angeles Burke, Bikini and Fitness Champion

You may assume that bodybuilding must consume every waking hour for the people you see walking across the stage at various bodybuilding events and competitions. Not so…life must go on amidst all the training and careful diet planning. The past two months of my life have been jam packed with excitement and new adventures. I graduated with my master’s degree moved to a different state and started a new job. On top of all these changes after doing my research I decided to join the International Federation of Bodybuilding (IFBB)  Fitness Pro Shannon Dey’s “Team Bombshell” as a National Physique Committee (NPC) bikini athlete. Dey has a team of dedicated coaches who work day and night training bodybuilders and monitoring the progress of each team member. 

I knew that when I signed up it was going to be tough but I did not know how tough. As a graduate student I had a lot of flexibility with my job as a coach and group fitness instructor. Now as a young professional my days have become very structured and regimented. I wake up at 5 a.m. get my cardio done shower and head to work until 5:30 p.m. From there I hit the gym again to finish cardio workout and do my resistance training. I also live 45 min away from work. So my commute is not making things any easier. It took a few weeks for me to get into a rhythm with work and training but I finally have it down…somewhat. 

Preparing for The Dexter Jackson Classic

For the last 8 weeks I have been training to compete in the Dexter Jackson Classic in Jacksonville FL. After competing in the Alabama bodybuilding circuit for the past year I was excited to meet new competitors and judges in Florida. I chose to compete in the Dexter Jackson Classic because I heard great reviews about this show from friends active in the bodybuilding industry in Florida and because it is a Level 5 national qualifying event. In the NPC national qualifications only last for one year and my qualification was about to expire so I set my eyes on the prize and aimed for a top 5 finish to earn my spot at nationals. 

Day Before

Angeles Burke ready to rock at bodybuilding eventOn Friday August 3 I drove up to Jacksonville with all of my bodybuilding diet friendly food planned and packed (18 meals) gallons of water and supplements in tow. And of course you can’t forget the bikini heels and makeup. Everything I would need barely left room for me in the car! Upon arriving I went into the gym for my last round of cardio and then went straight to the athletes check-in. The place was PACKED! Hundreds of beautiful fit people were being weighed and measured for their division. I also had the chance to meet up with IFBB Pro Dexter Jackson and Gale the show promoters and hosts. They made me feel comfortable and welcome at their event. Gale and Dexter really did a great job with the hotel accommodations and event venue. The Radisson Hotel Jacksonville (Butler Boulevard) offered a special bodybuilder menu. At check-in we received gift bags full of supplements samples and shirts.

Day of the Event

From the athletes check-in I walked next door into the tanning room which had six pop up tents full of competitors waiting to get their first coat of spray tan. Many thanks go out to Alisa and Andrea of Hot Spot Tanning. They made my tan perfect for the stage. 

After my two coats of tan it was time to rest for the day ahead. During the down time I took time to reflect on the hours of cardio sore muscles sweat and tears on the elliptical machine. Finally it was my time to shine. Even though I had competed several times before this was my first time competing in Florida and my first time going through contest preparation with Team Bombshell. A lot of changes were happening but bring on the change! Change is good. You just have to embrace it.

At 8:30 AM I made my way to the event venue the Fine Arts Center at the University of North Florida. All of the athletes were called to a meeting where Dexter and Gale gave us the run down and order of events. The bikini competition was last. I used this to my advantage and waited to do my stage hair and makeup until it was closer to my competition time. 

Dexter Jackson bodybuilding event competitorsAt 12 noon I could hear the expeditors yelling “Bikini I need my bikini Class A. Time to line up!” That was me…it was my turn to hit the stage for prejudging. Prejudging is conducted in the morning and that is when all of the decisions are made. The competitors do not know the results until the awards show later that evening. I was so excited to show off all of my hard work. I had come in the leanest and brought my best package to date. No matter where I placed among the other beautiful women in my category I knew my physique since my last show in May was an undeniable victory. 

The awards show started at 7 PM and bikini was on second to last. Since my hair and makeup were done it was time for me to head backstage and do my final touch ups. 

I met a ton of wonderful girls backstage and we all helped each other and kept each other entertained. Again I went out into the audience and watched the other bodybuilding competitors onstage. It is so motivating and inspiring to watch the other athletes because I understand the many sacrifices they have made to get there. Then I heard the expeditor calling ”Bikini short class line up in the wings.” At the awards show each competitor walked on stage and did their model turns. Then we all filed off and they told us “live” who the top five competitors were. My stomach dropped. I wanted to qualify and being in the top 5 automatically gives you a spot at nationals. As the emcee started calling out the top five numbers  all the girls were all backstage holding hands and wishing each other luck. The fifth number they called was ME! I was so excited but had to keep my composure to walk back on stage. They called out awards and I placed 5th in Class A bikini open. What a great feeling after so much hard work!

It’s not over yet! I will be competing next weekend August 17-18 at the Europa NPC Super Show in Dallas Texas. This is another large show that will bring in great bodybuilding competition from all over the country. All the recent changes in my life have reminded me that everything in life is what you make of it. If you want to get overwhelmed then go ahead and let yourself get overwhelmed. Ultimately YOU are in control of how you feel. Not anyone or anything else. While this lifestyle is busy hectic and time consuming I LOVE it! On those days when I am too tired to get out of bed I remind myself of why I do this. I compete because I love the challenge I want to be healthy and active even with a busy lifestyle and I want to be a role model for others around me. 

Do you have questions about bodybuilding training or competition? Please add your comments below. I would love to help you out. Learn more about NPC Bikini division rules and regulations. 

Angeles Burke is the Communication Specialist at Celsius Inc. She is also an American Fitness and Aerobics Association (AFAA) certified group fitness instructor national level bikini competitor and Celsius sponsored athlete. She has a Master’s degree in Communication Studies and enjoys sharing her passion for health and fitness with others. She hopes to inspire and motivate those who want to know more about living an active and healthy life. Comment below or contact Angeles at

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