Jessica Paxson – Confessions of a Hardbody

Cover model and IFBB Bikini Pro, Jessica Paxson checks in with just over one week to go until the Bikini International takes place in Columbus, Ohio. Jessica says, “I have not been training for the Bikini International.” Find out what she’s talking about in her Hardbody Road to The Arnold blog.
Jessica Paxson – 2013 Bikini International Contender
I think my ‘Road to the Arnold’ blog should be titled, “Confessions of a Hardbody”. That has definitely been my ongoing theme, so I thought I would end my final blog with the biggest confession of all.

Here it goes… for the past few months, I have not been training for the Bikini International. I am sure I have a lot of explaining to do, so I will start typing.

As 2012 came to a close, I decided sit down and write out my 2013 prayers and goals. I really do not like the whole “New Years Resolution” thing. One of my goals was to get in the best shape of my life for the Arnold Classic. As I contemplated my goals a little more,  I began to think about the fact that I would be turning 30 March 7th, a week after the Arnold. So many thoughts and emotions were running through me and I became very convicted. I scratched out “get in the best shape of my life for the Arnold Classic” and wrote “be the healthiest inside and out I have ever been (mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually) when I turn 30”.

Of course that still meant I wanted to train the hardest I ever have and step on stage at my best for the Bikini International..but this time, I truly would be doing it for me! My goal was to train for life, not a show. As I am about to compete in my third Arnold classic, I can honestly say, I have never felt better.  I am in the best place I have ever been in my walk with Christ and I am truly filled with joy and purpose like never before, which I know is key to everything else in life falling into place.

I have enjoyed my training, pushing it to levels I never have, my diet was spot on, and I changed things up with an awesome holistic approach that has my body functioning on higher levels and feeling amazing.  I didn’t go through this prep tired and drained. I had energy and a new purpose to help push me. I see so many women that are competing that kill themselves with training, diet, and cardio. Doing so many things that are incredibly harmful to their bodies…and for what?! A few minutes on stage?, a magazine cover?, a trophy?!.

Let me tell you, the stage lights will soon fade, the magazines will pick another cover model, and that trophy that means so much to you will collect dust. You only have one body and once chance to live a healthy life! Take the time to reevaluate your priorities for your training and competing, it is so very worth it!

This time when I step on stage I will truly feel that I have already won. I will walk out on that prestigious stage with my head held high and feeling so thankful and grateful to God for all of my many blessings…and hopefully I will look good doing it ;), ha!.  This experience will make celebrating this milestone birthday with my amazing fiance, family  and friends just a little more sweet :).

Thank you for letting me share my journey to the Arnold with y’all! All the best and God bless!


Follow Jessica on twitter at @JessFit.

For more information on the Arnold Sports Festival visit and use #ASF2013 in all your tweets.

Oksana Grishina – Stay Positive & Avoid Distractions

Oksana Grishina stops by to give us an update on her Road to The Arnold. She talks about the types of food on her nutrition plan, avoiding distractions and staying positive.


Hi Hardbody Fans!

Time is passing so fast… it’s hard to believe I’ll be leaving for the Arnold Classic in just 3 weeks! I’m excited and getting ready to go. My shape gets better every day, but I get more tired every day, as well, lol. My performance and costume are ready, and I’m now working to build and maintain my stamina. Of course, at this point, it’s so important to avoid injury, so I’m focused on being smart and safe in all my workouts. I can’t afford any distractions.

No matter what class you compete in, these last few weeks of dieting are very hard. Individual competition, by its nature, is a very selfish pursuit, and this is most clear as you get close to a contest. Body, mind and emotion are all so sensitive, and that focus on self, and the specific work of prepping for a contest, is the way to stay safe and strong in these final weeks before the show. I’m trying hard to stay positive, and I will bring that positive energy with me to the Arnold stage.

People often ask me about my diet and how it changes as my prep goes along. The foods I eat stay pretty much the same. I eat mostly vegetables and protein–fish, chicken, and egg whites. I get fat from avocado and nuts. My carb intake is way down, but what carbs I do get come from potatoes, rice and oatmeal. I’ve found food that works for me. It’s boring but, this close to the contest I don’t care about taste, only about what gets results, so boring doesn’t bother me. Of course, I am so thankful to my sponsor, SAN Nutrition, for supporting me with their nutritional supplements. Without supplements, it would be very hard to maintain the energy and focus I need to stay strong and safe through hard workouts while on a strict diet.

