A Venus finds FOOD for the SOUL

FRAME Dogs in California Coastal Range

Jerie’s “boys” frolicking in the beautiful California coastal range.


How does a Venus feed her soul?

Saturday was a hibernation day. I wanted to go nowhere, eat comfort food, and be with my boys. I did just that, cancelled my dinner date and the boys and I hiked some of the property hills. The fresh air, sunshine, and cardio exercise was exactly what I needed to recharge my spiritual batteries.

Food for the soul was what I really needed. How many times have I fed my body instead my soul?

This is a sobering question for me and one I’ve never asked myself. I eat healthy food that I prepare myself. I avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine. I workout because it helps ease my stiffness and aches.

All of these I do for my body, but what am I doing for my soul?

I spend hours researching topics to answer someone’s questions. I answer them at all hours. I stop what I’m doing to pick a friend up and drive them home because they need it. It’s amazing the things that I’ll do because I don’t want to disappoint others, but what am I doing for my soul?

One could argue that all of these things that I do are for me therefore it stands to reason that, ultimately, my soul benefits. This is an incomplete assessment. I am not feeding my soul with these tasks; I’m satisfying my ego. There is some spiritual benefit so I will continue to help others, but it’s time to focus on helping myself.

Starting today I will challenge myself to feed my soul. When I feel that urge to eat something that I don’t need I will ask myself, “am I trying to satisfy my spiritual hunger with food?” I will feed my soul before I feed my body. I know what real hunger feels like, that hollow, growling sensation in my stomach. The urge to snack is not physical hunger. It’s a symptom that is best treated with spiritual food. Meditation, soaking in the sunlight, breathing fresh air, walking, just being present in the moment and taking it all in. These acts feed my soul.

Now ask yourselves, my lovely Venus ladies, “how many times have I fed my body instead my soul?”


PS You can find Venus Ambassador Jerie active and helping others in our exclusive online community.

As a Venus you learn to be the BEST YOU possible

Roberta the colors of fall FRAMED

The colors of fall!

I love all the seasons.

Some seasons of life are harder than others.

Just be yourself.

Whatever that is.

Sometimes it can be a disaster trying to copy someone else.

We all learn by trial and error.

We all have out own unique qualities.

None are necessarily better than the other.

Just different and unique.

And for each of us our time will come.

If we work hard and patiently wait our turn.

No need to tear others down when they succeed whilst you wait.

But others will misunderstand you as you progress and try things. And sometimes they are mean about it.

So just motor on anyway and you certainly don’t have to be a doormat for the mean people.

Just move on and bide your time.

Nice and polite and professional without being a doormat.

‘Cuz for each of us our time will come.

And in this world of so much fakary and back stabbing.

People crave realness and honesty.

So just be you.

The nice real version of YOU.


PS It’s been over a year since my Super Hero Photo shoot, and almost 4 years since the photo shoots for VT3 and VT4.  During that time I also have done magazine photo shoots at age 54 and a fitness competition at age 53. Some people will tell you you can’t maintain this year round.  That is not true. YOU can do it too!  If you need help, that’s what we are all here for.  Don’t let your fears and doubts stop you.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Go forth and know that you can SAVE THE DAY and every day is a glorious day to make good choices.

Never Settle.

Never Give Up.

Live Your Dream.

-Coach Roberta

What does it feel like to be a 53 year old Figure Competitor?

The best part for me was showing John this picture and his reaction was "Holy smokes! Ro you look fabulous!" That means more to me than any trophy!

The best part for me was showing John this picture and his reaction “Holy smokes! Ro you look fabulous!” That means more to me than any trophy!


Today we are exactly 3 weeks out from the Venus Transformation VT13 deadline. The last day of this contest will be April 13th.

Many Venus ladies have been asking about my recent experience with a fitness competition so I figured this would be a good time to write about that. It’s a good time to discuss how to prepare for your final photographs for the current contest as you will need to plan ahead.


What made me decide to do a fitness competition?

I found Coach Miles though my friend Lauren Monday. Lauren is the model who helped me with a photo shoot for the final pictures I submitted for Venus Transformation contest #4.

Lauren is a bikini model and now a bikini competitor with several shows under her belt.

I saw Lauren’s posts with Miles on Facebook. I decided it would be fun to try something new so I gave Miles a call. I had no intention of competing in a fitness show but I found myself surrounded by other fitness competitors who had a lot of energy. I quickly made friends and was easily accepted into the group. It didn’t take long for my friends and Miles to convince me to join in the fun and try to compete as a masters figure competitor.

We decided on the Sacramento Pro Show in November 2014. I’m 54 now, but I was still 53 back in November last year.

I increased my workout sessions with Miles and got started with some posing practice.

I found posing practice to be harder than working out. As Miles knows I LOVE to workout, and I love to work hard. I quickly learned that posing was going to require many hours of practice at home, which I did.


Here's a picture of me with coach Miles just last week. Even though I don't plan to compete again, I still train with Miles once a week to "keep my head in the game".

Here’s a picture of me with coach Miles just last week. Even though I don’t plan to compete again, I still train with Miles once a week to “keep my head in the game”.


What changed with my diet?

Diet was really fun because I already knew what to do. Miles taught me to get a little more protein in with egg whites and protein powder. I already knew how to diet with Venus by using lean meat, vegetables, and just enough healthy carbs for energy. I taught Miles about Eat Stop Eat and working out fasted and we quickly became a dynamic team. Those principles helped Miles tweak his own plan and keep his fitness goals.

Miles began helping his other clients with the Eat Stop Eat principles and it was pretty exciting to watch others achieve better success by using what I had learned from Brad Pilon and John Barban. It’s great to see others ditching the fitness myths regarding when to eat and how often.

Miles taught me to get more protein in with the same amount of calories. I hadn’t thought of using egg whites and it for some reason it was a hard concept for me. What, you mean throw away the yolks!? So I got the liquid egg whites in a carton.

I have never had much use for protein powder. I prefer to eat solid protein as opposed to protein drinks. I don’t get much satisfaction out of drinking my calories.

