Haley Neal - Bikini Competitor

Itís been a while since Iíve put my time and effort into a new hobby besides school and work. I had experimented with 3-4 campus and community pageants in college a year prior. Before I decided to start, I didnít know how to weight train, much less eat a diet that maintains ideal musculature. Iíve never struggled with a weight problem before but I was getting to the point where I wasnít impressed by my physique when just sticking to cardio and occasional plyometric classes at the gym. I knew my eating habits of eating out 3-4 times a week and snacking on processed foods were no help and I knew I wanted guidance to a more disciplined lifestyle change. The competitive standards set by the NPC works well with my fitness goals.

Even though Iím a college student with other goals at the moment, I thought- Ďwhy wait? Iím young, without children and would rather do this now at this time in my life.í I have been in Shreveport for a semester now and with all the right resources available to me at the right time and right place, it seems that all the components to compete were more in my favor than ever before. I prayed about it and asked around. I got recommendations for Darlene Ainsco with Mutant Diet and Iíve been working with her and Jon Shackleford ever since.

Compared to the way I was eating before, I eat more consistently with less junky carbs, more leafy greens, and cleaner white meats; I have twice as many meals per day. No dairy and no fruits. Before considering competitions, I snacked a lot on what I thought was good for me but were processed and nutrient deficient for the build I desire.

At this stage in my journey, I mostly weight train with minimal cardio. I keep on track with a regimen 6 days a week, each day focused on a specific group of muscles. The plans that Jon Shakleford has tailored to my body are designed with its healing process in mind.

To maintain balance is key for me, so I find a way to get my meal prepping and workouts done in a way that makes it manageable for me on a daily and weekly basis, every single time. Once all the proper habits get integrated into the everyday routine, itís mastered- stress is taken out of the equation, and youíre left with more productivity for everything else in life that can also be managed. Each day is going to have challenges of its own, but itís imperative to foster and encourage a mentality that helps you prioritize time to do it, just like making the bed or brushing your teeth. A huge skill in this passion is to push yourself just as hard, if not harder, in the kitchen than in the gym. These principles can be applied to so many aspects of the daily routine. It has taught me so many successful life skills already. Iíve progressed by maintaining daily a clean/positive work environment which helps me strive for a clean/positive energy with all the other things I juggle (i.e. classes, clinicals , work, extracurricular activities, relationships, spiritual needs, etc.)

I already knew I felt comfortable on a pageant stage in the swimwear and casual wear portion. (with positive feedback, placing in both!) So I guess itís something that works well with my interests in physically performing (collegiate dancer and cheerleader). I love to learn new skill sets and so posing lessons looked more like a challenge I wanted to take on. Some ways I work on this is by practicing my routine at home either in front of a mirror or in front of a loved one, and then have them give their feedback or record me. Iíll also rewatch videos of role models to emulate what inspires me.

Main challenges/obstacles of building a competitor body: When I visit family and friends or go on vacation, finding a gym near me and working with othersí schedules along with the ever-present temptations of fattening food options surrounding me- turn into challenges.

Future plans: As of now, I want to see how my first season or two from competing in NPC Bikini work out for me. If God is willing, I may pursue competing in NPC Figure. By this fall I will be more than likely moving out of state for a medical grad school program, so whether Iím accepted in Little Rock, San Antonio, or Houston, I would look into competing locally first. I will only venture out on this sport as long as I can keep God as my main source of motivation and inspiration. Iím a strong proponent for leading by example. Through it all, I want to remain humble to show how well this sport can be represented as a young woman, something I feel society needs.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HaleyKayeNeal
Email: hneal009771@nsula.edu

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Haley Neal