But my problem is I love food!

Don't believe the lies of society about mid life female hormones! You can do it too!

Don’t believe the lies of society about mid life female hormones! You can do it too!


Just ditch the emotional eating excuse or the “my problem is I love food” excuse! There is nothing special about that problem.


This Morning’s Question: Hey, can I ask you a ridiculous question? Do you ever just go ‘off the rails’ with your eating? I have such a good plan in place, but some days it seems like I just can’t *make* myself choose wisely. I *know* what to do…but sometimes, I think I actually lose my ability to care. (I’m sorry; I *know* that sounds horrible, but that’s really how I feel!) The only thing that makes sense to me right now is that the problem *could* be my wildly fluctuating hormones, but I hate to be one of *those* women who blame everything on hormone issues!

Anyway, I was wondering if you had any advice on how to combat occasional apathy…

My answer: It is not ridiculous, yes we all have days like that, even me. I have learned to stop the flow of eating sooner, sometimes it’s making sure I don’t eat too low on other days, sometimes it’s taking a break to log it so I SEE WHAT I’M ACTUALLY DOING. Sometimes I can “save the day” or decide to start minimizing the damage the rest of the day.

Sometimes getting to the gym helps me get in the right mindset and away from the freakin food!

It’s a fine line. It’s a tightrope. Sometimes we teeter on one side or the other, but we learn to keep our balance better over time. Awareness and knowledge of your food and the values is where the power comes from. It isn’t necessarily willpower, that will always fail us. It’s learning from the failure and deciding on a plan to prevent it as much as possible next time.


Never Settle
Never Give Up
Live Your Dream

VT18 is winding down and we at the Venus Factor want to see you succeed.  I’ll be making a new contest schedule for next year soon.  The next contest will be in Mid January 2017.  Stay tuned for updates.

The deadline for VT18 is midnight Eastern Time November 21st.  Enter your final pictures HERE.

Dieting for weight loss is hard for everyone so don’t feel alone.  It will require some sacrifice.  No one achieves their goal without hard work and some sacrifices.

If you want help with the last few weeks of the Venus contest feel free to join my Venus Factor Contest Prep Facebook Group.  I will help you every step of the way.  Any Venus contest competitor is welcome to join.

I know you feel like giving up.  I know you feel you can’t do this.  I know you feel you can’t keep going. I know you feel this is impossible.  But that is not true. Those are lies.  I am here to help if you need me.

Venus still offers the premium One-on-One coaching where you are welcome to select your coach. You do not have to participate in a contest to activate your coaching program. The link for coaching is in your downloads area. There is no reason not to succeed!


email Roberta

Venus Body Sculpting Tips from Coach Roberta

FRAME-Sculpting mindset tips

What are some mindset tips for sculpting your Venus body?

I could write a book on it, but today I’ll stick to this one aspect. These were my thoughts recently my all female FaceBook support group:

For many of you, you need to keep this VISION that there is an amazing YOU inside, waiting to be chiseled by your own hard work. You have your own unique fit and beautiful shape.

Focus on nutrition to chisel away the body fat.

Focus on resistance training for chiseling and building the beautiful Venus lean body mass.

Most of us don’t get to know what it is until we get there.

We can use others as an example, I know now I’m often an example. But we are never the other person. If we think we will be just like the example and we set our sites on that we’ll be disappointed.

Even me. When I saw the picture of myself in the mirror that I posted recently, the ab picture at the Sheriff’s department, it reminded me of my own battles with my own image.

I have a hernia right there in the middle and it bothers some people, it doesn’t hurt and the doctor says leave it. I never knew I had it because it doesn’t hurt and it never showed until the fat was chiseled away.

Also, I don’t really have a six pack abs like others. It’s my own unique definition. It is not from lack of work or lack of fat loss. It just is what it is.

So my point is; Keep that VISION of your own beauty beneath all the sculpting. Your own sculpture will be unique.

