I met Kimmy at a Musclemania Camp where she wanted to check out what the competitors did at camp. It’s interesting to read how some of her paths led her to so many amazing fitness opportunities. I can’t give away her story so I hope you will read her interview and feel free to share it!
I know you as a Musclemania Pro Figure athlete and Musclemania Camp Coach, but you also teach Zumba and have a career that is not fitness related. Can you tell me what you do and how you manage everything in your life?
I am a Registered Nurse and I currently work for a pharmaceutical company as a Respiratory Care Educator. I’m nationally certified to educate patients and healthcare providers on Asthma and other chronic lung conditions. Though the pay is invariably different, I definitely consider my work as a Group Fitness Instructor part of what I do for a living. The role of fitness in my life and its impact on the lives I encounter in my classes provide me with a huge sense of fulfillment.
It’s never really easy managing it all because there are always so many other things that I have to juggle. I consider my self a pretty organized person and I believe that since there are 1,440 minutes in a day, I can always find increments of time to accomplish something. I admit that I also have a a hard time putting limitations on myself because I like to get things done and done well. I really hate having an overflowing list of things to do so I work tirelessly a lot of times striving for completion of something. One of my favorite sayings as it relates to this is, “I’d rather be exhausted from success than well-rest from failure.”
Let’s talk about your fitness journey, what was your first show and what was the experience like for you? Did you set a specific goal for your first show?
The first time I ever stepped on a stage to compete as a Figure competitor was May 2012. I made the decision after I realized many seeds were being planted for me to do so. I was always in the gym and my workouts were intense. On more than one occasion I had been asked if I was a Figure competitor. I laughed at the notion because in my opinion I was nowhere near physically or mentally prepared for whatever that meant! After a few insightful conversations with one woman in particular, Dr. Rochelle Parks, who had been and remains a successful competitor and supporter, I did some research and made some decisions. I honestly thought it to be a highly unlikely undertaking since i could not imagine making the dietary or more specifically the wine sacrifices which I felt I needed in order to maintain my sanity at the job I had at the time.
Needless to say, I set a goal, made the sacrifices and took the plunge! My only goal was to NOT suck! I don’t know if you can publish that and I don’t know if it’s a life changing statement, but that was my goal. LOL
Kimmy Ross, Musclemania Pro Figure athlete
Training to compete becomes all consuming. It requires many hours of training and prepping over many weeks. It also requires a little sacrificing on our social life, was this the case with you and how did you handle it?
Preparation for my first show was at times overwhelming. With the knowledge I had gained through observation and research I decided to train myself. It was not long before I realized I could use some assistance with other aspects of the process that I was not familiar with – posing, strict meal preps, and nutritional supplements. Being in the gym was already my love, but I became this obsessed lover. I practically lived in the gym and when I was not there, I wished I were. Remember, I had a goal 🙂 . I found myself declining invitations from girlfriends, avoiding corporate happy hours and lavish meals with coworkers. With all my family being in Michigan and having a small circle in Houston, I felt alone and isolated a lot of times and I feared losing those friends. Truly the only people who understood were others who had taken or were currently taking the journey themselves. The friends who did know of my ambitions were very supportive even if they could not completely identify. They were amazingly supportive.
I decided the best way to handle it was to stay focused; talk with those who could relate and believe that it was all a part of short term sacrifices for long term success.
Kimmy Ross winning big at the 2012 Musclemania Lone Star show, winning Figure Overall.
Having a Pro Figure card is what many competitors strive for and you achieved it in a short amount of time. What does this card mean to you and what do you think others think of having a Pro card means?
Having earned a qualifying Pro Figure card was an unexpected surprise. I mean, to a degree I had an understanding of what it meant and what it represented in the competitive world, but I suppose what it represented to me was validation. I knew there were a few people who for whatever reason(s) were not necessarily cheering me on. I know that everyone has their own team of supporters and ‘haters’. My past success and current Pro card proves that success is the best revenge. As for others who have earned their cards, I think it’s great. There will always be great competitors before me and after me. I can learn from them all.
What was the greatest challenge you faced while training and prepping to compete? What kept you going to finish what you started?
