Meet Raquel Bio

So you’ve stumbled across my full bio. It’s a bit lengthy, so check out the bold text for the main gist. This is the story of how I found balance and changed the way I view health and fitness.

Growing up,
I remember watching my dad “dancing” in the living room. I was too young to understand that he was practicing for his upcoming bodybuilding show. I didn’t notice the food scale in the kitchen or the meal log tracking every calorie he ate.  I remember going to the shows, filled with oversized, vascular Oompa Loompas, and men walking around in speedos. I grew up with egg white cartons in the refrigerator, various nut butters in the pantry, and a never ending supply of fish and asparagus. So to me, this was normal.

You could say that I was always pretty active. I played volleyball in high school and my husband, Tysson, was a collegiate athlete and NFL prospect. When I graduated, I moved back home with my parents. That’s when the meal prepping started. Chicken, asparagus, brown rice, the basics. My dad talked me into training for a Tough Mudder event, and I was pretty sure he was going through a mid-life crisis, so I thought, “Why not?”

I began Crossfit and started running 5k races to prepare. I was so excited about my progress. Never in a million years did I think I would be doing pull-ups, snatches, and definitely not handstand pushups. Before I knew it, my aesthetics were changing. I had a 6-pack! Not only did I feel great, but I looked great, too. I began to think, “Hey, maybe I can do a fitness competition, too!”

Before I knew it, I was prepping for my first bikini competition. I found a trainer and started my new regimen. Not only was I working out 5 times a week, but I was on a very strict diet.

After two days, I found myself washing the fish and asparagus down with mouthfuls of water. I woke up every morning at 5 am to do my full hour of fasted cardio on the StairMaster. After work, I would do my weight lifting (and sometimes more cardio). I would stay up late cooking, and only got about 5 hours a sleep per night.

After 4 weeks on my strict (and fishy) meal plan, I had earned my first cheat meal. I devoured two In-N-Out cheeseburgers in less than 30 seconds. I spent the next two hours rolling around in fetal position because my stomach was so swollen. I had experienced my first binge eating experience. I just didn’t recognize it at the time.

After only 10 weeks of prep, and easily 50 heads of asparagus later, I competed in my first bikini competition. I had dropped 10 pounds in 10 weeks, and my body had totally transformed. I may have smelled like fish, and I didn’t have much of a social life, but I looked incredible. I won 1st place and became a nationally-qualified bikini competitor. I placed 3rd and 1st in my next two shows, and I felt like I had found my calling. I had my heart set on getting that coveted “pro card.”

To celebrate, I binged on everything I had been missing out on for months. Donuts, pints of ice cream, Oreos stuffed with peanut butter… nothing was off limits. This time my stomach was so swollen that I had to take laxatives to try and get the swelling to go down. I was literally in pain from binging. I resented going to the gym and dreaded those hour-long cardio sessions on the treadmill. It only took me a couple weeks to put back on the weight I had lost. I felt out of control and that’s when I knew it was time for a change.

3 months later, I competed at Nationals,
under the direction of IFBB Pro Tiffany Marie Boydston. My entire prep was done using IIFYM, or flexible dieting. I had a lot more balance and developed a much healthier relationship with food. I was able to eat foods that I enjoyed, and I never did more than 20 minutes of high-intensity cardio. I actually looked forward to my workouts. I didn’t turn pro, but I was proud to place Top 10 in the Nation. I learned to eat based on my own unique goals, rather than utilizing a cookie-cutter meal plan. My relationships with family and friends were better, and I felt more like myself.

Fast-forward to two years later. I feel more balanced than I ever have. I earned my certification as a Fitness Nutrition Specialist and am still learning new information every day. I am thankful to have had fabulous mentors and coaches who have encouraged me to focus on balance and self-love, rather than restriction and self-criticism.

I am so excited to pursue my passion and to help other people on their journey toward a healthier lifestyle. If you are seeking a healthier relationship with food, or just can’t seem to find balance, I am here to help!

Thank you for taking the time to get to know me.

Raquel