Miles teaching me to include egg whites and protein powder along with the lean meat and fish I already consumed was a real eye opener. You can really pack in a lot of protein in a small calorie budget! I didn’t really like egg whites or protein drinks so worked to come up with various protein custard recipes and that suited me fine.

As far as the calorie deficit I took it nice and slow. I didn’t do anything drastic. I just set my own schedule and did a nice slight deficit for about two months. Even then it’s pretty hard to do when you are already pretty lean. I started out at about 12% body fat and got down to something below 10%. Even with a slight calorie deficit there is nothing easy about doing it.


What changed with my workouts?

I learned from Miles how to do some very precise weight lifting splits to develop the specific muscles for a figure competitor. My having done the Venus workouts were a perfect base to start with. I mainly needed a spotter to help me push just a little harder and add in the splits. For me I needed to work the the muscles harder in all areas but specifically needed the most work on my shoulders and upper back for the Figure physique.

I still did the Venus workouts on the days I didn’t work with Miles.

I learned those last 2-3 reps with a spotter were crucial for developing more muscle definition.


The competition mindset

I knew going into the show that I would need a strong mindset. I knew I needed to be happy with how I’d built my own body and not let the judges decide upon my own happiness.

Even going into it with that strong and positive mindset, the competition day was a hard day for me. It really threw me for a loop emotionally.

I have absolutely no regrets, but I can not say the day itself was fun. It wasn’t.

The Lauren Jacobson interview with John was helpful for knowing that even a few years ago when the Bikini and Figure classes were just starting that it was unclear as to what the judges were looking for. It seemed like bikini class is not quite as lean and muscular compared to the figure class, but it turns out that is not always the case. Every show is different and with every set of judges; it’s a constant moving target for each show and it has not gotten any better.


Here I am in the open class lineup with much younger women.

Here I am in the open class lineup with much younger women.


What about “prep week”?

It was a difficult week because I decide to experiment with the traditional old school “prep week” or “peak week”. It’s a much more hard core version of our Venus “Slim in Seven”.

I ate fairly normal all week except I cut out foods that make me bloated. For me that is dairy, wheat, and foods with a lot of long ingredient names (which I typically avoid anyway). I ate more nuts, dried fruit, salmon, turkey, banana, and gluten free crackers. I ate a little more low carb and higher protein at the beginning of the week and increased the carbs later in the week.

I limited my water all week which was a disaster. I was miserable and probably ate a little too much fruit/nut mix the last few days. It’s hard to keep track when you have containers of it and are staying in a hotel (and miserable, thirsty, stressed, and sleep deprived.)

This is what Kristen Shaffer has to say about water intake for prep week:


You’ve heard it a thousands times – deplete your water the last week. DO NOT DO THIS. You will step on stage looking stringy and flat.


Because studies have shown that water is mostly stored within our muscles. So if you decrease your water intake, your body will adjust by actually retaining more water outside the muscles, making you look bloated. Additionally, your total water retained will decrease, but since most of it is stored in your muscles you will lose precious muscle mass.

The only time you want to limit your water intake is the day of your competition, and the only reason is to not have a full-looking tummy. So only sip water that day when you are thirsty.


Coach Trish Wood IFBB Pro not only thinks the same, but she also thinks you just drink the normal amount of water on competition day. Trish has been at this game a very long time and knows what she is talking about, in fact her client (Rachelle Mittelstet) just got first place in both Figure class A and 1st place figure Masters’s 40+ this past weekend and the Governors Cup competition in Sacramento.

If I had competed again I would have been in those same classes with Rachelle. I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready for that again.  But it’s okay, I don’t have to compete to be happy with what I’ve achieved.

I have a comparison picture from approximately 5:30 pm the night before the competition and approximately 5:30 am the day of the competition. I’d spent a miserable night in the hotel room tossing and turning, I was thirsty, hungry, stressed, and the tanning solution painted on me was absolutely atrocious.


With the difference in angles and the tan it’s hard to say if there is much of a difference or not. Both Miles and I thought I was a little flat on competition day, but I'm not sure it matters much. The work was done and there wasn't much fat left.

A 10 hour overnight comparison. With the difference in angles and the tan it’s hard to say if there is much of a difference or not. Both Miles and I thought I was a little flat on competition day, but I’m not sure it matters much. The work was done and there wasn’t much fat left.


With the difference in angles and the tan it’s hard to say if there is much of a difference or not. Both Miles and I thought it seemed like I looked the best a couple days prior to the show and then got slightly flatter and less defined each day.

Regardless, everyone agrees – even John and Brad – that the real difference is in the work during the weeks and months prior to the event. It’s best not to torture yourself too much this final week if you don’t need to.

The process affects everyone differently. I’ve heard a couple of people say the Slim in Seven process is no big deal, but others have reported that it was hard. It’s a good process to follow but keep in mind it’s a guideline that can be adjusted to your own needs, just like everything in the Venus program.


How did the competition day go?

Participating in a competition is a pretty big investment. You need a good coach for your workouts and posing practice. You need an expensive competition suit, shoes, tan, hair, makeup, nails, hotel, entry fees, and a membership to the fitness organization you are competing under.


Several of my friends met up and got our hair done in the hotel room. Even though I was nervous this was kind of fun!

Several of my friends met up and got our hair done in the hotel room. Even though I was nervous this was kind of fun!


I’d only seen a couple of fitness shows, so I really didn’t know enough. I had misconceptions about the judging “callouts” as you shall see in the following story.

The first time on stage in the morning is when all the real judging happens. The audience is small. The “entertainment” part of the show happens in the evening. In some ways the evening is more fun because they have fun music and a master of ceremonies.

Being up on stage was totally different compared to practice at home. There are bright lights in your eyes and you are crowded up on stage with not much time to move from one pose to the next. They rush you though everything like cattle in a line. It didn’t seem like there was enough time to get the figure poses correctly set.

The venue for the show I was in wasn’t comfortable for the competitors. We had long staging hallways and the stage floor was uneven with a lot of metal hinges and screws sticking up.  It’s hard enough to walk around in 5 inch heels, let alone trying to balance on an uneven floor.  I was deathly afraid of tripping on the metal pieces. It made it really hard to balance.  I’m sure each of us felt we were in the worst spot ever.

