My Journey from “Rock Bottom” to Bikini Bodybuilding Champion
No Nonsense Magazine Volume 24, #3
By: Celeste Gillispie
At a Glance: Celeste Gillispie
Occupation or Education: BA in Psychology from University of Texas Permian Basin, Owner Anytime Fitness, Odessa, TX
Family: Super supportive husband Clint Gillispie, our 3-year-old English Bulldog Magnus, my parents Mr. & Mrs. Ashworth & sisters Cymber & Celeen Solis
Residence: Odessa, TX
Years training: 7 years
Weight: 132-140 (off-season), 120-124 (contest)
Favorite Bikini Prep Meal: Shrimp, asparagus, sweet potatoes, and for dessert UMP Cookies and Creme pudding with almond milk.
Favorite Supplements: (UMP) Cookies & Cremé is my favorite! It has optimal grams of protein per serving, it's low in carbs and sugar, and the taste is delicious! After my workout, I love eating UMP treats like pudding, muffins, brownies, cookies, waffles, pancakes, or even a simple creamy shake!
I enjoy the tart cherry flavor of Up-Lift and the fact that it is a non-stimulant pre-workout that gives me a feeling of intense focus during my workouts without jitteriness, or a crash afterward!
When I am preparing for a contest, I use Density to help increase muscle hardness and muscularity. 7-Keto MuscLean is also a favorite. This stack has helped me preserve my muscle mass and lose fat during intense weight training sessions, cardio & caloric deficits.
What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before: I have two recommendations for all my clients. #1 is always Beverly's quality protein powders! This is the MOST important supplement for anyone looking to build and preserve lean, strong muscle, and or lose fat. It also helps curb my sweet tooth cravings during my prep. After five years, I have not gotten tired of it because it is THAT good! My #2 recommendation is Glutamine Select. It is clinically dosed with BCAAs, which helps maximize muscle recovery, build anabolism and reduce muscle soreness. When dieting, this supplement also helps combat cravings and helps preserve lean muscle mass. I drink this during or after my workouts, and I turn them into cute ice pops in the summer!
Music: My playlist can go from today's top hits, pop, country, alternative rock, rap, hip-hop, classical piano, meditation & nature sounds, the 2000s, 90s, and 80s, depending on my mood or what I am doing.
Most Inspiring Book: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. This book changed my life!
Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: shooting guns, cooking & baking, hiking, playing and cuddling with my English bulldog, painting/coloring/crafting, reading, journal writing, spending time with my loved ones, yoga, meditation/prayer, community events.
Words to live by: If you've got passion, faith and are willing to work hard, you can do and create anything you want in your lifetime!
My competitive personality sparked at age 5 when I played my first sport, T-Ball. I played catcher throughout my childhood and transitioned into girl's athletics, and at age 12, I was introduced to weight lifting. I participated in volleyball, basketball, cross-country, track & field, and cheerleading. I continued to participate in volleyball and cheerleading throughout high school, where I graduated at the top of my class in 2012 at Permian High School in Odessa, TX. GO MOJO!
I began my journey into fitness and health in late August of 2013, after a night of excessive partying and "hitting my rock bottom." My life had become filled with toxic relationships, chronic stress, panic attacks, and depression. I was overindulging in poor quality foods, alcohol & drugs. My weight ballooned up 35 pounds. I started my road back to health by making small positive changes and healthier food swaps. I eliminated fast food, processed carbohydrates, and sugar and ate smaller, more frequent meals and snacks. My friend gave me the "Insanity" program, and I started working out in my kitchen first thing in the morning before classes or work. I lost the weight but had become a skinny 110 pounds with little to no muscle tone.
I enrolled in a Personal Training certification program and began weight training. As my knowledge grew, I began instructing boot camp-style strength and conditioning classes at a local gym in Odessa. Helping others achieve their fitness and health goals became my purpose and passion. When my client base grew large enough, I quit my serving/bartending job at Saltgrass Steakhouse and focused my efforts on my personal training business and graduating from college.
By January 2016, I was in better shape, healthy and happy, or so I thought. I was living an active lifestyle, going to college, eating healthy, exercising, doing yoga, helping others, and my personal training business was thriving. But there was still something wrong. I was experiencing chronic stress, panic attacks, anxiety, and depression. In my junior year of college, a doctor prescribed Xanax and anti-depressants. I took the anti-depressants for three months and felt worse than before, so I stopped taking them. After eight months of continual decline, a new doctor prescribed an antipsychotic medication that scared the life out of me. It was then that I realized that it was my environment, the exact "rock bottom" that I had experienced in 2013, that I needed to change. It was then that my passion for a holistic approach to life and Mind-Body medicine was born. I left the toxic environment and relationships one month later, and I've been holistically healthier ever since.
