Bikini Pro to having baby #2 with IFBB Pro Cherlyn Jarvis
IFBB Pro to Baby #2
My first son was almost one year when my interest in body building started. I was a runner at the time and had the typical runners body and I was happy with that. Before my first baby, I had always struggled with an eating disorder. I never had any curves, and seeing these Instagram bodybuilders round hour glass shapes totally sparked my attention. I wanted a booty. The way these women had transformed their bodies was unreal to me. I reached out to a coach with just the intent to change my body. Competing seemed like an unobtainable option for me, I mean I had seen the way these other girls had transformed; but I couldn’t comprehend ME being able to do something like that.
Training was awesome. I instantly fell in love with weight lifting and it came very natural for me. I can’t say enough about progress pictures, without them I doubt I would have seen the changes as quick as they came. I was in complete shock! I had always hated the way my legs looked and now they had muscle definition and people were complimenting me on them. Before weight lifting I was overly self-continence of being photographed with a “fat arm”, and now my arms were becoming my favorite part of my body. Maybe I could compete. I set the goal to compete still with some hesitation whether I could really pull this off or not. My first show was April of 2015 where I placed 5th in my open class and novice. I was completely blown away and shocked. I remember stepping off stage and telling my coach I wanted to compete at a national level. The fire had started inside me.
My next show was the Warrior Fuel classic in August of 2015 where I placed 3rd in open and 1st in novice, which qualified me for a national show. I was ecstatic. I set my sites out for Miami Nationals in November and went to work to be ready. I signed up for a warm up show the Las Vegas Classic just two weeks before I was to compete in Miami. I placed 2nd in Las Vegas and two weeks couldn’t come fast enough. I really had no expectations because Miami was such a big show, but making the top 15 was what I was aiming for. I ended up placing 10th and the feeling that night was if I had won the show. I was so proud of myself and how far I had come thinking back when an eating disorder ruled my life.
Shortly after Miami I switched to a new coach. From day one he told me I was going to be an IFBB pro. I was like wow, he really thinks I can; maybe I should believe in myself that much. I knew I was a hard worker and I could put in the work, but was my body capable of that caliber? I started prep in February of 2016 for Chicago Jr. Nationals in June where I missed my pro card by ONE point. As heart breaking as that was, had I really just placed top 5 at a national show? It was amazing. Being on stage is a rush that I crave. Up next was Team Universe in New Jersey just two weeks away. I felt so much pressure going into this show. I had seen competitors place top five at one show and not even top fifteen at the next. But I walked away as an IFBB pro. I had did it. All of my hard work had finally paid off and I was on a high I will never forget. I remember looking through the NPC magazines when I first started and only dreaming of being in one. And now I would be
After going home and accomplishing this huge goal I had set for myself, I went back and forth whether to compete as a Pro right away. I knew I wanted a baby but maybe I could convince my husband of one or two more shows. Ultimately the decision was mine and I felt like it was time I focused more on my family. As much as I had tried to not let it affect them, it does take a tole on everyone. I traveled to Vegas that September to the Olympia competition. I knew by the end of the expo that I was ready to have another baby and hang up my heels for a while.
I found I was pregnant the day after Christmas 2016. We were so excited and couldn’t wait for our family to grow. Through trying to get pregnant I had gained around 10 pounds, so I was starting out bigger than I had hoped. I continued to work out and listen to my body and what it needed. I definitely scaled back and was going two to three days a week. I had nausea the first half of my pregnancy and the usual exhaustion at the end. Baby number two was born August 24th, 2017. I was able to deliver all natural with no pain medications in a quiet relaxed setting. I know the mental strength I gained through competing helped me to do this
I am now four and half months post-partum. I started out slow around three weeks post-partum, and how now worked up to close to my regular lifting weight and five to six days a week at the gym. I gained thirty-eight pounds during my pregnancy plus the extra I added before. Some days I think I have so far to go why I even try, but I take progress pictures to make sure I see the little changes that I wouldn’t otherwise. And my body is definitely changing. Progress pictures are so important. I know staying active throughout my pregnancy has helped with gaining my strength and endurance back. While pregnant I was very laid back about what I ate and now trying to get back into the healthier smaller portions lifestyle. I counted macros during all my competition preps and now am doing an intuitive eating approach. Listening to my body when its hungry and stopping when its satisfied.
Weight lifting has completely changed my life and I can’t imagine a life without it now. It is my outlet and stress reliever, and so therapeutic. I hope in reading this women and men can realize that you can do anything that you set your mind to. Whether that is a competition, running a race, getting body back after baby or just becoming a healthier you. There will be bumps and turns in the road, but you can always come back stronger physically and mentally.
“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” -Henry Ford