When they do the judging they move you around in the lineup for comparison. You aren’t supposed to compare yourself to others right? But it’s hard when you are in an environment where they are doing just that. I didn’t find that at all fun, especially at my age around young women with pretty skin. Man it was hard.

In every class I ended up out at the end of the lineup, which I assumed was “last place” in the call out. I was literally in tears up on the stage wondering what the heck I did wrong. I’d entered five different competition classes so it was a lot of work to keep getting up on stage. Every time I went up I got more discouraged. My coach and all my friends were not with me. I felt alone and lost. It was nothing like all the weeks and hours I’d spent practicing and having fun with my friends at the gym.

After the morning judging session I ran to my room and cried for hours. I finally mustered up the strength to go find Miles and some of my friends and I know they felt bad because there was nothing they could do to make me feel better.

I didn’t want to go back up on stage for the final evening show. I knew I was in last place and I was just filling the gap for the show. But I was determined to go and do my best out of sheer principle.


I took a nap and finally mustered up the strength to go face Miles and my friends downstairs.

I took a nap and finally mustered up the strength to go face Miles and my friends downstairs.


When evening came I cleaned up my tear smeared makeup best I could. I hadn’t brought any makeup and the makeup artists were gone. I didn’t really care. I just wanted to get it over with.  I was driven with sheer principle that I wouldn’t quit or pack up and go home, although I desperately wanted to.

Then we lined up to get on stage again. In the evening the schedule was a little different because they had NPC novice competitors (of which I was a part of) mixed with the IFBB pros. When the show got behind schedule they held up the NPC women’s masters groups I was in so that the IFBB pro men could be on schedule. That meant two of the groups I competed with had to wait in the hallway in high heels for nearly an hour. It was pretty darn miserable for us because we couldn’t sit down without messing up the glue that held our suits in place. We couldn’t get our “pump” on with the little weights there because we were waiting too long.

Even though all of us girls were so miserable being held hostage in the hallway, ironically it was the best part of the day for me regarding social interaction with others. We had a chance to really talk about real fitness life nitty gritty. I told the ladies there in the line that it was the best part of the day for me.


Here I am with the top 5 winners in the Masters Figure 35+ class. I'm actually the oldest one there at age 53. I'm in 5th place.

Here I am with the top 5 winners in the Masters Figure 35+ class. I’m actually the oldest one there at age 53. The others are all under 40. I’m in 5th place.


I got a lot of compliments from some of the other girls. They told me my whole package, suit, hair, physique, etc were put together nicely. It made me feel good because I was pretty darn insecure about the whole thing. It sounded like they were genuine and that’s what felt good to me.

That’s where I learned from the others that each show is different regarding the judges. Whether it’s figure or bikini class it’s hit or miss if they want a softer smoother look, or a ripped shredded look. You have to decide what you like best for yourself and know that you’ll do well in some shows and not others.

It’s a pretty big investment for a hit or miss like that.

I was in absolute shock when I got a fifth place trophy for Masters Figure 35+, it made me realize I was wrong about the callouts. Only the judges know what’s really going on. It really was hit or miss like the girls said when we stood in the hallway.


I was in shock that I got a trophy! I took a quick selfie before I stepped into the elevator to head up for a shower I couldn't wait for.

I was in shock that I got a trophy! I took a quick selfie before I stepped into the elevator to head up for a shower I couldn’t wait for.


As I walked back through the maze of hallways with my trophy I passed the huge lineups of other girls going up toward the stage. I got a lot of congratulations and high fives. But I realize how few actually get to go home with any hardware. I barely got the one I got. I didn’t feel like it meant much. Don’t get me wrong, I was darn happy to have it, but at the same time I realize that each and every woman that showed up to compete that day deserved a trophy.

Every single woman there worked hard and put in the same effort I did. They were all beautiful in my eyes.


Even though I didn't get a trophy picture with Miles, I was just so happy to shower and be done with it. We waited for the other competitors so we could all go have a yummy dinner.

Even though I didn’t get a trophy picture with Miles, I was just so happy to shower and be done with it. We waited for the other competitors so we could all go have a yummy dinner.


I was so happy once I was done with the ordeal, got my shower, and could sit in comfort with my dear friend Miles.  I was happy to get the trophy.  I was happy to get John’s response because I still like it when John is proud of me.


What about the Venus contest?

It’s totally up to you if you want to do any version of “prep week” before your final photo’s or not. It’s not a requirement and it’s completely personal preference. The Venus Factor “Slim in Seven” is a good program and not as drastic as the old school fitness competitor prep week.

If you decide to follow the Venus Factor “Slim in Seven” there is a daily diet protocol designed by John Barban. A lot of people ask how do they know what percentage their protein, carbs, and fat are? The best way to do this is to use a tool like Myfitnesspal to set your macro percentages. In the MyFitnessPal menu you can do this by going into your Home menu, then Goals, then the green “Change Goals” button, then select “custom”, then Continue.


To set your macro percentages in In the MyFitnessPal menu; go into your Home menu, then Goals, then the green “Change Goals” button, then select “custom”, then Continue.

To set your macro percentages in In the MyFitnessPal menu; go into your Home menu, then Goals, then the green “Change Goals” button, then select “custom”, then Continue.


Keep in mind it doesn’t have to be exact.  You can change things up depending on how you feel or how much stress you are under.  As you can see from the experiments of many of us what matters most is all the work in the weeks and months ahead of time.

Whether you are finishing the contest as a transformation, cover, or calendar girl you are not required to have a professional photographer.  Be proud and make your best presentation ever!  Celebrate your hard work and success by giving it your best effort and having pictures that you will cherish for the rest of your life.  It’s a record and a reminder for you on what you have accomplished.

Preparing For Your Contest Photo Shoot – Part 1: Posing Practice

Preparing For Your Contest Photo Shoot – Part 2: Photography And Lighting

Preparing For Your Contest Photo Shoot – Part 3: The Final Week


What to do with your final Venus contest photos?

