Leilani Manera - Bikini Competitor

Leilani: My father was a bodybuilder back in the day, so I had already been familiar with the training and diet necessary to build muscle and lean out. However I never thought of competing until I was exposed to a couple of the fitness YouTube competitors. Peers would see me in the gym and ask me if I was thinking about competing and it was definitely a goal for the future, but something in me this past year just wanted to go ahead and get it done!

This was my first competition so I was kind of unsure of how to go about dieting. I did know that you had to reduce calories weekly/bi weekly depending on physical changes. I followed a macro diet up until peak week! But as I said, this was my first cut so Iím still not sure what calories/macros/cycles work with my body best just yet! My staple meals (on and off season) include chicken, ground beef, steak, eggs, LOTS of veggies, oatmeal, protein powder and of course, peanut butter.

A photo posted by Leilani Manera (@leilanimanera) on

I kept every weight training session the same. I would lift a medium weight for no less than 10 reps for 4-5 sets. Cardio varied throughout the prep. I did HIIT and steady state. Towards the end, I would do HIIT in the morning, then LISS post work out. I would try to get two meals in before every lift, eat a meal as soon as I could post lift and then get 3 more meals in before I ended the night.

Iíve always been pretty confident in myself, and I have competed in martial arts tournaments since I was about 8 years old, so being in front of an audience wasnít a big deal. However my confidence was boosted every week when I saw my own physical progress. I had never looked so lean in my life and it felt great to look in the mirror and see what I had accomplished! I just couldnít wait to glam up and show it off on stage!

I was scared that the over-all process would be hectic and confusing but it was so easy! Check ins went smoothly, just had to flash my NPC card and get my height measured and that was it! Took about 5 minutes. The tanning may have been the most torturous part, because that spray tan was FREEZING. Pre-judging went by so fast and I was so excited and nervous at the same time, but when they moved me to the middle each time, it was such an addicting thrill. The finals werenít as nerve wrecking because at that point, they already knew the winner of each division. So it was fun to just go back out and strut my stuff and show off again! I ended up winning first and over all in both novice and open bikini, so it was a VERY great experience for my first ever competition!

I definitely plan to continue competing. It was such a fun experience to be around other people who enjoy the same passion as you do. The dedication and commitment and motivation that it takes to go through a competition prep isnít easy, so itís awesome to see a bunch of other fitness freaks! I would love to become a personal trainer/coach one day, so I can share my passion and change lives of other people!

Leilani Manera

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