To say that the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio is big is an understatement. It is touted as the largest multi-sport event in the nation; attracting over 18,000 competitors and 175,000 fitness enthusiasts from all over the world. Many of whom have some of the BIGGEST muscles you will ever see.

Most people tend to associate bulky men flexing on stage when they hear about the event. There is however a large variety of events and competitions that are held at the Arnold Sports Festival. From fencing, to mixed martial arts, to physique competitions, the Arnold Sports Festival truly is a multi-sport attraction.

Denita competed in one of the events that is gaining in popularity and she took some time to tell us about her recent experience competing on stage at this year’s Arnold Sports Festival.

LIVING HEATHY: What event did you compete in at the Arnold Sports Festival 2013?

Denita: I competed in the Arnold Amateur Bikini Division.

LIVING HEATHY: What was your preparation like that day before you competed?

Denita: It was a night show, which was different from my shows in the past. So I had a chance to rest and sleep in. On the day of any competition I try to stay calm and relax as much as possible.  I first had to check-in and go get spray tanned; then I went to my hotel to do my makeup for the show.  There was a competitor meeting in the afternoon, so I went back to the event venue and after that I tried to relax again

LIVING HEATHY: What is the atmosphere like at a competition like this?

Denita: It’s a lot going on! The Arnold is a huge international show. There is lots of bling, really tan people and makeup!  I had 47 girls in my class alone from all over the world.

LIVING HEATHY: Are you friends with other competitors, and do you share advice and tips with each other?

Denita: You always meet someone new!  I didn’t have any personal friends competing during the show, but I follow the careers of a lot of IFBB Pros.

LIVING HEATHY: Do you pump-up or workout before you go on stage?

Denita: Yes, I usually pump-up right before I go on stage.  It helps your muscles to fill-out to avoid looking flat on stage.  I use a resistance band or light dumbbells and weights.

LIVING HEATHY: What was it like being on stage at the Arnold Sports Festival?

Denita: The lights are so bright that you can really only see the judges (and not the audience).  Things go so fast that you have to really concentrate on making sure you do what you’ve practiced.  They changed the run of this show so we went out in groups of eight, instead of posing individually.  This made the show go by faster, and it meant that you had less time in front of the judges.

LIVING HEATHY: Did you have any fears or worries on the day of competition?

Denita: The day of is always a lot of hurrying and waiting, then hurrying and waiting over and over again; especially when there are a lot of competitors. So, the last thing you want to do is miss your chance to get on stage.

LIVING HEATHY: Were you happy with your results and the outcome of the event?

Denita: Yes, my goal is always to look better and become more comfortable with my posing, and the best way to learn is to get on the stage!  I didn’t place Top 10 in the show, which was disappointing, but I can’t let that be the only determining factor of whether I was successful. It’s nice to win or place, but you can’t let it determine your confidence and take away from the experience.  I will keep working, there are always areas to improve!

LIVING HEATHY: What advice or words of encouragement can you give to those who are interested in competing?

Denita: Competing is the ultimate challenge, and it is a true test of your will. More importantly, you will be in the best shape of your life.  I encourage future competitors to approach the challenge with a goal, but remember to have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously.  You should focus on progressing and not where you end up placing.  There are so many factors that can change from show to show.  It’s more important and valuable to get to know your body. Competing takes a ton of will power and self-awareness.  It can be hard to put a lot of work [this is the same link as above]into something and walk away empty-handed.  You have to be confident and willing to fail in order to succeed!

LIVING HEALTHY: After this event, you said you were going to take a break until the summer. This is hard to believe considering your competitive nature, so what is next for you?

Denita: (Laughs) I’m actually finalizing my schedule now.  I decided to try to compete as much as possible during the NFL cheerleading off-season to take some pressure off of me and my time commitments.  I’m looking at competing in May, June and July!

LIVING HEATHY: Three straight months of competing…Now that sounds more like the Denita we have come to know! 🙂

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