I’m going to take a break from my acting classes until after the Arnold. I love my classes, but they take up a lot of time, which is so valuable to my contest prep right now. Acting also demands so much of me, emotionally. I love how it gives me a chance to exercise very different aspects of myself but, for now, my focus has to be on fitness. Thankfully, with my passion for fitness and acting, I will continue to have great opportunities to explore and develop my physical, mental and emotional potential…and I will always be a work in progress, lol. See you in Columbus!!

Love ya!

IFBB Fitness Pro

Follow Oksana on twitter at @OksanaGrishina and like her Facebook page.

For more information on the Arnold Sports Festival visit and use #ASF2013 in all your tweets.

Momma Mamba, Trish Warren Returns to the Fitness Stage

Trish Warren was at the top of her game in 2011. She had positioned herself as one of the top women in Fitness after years of putting in the work. Her routines drastically improved and her physique was on point. Then her and her husband Branch (2x Arnold Classic Bodybuilding Champion) received the most exciting news of their lives… They were expecting their first child.

Trish was kind enough to share her story and a few photos with us. She shares what few knew about her delivery until now. Join us in welcoming Trish back to the stage and enjoy her journey to the 2013 Fitness International. She’s a huge inspiration to women every where and proving that you can have children and still be fit and healthy.

trish-preggoTrish hit the gym during her pregnancy.

Trish Warren – 2013 Fitness International Contender

Happy New Year Hardbodies,

I’m back!!!! I was very excited to see my name on the Fitness International list again. I have mixed emotions about the Arnold this year, I am ecstatic to be on that stage again, yet bummed that I won’t be cheering my husband Branch on to his 3rd victory! The last time I stepped on stage was at the 2011 Fitness International where I placed my all-time best… 3rd! Shortly after I found out that I was pregnant, and Branch and I were so excited to finally become parents. Faith brings us so much joy and happiness, she completes our marriage! Tooter Maroo (Branch’s nickname for her) has been my sidekick since day one. I never let having a baby stop me from doing what I love, I just pack her up and bring her along! I don’t think she would have it any other way. She tries to dance, lunge, and squat with us, it is so stinking cute! It’s funny how a little 18 pounder can bring a smile to your face every time you look at her!


All that being said, I had a great pregnancy only gaining about 20 lbs. I continued to workout which I had hoped would make my delivery super easy. Let’s just say things didn’t go as planned. I wanted so badly to have a natural birth, but my body had other plans. I was 1 week past my due date and still not dilating. My doctor Rebecca Robert scheduled me to be induced and ordered me to arrive the night before for cervical treatments to help start the process. This was the second time I would go through this, the first time did not work and I went home for a few days before trying a much stronger treatment. When I woke I had dilated to a 2 and Dr. Robert immediately began the induction process.

I labored until 4:45 that afternoon and with every contraction Faith’s heartbeat dropped drastically, the nurses were getting very concerned which was beginning to stress Branch and I out as well. Dr Robert came in and told us that her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck and she didn’t think she would make it much longer. At this point I was dilated to an 8 and still did not have an epidural, not because I didn’t want one, but they forgot about it with all the concern over Faith’s declining heart rate. Pain or no pain, I didn’t care what had to be done, I just wanted Faith to arrive safe. An emergency C-section was how I ended up bringing our little angel into the world. Branch barely had time to put on his scrubs before they began the process, it all happened so fast, but it was the right decision. I was later told that Faith would not be here if I had had her naturally! Life is truly a miracle from God! Now Faith is almost a year old, and I have somewhat snapped back to my pre-pregnancy self. I will admit that it hasn’t been as easy as I thought. My body went through the ringer a time or two and I am having to overcome a major surgery to step back on stage.

With only 7 weeks until the Arnold Classic, I can finally say that I am beginning to see my old self again. Everyday gives me more and more confidence that I will be as good or better than before. I continued to drill routine stuff in hopes to make it back on stage in 2012, but ultimately decided to hold off until this year. I have been competing now for 13 years, and the rest has been very good for me. I feel like my body is responding to dieting very well, and I am not having to kill myself with cardio! I am once again working with Dr. Mike Feulner, he is so knowledgeable in nutrition, and has helped me achieve my best physique to date. I am very happy how I am looking at this point, and would venture to say that I am ahead of schedule. He helped me with my pre and post pregnancy nutrition plan, which has been monumental to how my body has responded to contest dieting.