When you submit your final photos the bikini type outfit will be used primarily for judging purposes only. Please feel free to submit other final pictures in nice clothes of your choice that still show off your new shape; for example a dress, skirt, jeans and tops, sports outfits, hobbies outfits like tennis, golf, yoga, etc.

We would also love to have a before picture that tells your full weight loss story so others can see that there is more to the story then just the 12 week contest window.

Get ready for AMAZING!

Will you be next?

Get your final entries in by midnight Eastern time April 13th.

Use the contest entry form (the same that you used to enter the contest).

We’ll need from you:

  • front pose
  • back pose
  • side pose
  • newspaper pose
  • up to 15 cover pictures of your choice
  • your 250 word or more essay (please include your age in the essay)

and your measurements:

  • height
  • weight
  • shoulders
  • waist
  • hips

We are looking forward to the amazing results of your hard work.

Coach Roberta

If you have any questions or problems with uploading your pictures email me: roberta.saum@gmail.com

Contest rules and regulations

Contest schedule for 2015


Elizabeth Found Her Perfect Fit With Venus

This picture says it all.

Elizabeth had struggled with her weight for so long that she wondered if it was even possible to be happy in her own skin.  Determined to be a positive role model for her daughter she had tried other diets and fitness programs, but didn’t find her perfect fit until she stumbled on a Venus ad.  Within weeks her clothes were looser and she was on her way.



“I am 38 years old and I never thought I could ever be slim. I have struggled with my weight all my life. One of my childhood memories is of a boy saying that I looked like I was pregnant. In the last 2 years my weight seemed to balloon up and I could no longer fit into 90% of my clothes. I was very discouraged but also not hopeful since I had tried SO many diets and fitness programs. Some of these helped somewhat, but they were so restrictive they did not fit into my lifestyle. Others were very structured but even though I put in so much effort, I did not see any significant results. I had my thyroid issues corrected, but my weight problem still did not change, as I expected it would. My 6 year old daughter made the comment that, “Mommy is a little bit chubby”. That really upset me, because I want to be a positive role model for her. I wanted to overcome this issue in my life so that hopefully she will not struggle with negative body image and weight issues. But I did not know how to lose the weight unless I starved myself. It was only a few weeks later that I came across a Venus Factor advertisement online. I felt like it was an answer to prayer! I immediately started to lose weight with Venus in April 2014. In less than a week my clothes started to feel looser. I found many tools for losing weight that I can use according my needs and my social calendar. This is what I love most about Venus: it is 100% flexible. I live in Asia, where the constant social events are all about food, and to not eat is culturally offensive. In the past I did not know how to navigate this. Now I participate in eating with everyone and I am still losing weight. The concept of budgeting my calories makes a lot of sense to me. I budget my money – why wouldn’t I count and budget my calories as well? When I started the VT12 Contest, I had a pair of size 12 grey jeans that were way too tight for me. I could not even do up the button. Now, just 12 weeks later, those jeans are too big for me and I need to replace them with a smaller size. I am so happy. For the first time in YEARS I feel comfortable and confident in my own skin. I am so, so thankful for the Venus program and what it has done for me.”


You can listen to Elizabeth’s story here:




Why are we so fascinated with EXTREMES? Uncensored Podcast


 Why are we fascinated by pushing ourselves to extremes?

What causes fat loss plateaus?

What causes us to not to achieve our goals?

What is survivor bias?

How does survivor bias apply to power lifting?

How does this apply to diet?

What do we see and not see on results of diets and workout programs?

How does this effect our mindset?

Why are we as humans fascinated by pushing ourselves to our extremes?

What about the psychology behind why we like to watch the struggle for survival?

Could it be why we choose a diet we struggle with?

What is image illusion?

What is goal hijacking?

How does goal hijacking, image illusion, and survivor bias all tie together to stop you from achieving your fitness goals?


Listen to what John and Brad have to say about this topic:


IMMERSION Clients May Login and Download Podcast Here

(If you are using Venus Index Mobile, go to the left menu -> My products -> right menu -> Uncensored Season 3 -> enjoy, you can assign star to add it into Favorites for easier access next time, if you don’t have access to Uncensored Podcasts you can purchase Immersion Package inside the App Shop)

Not a Venus Index IMMERSION client? Click here to find out more… You can turn your call. That’s why, it may be satisfied with educational portals. One does not a customer.Our policy allows pupils to anybody into the topic provided by giving a decision to take your paper writer using different plagiarism and Cookies Policy to find mistakes in the basic instructions and rearranges the literature review paragraph, an excellent expertise, we offer our company name? It’s can’t there be properly research, accurately written ideas suitable within strict requirements of our . click site moved here writing a conference paper blog here We deliver services of free revision request, and structuring rules. They do not some questions that WritemyEssayOnline.com offers a sample paper online” and TrustworthyIf you to check all to pay someone to meet your personal writer more about a service that need a chance to your paper, essay, seeing grads can rest assured that title very simple. But if you have huge international students. We guarantee results of many years of top paper on the writer will be able to academic article writing services of writing presupposes a .

The final sprint for the contest; Don’t let FEAR stop your DREAM.

I'm still pinching myself the way I did back in my Venus Transformation contest days.  What, am I really Cat Woman now??!!

I’m still pinching myself the way I did back in my Venus Transformation contest days. What, am I really Cat Woman now??!!


The final contest sprint

Many of you are now in the final stretch at the end of the VT11 Venus Transformation contest.  This is where you can make the final push with workouts and and a little more effort on the diet compared to a normal season of life.

It’s okay to put in that extra effort which is a bit more than a normal sustainable effort.

It’s okay to sprint for a few weeks.



Along with that sprint comes fear.  Fear of letting yourself down.  Fear of letting others down.  Fear of failure.  Fear of being a dork.  We all have these fears, and they don’t all go away.  We have fear when we push for something hard and try something new like a contest.

Even though there really is nothing to fear, we fear.  In many ways there is nothing to lose, but we conger up the fears.

I’ve been ready and in shape most of this year for a photo shoot, yet fear was stopping me from actually booking one.  I do a lot of networking online and have met some amazing and talented people.