My First Contest, a Career Upgrade and Marriage
I was introduced to Beverly International products in 2017 by my future husband, Clint Gillispie. Clint, along with his father, had both been long-time advocates and users of Beverly products. After graduating college in May of 2017, I competed in my first bikini bodybuilding contest, the Lackland Classic in San Antonio, TX. I placed first in the Class D Novice and fourth in the class D Open. I weighed 110-112 pounds! "Just a baby," as Clint would say, lol. That first show lit a fire inside me, and bikini bodybuilding was my new passion hobby.
A year later, I became co-owner with Clint of Anytime Fitness Odessa. Our business partnership was very professional until it eventually became a romantic relationship, and we became inseparable. On October 10, 2020, I had my fairytale wedding better than my dreams, and our souls became one.
Over the last five years, I have competed in 11 shows, including 4 National level shows. My first 1st place Open win and Bikini Overall Title was at the El Paso Supplement Express in August 2019. Initially, my goal was to be the best NPC Bikini bodybuilder in Texas. I accomplished this by winning 1st place in Class D Open and Bikini Overall at one of the biggest shows in Texas -The Europa Dallas. I finally achieved my muscularity goals at the 2021 Universe in Charleston, SC. I placed 4th out of a stacked class, just a few spots away from turning Pro. I weighed 124 pounds on stage that day. My Coach of Team Elite Physiques, Adam Bonilla, helped me take my physique to that next level, allowing me to compete at the National level competitively.
Prep and weigh all your meals, so they're ready to take with you for the day. Save your most satisfying meals for dinnertime.
Last two weeks before a contest, eat only spinach, kale, iceberg, or romaine lettuce for your veggies to help reduce bloating other vegetables may cause.
Drink one gallon of water a day, not including coffee or diet sodas. Find your favorite drinking cup to help you get it down faster and flavor it with lemon or flavored drink enhancers. My favorite is the strawberry watermelon.
At the end of the day, if you're still hungry (which you will be), chug some water, brush your teeth and go to bed.
Meal #1: 25grams of Kodiak Cakes buttermilk pancakes, half a scoop of UMP Cookies & Crème, and 1-2 tbsp. Lily's sugar-free dark chocolate chips.
Meal #2: Greek yogurt 2% (200 grams) Have when you want in the day and move it to when you like (I liked this right before bed).
Meal #3: Lean Protein Sources: 4oz of 96% lean ground beef, pork tenderloin, cod, tilapia, tuna, shrimp.
Carbs:105 grams of sweet potato.
Veggies: 1 cup of brussel sprouts, cauliflower rice, asparagus.
Fats: 1tbsp of almond butter, 60 grams of avocado, or 16 grams of almonds, cashews, or unsweetened coconut flakes.
Meal #4: Same as meal #3 but cut out the "fats" portion
Meal #5: (Pre-workout): I have Up-Lift and Creatine Select. (Post-workout): 1.5 scoops of UMP protein, 120 grams of a banana, and Glutamine Select during or after my workout.
Meal #6: (Moveable snack): Quest Protein bar (all flavors are delicious). I'm looking forward to Beverly's new Almond Honey UMP bar!
My coach gives me an 1800 calorie free meal once a week because I love food and like to eat. This is not a cheat day! Sometimes I don't use it, but when I do, I typically like to eat Chick-fil-A, or I will cook a favorite lifestyle meal.
Meal #1: 3oz shrimp, ¹⁄₄ cup lemon juice, black coffee with 1tbsp sugar-free vanilla or hazelnut creamer.
Meal #2: 3oz tilapia, shrimp, or 96% lean ground beef or turkey; 105 grams sweet potato; 1 cup veggies: Brussel sprouts, cauliflower rice, asparagus, spinach, or kale.
Meal #3: Same as meal #2
Meal #4: Same as meal #2
Meal #5: (Pre-workout): I have Up-lift, and during my workout, I take 5 Density tablets. (Post-workout): I have 1 scoop UMP protein, 120 grams of a banana, and Glutamine Select.
On non-workout days I skip the banana.
Meal #6: Same as meal #2
Show day presentation can determine your placing. Hair color, bikini, tan, jewelry, and make-up are all fundamental aspects of show day. If you have the best physique on stage and you don't display it well enough or exude confidence about yourself, the subjectivity of the sport allows the judges to give it to your runner-up just because their presentation was better. Make sure you make eye contact with the judging panel!! Practice your posing routine in front of a mirror every day for a minimum of 30 minutes. Don't forget to have FUN AND SHOW OUT ON SHOW DAY!! You WORKED SO HARD mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually to get there. Enjoy the moment and take lots of pictures because it goes by so quickly! After your show, reach out to the judges for their physique critique. Lastly, develop a thick skin when allowing yourself to be judged in a tiny bikini by strangers. If you did your best and made improvements, that's all you can do! Enjoy the process of building the best version of yourself!
Protein (UMP) is ESSENTIAL for building muscle and a must for people lifting weights! Protein powder supplements are convenient and ideal post-workout.
