Sunnie Viegas - Bikini Competitor

I first competed four years ago in a natural bodybuilding organization, and this particular show awarded pro cards to the first-place winners of each height class. I remember feeling so unsure through what ended up being only a 6-week prep. Iíd been working out for years and had general nutrition and fitness knowledge but didnít know much about bodybuilding as a sport. I was living in an area where fitness competitions were not very popular at the time and this was the only local show, so I didnít have many resources.
I spent hours searching different blogs with tips for first time competitors, but overall felt pretty lost. I honestly donít even remember being on stage because I was so nervous. I must have done something right though because somehow, I made it to the center stage and won my professional status!

Since then I have switched organizations to the NPC, which has more shows throughout the country and in my opinion a higher level of competition. I've coached myself from day 1, and have come such a long way!

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Sunnie Viegas, CPT (@sunviegas) on

I loosely track my macros during my off-season and try to reach a certain number of total calories per day. I am very aware of what Iím consuming, but I do allow flexibility with things like treat meals and a glass of wine here and there. However, when prep begins usually somewhere close to 12-weeks pre-contest I cut out the majority of sugar, alcohol, and dairy that Iíd allow myself to have otherwise. Macros are calculated with mostly high carbs which Iíve found my ectomorph body-type responds best to. Iíve had the most success with carb cycling to maintain muscle while losing fat, and also eating small frequent meals throughout the day.

My first 2 preps basically consisted of low overall calories with no real understanding of what macronutrients were. I thought high protein, low carb, low fat was the best approach because thatís what I had read on other bikini competitorsí blogs. I was pretty restrictive about what I ate and thought that peak week meant only egg whites, tilapia, and asparagus with no seasoning. I was also pushing myself harder than ever in the gym, ended up dropping a lot of weight quickly and seeing my abs for literally the first time in my life.

What I didnít realize then was that I was already extremely lean; although I was losing fat I was losing just as much muscle. There is some element of trial and error with finding what works for you personally, but it is imperative to understand that different body types require different training and nutrition approaches.

My training program is primarily lifting 4-5 days/week, followed by post-steady state cardio 2-3 days/week. Iíll alternate different muscle groups each day to make sure Iím hitting shoulders, legs with glute/hamstring or quad focus, back/chest, and some total body circuits. Heavier lifting usually calls for higher carbs/protein, particularly post-workout. Treat meals are scheduled after heavy lifting sessions. I also try to plan lower carbs on rest days where I am not needing quite as much energy.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Sunnie Viegas, CPT (@sunviegas) on

Honestly it took me a couple shows to feel completely comfortable on stage. However, since then Iíve invested in a posing coach, which has been a complete game-changer for me. Since I have coached myself when it comes to training and nutrition, it can be hard to stay objective when looking at my physique. It has helped so much to have someone in my corner to provide guidance and support. I also really believe in the power of positive thinking and envisioning success, which helped me build my self-confidence to the point it is today.

So far, Iíve done 4 local shows and 1 national show, which have all been slightly different experiences. Anyone who has done multiple shows would probably agree that no two are the same, and the level of organization really depends on the promoter coordinating everything. Personally, I am always a little anxious to know what the venue looks like, how the stage will be set up, what the backstage and pump room amenities are going to be, etc.

Once I get past that though, it is such an incredible feeling of accomplishment to have made it so far. Being surrounded by all of the other incredible physiques is both humbling and motivating. I try to really soak it all in, live in the moment, and enjoy the weekend.

Being an athlete has really become a part of my identity. I have always enjoyed lifting and taken pride in sculpting my physique, so I feel like Iíve found my perfect fit with bodybuilding. Iím not going to lie, there are highs and lows throughout prep and times when Iím really pushing my physical and mental barriers. However, I really thrive on the structure of my training and by having a goal to work towards. I have a really strong support system cheering me on, and Iíve also made lots of connections and friendships that mean the world to me.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Sunnie Viegas, CPT (@sunviegas) on

I recently competed in my first national level competition, taking home 3rd in my height class and missing my IFBB pro card by one place! Right now, Iím just taking things a day at a time, giving myself an adequate off-season to make improvements, and planning to compete nationally again in 2019. I really enjoy bodybuilding/competing/fitness in general and can see it being a part of my life into the future.


Competition Prep e-Books