About a month ago I finally contacted one of my online photographer connections.  His name is Ryan and I really liked the work I’d seen him post.  When I showed Ryan some examples of what I’d like to do with the superhero theme his interest seemed to perk up.

I had wanted to keep it a secret, in case I failed.  I wasn’t planning to tell anyone.  But Ryan was so excited that he posted a status update stating that we were doing a superhero photo shoot and that it was going to be “epic“.

Then the pressure was on because the secret was out.  All his friends and all my friends could see it.  So the panic and fear started.

I can honestly say that every day since then has been filled with fear, sometimes to the point of feeling ill and losing sleep (which makes EVERYTHING worse).  Some of my friends know as I posted some funny status updates, or even gym workouts at the “lonely sheriff gym” which made some of my friends chuckle. Fear makes us feel alone.

Someone had posted an inspirational poster about “Setting a goal that is so exhilarating that it excites and scares you at the same time.”  That pretty much summed up the two weeks for me prior to the “superhero photo shoot”.

I’ve got some amazing and talented people I’m connected with now. Every time I post a question about a personal problem the knowledge and generosity never ceases to amaze me. Not only from local friends but from people who I’ve never met in person. It’s simply amazing.

So some of my fear was that I didn’t want to let these amazing people down, or look like a dork or failure to them.  I know I shouldn’t care about what people think. I’ve learned not to care about what mean people think, but I still care about what people think who I know and respect.

I was so sick with fear that at times I wanted to just call the whole thing off, so the pain would go away.  But then I knew I’d have other regrets, and other pain.

I’m really glad I didn’t give up, because the prize was amazing.


It takes a TEAM

I can’t say enough about the fact that it takes a TEAM to pull this off a photo shoot like this. All I did was work on my body and the costume, and even all that took support of family and friends.

Then add in hair color, nails, hair style, borrowed boots (for the Ninja scene not shown in this post), general assistance and driving around, makeup artist, amazing photography skills, etc.  Things like this don’t happen solo. It takes people helping people. It does take a team.

A team takes teamwork skills, and thinking about how you effect others around you.

When you get a chance, help others out. What goes around comes around.

This was my team:

Photographer Ryan Lazalier

Makeup artist Diana Jeanette

Hair Stylist Shayn Guenther

Assistance from my dear friend and amazing woman who will soon realize her own dream of being a fitness competitor Nancy J. Meuer

I’m actually the 53 year old model living my dream (Roberta Saum)

In the days prior to the event my nails and hair color were done by HairHouse ‘N’ NailSaloon and Mekayla Ladd

The amazing thing about this event was that no money exchanged hands. This was totally made up of a group of people helping everyone else build their portfolio’s.  Not everyone gets this type of opportunity.  I was lucky, but I also spend a lot of time helping others out.

That’s how this sort of thing works.  It also helps when you are willing to do something different, out of the box, and scary, like dressing up like a cat woman.  This gave the creative people on the team an ability to use their talents in a fun and unique way.  They wanted to do it. In fact they were excited to do it.

When Shayn and Diana showed up to do my hair and makeup they immediately made me feel at ease.  Diana did an amazing job on my makeup.  Shayn took the effort to add in my hair extensions and style them to match and blend beautifully with my hair.

My hair was highlighted by Danna Ladd at HairHouse ‘N’ NailSaloon. Danna used a very complicated mix to make my hair match the extensions I had.

Danna’s daughter,  Mekayla Ladd, gave me a pedicure and manicure.

For your own success in the fitness game it means setting up your own team.  Get friends and family on board.  We all need support. Every situation is different.  Some really need the online community for support if their family is not on board.  Some have local friends. Some have friends who don’t agree with methods.  Remember this is YOUR journey and not everyone will understand.  It might be a fight for yourself, the fight is worth it.  So keep fighting the good fight until you get the team that works with you.  And always remember team is about give and take.


About the costume

Many people have asked about the costume and scene so here are the details on that.

I pieced together most of the costume with items from Yandy.com.  That is where I got the black pleather pants, camo top and shorts, cat woman mask, whip, and gloves.

I had to experiment and try things out for the costume.  At first I put the camo belt around my waist in a crisscross pattern, then went shopping for a waist belt and shoes.  I scoured the big local shopping mall and almost gave up, then at the last minute I found the shoes and the belts which I ended up using for the crisscross.  I decided to use the camo belt around the waist.  Then I had the idea to cut off the top of the camo shorts (along with the belt loops) and attach them to the black pants.  It took a bit of sewing skills and some Velcro pieces.

I had to alter the pants to fit as they were baggy in places.  I also had to modify the gloves which were too long for me (I’m short so they reached up to my armpits!)  I rolled them down and then they looked funky so I added some leather and buckles to the top cuff.  I found some cheap boots at a used clothing store. I cut the leather and buckles off the boots and sewed them on the top cuff for the gloves.

I also had to modify the mask as the holes for the eyes didn’t fit my small face.

I had to use duct tape to hold the crisscross belts up in place on my upper back.  I needed my assistant Nancy to help with that. The belts were brand new like the shoes and I didn’t want to cut them as they will be useful as normal clothing items.

The weekend before the photo shoot Ryan scouted dark alleyways in downtown Sacramento and practiced some night photography.  When he told me about it I feared a bit for our safety since we would be preoccupied with our work and not as aware of our surroundings as we should be.  I arranged for someone to watch out for our safety and who would call it off mid scene if it got too dangerous.

We actually had some close calls with the local night life, but everything worked out fine.

At one point we had a makeup disaster and had to go to a local grocery store for some quick fix items.  Dressed as I was in pleather and dark makeup, I’m pretty sure the locals thought I had different business in town. Nancy and I got a good chuckle out of that, but we motored on with purpose and did what we had to do to get the job done.

The alleyway for the cat woman picture was in downtown Sacramento.  Here’s one more picture from that scene.  You can see Ryan’s creative talents in both pictures.


My friend Nancy said of Ryan, "Wow, he got down on the ground and got dirty to get some great shots of you!"  Yes he did and it was awesome.