For me, I just need to be happy with what I have. I have had to work on a “happiness mentality” with my own body just like most females. And yes it’s a constant mental work I will have to continue for life as the seasons ebb and flow.

We have to put the same amount of “work” in on our own perceptions and happiness, just like gym time, just like nutrition planning.

It’s all part of the lifestyle package.

This is how we do it!!


Never give up
Never settle
Live your dream

Happy Friday!

-Coach Roberta

Happy Thanksgiving and tips from Coach Roberta


Happy Thanksgiving to my USA Venus girlfriends!

I’m busy working on the Venus contest, but I had to take a quick break to write some words of encouragement for those I’m helping.

These are all my own pictures in the collage.

‘Cuz I’m the real deal.

In the purple shirt last night during a break in our workout with my Venus friend Kerry.

And the scenes at my home.

I don’t have to prep for photo shoots or events because I live the lifestyle and have been proving it for over 5 years now.

I’m not going to hide or be ashamed of my lifestyle, because it works for me.

Tomorrow you will enjoy a post from Anea, who is one of our talented Venus Ambassadors in the Immersion Online Community.  She has a long way to go in her Venus goals, but she is successful and well on her way.  She KNOWS with the Venus lifestyle she will get there too.  She knows it works for her too!

I’m quite excited about the way the Immersion community support is going.  It’s amazing.  It is all about women empowering other women.  They have even created phone app texting accountability groups and blogging in there.

If you haven’t yet experienced the Venus Immersion community support, well, you just do not know what you are missing!


Tips for the Venus Lifestyle

Never ever reward or punish yourself for food.

This is a mentality shift we make to succeed in fitness.

You never earn food rewards.

You are never punished for eating.

There are no good foods and bad foods.

You might be allergic or have bad reactions for some foods.

We need food to survive.

We are meant to enjoy food.

We are meant to celebrate.

And yes, humans are designed to fast for periods of time when it’s appropriate. Humans have been doing this since the beginning, both for spiritual purposes and out of necessity when they were hunter gatherers.

It’s only modern society who has created these strange fitness myths and have at the same time had to battle an over abundance of food and lack of physical activity.

So ENJOY Thanksgiving!

And ENJOY a workout if you want to!

You are never DOOMED by one meal, one day, one week. Just decide to get back on track when you are done feasting.

AND, if you stay on that track as can happen to many of us, DECIDE TO SAVE THE DAY at any moment you choose.

This is how we do it!!


Never give up
Never settle
Live your dream

Enjoy the holidays in true Venus Style!

-Coach Roberta

Make the Venus Transformation YOUR contest.

With only 17 days left in the Venus Transformation contest VT15 it’s time to set your mind for the final stretch.

Make the Venus Transformation YOURS, not ours.

It is your life that will transform.

And it will effect everyone around you.

Right about now you are probably feel tired, ready to throw in the towel.

The fears and doubts creep in.

Let me tell you;  YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH.

Everyone has the fears.  And everyone has the will to survive the final stretch if they reach for it.

You can too!

It is not the outcome of the contest that will change your life.  YOU change your life.  So OWN it and make the outcome YOUR OWN, no matter what.

Back in VT4 my focus was on my photo shoot.  I decided I wanted to do the photo shoot for ME and go all out with making it what I wanted – not what Venus wanted.

I planned to do as many pictures as I liked in my own style and throw in a few of what Venus called “mandatory poses”. I threw my pictures in the Venus hat and let it be whatever it was, but then I would have all my pictures and they were MINE.

It worked. And guess what? It was my own pictures that launched my career as a fitness model, not the contest. The contest win is totally fun, but it is a bright flash in the big scheme of your life.

I have seen many Venus ladies transform their lives without even entering the contest.

So MAKE IT YOUR OWN, no matter what!

Here I am 5 years later, still participating on contests in other arena’s.  It doesn’t matter what they are, the same thing applies.  My life and where it is going matters more than any contest.  Always.


