Rachel Radjewski - Bikini Competitor

I had wanted to compete for many years, but I didnít think I was good enough or strong enough or thought I could compete. I have been working out for many years and competed in other ways. I ran a few Spartan Races, a Tough Mudder, 1/2 marathon, a few 10kís. I have done CrossFit off and on as well as a killer workout here in Michigan known as Syphus Training. Working out has been a part of my life since I was 16 and played soccer on a travel team, high school and college.

Itís funny when you think about it. How I had already talked myself out of it with no evidence what so ever. I thought my body could never do that. I had so many doubts. My girlfriend who lives in FL entered a competition to compete in figure. She inspired me. She is fearless and didnít let anything stop her. We used the same coach (I communicate with her though text mostly as I am in Michigan). We did our first show together November 2018.

Rachel Radjewski

In the off season I eat more carbohydrates in order to build more strength and endurance. My coach had me eating 150g of protein, 200-225 carbs and 30g of fat. After doing this for a few months it becomes easy. Itís nice to not think, I eat the same thing everyday. As we get closer to competition the carbs are cut back and this time around we cycled 100, 75, and 50. I feel like it was really effective in the gains I made this past year.

Hitting my macros has been highly effective. You have to eat the right food to make the gains. I switch between low fat turkey patties, chicken breasts, egg whites, tuna and protein shakes. Occasionally a lean steak, but itís rare. Sushi when I refeed, typically one time per week. I eat a lot of broccoli, spinach, asparagus and avocado. The carbs are rice, cauliflower, sweet potatoes. Food is fuel for me. I actually really like this diet. I feel better on it, have more energy, less headaches, less inflammation and joint pain. Luckily I am pretty creative in the kitchen and know how to make a few sweet treats if I need one with coconut or almond based products. I am gluten intolerant so in a way it makes dieting easy.

I havenít really tried any others but I know when I would try on my own years ago, cutting out carbs completely or drastically will fail. Using an expert is the best way to avoid this. Talk to a registered dietician or get blood work done to be sure you are not experiencing a set back due to hormones, vitamin deficiencies or a thyroid problem like I struggle with.

My coach tailors the workouts depending on how many months we are away from competition. Heavier lifting and cardio to build muscle and more carbs (approximately 5 months before my last show). More HIIT (typically once a week), with lifts and cardio as we get closer. She tapers the carbs down each month so it doesnít come as a complete shock to my system. Focus on glutes is typically two to four times per week, again depending on how close I am to a show. 3 days per week are upper body workouts. Cardio is up to 6 days per week. I tend to eat my heavier meals on the harder training days. I meal prep every Sunday for the week. Once you get the hang of it, itís easy. I know exactly how much to make each week. The Foreman grill is a life saver!

On Stage
I work with a coach weekly typically 10 weeks before I go on stage, one time per week. The posing is difficult and requires practice with the right set of eyes. I am fortunate enough that for over 10 years I have been a fitness instructor, spin instructor and yoga teacher. Itís part of my job to speak in front of others. As a mental health professional I am asked to speak frequently in front of large groups. Itís just practice and many of years of making mistakes. All of this has helped me hold my head high, make eye contact with people and smile. If anything practice that, eye contact with family, friends and eventually strangers. People struggle with this and can safely avoid it for years because we are so heavily reliant on technology.

This has taken years and maybe that is why it is best I didnít compete before. I meditate daily, I practice non-judgmental thinking actively. This type of competition can be overwhelming if you constantly compare yourself to others. I take these moments as opportunities to make new friends, talk to other woman and get to know them. Women need to build up other women and if I see a woman with a killer set of glutes, I am telling her. Check in is typically pretty quick and painless. Have your NPC card, start memorizing your number the moment it is assigned to you and get some rest. The next day is very long. A lot of hurry up and wait.

Rachel Radjewski

Prejudging is a crap shoot. You might think your know everything, but you know absolutely nothing. In Florida (Nov 2018), I made first call outs in two divisions. I was moved to center in both. My coaches were ecstatic, they thought I had placed. I was clueless at that time and had no clue what was happening. I did not place at all. I was ranked 5th and 8th. My coaches could not believe it. They had never heard of someone making first call outs and being moved to center to not place. My most recent competition (April 2019), again I made first call outs in two divisions, masters and open. I was on the line, but again did not place. The reality is, once you are there, nothing is in your control. The judges are looking for something specific, (i.e., legs, abs, glutes, defined deltoids and shoulders, round glutes, etcÖ) and you either have it or donít.

Finals is for fun. The night show is where you get to show off a little bit more, your family can cheer you on loudly, the music is blaring, and enjoy being in a show. Judgments have already been decided at pre-judging. People are more loose at night and are looking forward to their own personal celebrations.

Life as an athlete
My schedule is rigid. Being an athlete means you say no to things like happy hour, weekend brunch, or late nights out. I have always been a morning person. I love to be up at 4am and get my day going. The world is quiet, the gyms are usually pretty empty and I get to focus on myself for two hours. I always pack my food. My entire meal, breakfast, lunch, and dinner is packed and ready to go the night before. It means while others are drinking wine, I am sipping on a sparkling water. While everyone else might eat cake, I bring a treat I made a home. I donít feel as if I am missing out on life because I enjoy this work and have learned how to incorporate it in to the things I want to do. I think itís about practicing good boundaries and being ok with saying no to things because I would rather go to bed at 9pm on a Friday night.

Future plans
My future plans are to continue to compete. The day after my show, I text my coach and asked for my next plan. I cannot imagine my life at this point without a future goal to work towards. Bikini competitions provide me with that. I hope to make good use of my NPC card for 2019!

Rachel Radjewski, LMSW (Licensed Masters Social Worker), NASM - Personal Trainer, AFAA Certified Group Fitness, Schwinn Cycling, RYT-200, rnbennett1980@gmail.com.
IG: https://www.instagram.com/cuddy_rad

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