My friend Nancy said of Ryan, “Wow, he got down on the ground and got dirty to get some great shots of you!”
Yes he did and it was awesome.


One of the comments my friend Nancy made about Ryan was “Wow, he got down on the ground and got dirty to get some good shots of you!”  Yes, we all noticed that.  And let me tell you that alleyway was filthy.  Ryan is an amazing and down to earth guy who I thoroughly enjoyed working with.  I hope to get more chances to work with him.  I have a feeling it might happen again someday.  Since then he’s asked me to help coach him on “getting lean” and I can honestly say it’s my pleasure to help.

I told Ryan I’ll be cracking the whip! I have one now you see, as I am Cat Woman!

Ryan named the first picture “Catwoman GI Jane“, and the second picture “Alley Cat“.


Don’t let FEAR stop you from achieving your DREAM

So the bottom line is you won’t really know the outcome until you do it.  Take a leap of faith.  Believe in the hard work you’ve put in.  Believe in yourself even though the fear still exists.

If it’s one of our contests you are doing, in many ways you have nothing to fear.  Just like my superhero photo shoot, if the pictures didn’t come out no one has to see them.  If you you don’t like them, just keep them to yourself and keep on swimming.

We keep everything about people in our contest completely private and confidential.  Unless you place in the top 10, no one will even know you entered unless you talk about it.  No one except the contest judges will see your pictures unless you place, and then your awesomeness will be shown to the world.

Do this for yourself, not the contest.  It’s an investment in yourself.  Even if the outcome isn’t what you wanted. That is how we all learn.  Learning is an investment as much as success is.

Think of your photo shoot as something for you to have to look back on.  Just like when you take your family portraits.  It’s a memory of a special time.  Even though my VT3 and VT4 contest photo’s are a couple of years old now they hold very special memories for me.  I’m glad I have them. Someday when I’m 90 years old I will have them to show when I tell my old lady stories about my life if anyone bothers to listen.

We all have fear.  Some of it never goes away. Some of it makes us feel ill. Don’t let it stop you from achieving your dream!

The deadline for submitting the VT11 contest final pictures is August 11, 2014 midnight.  If you are in this contest and you are delayed due to waiting on photography final processing all you have to do is email me (roberta.saum@gmail.com) and let me know.  The front page newspaper picture must be dated August 11, 2014 or earlier.

I look forward to seeing your hard work shine!

-Coach Roberta

(You can find me in the online community.)


Find out more about Venus Transformation contests:

Ever feel like your self esteem is in the trash can?

Do you ever need to pick your self esteem up out of the trash can? This is our kitty Briquette.

Do you ever need to pick your self esteem up out of the trash can?
This is our kitty Briquette, she liked to play there. 🙂


The perfectionist mindset; a lesson from a selfie picture

Like most of us Venus women my life is very busy and I sometimes feel I’m running on empty. A couple of weeks ago I had a busy crazy day away from home. When I got home I made Randy laugh so hard at how silly I am:

I showed him the cute selfies on my phone (not me it’s the T-shirts that are cute). I pointed out look at this and that with my arms and shape.  He was very perplexed. He said “Why do you tell me and show me the selfie? I am looking at you for real, the most beautiful woman I know, right there as you hold the phone!!”


I showed him the cute selfies (not me it's the T-shirts that are cute). I pointed out look at this and that with my arms and shape and he said "Why do you tell me and show me the selfie? I am looking at you for real, the most beautiful woman I know, right there as you hold the phone!!"

I showed Randy the pictures on the phone and I pointed out what I saw.  He said “Why do you tell me and show me the selfie? I am looking at you for real,
the most beautiful woman I know, right there as you hold the phone!!”


I pondered that. Most of us women don’t view ourselves as others do. Even after we reach our goals. It’s been three years since I reached my goal and my mind still hasn’t caught up. I seemed to spend most of last year attempting to feel good about myself and my body and all I could see were my own flaws.  It makes me sad that I wasted so much happiness doing that.  I want to stop doing that.

We ALL have to work on self image issues for life (especially all of us girls). I used to not like selfies much but now I see some value in them as long as they are not the same thing over and over.

As we reach our goals we tend to move the bar, which is not such a bad thing. But we move from a big picture view and narrow down with a microscope view and nit pic ourselves to death.


We all think “we will be happy when…”

We all have this thought that “If I could only get to such and such a size, or weight, or whatever measurement you choose, I will be happy. But the reality is that when you get there the internal issues are still there.

I have found that the internal issues are intensified and “right in your face” because all of the relationships around you change as your physical appearance changes.


Start building your emotional stronghold

People become jealous and mean (even if they don’t mean to be) the more successful you become. They won’t consider your feelings even when they take “righteous actions” that would obviously hurt anyone in your place. It really doesn’t really matter why people do it.  Sometimes they don’t even know they are doing it, or they don’t know why they do it. Sometimes it is intentional and you will never know why because you are not them. It will happen and it does hurt.  Your insecurities intensify.  Then you need to learn to build an emotional stronghold.

Sometimes you reach a point where you have to work on internal things that you may have put off for a long time. It becomes a matter of emotional survival. I’ve had some real breakthroughs in this area recently and it’s such freedom. Especially when you realize people who you thought were your friends are not really your friends, and they never were.  Once you realize that, then you know that you have nothing to lose. There is freedom in knowing that since you have nothing to lose, you don’t have to let them hold you back. Nothing they think, say, or do matters anymore. That is tremendous freedom for yourself right there.

Since you are successful, and you are becoming even more successful, you don’t have time for negative and mean people to matter. Brush them off and focus on something positive, like helping out a friend who really does want your help.


Here’s what John has to say about the perfectionist mindset:

Weight loss isn’t easy, if it were nobody would have a weight problem. The process takes work, discipline and dedication which is hard enough on it’s own…but if you also beat yourself up during the process it’s almost impossible.

We all struggle with our body image and our appraisal of ourselves on a daily basis, and in most cases (and especially with women) you are usually your own worst and unforgiving critic.

Through all the interviews I’ve done and clients I have coached I have learned that women are typically the hardest on themselves when it comes to evaluating their body and their progress in weight loss.

