Dena Wells - Figure Competitor

I’ve always had an interest in bodybuilding. I have two uncles and a cousin who are into weightlifting and bodybuilding. I am the only female in my family who was interested in the sport. I had a conversation with a friend who is also a bodybuilder and casually mentioned my interest. He encouraged me to pursue the sport and helped guide me through the prepping process. This conversation was back in December and without blinking an eye I said I was going to do it. I began following some of the pro bikini competitors on IG and became even more inspired and motivated to make it happen. I also mentioned my desire to my family members and a couple of friends who all encouraged me and showed me so much support!

#transformationtuesday #cardiovslifting #weightlossjourney #mevsme #wowenwhorun #40sandfit #fitchick #womenwholift #irun ???????#ilift ???????#eatcleanstaylean Me vs Me... age 40 vs age 42 ... Running vs Strength/ Condition Training

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The New Year always present a new opportunity for me to challenge myself so I decided to commit as a gift for my 42nd birthday (which was in April). I started searching for gyms that would aid in my training and prepping. Although at the time I had not committed to a date, I found a gym in February and decided it was time to get serious and go “all in” with training. I also connected with another gym that offered posing clinics and I began attending. I met so many amazing women who’d competed and were prepping for upcoming shows. My body had already transformed by March and some of the women “complimented” how great I looked at that point and began talking to me about doing a local show in May. In April, I “stepped” up my game and began to add in extra workouts. The last posing clinic was on Mother’s Day and some of the same encouraging women were there; once again telling me “you are ready…just do it!” At that point, I said “why not” and committed to the show that was coming up in two weeks from that day.

I stepped on stage for the first time on May 26th; a feeling of pride and accomplishment for the package I brought that was “transformed” in a total of 14 weeks.

I was always told the “diet” would be the toughest. However, this was the easiest for me. I was already a “clean eater”. I mostly eat a vegetarian diet (and sometimes pescatarian). I spent a couple of years studying and experimenting with foods that my body responds to and easily digests. I was encouraged to follow the Keto diet; however, I chose to do what I knew worked for me. My eating habits follow more of a Paleo diet, but I modify according to my nutritional needs. I didn’t necessary count calories or track my macros. However, I did track every meal and I was extremely cognizant of my intake. I focused more on “packing on the proteins”; moderate good fats and balanced with some complex carbs. The only thing I can say that was different was eating more meals throughout the day. Surprisingly, this worked to my advantage. Prior to eating 5-6 meals a day; I would typically eat about two meals but constantly “snacked” all day. Once I increased the meals, I snacked less and didn’t go through the day feeling so hungry. I also noticed a difference in my metabolism and energy level-both had definitely increased. More specifically, I started to see more “lean and toned” muscles and I was losing about a pound a week. This definitely indicated to me that I was doing something right and I was extremely pleased with my decision to do what I knew worked for me!

Thankfully, I followed my intuition and decided to follow my own “plan”. I can’t comment on any other plan and whether they are effective or not. However, I have heard keto works well and I’ve seen others achieve great results from strictly following it.

#sundaysweatsession #morningmotivation #peakweek #setthetonefortheweek #compprep #competitionweek #ambitionistowin #goforit #goalsinprogress #howbaddoyouwantit #instafit #40sandfit #instahealth #instagoals? #healthandfitnessgoals #allin #nodaysoff #mevsme #itsmylyfestyle????????????????????? #icandoallthings???????????? What’s your ambition?? Peak week is ambition is to push through... to persevere... to present the best me on that stage... my ambition is to “win” ????????????

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I am “health and fitness” fanatic and I was already working out at least 4 days a week. However, I needed to incorporate more lifting to compliment what I was already doing and to get the body symmetry needed for comp. I started strength and weight training every day (Monday –Friday at 5 am) and continued cardio at least 3-4 days a week (usually in the evening). My cardio includes a variety of HIIT, running, and elliptical workouts. In April, I increased my workouts-adding an extra daily workout (at least 4 days a week) totaling to about 10-12 workouts a week. The eating 5-6 meals a day definitely made it possible for me to do the additional workouts and provided me adequate energy to get through the day which starts at 4 am and usually ends at 10 pm. I was extremely regimented and consistent; “sticking” to my schedule. I put a “workout” reminder in my phone as well as set an alarm for my eating schedule. My philosophy was to treat it like an important appointment I didn’t want to miss. The two definitely compliments each other; this process (to me) is counterproductive without adhering to both an eating and exercising plan.

On stage
Anyone who knows me would attest that there isn’t a “shy bone in my body”-LOL! However, it does take a level of “self-confidence” to walk across a stage in front of strangers and judges critiquing what you have worked so hard to create. I feel like “life” itself is one center stage that we walk across every day being “judged” or “critiqued”-which is something I don’t allow to bother me. I actually kept my eyes and focus on the judges and “pretended” no one else was in the auditorium. It’s a “mindset” and all about mind control; if you can train your mind to think a certain way then it becomes conditioned. I am naturally “bubbly” and “outgoing” so I let my personality shine as I graced the stage. I remained true to who I am and didn’t get phased by the other women nor the audience. As far as my physique, I worked extremely hard for what I brought so I was proud to show it off!