I guess it’s okay to not be photo shoot ready every day after all right?  No makeup, no tan, geek glasses, messy frizzy hair, in a dress that fit but was too long, no special light, and just a cell phone camera selfie, and I’m certainly not ready to step up on a fitness competitor stage, but I do believe with a bit of clean up I can walk the red carpet in December for the magazine in this gown!

I guess it’s okay to not be photo shoot ready every day after all right? No makeup, no tan, geek glasses, messy frizzy hair, in a dress that fit but was too long, no special light, and just a cell phone camera selfie. I’m certainly not ready to step up on a fitness competitor stage, but I do believe with a bit of clean up I can walk the red carpet in December for the magazine in this gown!


I feel like Terminator Chick in this gown that is like liquid metal! I was waiting for my Venus Friend Kerry who was downstairs in the store finding me some matching shoes.

This picture was taken last Sunday, and Kerry’s jaw literally dropped when I walked out of the dressing room in the dress.  It was the first dress I tried on and it’s a good thing it fit because nothing else looked right.

I’m pretty excited and proud to be going to walk the red carpet at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco with my friend Kerry and her son G’Angelo in December when he makes his spokes model debut for the Fitness Chic Luxury magazine company I’m affiliated with.  I’ve been working with G’Angelo regarding workouts and diet and he has come a long way and I’m very proud of him.

See no matter what is going on, or what you are competing for, it’s great to have something that is a FOR SURE sign that you’ve made some meaningful accomplishments. That is what your contest photo shoot is all about.

I’m in a contest right now too, the prize is something I would wish for in December, something I’ve worked hard to try and get, and I may not get it.

If I don’t I’ll feel left out and not good enough. But those are untrue fears and doubts speaking. We all have those fears and doubts as we move forward. I think they are there for life. We just learn to deal with them better. And we progress to new levels and new fears. But the process seems to be pretty much the same.

So no matter what happens with other things you and I are working towards, we may not get those things just YET.

For me, for now, I have THIS (looking forward to the red carpet walk in the gown) and a few other things to keep me motivated and keep me happy.

And best of all, I have beautiful ladies in my life like you. Some who I help, and some who help me.

And that’s how it goes.

Yes, you can live the Venus life and define what your own photo shoot ready means. It is whatever level you find you are comfortable in your own skin.  It’s not what Venus or someone else defines for you.

Your pictures can be a gown too, anything that shows the transformation of your shape.

Now, let’s KILL that homeward stretch!


Never Settle

Never Give Up

Live Your Dream

-Coach Roberta

How do you BUILD your own MOTIVATION?

Gold Run Sunset Sept 23 2015 FRAMED

Motivation happens when you STEP into it and then feed it.

You can’t feed your own momentum with negative thoughts.

And you can’t feed it with positive thoughts without ACTION first.

The other persons success that you might admire does not give it enough fuel.

You must create your own momentum.

By taking steps.

By taking action.

And the focus on your own process and your own momentum with those positive thoughts.

You have to have the end goal in sight, but even it is not enough.

You have to EMBRACE the process.

You have to BUILD the constant reminders in your mind, the mnemonics, of why you make those hard little choices throughout each day.

Make those choices your daily victories.

Make each day a victory in your mind then.

Have a string of daily victories.

And ride each victory to the next.

Constantly tuning out the negative from yourself and others.

What action will you take today?
What step will you take today?

To build your own motivation.


Never give up
Never settle
Live your dream

-Coach Roberta

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’s in your HEART?

Naggiar Sangiovese FRAME

Venus is in my HEART

This grape, Sangiovese, is the heart of Chianti wines which are Randy’s favorite.

I spent a day last weekend on my feet, pouring wine and serving people at a very classy winery (Naggiar). I bought the bottle after my shift to share with Randy while we sit and watch a beautiful sunset in our backyard sometime soon.

It will be a learning experience for me to read about the wine, the grapes, and take in the experience to help me help others learn about the wines at this beautiful vineyard and winery.

I love the place because it’s family run and everyone works together as a team. No one is better than another, we all just jump in and do what needs to be done. I love that.