If you lose 1 pound this week it’s not good enough because the goal was 2 pounds. If you lose 2 pounds it’s not good enough because your thighs still don’t quite look the way you want them too. If you made improvements in your arms and butt you start focusing on your stomach instead.

This self criticism has to be put in check for your own sake. You are much more than the sum of your parts or the most recent diet success or failure.

Taking a broader view of who you are and appreciating where you came from and where you’re going will help reduce the volume of your inner self critic.

Quieting that inner critic is easier said than done and I’m not an expert at it…I get help from a secret weapon…that secret weapon is my therapist Dr. Nicola Bird.

I don’t really know how to describe her besides that she is amazing and her techniques work!

I do a regular podcast with her about the mental and emotional game of weight loss and you can listen to the podcast we did on quieting your inner self critic here:

Listen to Podcast here ==> Quieting Your Inner Self Critic

You can check out more of our podcasts on the site or subscribe to the Venus index podcast on iTunes.


P.S. Dr. Bird is a regular contributor to the Venus community and you can look forward to hearing more from her in the future.

She also has a program specifically designed to eliminate emotional eating, you can check it out here: ==> Dr Birds Program for Emotional Eating <==


Start working on internal issues now and keep at it for life

So the main point:  Start working on your internal issues and your self image issues NOW, because they don’t go away when you reach your fitness and fat loss goals.  In fact, those issues become intensified after you reach your goals.  They intensify more as you become successful in all aspects of your life.

There is a fine line between knowing you have a problem that needs to be fixed VS disparaging yourself for it. Humor is good of course, and it’s good to laugh at how silly we are, while at the same time not damaging our own self esteem.

Here’s a poster I really love for when you are taking corrective action to fix the health problem of being over weight:

Something to remember when you are taking corrective action to lose fat.

Something to remember while you are taking
corrective action to lose fat.


There is a before and after picture of me in a costume that John liked for an article.  When I first lost all my 85 pounds I used to laugh at the before picture and my husband Randy got really mad and scolded me.  He said “You were always my lovely wife, even then.  I’m glad you are happy now that you’ve lost weight, but don’t ever disparage yourself like that again!”

He was right.  It makes me happy that he loves me so much.  It was a great reminder to me that I need to continue to work on my own self esteem, probably until the end of my days here on earth.


Here are a couple of helpful podcasts on this subject with Dr. Nicola Bird:


Ask Nicola; Perfectionist Mindset

Ask Nicola; Learn to Love Your Body


When you let your self esteem fall in the trash can like I do;

  • You can choose to pick it back up
  • Listen to some of Dr. Nicola podcasts
  • Do other activities which help your mindset and self esteem
  • Switch your mind immediately to positive things
  • Stay only in the positive, so that means no gossiping about the mean girls in your life!
  • When you let self esteem get you off track with diet or exercise here are some tips to get motivated to get back on track.

We  all have these seasons of getting off track with our mindset, with workouts, and with nutrition.  Sometimes we have to make an effort to get back on track, and we do this for life.  Since we are merely human it won’t be the last time we have to do it. We do get better at it as we practice, just like everything else we do.


Have a great weekend, it’s full of opportunity to make good choices.

– Coach Roberta  

(You can find me in the online community.)



Ask Nicola; How do you Successfully Sustain Your New Fit Body?


We have many women who have sustained their fitness level but Kimberley was the very first to be labeled the "Every Day Venus".

We have many women who have sustained their fitness level but Kimberley was the very first to be labeled the “Every Day Venus”. We now have many in the community who have followed in her footsteps.

How do you sustain your new body once you achieve your fitness goal?

Why do people relapse? 

It is a new way of living.  It’s not the way you lived that got you to gain weight, and it’s also not the way you lived to lose the weight, it’s a new third way of living.

This third way is usually not thought of for maintenance.  It is 90% mental. You are moving from a honeymoon phase back to dealing with real life in your new fit body.

Sustainability for maintenance is a new concept completely.  There is a lot of mental change that needs to take place.


Expectations – Shift your expectations once you’re in a new phase of your diet and fitness life.

Change of your expectations; you aren’t going to have the same rush of excitement as when you were losing weight.  You thought this was going to fix everything in your life, but now you are just dealing with the day to day stress of life.  There are not really any exciting changes anymore with regard to fitness goals.


Flexibility – Must learn to be flexible with your thoughts, and actions.

Be Flexible; with the challenges of life, the messiness, and boredom, you can’t let the bad days define you.  Don’t let yourself get into a negative cycle because your expectations about what maintenance were not what you thought it would be like.

You are worth the effort to stay fit.   For the 12 weeks during a contest or challenge you may have been able to be more inflexible but that is not a sustainable way to live.  Now as you move on in life you need to learn to live your normally life again.


Vulnerability – Must accept and manage your vulnerability.

Bad days will happen; you must get back on with life and it’s messy sometimes. If you don’t accept your vulnerability you will fall into a trap of having unrealistic expectations of yourself that leads to a feeling of failure.

Accepting your vulnerability; you are still going to have fears.  You are still not going to be supported by everyone in your life.  Life is still hard, messy, work stress is still there, fears still exist, relationship issues still happen, your insecurities and self-image are still there, you are still you.


We all stumble a little as we mature

When I first achieved my fitness goal, no actually even when I exceeded my fitness goal, I didn’t even realize I was there yet.  It takes awhile for your mind to catch up with your body.

I’d spent so long losing weight that I didn’t know how to stop.  I was afraid I’d gain it all back.  I was afraid to eat more.  I had a lot of fears.  There was a lot of jealousy and shifting relationships in my life.

Yes I was fit and confident and that was fun, but all the problems that have always existed were still there.  All my fears and insecurities were still there.  I’d pushed a lot of things out of my mind to focus on my fitness goal, now it was done.  Now what?

You learn to live a normal life again.  You learn to socialize again as the new fit person.  And you keep maturing and learning. You stumble and you make mistakes, and you learn and you keep going.

What will you do to make sure you succeed when you reach your new way of life?  Make a plan.  Start now.

There are many in the community who are willing to help.



