To Thine Own Self Be True
September 14, 2016
The Dumbbell Dentist
October 19, 2016


Janelle Murray on stage at the 2016 Allmax Nutrition BABBFF National Championships. Courtesy: JeVa Studios

In today's post we feature a 27 year old Bikini competitor who is currently preparing to represent Barbados at the 44th Annual CAC Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation Championship. This young lady grew up surrounded by fitness but don't fool yourself into thinking that this has made it easy for her. Just like you and I, she still has to resist certain sweet temptations, (cookies and coconut bread); she still has to stay focused and "attack" each workout and she also has to remember the importance of loving yourself and your body at every stage. Let's read a bit about Janelle Murray, also known as Nellibloom.
How old are you?
I'm 27

What industry do you work in?
Currently, I'm in the tourism industry.

How and when did you get started in fitness?
So, my mum is a fitness addict... I grew up in Surfside Gym; and I played a variety of sports during my primary and secondary school years so I've always been active or around fitness. In terms of actually getting into a gym, that started in 2013 in Surfside and then the Training Edge (now ABC Fitness Studios). It's at ABC where I began my bikini fitness journey. They held their first in-house show - Miss ABC Bikini Fitness - in May 2015. I've always been one to set goals, and challenge myself, so much to everyone's surprise, I entered and loved it. After that, I switched over to Ryall Fitness and continued to other competitions such as Darcy Beckles Open Classic in 2015, and then Bridgetown and Nationals this year. Right now I'm preparing for CAC at the end of September so it's been a busy but amazing journey, so far.

What are some of your accomplishments in fitness/sport?
2016 Mr. & Ms Bridgetown - Short Class Bikini- 6th place
2016 Allmax Nutrition National Championships - Bikini - <163cm - 2nd place

When do you train?
I'm a morning kind of girl. It's when I have the most energy and focus.

How many days of the week do you train?
If I'm prepping for a competition it's usually 6 days a week. Off season it's 4-5 days.

How do you prepare for a workout?
On my way to the gym (Hilton Fitness by Precor), I usually play some type of high energy music. When I get in the gym, it's headphones on, music on and getting my mind in tune to what I'm about to do on that day. Then it's warm up and attack.

What is on your playlist?
A whole bunch of soca, some dancehall and mainstream pop, R&B and house. Mainly it's mixes by DJs from Barbados and Trinidad that I follow on SoundCloud.

How do you manage your workouts?
My workouts are designed by my coach, Ryall Graber. They are pretty intense lol, so I have to get in my zone and focus on the mind and muscle connection. I usually workout alone, so it's just me and my music, everything else I try to block out.

How do you manage your nutrition?
Ryall also deals with nutrition plans, so tracking my macros and keeping healthy (and flexible) is one less thing for me to worry about. And meal prep! This is so essential in order to keep on track.

What are your long and short term goals?
Short term goals are to improve overall conditioning, and continuously improve on my package and stage presence.

If I add an in between here... my medium-ish to long term would to be to build my brand in fitness, and be make a positive impact on the industry and other people's lives.

Long term would be to get that pro card, and compete on the international scene, and of course the ultimate goal would be Olympia.

What is your favourite body part and why?
I'd have to say my shoulders. I'm proud of the shape I've managed to develop so far, and looove to get a good pump on them.

How do you work on your favourite body part?
A variety of upper body exercises, mainly shoulder press, lateral raises and front raises.

What do you need to work on the most?
My legs. I love training them, but my struggle as a bikini athlete right now is reducing size/debulking. So a slightly different mindset is required. They're coming down... but it's an ongoing process. Oh, and glutes! Can't leave out the glutes, always room for growth!

Team Eat clean or Team IIFIYM?
Team eat clean.

What are your favourite meals?
I'm an undercover foodie, so this is a hard one lol. I do love a good steak, and I have a sweet tooth.
Do you have “cheat meals”? What are your favourite ones?
Yep! I'd have to say cookies, coconut bread and pizza.

What supplements do you take if any?
During my workouts I take BCAAs to feed the muscles. Throughout the day I get in my extra nutrients with meals, so this is usually a multivitamin, B complex, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and D, fish oil and CLA.

When eating out, where do you go to find a tasty healthy meal?
I typically don't dine out when I'm deep into prep, but if I'm in the initial weeks of prep or in my off season I have more flexibility/options. From past experiences most restaurants in Barbados are flexible and open to swapping out items or making adjustments, you just have to ask and they'll accommodate.

What is the most challenging part of your journey?
Finding the balance in life. Trying to juggle prep, work, time for yourself and social responsibilities/life can be challenging at times.

What sacrifices have you had to make?
Probably my social time... haven't totally sacrificed but I have to manage it differently.

What have you learned about yourself and others along the way?
Where to start?! I've learned so much about myself over the last year, after each competition I like to take time to reflect on the journey and I always have a takeaway that has added to my personal growth. The three that stand out the most are probably:
(1) Learning to let go
(2) It's important to love your body at all stages; the mind-body connection is super real and powerful. They need to be on the same wavelength to make progress in fitness and life.
(3) Believing you have it in you...they say that's half the battle, and I'd have to agree.

Have you had any negative comments about your appearance or lifestyle? How do you deal with them?
Yup, I've had comments about my size with the occasional person thinking I was getting too small. On the flip side, I've had an episode of post-competition weight gain, which was probably about 20-25lbs - so definitely noticeable, and some comments were made to me about how I got fat, etc. It was hard, because it was something that I was battling to deal with internally and the external opinions were not helpful. But in a way it made me more determined. Ryall and I worked closely to get things moving, but made sure I kept healthy, (so no crash diets or excessive workouts), and we chipped away at it bit by bit. After a while you learn how to filter opinions, take what is relevant and/or constructive criticism, and let the other comments roll off your back.

What motivates you?
The girl I used to be, and the girl I aspire to be. Seeing my growth and changes over the last year and half, despite whatever life has thrown at me, reminds me that I'm capable of whatever I put my mind to.

It challenges me to put my best foot forward to make it to "that future girl". And the thing about life (and fitness) is that there's always room for improvement, so the momentum is continuous.

Who inspires you?
Overall fitness would by Ryall and Massy Arias. IFBB Bikini Pros would be Ashley Kaltwasser, Bianca Berry, Justine Munro, Janet Layug, Indiana Paulino, Ashley Janelle and Karen Gonzalez, just to name a few, because there's way more to this list.

Favourite Quote?
"Like with all matters of the heart, life is too short to settle for anything that doesn't make you feel fully alive.
Think bigger.
Love bigger.
Be bigger.
I dare you to believe in yourself.
You are worthy of all things magic."
- Danielle Dolby/ I Am Her Tribe

Tell us about your support system.
My team is the best! It's so important to have a good support system. Competing can be a lonely sport, so having people you can rely on and reach out to is necessary for me. My parents, family, friends and RyFit teammates have been supportive from day one, and have learned not to take my moods personally lol.

Do you find it challenging to have a social life?
At first it was difficult, but last competition (Nationals) I was able to handle it better. I'm cautious about which events and frequency I go out when on prep, and listen to my body...if I'm feeling tired, it's time for home. I usually cut off late night events at least 3 weeks out so I don't compromise rest time.

What hobbies do you have outside of fitness/sport?
Photography, traveling the world and learning/experiencing different cultures.

What advice do you have for people looking to get in shape?
Set your goals and write them down, make sure they're realistic, and start working towards them. Most things aren't immediate, but require time and consistency, so celebrate every accomplishment, no matter how small.

What advice do you have for people wanting to compete?
It's challenging and you'll have to make some sacrifices, but it's a rewarding process. Find a coach that's right for you and for achieving your goals. Listen to and love your body at all times, and make the process a journey, not a destination.

Where can we follow your journey?
You can find me on Instagram: @nellibloom

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