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Talk Story — Lexi Jones

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Lexi Jones at the play structure in Kalena Park.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Lexi Jones shows her “big guns” on a pull up at the play structure in Kalena Park.

Lexi Jones wants “big guns.”

Jones, an on-air disc jockey during the weekends, recently competed and took the championship for the bikini division at the 2017 NPC Kauai Cup Bodybuilding, Physique, Figure and Bikini Champship held in October at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.

“I had the pleasure to participate and compete in the bikini division at the Kauai Cup,” Jones said. “I am humbled to say that I won first place for my bikini class, and first place for the overall bikini division.”

Armed with her titles, the first she’s won in her life, Jones was also featured in a television commercial on options for women’s health.

“I do have to say, one of the most rewarding parts of the entire experience was that I was able to make it onto the stage, stand with the other athletes and say, ‘We made it!’” Jones said. “That feeling is something I will never forget.”

What is the difference between body building and body conditioning?

As I see it, body building is based and judged on particular and specific appearance requirements whereas body conditioning focuses on the overall aesthetics.

For me, the amount of time you spend at the gym when working on body conditioning versus body building differs. I found myself spending roughly four hours in the gym — two in the morning before heading to work, and two in the afternoons after work.

During the body building training, I would lift weights to gain muscle and spend multiple hours doing cardio in order to have the specific appearance that would allow me to be a contender on stage for the competition. I had to be a lean machine (LOL) and, since my body was not responding fast enough, that meant more time at the gym.

Now, for me and any person who is working on their personal fitness goals — whether it is body building training, or just overall good health and athleticism — diet plays a huge role in how the body will appear, and how a person will grow.

During the body building training period, my diet was incredibly strict. I had days where I would eat carbs (one sweet potato only!) and days I would not eat any carbs.

The “no carb” days were tough, especially when I had to start doing multiple “no carb” days in a row, and work out the same amount. Energy levels were low and I had to tell myself to keep going.

Making sure I was eating enough grams of protein to gain muscle, enough grams of veggies and limited number of carbs and sugars is tough, and easier said than done. But it’s all in the mind. Having to push myself and have discipline to not eat what I wanted to is something that made the body building training and body conditioning different for me.

Food is good.

How did you get started with body conditioning, and how long have you been doing it?

I have been active my entire life — from cheerleading to ultimate Frisbee to dance and gymnastics — but never achieving the body I wanted.

My true body conditioning journey started shortly after I moved to Kauai in July 2016. I started working at KONG Radio Group and was introduced to Kauai Athletic Club and all the resources and tools that were available through a membership. I got one!

I was not 100 percent sure what I wanted to do, nor did I know where I was headed. However, the gym felt like the right place to be so I kept on going, and believing — consistency is key.

This pushed me to make it in each morning, to try the different classes, and ask trainers questions about exercises. Several months passed and I had been consistently going to KAC each morning before work, trying new things and invited to do some TRX and circuit training with Lyle Tabata and the 5 a.m. Fitness Crew, including Avis Koerte, Ed Nakaya, Sherri Silva, who are always inviting new people and got to sweat a lot, grow strength and endurance.

I continued to try new classes and tried the 6 a.m. Express Spin class where I learned I love spin classes. Shortly thereafter, I started training for the body building where I was weight lifting and HIIT training. I still weight train, circuit train, and I practice new things and continue body conditioning because I enjoy it. It helps to clear the mind and focus on myself.

Overall, I’ve been only working out for a little more than a year. It’s been a fun and rewarding journey so far — this is only a small step on this journey, and I am excited to keep working towards more personal goals and staying healthy.

Did you have to “learn” other skills to be able to compete?

Due to the fact that body building, and specifically, the bikini division of a body building competition, have a particular look you have to have in order to be an equal contender, I had to “learn” how to pose.

Now, by pose, I do not mean pose like you’re going to take a selfie or a cute group photo. I mean, twist, flex, breath (hold your breath while you flex in a way where your waist looks small and you are able to show your muscle definition), hitting a series of poses to showcase your muscle definition, all while looking relaxed. And, standing on 6-inch high heels … I spent many hours training for this. Honestly, it was a challenge.

I had to learn stage presence, and practice walking in high heels. The stage presence is something I did in the mirror to see facial expressions and body positioning while posing and carrying myself in front of people.

As a member of Toastmasters, I was able to learn more about standing and presenting in front of other people; my time at KONG FM 93.5 is teaching me how to express information to the listener. I do this by practicing as if the listener is watching, or listening to each word I share. This really helped me build confidence and was an important element to my training and journey to stand on the stage.

What made you decide to enter the competition?

To be honest, what made me decide to enter the competition was I just wanted to accomplish something I had never done before. I saw it as a new challenge that I could work towards.

The 2017 Kauai Cup was my very first competition. I had been working out pretty consistently for some time before the Enter Date, and started talking and working out more with the other women in the classes.

I was religiously taking a 6 a.m. fitness class with Melissa Garca, DoUFitness, and KAC trainer, and a 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. booty pump/circuit training class on Fridays. I heard about her experience from competing in the 2017 Stingrey alongside Chris Ramos and Dorrie Michioka and found their stories intriguing.

From the workouts and stage presence to diet, and everything in between, Melissa answered my many questions and shared with me and helped me realize it could be a fun challenge to accomplish for myself.

A fitness challenge, a bucket list item, if you will. Not shying away from the part that it would be tough, I spent a lot of hours at the gym and went through a series of rollercoasters with food, emotions, friends, and my own self … understanding that once you made the commitment, you would, and should, see it all the way through.

From Melissa’s guidance, the amount of support from my family, the KONG radio team, and the Kauai Athletic Club team, I was able to enter and work hard to accomplish something new to me. That is pretty rewarding.

Do you feel that the regime associated with body conditioning has an impact on your everyday life?

Yes. Absolutely. Fitness has had a large impact on my everyday life, and on me.

I go each morning, Monday through Friday before I head into work, and one day on the weekend. It personally helps me get set for the day and allows me to focus on personal fitness goals and myself — whether it’s to lift heavy, do 10 pull-ups, or hold a handstand for two minutes.

The gym has become the place I do that. I just leave the “junk” at the door, turn on my headphones and focus.

During the body building competition training, I found the regime had an impact on, not only myself personally, but the people and environment that surrounds me. It has its high moments, but also some very low, lows.

It was tough, but I don’t think it would have been possible if it weren’t for the people who surround me — my trainer Melissa Garcia who showed me endless support, patience, and guidance through it all, my family, and the KONG radio team who saw me every day.

Words can’t describe how thankful and grateful I am. The impact was huge for each person, and I thank each one from the bottom of my heart for supporting me and sticking it out with me.

Do you have any aspirations to enter other competitions?

Yes. No. I don’t know.

Sure, I think it would be incredible to work towards a bigger stage one day, maybe a competition on Oahu, one day.

To go through the process again sounds both interesting and intense because, with one already done with, I do understand my body in a better way now and how it responds to certain workouts. I can focus my training on the areas that need improvements. I do enjoy the workout programs very much; however, I feel like one competition is good enough for me — for right now.

It is just a small step on a long fitness journey for me, and I am excited to see what is next. Now, whether that it is a body building, or a new training program, we shall see. One thing for certain is, I plan on staying consistent with my fitness journey and body conditioning alongside a great community of determined and motivated people.

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