Dr. Nicola and John talk about many of the issues that are important to start working on right away, before you reach your fitness goals:

Several veteran Venuses have written about their struggles and what they have learned:



Dr. Nicola Bird

Nicola’s Online Program

Listen to John’s interview with Dr. Nicola Bird here, and please “like” it when you’re done:

Ask Nicola; Three Things That Can Hinder Your Success

There are three major things that can get in the way of your success:

This goes for all success, not just diet and fitness.

  •     Relationships with others
  •     Relationship with self
  •     Life stress and pressure

These will be your major challenges.  John and Nicola talk about these issues in today’s podcast.

You will experience negative backlash as you get in shape.  You will never be able to guess who will be on your side or who will not be as supportive as you thought.  As you gain your success it will put your relationships in a state of flux.

Some people who were your friends or that you are close to will become jealous or insecure because of your success; while at the same time you will make new friends who will support you.  All of your relationships will be tested.

The change in the relationship with yourself:   Are you being compassionate, kind, and loving to yourself?  You can’t rely on others to validate you.  Give yourself permission to be good to you.  This will help you with your relationships with others.


I’m finding out who my real friends are.  I’m happy to say that my friend Carla here is a true and trusted friend.  Our support goes both ways and we both cheer each other on and help each other when we are down.  It’s great to have true friends.

I’m finding out who my real friends are. I’m happy to say that my friend Carla here is a true and trusted friend. Our support goes both ways and we both cheer each other on and help each other when we are down. It’s great to have true friends.


My support circle changed.

Like everyone else who has paved the way before me, and what I also see happening for newer women finding success in our community; all the relationships around me changed.  I’m blessed to have an incredibly supportive husband (my dear Randy).

Randy has actually changed along with me regarding healthier eating habits.  He was the one who helped me get started and he has been my support all along.

Even though Randy was never over weight we both agreed that some of the steps we took to help me lose weight we will keep for good, like not having snack foods around the house as a normal routine.

Randy has even taken up Eat Stop Eat practices as a way to maintain his physique.  He also decided to join me regarding not consuming typical breakfast cereals and discarding a lot of the eating habits that are ingrained in our current modern North American society.

We both have evolved to a non-conventional eating lifestyle where neither of us puts pressure on the other to eat at specific times or when the other is not hungry.  We both respect the needs of each other while staying healthy and fit.

It does not mean we have to neglect time together.  Sometimes I’ll have a cup of tea and chat with him while he is eating, or other times we will skip a meal together yet sit outside on the deck sipping coffee or tea instead.  Other times we make an effort to plan a meal together.

I’m not sure how successful I would be without Randy’s support.  He was there for me during all the painful flux of my relationships with others.



We both have evolved to a non-conventional eating lifestyle where neither of us puts pressure on the other to eat at specific times or when the other is not hungry.

We both have evolved to a non-conventional eating lifestyle where neither of us puts pressure on the other to eat at specific times or when the other is not hungry.


Other people are still used to the old you.

The thing is; the others who said hurtful things to me many times didn’t even realize how hurtful they were.  When you gain success it changes how others view you and themselves, it causes insecurity, uncertainty, and it is scary to some people.  They were used to the old you. 

I have found out who my real friends are.  Friendships continued to change even after my fitness success and as I progressed along and found success in other aspects of my life. 

As my success increased, I had yet even new “fitness support” friends become negative and hurtful.  Again, I don’t think they meant it, I think they are just so wrapped up in their own insecurity that they don’t even see it.

It doesn’t mean that I can’t still be friends with them, but I’ve learned I have to put my guard up a little now and establish new boundaries.  It’s just part of life.


Don’t look back.

My new motto for when people are mean, jealous, and ugly towards me is to be thankful because they are a reminder of what I don’t want to be.  I can’t control them.  I can’t change them.  I can’t tell them they might need counseling for their insecurities, constant negative talk, or constantly putting other people down.

I can only change me.  I can decide I do not want to be like that.  Besides that, I know that the real reason they are hurtful towards me is because they themselves are hurting.  I can decide to be the one with compassion, yet refuse to be a doormat.

I also can’t spend the time to think about their negativity as it hinders my own growth and my own effort to strive to be positive and forward thinking.  It’s a waste of time and it is toxic.  My life is moving forward too fast to turn backwards and look at them.  Just like everything else we do; keep moving forward.

Randy and I have seen some funny changes over the last several years with the interactions I now have with people all around me in all aspects of my life.  As a female you will find that as you become fit many other females will become frosty towards you, yet the men will become friendlier and you will get more attention.   In general you will get more respect.

At the Sheriff’s department Randy jokingly says that I went from being an “ink blot” deputy (I would say I was frumpy and more matronly looking), to someone who looks more youthful and is highly respected. I am now sought out for advice and opinions or sometimes just for chit chat when I was previously mostly ignored.

It’s mostly all fun but it’s hard when at times it costs you some friendships.  It’s the price you pay for doing something extraordinary and improving yourself.  It is something we all have to work through.  Like Nicola said, the best place to start is with you.



Dr. Nicola Bird

Nicola’s Online Program

Listen to John’s interview with Dr. Nicola Bird here, and please “like” it when you’re done:


Ask Nicola; Overcoming Inertia

April is one of our contest winners who knows how to overcome inertia.

April is one of our contest winners who knows how to overcome inertia.

How do you get yourself off the ground starting this fitness program?

How do you get yourself to the gym every day?

How do you get started again after a break?

How do you keep from being frozen in place?

How do you stop the negative thoughts that it’s too hard?

How do you get back into your healthy eating routine?

None of us is immune to having a hard time getting back into the healthy routine

Sometimes you have to pay attention to the negative and turn it into an emotional reward. Turn it into a positive.

Link the positives to your exercise and nutrition routine.

We can break the inertia if we don’t focus on the effort, focus on the reward and benefit.

Exercise feels good.

Eating healthy feels good.

Today Nicola and John talk about how to overcome inertia.


Dr. Nicola Bird

Nicola’s Online Program

Listen to John’s interview with Dr. Nicola Bird here, and please “like” it when you’re done: