Beauties in the Buff: Meet Jonna

As I have said many times before prepping for an NPC Bikini Competition has been life changing. One of the exciting parts of prepping is meeting other aspiring bikini competitors. When you decide to take on such a challenging solo sport, like bodybuilding, it can get a little lonely when your social circle doesn’t understand or relate to your new goals. And thanks to social media I have started to develop relationships with other girls who are being coach by the same inspiring IFBB Pro, Jessica Arevalo.

I thought it would be fun to get some new perspective to the blog and hear what other girls have to say about their experience of training. So for the next few months I’ve created a weekly feature called “Beauties in the Buff” where we will get to follow some of my lovely teammates as they prepare to take the stage!

With that said I would like you to meet the first Beauty, Jonna!

Name: Jonna Gately

Age: 25 years old

Contact Me: IG: j0nnaG

What’s your story? Were you athletic? Had weight issues? How was your life growing up and how did it relate to your body/health/fitness?

I was a figure skater from 3 years old to about 10 years old. In elementary school I played field hockey and ran indoor track. Once I started high school I traded in my figure skates for hockey skates and played all the way up until freshman year of college. I would never consider myself a strong athlete, but I didn’t suck either. My entire family played hockey so I felt like I had a lot of big shoes (or skates) to fill. Feeling mediocre, I decided to try roller derby. My professor in college played for a local team (I’m from Boston and there’s only one team there). With my hockey background it wasn’t a hard transition. I played roller derby for Boston for a season, moved to NY a few months after graduation from college and skated there for a little. I occasionally went to the gym with teammates, but I partied a lot too. 6 months or so into living in NY, I joined the Navy nurse corps and got stationed here in San Diego. I’m stationed here for 3 years, serving active duty and I met my wonderful boyfriend here. As a nurse, I am surrounded by bad eating especially working in pediatrics. Those damn parents need to stop baking cookies! My boyfriend competes in men’s physique and will be competing for his pro card in July! Seeing his dedication and transformation was inspiring.. So that’s when this all came about for me!

As far as weight issues: I’m a pretty blunt person. Being 5 feet tall and having a major sweet tooth and carb addiction doesn’t really set one up for success. My weight fluctuated a ton throughout my teen years. At one point, I found myself studying abroad in the UK and coming back to the states weighing my heaviest: 150lbs! Holy Moly! After that I joined numerous weight loss programs, Jenny Craig, weight watchers but was never satisfied even though I had dropped 25lbs. I followed all the trendy diets: master cleanse, cookie diet, grapefruit diet.. You name it, I tried it. My family is Italian which means lots of carbs at dinner and my parents have a “snack drawer” in the kitchen which is loaded, and I mean loaded, with pure garbage. And at the time when I lived there I loved that drawer! Hahaha! Looking back on it now I’m surprised I didn’t weigh more. My parents have since joined weight watchers and my dad has lost like 30lbs! I now eat clean, thanks to my boyfriend and some unsightly photos I found of myself when in was in the UK.. And I love it.

When is your competition? Is this your first?

Currently, I’m waiting to hear from my coach when she thinks Ill be ready to compete. This competition will be picked by her based on my progress photos. Hopefully I’ll find out soon! It’ll give me more incentive to stay strict and work towards something. This will be my first competition and I don’t even know when it is, but I’m already nervous!

What made you decide to compete?

A combination of things.. I was working out but wanted to work out for something. Beach season? Nope, hate the beach. A reunion of some sort? Nope, not this year. Seeing my boyfriend prep and reading his muscle mags sort of got the ball rolling for me. Plus, I love doing things outside my comfort zone and working toward a goal. First it was studying abroad, then roller derby, then moving to NY even though I knew no one there, then joining the military and serving as an active duty officer. I figure I want to experience as much as possible so that my grand kids can be like “holy shit nana” and think I’m the coolest thing since versa gripps!

Out of all IFBB Pros why did you chose Jessica Arevalo to coach you?

I first saw Jessica on IG and was immediately in awe of her overall figure. She is short (like me), a brunette (like me) and has muscle but is still gorgeous and girly! I want to be like that. Her dedication and motivating quotes and pictures definitely made me reach out and contact her. Seeing the other girls she has prepped (even taking first in their class for their first show) was impressive! She’s been awesome and truly a great coach / role model to have so far!

How long have you been prepping and how are you feeling?

As of today, I have officially been prepping for 2 weeks so far. I feel pretty good. At first I didn’t think anything was changing until I looked at my progress pics. I definitely noticed my stomach thinning, butt lifting and arms becoming more defined. There are days when I am super tired (I work 12 hour shifts 3-4x/week and work out 2x a day). But I never expected this experience to be easy, just to be worth it. Image

What is the hardest part about prepping for a competition so far? What keeps you motivated?

Hardest part is probably the diet aspect. Jessica, Kristine, my boyfriend, and fitness IG accounts definitely keep me grounded and motivated. I also look at pics of myself at 150, and pics now.. Thank god for PicStitch!

Has training changed you? If so, in what way?

Physically I’m changing every week, mentally I’m changing every day. I found out that I can lift some pretty heavy shit if I put my mind to it. I realized that yeah, I can avoid alcohol and be okay with it. I don’t need the extra carbs! Hahah

What are your fitness goals and what are you hoping to accomplish with this prep/competition?

My fitness goals are to become a confident bikini competitor. Be that “after” pic everyone says “wow” to. I no longer look at my weight on a scale, so I don’t hope accomplish weight loss, but I do hope to gain muscle and just to meet some great people who desire the same!

Any last words you’d like to add: I just want to say thank god for IG, and Stevia. I look forward to sharing my journey with you guys!!! Thank you Kris. XO

Beauty in the Buff….or soon to be

First I would like to Thank Jen for helping me come up with this cute blog name. I originally thought it would be great to it “Kristini Bikini”, but as much as that cracked me up I figured people wouldn’t quiet read the humor behind that.

So I’ve decided to start training for a fitness competition. I, Kristine Santiago, wants to be amongst the fitness freaks whose cheat meal is a cup of apple sauce. Don’t fret young men, I will not be building bigger muscles than you. No, no, no….i have a heard enough time feeling like a delicate little flower standing next to a man who is shorter than 6ft. Yes, I said it. Short men, get over it. I’m 5’8″ and I will put my heels away for no one. Plus, the higher the heel the closer to god. So for you God lovers, think of that as my way of being a holier person. Right…

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy making people, particularly men, feeling very uncomfortable, but I would like to save a little femininity. That is why I am going to be training for a bikini competition. Not to be confused with a just a regular ‘ol bikini model I will still have more muscle tone than most thin women.

This is something I’ve been saying I wanted to do for a good year now (which most of you didn’t know). I attempted it once and unfortunately, since i made a pact to never speak of 2012 again, I cannot disclose what the results were. Granted, you all seem like smart individuals and I trust you can come up with an accurate conclusion. After going through some tough times of the unmentionable year, I am finally ready to challenge myself mentally and physically. And I’ll probably add “emotionally” in there as well since I am devastated over the thought of no more pizza, ice cream, wine and orange juice

So I am using this blog as a way to hold me accountable, record my “journey” and talk about stuff you probably don’t care about. Yay for blogging!

By the way, that is what I need to look like. Oh em gee…die!