I wasn’t even looking for a new job.  I went to my Venus friend Kerry‘s birthday party and while chatting with the employees there it came up that they needed someone with a flexible weekend schedule to help out.  All my friends there said I would be a perfect fit.  So it just happened like that.

They grow the grapes right there, and make the wine right there.  Everything is family owned and operated and I am now considered part of the family.  It feels good.

Next week they will start hand picking the grapes at night when it’s cool, they start with the white grapes.  I shall get to see the whole process and help with the bottling for a day if I want.  I think I just might roll up my sleeves and do it!


What was it about the successful people there?

Hard work and variety is the spice of life and the fountain of youth; I’m more convinced than ever as I spoke with many people sipping wine that day.

Many were successful retired people, living up life to the fullest. One thing they all had in common was the ability to face adversity and not let it stop them from enjoying life, being happy, and learning to not take themselves too seriously.

They all had passion. They all had things that they were involved in that keep them occupied all day long. They don’t spend a lot of time being idle. There is no such thing as the word “boring” because they MAKE IT HAPPEN.

They were all kind and respectful to others. The customers and the staff alike. This is another key to success. They didn’t spend time gossiping about others. There is not enough time to waste on that.

By making it happen, they are able to take time to enjoy their friends sipping wine and learning about wine pairings on the weekend.

They also did not have problems with being over weight.  They ate slowly and savored their food and sipped their wine.  They were active and healthy people, even those into their 80’s.


The day I interviewed for the vineyard tasting room job, they hired me on the spot!  It made me feel good so I enjoyed the moment.

The day I interviewed for the vineyard tasting room job, they hired me on the spot! It made me feel good so I enjoyed the moment.



Focus on the positive and trim out the negative

Life is too short to focus on the negative.  Life is too short to spend time with gossip about others or even listen to gossip about others.

Life is too short to spend time with anyone who is mean or negative or drags you down in any way.

We all have some adversity.  But we choose to find a way through it.

DECIDE to face adversity and kick it in the teeth.

Think of at least one positive thing, and especially think of one person who you can help. There is always someone and it helps give you purpose.


Continue to attack the process, the results come later

Focus on your passion, focus on the work and the nitty gritty.

The results always come later, so focus on the process instead. That’s where the real magic happens.

The time is now.

I picked a new passion to add to my list, learning about wines at this beautiful place with these beautiful people, because LIFE IS SHORT and THE TIME IS NOW.

There is not good cell phone reception there, so it’s a great excuse to get off the electronic devices and focus on people in person, face to face, while pursuing many of my personal goals and passion at the same time.

See this is how Venus changed my life. I did not have the confidence until I changed my physique to what I wanted.  Sure, when a person is over weight the same talent existed inside.  But part of what makes me who I am now is the ability to move with agility in all that I do.   It is not just vanity;  it is health, vibrancy, walking with a spring in my step and a sparkle in my eye. I can also easily carry a case of the wine to the customers car for then and turn heads while I’m at it.  It’s something to be proud of.

And yes, I can still turn some heads and it’s heck yeah FUN!  That will never get old.  I love having an excuse to dress up and work at the same time.

This is how we do it.

Venus is truly in my HEART

Never give up
Never settle
Live your dream
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Ten days left to go in the Venus Transformation Contest VT14

With the deadline quickly approaching we thought you could use a little more motivation for the final stretch.

So here’s another tale of a successful and powerful Venus who started the program this year.

I first met Jonda in person on March 6 of this year.

I first met Jonda in person on March 6 of this year at the Firehouse in Old Sacramento


You have to be READY to make a change.

Jonda is a successful business woman with a busy career.  She had purchased the Venus program a while back but found she was not quite ready to start.  She had a number of health issues to sort out, so she found me and we connected on Facebook.

She lives on the East Coast in the USA and happened to be visiting a business partner in California where I live.  She contacted me on March 6th and we decided to meet for dinner.  It was a wonderful and elegant meeting at the Firehouse restaurant in Old Sacramento.  We talked about Venus and various diet strategies, but mostly just had a beautiful time with her business partner Julia.

