Iron Love

IFBB figure pro Kenyatta Jones-Arietta discusses the gym, relationships and competition prep

April 25, 2013
Iron Love

Rudy and I didn’t meet in the gym. In fact, we had been married for seven years before I bought my first official gym membership. With Ru, “gym” came as a packaged deal. He tried to introduce “us” pretty early on but at that time, I had absolutely no use for it. I was a size 6 without effort and had absolutely no interest in sweating out my weave just because.

Ru has always been into sports and fitness. But after the birth of our eldest son, I became very jealous of his relationship with “gym”. “Why was he spending so much time there? Does he have a girlfriend? Is all that working out really necessary?? Because of my insecurities he began to cut back on his training. And though he was a trooper and rolled with it, it began to change him. He wasn’t as calm and relaxed as he had been when he was able to train more consistently. It wasn’t good.

As the universe would have it, after the birth of our youngest son, I went from wearing that cute size 6 to double digits and no, I’m not talking a 10 or a 12 either. When I went shopping for some new digs for work, I actually fit comfortably in a size 20! That’s when it hit me that it was time to do something.

In an effort to become more physical, I decided to start walking. I can remember this day as if it were yesterday… it was too cold to go out so Rudy and I ventured to the mall to get our walk on indoors. We walked the entirety of every floor, pushing the kids along in their double stroller as we walked passed the window displays. We ended up strolling right into a New York Sports Club, which was located smack in the middle of the food court (go figure). Who knew that that would be the beginning of our fit life?

I started out as a cardio queen but still ate dirty and enough for two people. Rudy laughs recounting when I used to think that making eggplant Parmesan draped in ricotta cheese was a healthy meal.

Rudy had always thought about competing in a bodybuilding competition. At that point I had never even gone to a show. We went to one together and I was completely inspired by the conditioning of the female competitors. I was especially impressed learning that a lot of them were older than me. If they could do it, I could do it! I immediately started prepping for my first show. Rudy decided this maybe the only opportunity he’d have to compete so after my first two weeks of prep, he decided he would begin prepping to do the show with me. I began weight training with him regularly. He knew so much about the gym and the different equipment. I was completely clueless, but with his guidance, I learned a lot and slowly began to drift into my own flow. I fell in love with iron. I loved how powerful it made me feel. I loved how strong I became and how my body began to transform. I quickly began to see what it was Rudy found in “gym” as I began to spend just as much time training as he had and you could tell when I hadn’t been able to get my heavy metal therapy in, but falling in love with competing was one I would have never guessed.Our first competition was a pleasurable experience and the fact that we did it together and both survived was an even greater testament to our love for one another. We learned a lot. I learned a lot. After the last remnants of the competition spray tan had washed away, we were left with a completely different way of life than the one we started when we first said, “I do”.

It’s not easy though. In Rudy’s words:
         “The most challenging aspect of being married to a competitor is definitely the moodiness that comes along with the diet. The diet is a very difficult thing for anyone to master and it leads to a variety of emotions that all in the house have to deal with.
         When both of us are prepping for a competition the biggest issue is time. Both of us have to go to the gym (multiple times a day), both have to prep food, both have to work and I haven’t even gotten to the kids. Trying to juggle all of those things with one person competing is hard enough but when you multiply it by two, it becomes twice the challenge.
         We work because we are supportive of each other’s goals. The biggest piece of advice I would have is to have patience and work together on a schedule so that conflicts are avoided. This will prevent a lot of headaches which you don’t need during a stressful time like a contest prep.”

To that I add, always be mindful of your partner’s prep. It’s not all about you. Treat it as you would your own. Be sure to celebrate his/ her progress. Your partner definitely wants to know that you notice. Before lashing out, always keep in mind that you both are prepping and therefore completely out of your minds, so no discussions on an empty stomach. Celebrate your iron love and no matter what you do, DO NOT EAT THE LAST PIECE OF GRILLED CHICKEN!

IFBB figure pro Kenyatta Jones-Arietta
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