A woman in a bikini adorned with eye catching fabric imitating angel wings while gracefully walking down a scenic street in Mexico City is a whole vision. Undeniably beautiful, yes but there is more to her. She looked indissoluble, her face sent a powerful statement, her name is Bridget Therese; a fitness model whose whole media presence is about empowering women through fitness. She did a full takeover of the Houston Latina Bloggers Instagram and her personality was captivating. She was a mother who had found self-growth in the fitness world. Many of us can relate to this lady on different levels. She is enlightening and enables us to see what life look like when we push back and fight back.
I had the pleasure of meeting Bridget in person at the She is Summit event hosted by She Flies Solo. She was a guest speaker. During the event she was poised, well-spoken and completely in control of the situation. Public speaking is hard but she made it look like a piece cake. She felt genuine but I must admit I was intimidated by her and if you know me personally. I don’t get intimidated easily. When I finally gain courage to say hello, she was sweet and absolutely welcoming. Friendly as can be.
Fitness is Bridget’s way of giving back to herself and to other women who seek strength. She is a health coach who will share her training leading to her fitness competitions. She hosts fitness and health challenges to encourage well-being. We had the pleasure to ask Bridget some questions, keep reading because you don’t want to miss our conversation with her.
1. When did you start your fitness competitor journey?
What inspired you? My journey began in 2008. It started more out of a desire to have a social group of women. My first workouts were group classes like yoga and my favorite dance workouts. I also started running, something that had previously been a limiting belief – that I couldn’t run due to asthma. I loved running because of the freedom it gave my mind to wander and dream. From running 5k races to half marathons, it became my favorite form of fitness. I say all this because no one is born a fitness competitor. Everyone has a beginning and this was my very simple intro to fitness.
When I was pregnant with my son one of my friends began training for a her first fitness competition. I was fascinated by the glamourous costumes, sparkly bikinis but most intriguing was the confidence these women adorned. I dismissed it as a “some day” thing, after all I grew up super conservative and my friends and family would think I’ve gone off the deep end,. Not only that but I was just starting my own perfect little family. Fast forward, I was pregnant with my second child, a baby girl. More than halfway through my pregnancy, my baby Claire was stillborn. It was the most devastating and hopeless time of my life. Here I was on maternity leave with no baby to care for, all the dreams I had for my family were thrown out the window. After a few months of isolating myself and being depressed I had a moment where I decided I had my son and family who still needed me. I needed something else to focus on, to consume my every thoughts. I decided to do a fitness competition. I learned to lift weights, to eat for specific goals and most importantly I awakened the confident, driven woman inside me who was waiting to be freed. The rest as you could say is history :).
2. What’s the hardest part of training for a fitness competition?
Since walking across the fitness stage in my rhinestone bikini, I went on to compete four more times. Through the years of competing I can honestly say the most challenging part is the mental side. My body is perfectly capable of challenging itself, growing and being pushed to the limits. It’s my head I had to convince. I experienced a lot of self doubt and questions like “will my body be lean enough? Will I have enough muscle? What if I fall on stage? What if the girl next to me is prettier?” After a series of those thoughts comes the “maybe I shouldn’t do this, I probably won’t even place top 10, why am I even doing this?” It’s in the moments I learned to “shut off” the negative thoughts, to reach out for support, to dig deep and find the confidence inside me and that told me I can do this!! When I would reach the stage, regardless of the placing I always had such a feeling of accomplishment, I was proud of my body, but mostly I was proud of all the obstacles I overcame to stand on that stage with other elite women who went though very similar journeys as me to get there.
3. What do your meals consist of on a daily basis?
After the mental side, definitely the nutrition is a close second! I have to be so disciplined with my food. During training my days are planned around my 5-6 meals and workouts to make sure that I am on track to reach my goals. I would begin each morning with two breakfasts since I’d be two meals deep before noon. My favorite was oatmeal and eggs. Lunch, and second lunch would usually be the same thing, chicken and rice. Dinner or my last meal of the day I’d try to mix things up but more times than not I’d eat the same thing. It worked okay for me as I didn’t mind the repetition. Weekly I’d be able to have a “cheat meal” where I could enjoy some of the things I missed. I did a lot of packing meals and carrying them around. At first it feels awkward but I got used to it :).
4. What is your most memorable moment since you started your journey?
My most memorable moment isn’t winning my first place trophies, in fact it’s literally the very first time my feet hit the stage and did my first walk. I was so scared and nervous and when I got off I was like “Ohhhhh my gosh, I did it! I actually did it!” It was the best feeling in the world!
5. Fitness and motherhood; how do you find balance? There are a couple things I do that have helped me. It’s changed and evolved as my son has grown up. When he was a baby I went to a gym that had daycare. As he got older, I would tried to do activities that he could participate in, biking, walks and some home exercises. Sometimes I just had to be forgiving and not workout at all. Instead I’d be more focused on my nutrition because I had to eat – the least I could do was make healthy choices, continue to meal prep and involve him in helping me cook and make healthy lunches.
6. What advice would you give a new mother who finds herself prioritizing mom duties, and struggles to make time for the gym?
This is always a struggle for moms. The important thing women need to remember is that this is time that they need to take care of themselves. It sucks, you work full time jobs, you have a million things going on and dropping the fitness is usually the easiest to do. For one it sounds like work after a long day in the office and two we’ve already been away from our family’s. But here’s the deal, when we take time to care for ourselves we are happier, healthier and able to give that back to our families. Practical advice, get a couple dumbbells and watch some free workouts on Youtube. There are so many resources now that it makes it easier to get it in. Be forgiving of yourself, find what works for you and don’t compare your progress or journey to the moms next to you.
7. What is the biggest thing you think can empower a woman on a journey to a healthy lifestyle?
As my journey has continued to evolve, I have learned the importance of personal growth. As well as surrounding myself with like minded people. Throughout the years, there have been a lot of relationships that I’ve learned to let go of because they weren’t contributing to my growth and were keeping me from bettering myself. To grow I will often listen to podcasts instead of music while I drive. I find other women who inspire me and learn from them. All these things help us to become mentally stronger which in turn makes us feel more empowered. When you learn to manage your negative thoughts, work through your doubt and come through hardships stronger it fuel your fire and prepares you for all the great things you are destined to do.
8. What is next for Bridget?
I keep asking myself this question too and I think I will always be asking myself this. I have a very entrepreneurial side of me so right now I’m lining things up to grow my business. For fitness, I will continue to build and grow my Facebook group: Empowering Women Through Fitness and provide them with resources and encouragement. Competing again is on the shelf for now but not locked away.
To fulfill a woman’s destiny is I am sure one of the most difficult tasks in life. That is because we never stop growing spiritually or physically for that matter. As I learned more about this woman or mujeron as my mom would call her is that her beauty goes deeper. Layers of heart ache, love, determination and growth have molded who she is. She shares her journey via her website and social media outlets and she holds nothing back. Follow her and be prepared to be inspired to self care and growth.