Anna Maree - Bikini Competitor

I grew up exercising with my father at World Gym. He always told me to look at exercise as a non-negotiable, just like brushing your teeth or going to work. I always liked seeing the competitors at the gym and watching them practice their posing, but didn't truly understand the sport at that time. As an adult, a good friend of mine was a personal trainer, while another good friend got the idea to train for a fitness competition, which I of course thought sounded awesome! We all decided to work together to achieve our goals and I've been hooked ever since.

I have been vegetarian since 2008 (with a few periods of eating fish) and vegan since 2014. I competed in my first competition in May of 2014 and almost immediately switched to a vegan diet. I did not enjoy prepping on a vegetarian diet and wasn't happy with my results. I then competed in September of that same year- the vegan prep was incredibly more enjoyable and effective for my body and happiness. Since then, I've switched to a high carb, low fat vegan diet, and this has yielded my best results to date in terms of both weight loss, muscle building, energy levels, and overall health.
When I'm not prepping for a competition, I am still vegan and try to maintain a higher carb, lower fat diet, but do not worry much about being in a calorie deficit or "shredding," because it's important to give our bodies a rest from that.

When I prepped on a vegetarian diet, it personally wasn't effective for me because I was told I needed to at least eat fish in order to get any kind of results. I tried to stick to that, and was just miserable. I didn't enjoy any of my meals and didn't feel good. Everyone is different, but for me, if I am not enjoying the process or if it isn't aligned with my lifestyle choices, it isn't worth doing at all. I learned a lot from that first experience and am thankful for it, as it helped clarify my vision and lifestyle choices.

Building the self-confidence: It is something you have to practice continuously. I practiced posing with people I trusted and felt comfortable around, who I knew would give me honest feedback. It's important to practice posing as much as possible off-stage, in order to be good at it and feel comfortable doing it. I wear my competition shoes while I'm prepping as much as possible, so that they feel like second nature to me.

I train 6 days a week, which include weight training followed by cardio. I include a mix of low intensity cardio and HIIT post-workout. To lean down, I love incorporating fasted stationary bike sessions first thing in the morning. I utilize the app myfitnesspal to track calories and macros, as well as my workouts, to ensure I have the right balance.

My most recent competition was probably my most enjoyable experience so far. The show (Battle at the Border in Niagara Falls, NY) was very well organized and operated like a well-oiled machine. There was no confusion during check-in, prejudging, or finals, and the venue was adequate with a lot of space. The athlete meeting in the morning let everyone know what to expect. I won first place in my height class as well as the novice class, and it was a great feeling to be rewarded for my hard work.

I plan to compete in a spring and summer NPC show this year! I am narrowing down the options. I also plan to begin taking personal training clients this spring/early summer, while continuing to advocate for a healthy vegan lifestyle.

Find me on my Facebook page: The Wonder Vegan, or my personal page: Anna Maree. I can also be found on Instagram: @thewondervegan, or at my blog:

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