What happened when Jonda was finally READY?

Jonda came back to California and "Kidnapped" me for an overnight Venus meeting.

Jonda came back to California and “Kidnapped” me for an overnight Venus meeting.

On April 20th Jonda Lowe came to California and “kidnapped” me for a Venus slumber party.

I reluctantly took a break from my normal busy life and allowed her and her business partner Julia to love on me and pray for me during the overnight capture.


We went for a nice long walk in the hills where the cows wandered nearby.

We went for a nice long walk in the hills where the cows wandered nearby.


During the visit we made my beloved homemade popcorn cooked in coconut oil and went for long walks in the hills where cows wander freely.

Jonda peppered me with questions over dinner, of which I of course did not mind.

It’s my passion. It’s what I write about every day.

She is vegetarian because of health needs and thus needed some help figuring out the holes in her diet in order to achieve her goals.

With the Venus workout and principles, along with supplements to fill the holes in her diet, we came up with a plan.

Jonda is one of those who really took it to heart and applied it. She is driven. She has passion. She has fire.

Not only that, she is genuine, loving, kind, and highly ethical and professional.  She is female POWER through and through, as she forges her own destiny with the gifts God has given her.

She takes action with guidance.

And she learns from mistakes. Has she made a few mistakes since April 20th until today?

Absolutely, but she knows how to regroup and keep forging ahead.


Did the strategy work?

Well here’s the data..


Calories over time

Calories over time


Jonda's meal plan on July 18th.

Jonda’s meal plan on July 18th.


Here’s what she says in her own words:

Messing around with the reports section on MFP. My only regret Roberta is that I didn’t take the 1000 cal with 100g of protein daily regimen more seriously at the beginning of my transformation. I convinced myself that the extra 150-200 cal/day wasn’t that big of a deal and what could an extra 20g of protein matter? Well I found out that cutting the 150-200 calories and adding in an extra 20+g of protein keeps me full and I am cruising toward my ideal Venus Index weight. I want to give a special shoutout to Will Grumke. When I first added the 1st Phorm’s Bliss Go Pack, I was getting hungry. Will encouraged me to eat closer to the 100g of protein per day to stay full. I’ll say it again, the Program works if you do!


But that’s just the diet side of the coin.

What about the workouts?

When we were together in April Jonda asked a lot of questions about the workouts and what her strategy should be for equipment. She decided to join a nearby gym.  Once she started there was no stopping.  She posted a lot of gym updates on her Facebook profile and posted questions on my timeline.  This kept her accountable and by posting the questions on my timeline others got the benefit of seeing the answers.  She inspired others the whole way.


Jonda at the gym on July 22 this past week!

Jonda at the gym on July 22 this past week!


Do you see how much she has changed since our walk in the hills with the cows in April?

She is amazing.  She is inspiring.  She is an example to all those around her.

She is going places. You might want to follow in her footsteps.

Pretty amazing what you can do when you:

Never give up
Never settle
Live your dream


What about the Venus Contest?

Clearly contest or no contest Jonda has already WON.

This is what Venus is all about.  Changing your life, Living your Dream.

But if you happen to be participating in the current Venus contest VT14, the deadline to submit your final pictures is August 3rd, 2015.  Make sure you get your final pictures in before then because the contest form closes at exactly midnight.

If you have any questions or problems entering your material into the contest contact me:  roberta.saum@gmail.com

Now, go WIN your LIFE BACK!

-Coach Roberta

A Tale of Two Venus’s

Roberta and Pam talk about how their lives have changed.

Roberta and Pam talk about how their lives have changed.

With a few weeks to go in the current VT14 contest we thought you could use some motivation for the final push.

Here’s Pam and I talking about how Venus changed our lives:

The VT14 end of contest deadline will be midnight Eastern Time on August 3rd.

Email me if you have any questions: roberta.saum@gmail.com


-Coach Roberta

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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