I have to say this first experiences was an amazing one-from beginning to end. The day before the show I attended the registration meeting where I registered as an “official” NPC competitor. Also, I got my first spray tan which I was extremely impressed with the turn out on my complexion. When I got my number, it hit me at that moment this was really about to happen. The rest of the day was all about trying to keep the nerves “calm”, relax and rest for show day.

The day of the show, I woke up with so much jubilation and excitement. First, I looked up and praised GOD for this opportunity. The day had finally come; all the hard work and dedication was about to be put on display. I definitely couldn’t have made it this far without my faith and all the prayers. There were many days I cried and was so hard on myself. It was as if God directed someone to tell me “you are doing a great job… you are my motivation and inspiration”. These comments were additional fuel to keep me going through the process.

I arrived earlier for make -up (which was done by a friend). The end result was like staring at someone else in the mirror. What a transformation; she “slayed” my face. This was even evident by surprise looks from the women who knew me, but initially didn’t recognize me. We were able to get tan “touch ups” prior to our mandatory meeting. The host of the show “walked” us through what the day entailed as well as introduced the judges. I think the day went as smoothly as it did because it was well organized and the AWESOME group of women competing. We shared dressing rooms and it was as if I was amongst a group of friends getting dressed for a special event. It wasn’t intimidating nor did it appear to me we were competing against each other. There was great conversation, laughter, and anticipation for our time to shine on the stage (and of course we were all hungry-LOL).

Pre-judging lasted about two hours; this was our initial “debut” to walk on the stage and “strut” our stuff. There was at least a five hour break before returning to the main show. Honestly, I wish things would have kept “rolling”. This was the LONGEST five hours and I wasn’t able to nap (as some of the women did). Though I finally was able to get in a morsel of food. I also got in a “quick” workout to keep myself occupied.

When we returned, we got our finally tan “touch ups” and the main show started as scheduled. The main show took much longer than pre-judging due to the announcement of winners in each category as well as trophy presentation. My categories were at the end and by this time I was “TIRED” and “HUNGRY”!! Once again, I was truly grateful for the group of women I was with-we kept each other entertained until the end.

This time walking out on the stage wasn’t as “nerve” wrecking and it was much quicker. At this point, the judges had already made their decisions; though we still were able to “showcase” and grace the stage one more time. I proudly walked away with a 4th place trophy in my Class A division. It was such a blessing and feeling of accomplishment. However, it was the outpour of love and support that was the GREATEST blessing of all. This day was confirmation I made the right decisions leading up to this day. This was the beginning of many “firsts” and definitely has encouraged me to continue on this journey as a bikini competitor.

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I can honestly say being an athlete has taught me to be more disciplined and consistent. I removed all distractions during this process; I was “laser focused.” There were days I worked 10 or more hours, but I still “powered” through my evening workouts and woke up at 4 am to be at the gym by 5. I didn’t allow myself to make excuses; I had my “eyes on the prize” and I was determined to “stay the course”.

In addition, it helped me to journal the process from beginning to end; I entered every workout and every meal. This helped me to be “self- accountable”. Though I had trainers and coaches helping me, this process was about ME and I had to put in the time and work no matter what! At the end of the day, I had to say to myself “how bad do you want it” and be willing to commit even on the days I didn’t feel like it.

The most important impact being athlete has on my life is how I’ve been able to positively impact others! As any athlete, people are always “closely” observing and watching what you’re doing. I am extremely transparent and I am also willing to share and help anyone. I am a woman of faith and I have always been humble. I am truly grateful for my gifts and talents as well as ALL the BLESSINGS in my life. My life’s purpose and mission is to teach, help, and being a blessing to the next person. As an athlete if I impact the life of ONE, then, I know my living is not in vain.

Future plans?
I want to continue pursuing this bodybuilding sport. I am already in prep for another show scheduled in September. I love to challenge myself and experiment to see how I can transform my body. So, I am making some modification to my training. It would be a HUGE accomplishment to get my Pro Card as well which means I have to put in the work and keep grinding HARDER every day! I don’t like to get too comfortable with any situation and stay stagnant; I am currently seeking opportunities to grow and expand in the health and fitness industry as well.

I realize this life is not my own and as I mentioned it’s my divine purpose and mission to help the next person. I am willing to teach/coach/guide whether it’s in bodybuilding or just overall health and fitness. The greatest joy in life is helping the next person maximize their potential and succeed at life. So my lifelong goal is to significantly transform more lives for the rest of my life!


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