According to at least two of these three athletes, being fit isn't the hard part. It's staying fit that's tough.
"(It's) keeping the same motivation for months," Laurie Joslin says.
"Monotony is the hardest part," Leticia Swanson says, adding, "Eating clean is hard."
Callie Marunde has to stop and think. What about staying fit is so hard?
As Swanson finishes fine-tuning Marunde's manicure, the thick-muscled Marunde figures it out.
"Sitting still," she says, grinning.
For Marunde, a personal trainer with designs on helping her clients beat the best in bodybuilding and fitness competitions, sitting still is not an option. Not for long, anyway.
She joined Joslin and Swanson, her training partners, at the Vancouver USA Bodybuilding Championship on March 28. Instead of being on the sidelines as she normally is, Marunde decided to put her money where her mouth is - or rather, her body where her training is.
At the Vancouver show, Marunde finished seventh in Women's Figure (5'3" and under division) while Swanson took fourth in Novice Women Figure. Joslin was second in Fitness (17 & older division) and sixth in Women's Figure (35-40).
It's the first time Marunde has taken a team of athletes to compete.
No stranger to competition, Marunde took some years off to focus on training others. But as she grew to know Joslin and Swanson, the three made a seamless transition from client/trainer to friends to workout partners.
Known for her dogged persistence in getting her clients to get out of the gym and on stage, Marunde found it was Joslin and Swanson urging their trainer to join them.
"I see if (clients) have potential and if they are competitive," Marunde says, noting that Joslin and Swanson had exactly that. "They somehow tricked me into competing."
Joslin has a background in gymnastics. Now she competes in Fitness, a division featuring such skills as one-armed push-ups and flips. Swanson competes in bodybuilding, competition that has athletes showing off their physiques to judges who award points based on aesthetics.
The three have worked nearly nonstop since New Year's Day. They do cardio workouts every day and various styles of weight training four days a week. Closer to shows, they'll add routine practices into the mix.
"It's nice to have (the competitions) to work toward," Joslin says.
The motivation and dedication are important, Marunde says, because competitions most often are won or lost in training, not on show day.
"You can see backstage who cheated on their diet,
who missed a workout," she says.
The trio has designs on competing this Friday and Saturday at the NPC Emerald Cup in Seattle.
After competitions, the three friends know how they like to break their strict diets. For Joslin, it's a hamburger and avocado. Marunde wants a homemade brownie with peanut butter topping.
Swanson thinks for a second.
"I'm having chocolate."
Reach Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.