The greatest challenge I faced while training and prepping to compete was literally my intake and output! The dietary restrictions and water requirements were insane. I had to make a way to eat the meals I had prepared and get the water in. I do not work in an office. Most of my days at the time were spent on the road in and out of my car. The stories I could tell you about the digestive track and the human bladder would rightful earn their place in Ripley’s incredibly Funny Believe It or Not.
There were a few things that kept me going: God, my friends and supporters, my mentor(s), you, Christine were my awesome and kind posing Coach I referenced my ROCKY movies and music.
Every athlete has that one moment when they compete that they will never forget. I love these stories because these are so special and I know you have one to share, so please share away!
I could give you an entire list of cliche adjectives to describe my “amazing”, “unbelievable”, “incredible”, and “unforgettable” win, but none of them would do justice. I still get chills and teary-eyeed when I find myself passionately reliving not only the moment, but the journey that got me there.
Kimmy Ross’ Jesus Cry moment!
I can only compare it to one of my all-time favorite movies, ROCKY. Prior to making my decision to compete, I went to a MuscleMania prep camp as a spectator. I sat, observed and took pictures of women who I thought were ‘ones to beat.” I even positioned myself in the room so that I could hear the men coaching and jot down a few notes from those coaches as well. I then purchased a VIP ticket and went alone to my very first Musclemania show in Stafford, Texas. I sat up close and personal near folks who looked like they had knowledge about the competition world. There was one woman – a tall, beautiful blond with legs for days. Her body was impressive and I had her picture stored in my camera from the camp. I looked at it often along with others. The night of my first show after I had already won 1st place Masters and 2nd place Short, I was rushed back to the stage. I was sooooo clueless thinking, ‘Why do I have to go back? I already won.” I was told I had to compete in the overall judging (“Ummm, okay?”). As I stood on the stairs to go on to the stage I glanced up at the woman on the staircase in front of me. It was HER! The tall blond on my camera! I became really confused. I looked behind me to see if others were lining up with us. When I realized no one else was coming. I literally thought they just picked me because they needed someone to be on stage with her because surely I was not really about to “compete” against this woman. Well, I was wrong. Our names were called; we went on stage, posed and awaited the results. I heard the announcer say and the overall winner of 2012 Musclemania Lone Star is ‘First time competitor…” I knew RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT IT WAS ME because I had seen the blond lady in a previous show. So it went like this, “and the overall winner of 2012 Musclemania Lone Star is ‘First time competitor, Ms. Kimmy Ross!” I could hear my small group of friends who had traveled to Galveston to support me screaming! Me being totally unfamiliar with bodybuilding etiquette (inspite of all the videos I watched), went immediately into what I call the “Jesus Cry”. I WAS SO HAPPY! 15 rounds (15 weeks) and I got in the ring and competed against myself and my real life Apollo. There was no split decision. I, an unkown competitor took home 3 trophies that night and the title, Champ! It was my ROCKY scene come true!
After Kimmy won the Figure Short class, she went into the Overall title against the Figure Tall winner, Sondra Smith. And the Overall title goes to…… first time competitor Kimmy Ross!
Some athletes do multiple shows in a year and some choose one or two shows a year. Which approach is better for you and why? What is your goal you try to achieve when you step on stage?
I have learned that the first thing people want to know once you step off stage is when will you step back on stage. Oh my goodness. It became the most anticipated question when speaking with people even to this day. For me, it is not the quantity of shows I will do. It will be the quality of the shows and the quality of my work. The encouragement that was instilled in me to choose the Open category in Las Vegas Fitness Universe against several creme de la creme competitors and to be the oldest in the Top 5 challenged me to push the envelope. I am thankful to God for insightful individuals like you Christine who helped me chart my course and challenge myself. With your guidance I was able to bring home another huge honor as 3rd place winner in November 2012 Fitness Universe – Musclemania’s largest international show. If you gonna win, you may as well win BIG! The choice I have made thus far have worked for me without regret.
My goal on stage has changed a little from what I mentioned earlier. Of course, I still want to be a fierce, friendly competitor on stage, but now when I strut across stage, I also want my spotlight to shine even brighter so that it reaches that person who may be sitting in the audience like I did a year ago trying to make the decision to take a life changing journey.
Words to live by: Be a woman of your word.
Words to live by: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.