Interview: Jenna Fail NPC Bikini Competitor

Jenna Fail is an NPC Bikini Competitor, read her exclusive interview for Made of Muscle including details of her body transformation, diet, training strategy and find out what motivates her.

How did you get started in fitness?

I credit my husband with getting me started in my fitness journey. He is an NPC bodybuilder and had been for years before I ever touched a weight.

I thought weights made girls “bulky” boy was I clueless!!

I was more of a cardio bunny, although I was never consistent. I was carrying an extra 15lbs in all the wrong places.

As I went to his shows and watched him compete I was always very captivated by the bikini division. In my eyes they were perfect. I NEVER thought I could look like that, but also I had never tried. As much as I knew I should be motivated by them, I always left feeling disappointed in myself-mainly because I knew I wasn’t trying.

Despite the fact that I was fortunate enough to know the ropes as far as diet & workouts go, thanks to my husband, I was being a lazy excuse maker. In November of 2012 my husband and I went to meet 4x Mr Olympia Jay Cutler. He was set up in a gym and there were lots of girls training in their sports bras. This sounds silly but I wanted to be confident enough to wear that in public too and when I looked at Jay and his unbelievable physique I thought to myself,

“If he can do that, there’s no excuse in the world why I can drop this little bit of weight”.

At that moment I had made up my mind. When we got home that night I threw away ALL my night binging food and went to the gym that very night (because tomorrow isn’t a day of the week, it’s now or never!) and prepared my meals the next day. I never stopped and within just a few months I had dropped all that weight plus some and began seeing definition! I was HOOKED.


What motivated you to make a change?

What motivated me to change from a gym rat into a competitor was one night in June of 2013, when my husband and I attended the Rx Muscle Classic with Dave Palumbo. As I sat and watched the competitors come out, I began to get that disappointing feeling again. I kept thinking,”I want to look like that, I want to be confident like those girls”. Like most girls I also struggle with confidence from time to time.

As my husband and I were driving home from the event, I kept thinking to myself, “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t”. Then suddenly I snapped out of it and got mad with myself. I thought:

“Why am I putting myself down? I’m healthy, I’m capable and the only thing holding me back is me and my doubt.”

At that moment, I just blurted out to my husband, “I’m doing that show next year”. I couldn’t believe what I had just said but I liked the way it sounded. From that point on, in my head, I was a competitor.


What has been your greatest achievement to date?

From the time I made my decision to compete in June of 2013, I just couldn’t wait another whole year, I was too exited! I actually prepped myself and I competed just 10 weeks later at the NPC Excalibur. I placed 3rd out of 8 girls in my class, qualifying me for nationals!  I couldn’t believe it!

Just shy of 2 months later in October I competed in the NPC Jen Henershott’s Big Shott Classic and placed 4th out of 14 incredible girls in my class! I’m equally proud of both of those placings. Yes, I didn’t win 1st place, but I got up there, doing something I never thought I could do & held my own against experienced competitors! Walking out with hardware was just a bonus! I honestly don’t think I could have been any happier had I even won 1st.


What do you plan on achieving next?

My goal is to place high or win the RX Muscle Classic this coming June of 2014. That is the show where I made my mind up to begin competing in this sport and it would be incredible to come back with a 1st place win! I’m bringing my best package yet to that stage. I’ll have 2 shows before the RX but this show means a lot to me, so that’s next year’s achievement goal.


What does a typical day’s nutrition look like for you?

My diet consists of high protein, moderate cycled carbs and lots of greens!

Generally, my protein intake comes from:

  • Whey protein powder
  • Fish
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Lean red meat

I eat between 5-7 times a day, every 2.5-3 hours and drink a minimum of 1 gallon (about 4.5 litres) of water a day.

As far as supplements go:

  • Daily multi-vitamin
  • BCAAs 1-2 times a day, I like to sip on aminos throughout my workouts and when I do fast cardio
  • Whey protein powder

I have tried many different brands of protein but my favourites are:

I have a caffeine sensitivity, so I’m very limited when it comes to pre-workouts but I’ve found that 1/2 a serving of BPI Pump HD works well for me as well a 1/2 serving of ON Amino Energy. I haven’t found a fat burner that doesn’t give me jitters or racing heart, so I’m still on the hunt for the perfect fat burner for me!

What is your approach to training?

  • Monday- Legs
  • Tuesday- Arms
  • Wednesday – Rest day
  • Thursday – Legs
  • Friday – Back, Arms & Chest
  • Saturday – Legs
  • Sunday- Rest day

This is my split right now because I’m focusing on building up my legs & shoulders. I switch my split every few months to keep things changing. I throw abs on the tail end of my workouts 2-3 times a week. Nothing crazy, just a few different sets. Abs happen in the kitchen!

What advice would you give someone starting out on their transformation?

  • 3 words “DONT GIVE UP!” Like I tell everyone, if results happened over night, everyone would be in shape. We have to EARN our bodies. Otherwise, what’s there to be proud of?!
  • Push yourself daily and do whatever it takes to keep yourself in the “I CAN do this, I WILL do this!” mind-set. I NEVER dreamed I could get on stage! I’ve always been a little shy that way, but I got up there & held my own against experienced competitors & owned it. I’ve never been more happy or confident in myself.
  • You can do whatever you dream, you just have to START. Give it time, trust the process – love the process!

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, gain muscle, compete, or just better yourself physically it’s all equally important. I have nothing but the up-most respect for anyone trying to better themselves & reach their goals. Never let anyone tell you your goals aren’t important or impossible. Nothing is impossible, regardless of your starting point.

Finally, what’s on your iPod at the moment?

I love my Pandora! It’s usually on my AFI Station, Senses Fail station or I pull my iTunes to Underoath’s Album – They’re Only Chasing Safety.

You can follow Jenna on Instagram@jenna_fail