I am SO pumped for you guys to hear this conversation I had with Lauren Irick, who is a world class bikini competitor turned wellness and self-love warrior. Her and I have walked an extremely similar path, minus the world class part of course, but we have both experienced the extremes of fitness competitions and are now pursuing healing and health above all else. In this episode, Lauren is pulling back the curtain and sharing what it REALLY takes to be a top professional bikini competitor / bodybuilder and the consequences she’s faced because of it. We also share our experiences with trying to heal holistically in the conventional western medical system– spoiler alert: it’s super frustrating. And last but definitely not least, we dive deep into what it’s like to basically start all over again with our personal identities, confidence, and self-worth after leaving the sport that we had dedicated our lives to. As you can tell, this conversation covered SO many important topics, and even if you’re not interested in the competing world, I know that you’ll learn so much from Lauren and her journey of healing and personal growth.

Lauren’s health and fitness journey has had lots of twists and turns. After being a lifelong athlete, then self-proclaimed “cardio bunny”, she discovered the world of physique competitions and ended up winning her very first show in 2015. She rose through the ranks in the bodybuilding world incredibly quickly and dedicated her life to being a IFBB bikini pro. (3:30)

We break down the sport of bikini bodybuilding and how one can become successful in the NPC and IFBB leagues. (4:30)

“I would venture to say that less than 10% of people who compete in bodybuilding are doing it in a healthy way, and with a healthy mindset” (9:00)

“It becomes such a fine line, and a fine balance, between ‘this is empowering’, and ‘this is obsessive, and now it’s detrimental’… and I could’ve avoided that… but that’s also the nature of the beast with competing– it’s very easy to get sucked in” (12:30)

After pushing her body to absolute extremes, Lauren experienced some severe side effects that forced her to reevaluate what she was doing (17:30)

Once she sought help, she struggled to find a doctor who could help her with her complex issues. “At the time I was so scared, and I cried for days after that, because I was thinking ‘they obviously have no idea what to do with me’” (22:00)

Lauren stays positive about her journey back to health by “removing that timeline and allowing myself to heal on my body’s time, and not expecting overnight results and just being really compassionate, patient, and loving with myself” (30:00)

“Every moment is a meditation now” (33:00)

She shares her best advice for how we can all cultivate self-love, including “taking focus off of what your body looks like and what it does” (36:00)

Rapid-fire questions (42:45)

The #GrindAndBeGrateful question (46:30)

Follow Lauren on Instagram: @lauren.irick