Jenny Chadima - NGA Bikini Pro

I started working out fairly regularly about 10 years ago. I first began with group fitness classes (mostly because I didn’t know what the heck I was doing in the weight area), but over time my desire for “something more” increased. Still, I wasn’t sure how to get there. So I started talking with a girl in the locker room one day & she handed me her copy of a popular fitness magazine (Oxygen). This magazine blew my mind! They had different workouts, tips for eating & recipe’s & in the very back of the magazine were pictures of women competing---& I knew then, that’s what I wanted to do! The women in the magazine gave me a goal to work for. Coincidently, there was a guy with a personal training gym (Ken McClelland with The Anvil Gym) inside the same building that my family owned. Up until that point, Ken had never trained a bikini competitor before (he was used to working with high school/ collegiate sports athletes as well as powerlifting/ strongman competitors). So this was uncharted territory for the both of us- but regardless, he knows his stuff. Walking through those doors has been one of the best decisions of my life.

Diet and Training

For me, I prepare all of my meals for the week (typically on Saturday or Sunday), whether I’m training for a competition or not. Diet plays such a huge role in all of this, & being prepared helps me stay on track. Plus I really enjoy eating healthy for the most part. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good donut now & then. Or ice cream. I love ice cream. During the “off-season” my carbs are generally higher & I normally like to allow myself a couple meals each week to go out to dinner. During contest prep, I’m a bit more strict with my diet. I try to avoid going out to eat & my macros are different (normally we start to lower the carbs/ fats/ proteins), because that’s what works for my body when I’m trying to shed a few lbs. & lean out.

My first competition I was so strict & I ate chicken (with Frank’s hot sauce) & beans for almost every meal! Ugh! How boring! Looking back- I can’t believe I did that (although I did earn 1st place in that competition) however I will never do that again. At the time, I only wanted to win; I had tunnel vision. Now that I’ve competed for a few years (and with some trial & error), I know the foods that work well for my body, & it does involve variety! Otherwise I think you’re prone to burning out in this industry. At least I was. I was too hard on myself & I didn’t really allow an “off season”. I would find myself getting upset…maybe even guilty, if I had a cookie or something that wasn’t part of my macros. So after 3 years of competing & hitting it hard, I decided to take a break. I did a little soul searching. Became a certified yoga instructor. Tended to some things in my personal life & found myself falling in love with competing all over again.

A photo posted by ••jenny•• (@jennychadima) on

Currently I am lifting weights 6 days a week, 1 “recovery day” & I am not doing any cardio at the moment. This is the first time we are trying a program like this. In the past I have had a couple upper body days, a couple lower body days and one day specifically for cardio. As far as diet with training, right now I eat 6 meals per day, with my higher carb meals closer to my work out time & lower my carbs later in the day (since I work out first thing in the morning).

On Stage

Walking on that stage after all the hard work you’ve put in, is the icing on the cake! When you look good, you feel good & I think the confidence comes naturally! I have actually won a few “best presentation” awards because of this. Having my hair & make up done, rockin’ some bling & throwing on a bikini (that is small enough to make some people gasp)- is by far my favorite part! I love it!

The last competition for me was a bit different than in competitions past. As I mentioned, I took some time off (almost a year and a half to be exact), & I decided to do this show after watching my husband compete in his physique competition. It gave me the fire I needed to get back into competing! So I only gave myself 7 weeks to prepare. Honestly, I just needed something to put me back on the map! Athlete check-in is always a breeze (although the lie detector test still makes me a bit nervous), but after that, it’s smooth sailing. During prejudging I felt I was getting a good response from the judges & thought I would place in the top 3. When I was called for 4th place during finals, my heart sank a bit. This was my 8th competition & I’ve never placed less than 3rd. But I had to be completely honest with myself. My stage presence was off (my coach felt it & later the judges’ comments reflected that as well) & my physique could’ve been leaner. However, honestly I still had so much fun. We had quite a few girls from my gym who were competing as well, and after doing this for a few years, I’ve realized that’s part of what makes this whole experience: the comradery between athletes & creating new friendships. So now I have things that I would like to work on for my next competition!

I’m not sure if I’ll compete in the spring, fall (or both) in 2017. I am just glad to be back in the swing of things & enjoying training once again! I do have some projects that I’m working on outside of the gym, one of which is opening up a non-profit yoga studio. Proceeds from the studio with go to helping different charities, both near & far. I’m very passionate about helping others, & I feel quite blessed that I’ve been given the opportunity to do so! I would like to add that whatever your goals are: you can do it! My life today is far different than it was 10 years ago. I was a smoker, a drinker & everything that I ate—came out of a box! I could not have imagined that I would be sitting here today, answering questions for a popular fitness portal, all because I chose a healthier lifestyle. So start small, & take it one day at a time. It will all come together, if you’re willing to work for it!

Cheers to a happy & healthy 2017~

-Jenny Chadima

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Jenny Chadima