I have no expectations going into this contest. It took me a long time to work my way to the top, and I am doing everything in my power to make sure I am better than my last appearance. My goal is to prove that I still have what it takes to be a good pro, and to encourage women that nothing is impossible.

Until Next Time…

Love Life and God Bless,

Trish Warren

baby-weight-crunches1No Excuses! Faith goes to the gym with Trish. Momma making it fun for all!


Check out Trish’s contest photos and competition history. Follow her on twitter @trishwarren and on facebook. For more information on the Arnold Sports Festival visit and use #ASF2013 in all your tweets.


Nicole Nagrani’s Hardbody Road to The Arnold

Nicole Nagrani was the inaugural Bikini International Champion in 2011 and is determined to shake Arnold’s hand once again in the winner’s circle. The champ is back to share her journey to Arnold and what keeps her motivated. She asks herself,”How bad do you want it?” She’s coming off a win at the Sheru Classic in INDIA and is determined to move up from her third place finish at the Arnold last year. Find out what keeps this full-time college student on pace en route to her third trip to Columbus.


Nicole Nagrani – 2013 Bikini International Contender

Hi! I’m Nicole Nagrani from Daytona Beach, Florida. This will be my seventh year competing. YES SEVEN! This will be my fourth year competing in the Bikini division. I can’t believe this is my third trip to the Arnold!!

I can’t wait to step foot on that Arnold stage this year! After winning the Inaugural Bikini International in 2011, and taking third this past year, I am definitely going back to regain my title! Taking third last year was really hard on me after winning both the Arnold and Olympia the previous year.. even though I know that might sound crazy. Believe me, I know what an honor it is to even take the stage at the Arnold, let alone be ranked as one of the top competitors in the sport, but its such an ego blow when you feel as if you’re untouchable and you find out otherwise. I needed that though, I needed to realize that I was taking my success in the sport for granted. But most importantly, I realized that my position as an icon for women around the world is the most important part about this sport. Titles come and go, there’s always going to be someone that ends up being better than the last, but the impact you have on someone’s life by inspiring and motivating them to accomplish their own fitness goals, is by far the most rewarding. So this year, when I go back, no matter what place I take, I want to be my best. I say this every show, but I think I accomplish this every show. I’m happier and happier with my physique every time I take the stage. And I hope that this year when I take the stage, I am still considered an inspiration to competitors around the world and lead by example that achieving your goals is possible!

The Sheru Classic in India was my last show. Just one week after the Olympia, I flew to India and won the IFBB Bikini division! I am half Indian, so winning in this country was really great! The Indian fans were really rooting for me and I think I was able to show them that no matter your background, ethnicity, or race, anyone can eat healthy and train hard to obtain their ideal physique. People in America definitely don’t realize how easy it is to have access to the education and accessories necessary to lead a healthy lifestyle. In India, fitness is really starting to catch on, especially with the women, but the idea of exercising and watching your diet is foreign to most. I’m glad that our group of competitors could travel to India and have an influence on the people to workout and become healthier. Not only did we influence the Indian people, but everyone on that trip embraced the culture and wanted to learn about the people. We wore the traditional Indian dresses, the sari, and we traveled to local markets and temples to really get a sense of what life was like in a foreign country. It truly was an incredible experience and the memories I have will forever be very special to me.

What keeps me motivated for the first show of the year? Well, I think this question all boils down to… HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT? When I train for a show, it’s like this switch is turned on in my head and I don’t focus on anything else besides my goals. Most of you know I am a full-time student, but I recently graduated from Stetson University and I have gotten a job doing research in the meantime until I hear back from medical schools. Among this and many other personal things, my life has changed drastically in the past few months. I’m trying to get my life straight because I feel like my head is everywhere, but when I hear the word Arnold, its like nothing could possibly stop me from dominating this show prep. We all have excuses as to why we aren’t motivated, how there’s so much going on in our lives, how we have no time and this list goes on and on. But when you really want something, when you are passionate about achieving a specific goal, you will do it. I know for me, its not like I know what motivates me, the way I look at it is that their is no other option than to be motivated. I am already motivated, and something must really go sour for me to choose the option of being unmotivated.

And C’mon… its the ARNOLD were talking about here!!!!! Who wouldn’t be motivated?!?!?

Until next time,

Nicole Nagrani

Follow Nicole on twitter at @NicoleNagrani and like her Facebook page.

For more information on the Arnold Sports Festival visit and use #ASF2013 in all your tweets.


Disclaimer: Reader discretion advised, please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or diet program.