IFBB Bikini Pro
Well, where do I possibly begin?!
My name is Kristal Martin and I'm an IFBB Bikini Pro...but more importantly I am a daughter, sister, aunt, friend and girlfriend. I have lived all over the country and moved around a lot (8 states to be exact), but pretty much call Florida "home".
Growing up I was always a total tomboy. I played sports (mostly soccer and basketball) and loved to compete. When I was 19 I started working at a gym and was first exposed to weightlifting. At the time I was 5'8" and 110lbs...super skinny with no muscle! I had just gotten out of an unhealthy relationship which had put me in the emergency room twice. I started lifting weights and immediately became addicted. Training empowered me...and the stronger I got physically, the stronger I got mentally and emotionally.
The gym has always been a sanctuary for me. Above the obvious perks of looking and feeling good physically, it's a place I go to clear my head. In 2006 I started working with my trainer, Mike Davies, and decided to compete in figure. I placed 2nd at my first show and qualified for Nationals. I realized that I had a long way to go before I was able to pack on the amount of muscle I would need to compete at the national level, and I made a personal decision to stop competing...
...that is...until the new bikini division came out ;)
Bikini was perfect for me because I was able to maintain the type of body I wanted, and also compete again. Those who know me, are well aware that I have a strong personality and a "go big or go home" mentality. So, naturally, I decided to jump right into my very first bikini competition by entering the Arnold Classic. I hadn't been on stage in 4 years and I ended up placing 2nd out of 40 girls. I then placed 3rd at the NPC Mets in New York City and shortly after competed at the 2010 Team Universe and gained IFBB Pro Bikini status.
My journey to earning my Pro card was very special to me and my family because of what was going on behind the scenes in my personal and private life. During this time my 5 year old nephew, Cameron, was battling terminal cancer (inoperable brain tumor). We were completely devastated as a family and the rollercoaster of emotions can't even be put into words. All of the anger, the sadness, the heartwrenching pain that I felt for my nephew and the rest of my family...I took out on the gym. Cameron battled his cancer for 15 months and he slowly lost mobility and became paralyzed as his body gave out on him. He was a funny and active 5 year old boy who was trapped inside a body that would no longer work for him. The more the tumor grew, the less he was able to function physically. This is what fueled my fire in the gym. I would make sure I trained harder and pushed harder...to make up for everything he wasn't able to do. Weights became my "iron therapists" and what others thought was sweat pouring down my face, was actually tears...every single day.
Two days before Team Universe, he took a turn for the worse and we called in hospice. My family had to cancel their plans (flight/hotel,etc) to come see me go for my Pro card. I immediately wanted to pull out of the show. Something like a bikini competition seems pretty silly and insignificant when you are faced with the loss of a family member. However, I talked to my family and they all insisted on me staying in the show. During such a difficult time for my family, it was really the only "distraction" they all had. Me going for my Pro card, as strange as it may sound, gave us all something positive to look forward to. It gave us something to "hope" for, when everything else was fading away around us.
Leading up to the show, I remember just going through the motions, trying to stay positive, trying to emotionally/mentally keep it together. To honor Cameron, I wore green (his favorite color). We're talking green suit, green nail polish, green memory band that said his name - everything. Then, right before I stepped on stage my brother called me - my heart sank because I thought something had happened. Instead, I hear my brother (Cameron's father) with an emotional and cracking voice, tell me "You go out there, you represent this family, you get your Pro card, and then you tell everyone about the name Cameron Roy Martin".
...And I did EXACTLY that. I walked on that stage, became an IFBB Pro, and I did it not for myself, but for my entire family. To this day I have never stopped sharing my story about Cameron or talking about him every chance I get and I figure in a way at least I can keep him alive through my words.
He passed away shortly after my show, but his spirit and his story has continued to touch so many people. The fitness industry has provided me with such a great platform to share my experiences and I will always be grateful for that. I've met incredible people and amazing life-long friends through Cameron's story...and I am truly blessed to be around such beautiful people.
So...now that you know my background that brings us to present day! I am still competing and actively involved in the industry. I help out competitors in my free time and guest speak at posing seminars. I am also an NPC judge in the state of Maryland. My goal is to help fellow athletes stay grounded, find balance, and really ENJOY life. It is so easy to get caught up in the superficial and trivial things that this industry brings...and I just hope a little bit of my positive attitude and GENUINE LOVE FOR LIFE...will rub off on others.
My motto is to "Train Hard...but LIVE HARDER" and bring a smile to people's faces each and every day. I continue to push myself in the gym and challenge myself to be better, while hopefully inspiring others along the way :)
Phewwww! Okay...no more "BIO" I swear! I think I just set a world record!
You guys can find me on my facebook page www.facebook.com/kristalmartin23 and keep checking in at www.truestrength.com to find out about upcoming appearances and question/answer videos.
Kick ass! xo