Updated: May 23, 2020
"And the winner is number 124, Jade Kelsie Wolfenden" - The phrase that has been instilled in my head since October 2019.
Bodybuilding isn’t just about the wins you get, it’s about the process that helps get you there.
As much as you want to win, the time and effort into getting your body in the best shape possible means you have already achieved so much. So when your name is called as the winner, the feeling is something I can't put into words.
I have been competing since 2015, until 2019 I had never won a show. I’ve competed in different federations of bodybuilding to find where I fitted in. Different federations have different aspects that they look for.
Several competitions in different federations over the years and still something just didn't feel right, these didn't suit my body type. Some looked for a more muscular bikini shape with more definition while others look for softer less muscular looks. My body type means I easily put muscle on my top half, but often makes building the lower part of my body more challenging.
After spending years doing show after show, not achieving what I set my mind to, I was determined 2019 would be my year. I found a coach who understood me and the world of bikini bodybuilding.
Having a coach who knows the industry and knows what each federation is looking for is a key part of success in bodybuilding. The feedback I always received was I needed more muscle on the legs or better stage presence.
This is when I focused on the importance of stage presence. The effort you must go through to get stage ready can’t be waisted with a poor stage presence and posing. We spend hours of time in the gym, lifting weights, doing cardio early mornings, prepping full days of meals and endless other tasks. This all means nothing if you don’t have the stage presence and posing down to a tee. Realising the importance of posing was a big move forward for me in reaching my pro card.
I was taught how to put on and lose weight in line with my competition. This is what consists of both prep and off-season programme. In my first ever off season, I added weight, which felt uncomfortable at the time, but was integral to reaching my correct weight. In my head, I was in the best position I had ever felt. In the build up to the April competition I was sure it was my time to win. The effort and time I had given up, the early mornings and late evenings, it had all come to this...3rd place. Heartbroken as I was, this is what really fuelled me to success.
Nothing was going to stop me, I spent the next few months determined to get better. I trained harder, posed everyday and nothing led me astray.
I decided that I wanted to try a different federation 2BROS IFBB, now this is a dream I’ve always had to be a Pro but I never thought I would ever get there and 2Bros was a new federation that was offering IFBB Pro Cards out. So why not try?
I went big, I flew to Alicante where I did my first abroad show which was the Armature Olympia, it was a different world, the girls were on a different level. Every single girl was perfect. You could see the determination in every single person, that’s when I knew I was at home. The posing was completely different, it feels more feminine and flows more naturally.
With the lineup of the show there were girls from all over the world there, I didn’t think I would achieve anything. I was just so happy to be around people with the same passions and mentality as me. I placed 2nd in that show, I was so happy I felt like I had won. After this show, I had a feeling of belonging to this federation. This was the path to my pro card.
My coach and I set about structuring the path to my pro card. Watford 2Bros Event. September 2019. 4 years had led to this.
Chatted to my coach and we set out a plan, I was going to compete in the 2Bros Watford event which was the last regional before the British finals where there were handing out PRO CARDS. In Watford in September 2019, I won my height category… I had finally won a show, I couldn’t believe it. I had to check my number on my bikini to see if it was even me. In 2Bros when you win your category you then go into an overall class where all the winners from each height class are judged to see who the overall champion is.
So I had just won my class then had to go back on stage straight away for the overall show, I was still in shock and I don’t think that it has even hit me. I ended up winning the overall as well… the emotions I felt are indescribable, I feel like crying just writing about it. The feeling of winning is honestly the best moment in the world, you feel so proud and so high on emotions I don’t think I slept all night. But the next day I had to do the British Finals, I pulled myself together and went to the British finals was so ready to get back on stage unfortunately in that competition I placed 2nd again the feedback from the judges was that if I’d of come in as I looked the day before I would have won.
I was devastated, doing two shows back to back wasn’t what my body could handle. I took it on the chin and talked to my coach and partner and they convinced me to do one more show of the year. The Armature Olympia in London 4 weeks later, let me tell you those last 4 weeks felt like the longest of my life. I had prepped the entire year. I was tired and exhausted, but I want to finish what I started and do this one last show. I went into the show with no expectations but to have an amazing day and to enjoy the last show of the year.
It was the best show I'd ever done, it was running brilliantly, all the girls backstage were lovely, and we were all talking and having a good time. I had the whole day to get ready and relax before going on stage. By the time it was my turn on I was super excited to step on with girls at their best from all over the world, I ended up winning my height category then had to go straight back on for the overalls. They were giving out 3 Pro Cards that day and as soon as they gave out 3rd and 2nd I thought well I’m not going to win so I didn’t even realise that they had called my name for 1st winning the whole show and achieving my goal of winning my Pro Card.
I’ve said before the emotions of winning are ridiculous but achieving my dream of becoming a pro has surpassed anything that I have ever done before and will truly be the happiest moment in my life so far, I can not wait to be able to compete on a Pro stage in 2020. I want to let anyone know that even if you think that a dream isn’t going to happen or you’re not going to grasp it, as long as you're dedicated and work hard to achieve it, you can do anything. It has been a long road to get to where I am at the moment and I am not done yet, but as long as we set ourselves goals to achieve you will never go wrong.