Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.
~ Wilma Rudolph
As I've said before, I like to win. But sometimes, winning just isn't in the cards. That happened to me this past weekend at Team Universe.

A Year in the Making

I trained for this show for an entire YEAR. In early August of last year, I made the decision to stick with Figure and to compete at Team Universe. After that decision was made, my training style changed and I began to focus intensely on building up some lagging muscle groups. That was the start of Operation Pro!

Twenty weeks ago, I began Phase II of Operation Pro, and this weekend, we roadtripped up to New Jersey for Team Universe.

Last Callout

Although I felt comfortable and confident with how I looked, I wasn't what the judges were looking for. We filmed a short video after pre-judging, and I shared my thoughts about the show up to that point.

Champion Mindset

To be a champion you must act like one, act like a champion.
Lou Ferrigno
I've talked about choosing to be a champion during my workouts, but this weekend, I needed to apply it to a different situation. After getting last callout for the first time in my competition career, I was really disappointed. I have to admit, it was difficult keeping the smile on my face while all the other girls in my class were called out before me. I barely made it off-stage before the tears started to fall.

I know that disappointment can come quickly in such a subjective sport, but knowing that doesn't lessen the pain any. I'm still disappointed and just plain sad about the outcome of the show. I'm not upset or angry with anyone, and there's nothing I can do to change anything. I need to focus on my accomplishments and remember all that I've achieved.

Flex Wheeler, one of the most inspirational bodybuilders, talked about when he got second place to Ronnie Coleman at the 1999 Olympia. In this video at 6:26, he explained why he took the medals off his neck and held them up. He was saying to the crowd and to himself: "I feel like I look great. I feel like I won ... these [medals] are second, but I'm number one. Just because you put these around my neck doesn't make me second place. Just because they placed me in second don't make me a failure."

Flex also said, "What place [I get] doesn't signify me as a champion."

Just last year, Flex gave some priceless advice to Kevin Levrone's nephew when he didn't place as well as he'd hoped in a show.

It's a bit difficult to hear, but Flex told Antwaun, "You can't do nothing. You've got a lot of kids looking up to you; walk off like a champion."

Kevin Levrone then added, "A champion doesn't always end up in first place." He emphasized, "Never quit. Never give up. Never lose, no matter how long it takes. Stay strong and stay proud."

Taking the Advice of the Champions

I'm taking the advice of the champions, and I'm holding my head high. I'm proud of all that I accomplished this past year. I built some quality muscle, I stayed focused, and I stuck to my diet. I couldn't have done anything different, and J assured me that I did everything I possibly could do to bring my very best to the stage.

2011 Team Universe
This weekend was not filled with just disappointment; it was filled with pride and confidence as well. I'm picking myself back up and heading back into the gym to continue my journey.
Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.
~ Babe Ruth
Thank you SO very much for all your support, encouragement, and belief in me. I appreciate all you more than you know, and am blessed to have you all in my life.


  1. Hey Kari, I just wanted to say even though you were in the last call outs you looked amazing and brought a killer package to the stage. The subjective nature of the sport and never knowing what the judges are looking for must be hard. Congratulations on picking yourself up. I hope this only fuels your desire to get your pro-card because you deserve it.

  2. what the hell were they "looking for"??? Kari, you look beautiful :)

  3. You are one amazing lady! And yes you are beautiful. Unfortunately, figure is a subjective sport, but your day will come and you will achieve that pro-card. I know a winner when I see/hear one. Your determination is evident in your words!

    Your friend in Michigan.

  4. Kari, I have been waiting to hear how you did! Congrats on being proud of what you accomplished, and you are an inspiration to me, as I am 111 days out from my first competition (not that I am counting down the days or anything)!! I look forward to reading more and I am sure you will be just as happy with yourself the next time you compete. Congrats again!

  5. OMG judging is bananas wtf are these folks looking for? Clearly, not perfection. Cuz if they did you'd be the winner of this show.
    (HUG) I'm so glad you take things with such a positive view. You're such an inspiration to so many. You kick so much ass and you look HAWT doing it. Congrats on the show and congrats on all the effort you put into it.

  6. Kari - great post and great mind-set. Congratulations on your huge accomplishment. Fantastic work, Champ. The real prize is within.

  7. You have a great outlook. I know it was hard for you this past weekend but you look amazing and you are a champion in my book. I love the way you presented yourself after the are a true lady and your day will come!

  8. You did look amazing and now you will have some feedback to pull from for your next show. Your positive attitude is inspiring. Keep it up!

  9. Aw Kari! You have no idea, not even a clue how much you encourage me! When you stick to your diet and not cheat, you make me feel like I can too. When you present yourself as a champion and not give up on your goals, it gives me the same drive. I love your story, figure girl! You are an incredible woman and I'm so happy to know you. :) I can't wait to see what you do with the future!

  10. Wow... you look stunning. You have worked SO HARD and it shows. Keep your head up. That's the thing with competing you just never know what the judges are looking for, I think they must have all been off their rockers because the package you brought was stellar! So proud of you, and your positive attitude! You are an inspiration to me and to many others!

  11. Kari, your determination and confidence is so inspiring! I'm sorry to hear you didn't get your pro card, but I know you will! Keep your chin up & keep inspiring the rest of us!

  12. I love every single word of this post. You are a champion. You are amazing. You are fantabulous.

    I am so proud to be your friend. I can't wait to see what's next. CANNOT WAIT.

  13. Fantastic post! And you already truly have a Champion Mindset! Always inspiring and always holding your head high. Love that about you!

    Thanks for posting about your journey and like Donloree I also can't wait to see what's next!

  14. You're a hero in my book. Your hard work, your dedication and focus, and your attitude inspire me to be more. Thank you.

  15. You have a great mindset. I know its not easy to get back up when things don't turn out the way you wanted, but as others have said it is evident in the amount of work, determination, and heart you put into this competition that you really are a champion. Your blog inspires me each day to work out and take better care of myself, so I can look as great as you. :) Keep going Kari, you WILL get your Pro-Card!

  16. You are amazing... Both in body and spirit.
    Keep going, Champion!


  17. Love your attitude! You look great no matter what place! It's such a subjective sport.