini Pro

I started competing about three years ago, although I had my mind set in the idea of stepping on stage for a couple of years prior to that. However, like any other sport competing requires much time, discipline, and focus - which at the time I first heard about the sport I was not able to fully apply. I was in the middle of my college carrier, with a full time job and knew it would be too much for me to handle. So I decided to wait. When I was on my last semester I got in touch with a coach and by the time I was graduating I had already been implementing a dietary regimen as well as a workout program specific to the division that I would be competing in - Bikini. The week I graduate was the same week I reached a 12 week mark and I knew from then on was full steam ahead.

#TBT to the morning of the NY Pro during slow carb up period and hourly check ins with coach @fakhrimubarak_ceo_ifbbpro _ This is by far the proudest I have ever been of my physique, conditioning, and preparedness ?? Couldn't have done it without the love and support of so many, but specially my love ?? @serbian_machine ?? and my sponsors @teammusclesport @protan_official @wwwbeeyecandycom @all_that_glitters_gems @p28foods _ I am determined to smoke this physique in the next 3 weeks and bring out my best! See you soon @baltimorefitnessexpo _ #IFBB #bikinipro #throwbackthursdays #bikiniathlete #NYPRO #showday #workhard #commitment #focus #bodybuilding #roadtotheolympia #hungry #wwwbeeyecandycom #p28foods #protan #MuscleSport #allthatglittersgems #3weeksout

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My diet stays fairly similar between on and off season, although some of my protein sources may become more present than other depending on the stage of the process. I am a strong believer that one must first build a foundation in order to trim the edges down as the process tightens up - and so does my coach - so there is plenty of red meat, eggs, potatoes, white rice, oats, and peanut butter up until about 6 weeks outs.
Although I don’t have a set number, I could estimate that on-season my calories range between 1300-1700 (towards the last 2 or 3 weeks) while off-season I am given a bit more slack and park around the 1700 - 1900s. The goal is to always maintain your body well fed and your metabolism fueled

Before I fully committed to competing I attempted extreme carbohydrate deprivation, which only led me to lose a lot of muscle mass, become extremely fatigued and deal with a bit of a binging spree once I realized I was damaging my body. There’s a certain about of sugar, fats and protein your body requires to function properly, and although you do need to place yourself through depletion during “cutting” phases of your preparation, cycling in and out of such periods is just as important in order to maintain a fast and efficient metabolism.

My training program is composed of 5-6 lifting days and 5-6 cardio days as well. When it comes to lifting during season my focus in on both load and volume until about 2-3 weeks out. When I reach that point the weight drops and the volume is kicked up a couple of notches. At that point the diet is extremely dire so overexerting myself only leads to muscle loss and it opens the window for injury. On the mean time, cardio stays pretty consistent during my whole season varying from 40-60 min of HIIT. Conditioning has always been a key part of my regimen.

My diet is solely structured by my coach Fakhri Mubarak. Regimen may or may not change weekly, but the overall idea is that the closer you are, the more sugar and fat depleted you become. It all depends of how my body responds.

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Building self-confidence: Oh, that took me some good time. I first started posing for my first show when I was about 6 or 7 months away from show day. I have never been a performing arts persona and never enjoyed being in front of a huge crowd. I am more of a get down and dirty at the gym in the weight room, where although I am also being watched, I can fully focused on every workout, every exercise. So for me practice was KEY.
Every day I posed a little, every time I would attend a show I would do research on the athletes that I liked on stage, and from there I started to build my own stage presentation, my own stage essence.

The truth is that as your body transforms and your physique progresses the fear almost disappears, the focus is no longer on the “omg how am I going to do this?”, but on the “holy C*** this is me! I got here!”. There’s a sense of pride that appears and it makes it easier to rise up to the occasion.

This year was my first season competing as a Professional athlete for the IFBB bikini division, so I think it's fitting I share something about my pro debut. Leading up to show day the intensity of training was the same. I have been told I am very much a ‘all of nothing’ kind of person, so I can say the intensity of my preparations has been the same since I started competing for the NPC. However, on show day, as I got closer and closer to athletes’ check in I was so nervous just to be called up to receive my number. It felt like someone was twisting my stomach and I was about to poke. For me that symbolized, much more than actually being on stage, it represented my entrance to this world I never imagined I would become part of and it was almost as if I was watching myself get up, walk down the hall, and stand in front of the head judges, probably with the most yellow smile and wide eyes and walk away.

Being an athlete has definitely shifted the way I perceive and handle situations. The care and caution you must have with your body, since my sport and profession (as a personal trainer) solely depend on my ability to perform at my peak. However, over the course of the seasons I have also learned to manage a way to adjust my life prior to competing into my life post. It's important to remember to shift priorities on and off season.
Don't get me wrong, once the tunnel vision is on for a show, it's really on. But I find it extremely important not to live in a vacuum, to remember the people around me, to nurture my relationships to the best of my ability, because this sport it is in fact a one man show. So it's easy to seclude yourself from the world as a way to get through it.

Future plans: To improve - always. One show should be a progression of your past one. So during my off seasons I life to allow my body to rest, focus on work and clients even more, and improve all the little glitches and bumps that I did not get a chance to this competitive season. I don't have a set show date for next season, but the goal is the same as always. Earn my place on the Olympia stage.

For the mean time I am working on expanding my business as a personal trainer and online coach. That's what I am truly passionate about: training, nutrition, and a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Contact info:
IG: @carolaraujo_fitness
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