Essential Amino Acids (Density) are helpful during workouts and on non-training days to help maintain lean body mass.
Glutamine and BCAAs (Glutamine Select) play a vital role in the health and well-being of the entire body. This supplement can yield benefits to help build muscle mass, reduce catabolism and helps speed up muscle recovery, and improves gut health.
16 Week Competition Prep Supplement Schedule
Super Pak: One pak with breakfast. This high-potency vitamin-mineral supplement is very important for general health and crucial when training like an athlete.
Lean Out: 2 capsules with meals 1 and 3;
7-Keto MuscLean: 3 capsules with meals 1 and 3. Lean Out & 7-Keto MuscLean are my favorite fat-burning stack. It attacks the stubborn fat areas around my waist and hips! It also helps with my energy and suppresses my appetite.
Density: 5 tablets three times a day at meals 1, 3, and 5. Density is extremely valuable for someone like me who struggles to maintain muscle mass when in a calorie deficit before a competition.
Pre-workout: Up-Lift, 5 Density tablets, & Glutamine Select during the workout
Post-workout: UMP with a banana made into mini-waffles
Multiple Enzyme Complex: 1 tablet (meals 1,3,6) a year and a half ago, I started using digestive enzymes and probiotics daily because I was experiencing bloating issues and irregular bowel movements (since I was a kid). Within a month, I had regular bowels, and my gut was no longer in pain.
Probiotics: 1 capsule before bed (meal 6)
Long-term consistency is key: Take your training sessions and pre and post-workout supplements seriously.
Warm-up and cool-down properly: Most people want to skip this part because they think it's boring or they don't have the time. Creative Instagram moves are fun (do these on a fun workout day), but the basic exercises work the best for bodybuilding! Focus on good form and the mind-body connection when working each muscle group.
Be sure to prioritize your sleep: I try to get 7-9 hours to function optimally.
I spend about 20-25 mins stretching before lifting and foam roll out after. I train my abs with stomach vacuums for 5 sets of 5-10 reps at the start of each workout. I do 30-45 minutes of fasted AM cardio 5-6 times a week.
Monday Glutes and Legs
Glute Bridges 3x20-25
BB Squats 4x18-25
BB Walking Lunges 3x12-12 (12 steps each leg)
Heavy Abduction Machine 4x8-10
Glute Kickbacks 4x10-12 reps
Tuesday Back and Shoulders
Reverse Pulldowns 4x10-12
Body Weight Pull-ups 4x10-12
T-Bar Rows 4x 6-8 reps
High Cable Rows 4x8-10
1-Arm Cable Row 4x8-12
superset with Alternate DB incline
Front Raise 4x12-15
Lateral Raise 4x8-10
Bent-Over Laterals 4x12-15
Back Extensions 4 sets to failure
Hanging Leg and Knee Raises 4x15
Rope Abs 3x15-50
Lat Pulldown with Cables 4x12-15
superset with 4x20-25
Lat Pulldown Machine 4x8-10
superset with Rope Extensions 4x20-25
Straight-arm Lat Pulldown 4x10-15
superset with BB Bicep Curls 4x20-25
Close Grip T-bar Row 4x8-10
superset with Rope Hammer Curls 4x20-25
Weighted Heavy Abs 5x10-12 reps
DB Shoulder Press 4x10-12
DB Arnold Shoulder Press 4x8-10
Cable Front Raise 4x8-10
Machine Lateral Raise 4x8-10
Off-hip Lateral Raise (Thumbs at Hip) 4x12-15
Machine Rear Delts 4x8-10
Heavy Rope Crunch Abs 4x15-20
Heavy Glute Bridges 5x10-12 DB RDL 4x8-10
Banded Glute Bridge 4x15-20 BB RDL 4x10-12
Abduction Machine 4x12-15
Saturday Fun Workout!
Any form of physical activity. I like to do F45 classes, hikes, outside cardio, or anything active.
Recovery tip: Take epsom salt baths 2-3x a week!
I am so grateful for all the places, memories, struggles, lessons, and inspiring human beings I met through my bodybuilding journey. I'm blessed to have my supportive husband, Clint, who loves living the bodybuilding lifestyle as much as I do. He has always encouraged me. He's my #1 cheerleader at all of my shows!
I do not doubt that the muscle gains and improvements I've made throughout the last five years would have been impossible without Beverly international supplements. I couldn't have achieved my dream physique without them!
My initial intention when I began competing was not to turn it into a career; it was simply a fun, positive hobby for me. I am currently in transition, leaving behind this extreme bodybuilding lifestyle for a while and moving forward into unknown territory.
I have come so far, and I can now peacefully take a break from bikini bodybuilding to enjoy the fruits of my labor! Before I had a vision of turning Pro, I had the desire to become a mommy!
"I'll be back" (Arnold Schwarzenegger voice lol), and I'll have my husband and children in the crowd watching me achieve my Professional bikini bodybuilding aspirations!