Do You Have What It Takes to Win the Hot & Fit 100? -

Winning Hot & Fit 100 : 1 Year Later

Written by Alexia Monardo & photo taken by Kevin Cootauco

Wow how time flies! It is mind blowing to know that it has been one year since I won the cover of Inside Fitness Magazine’s Hot & Fit 100! First off, let me say a huge thank you again to the team at Inside Fitness for choosing me as last year's winner. There are still days when I catch myself thinking about the win and I have to remind myself that it’s real! When I first heard of the competition, I was only hoping I would make it into the magazine. Thank goodness for my friend and photographer Kevin Cootauco, who convinced me to shoot and submit in 2020, and my trainer Garrett Moher who helped me train and prep for all my shoots. To my surprise I was published the first year I submitted. I would have never imagined that I could win the cover 3 years later. It still feels like a dream, and I’m proud to say it was a dream I turned into my reality. I’m so honoured that I was gifted with this incredible opportunity alongside so many inspiring women. The universe really blesses us in wondrous and unexpected ways when it knows we are ready. This is a chapter that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Winning the Hot & Fit 100 felt like an affirmation from the universe that I am heading in the right direction. It has also reminded me to trust the timing of my life and the hard work I’ve been putting in. Starting new jobs, business endeavors, and goals can be so intimidating when you are a beginner. Especially because there’s no written rule book or guide to life, you just work hard and pray that you’re taking the right steps to accomplish your goals. To be honest, I think we’re all just improvising while trying to find our way. We will never know if we don’t put ourselves out there and try. I would rather try and fail vs never knowing because I let fear take me out of the game before giving it an honest shot. All we can do is try our best, and act in alignment with who we wish to be. I have faith that the universe will always teach us the lessons we need to learn and bring us exactly where we need to be.

Shooting with one of the top national fitness magazines in Canada was exhilarating, and I’m so proud of the love and confidence I felt within myself that day. I was able to celebrate myself as well as learn from everything this chapter of my life is teaching me. My gosh, I learned so much. After I received the news that I had won, I felt many shifts within myself emotionally as time passed. Mostly excitement, gratitude, and joy that I was able to share with my loved ones. I was able to see my cover in stores, sign magazines for friends and family, and see my magazine hung up at the entrance of my gym Torque Barbell. I was even able to have my writing published in an article in Inside Fitness Magazine!

However, what I wasn’t expecting to feel after the dust settled, was imposter syndrome, comparison, and pressure. These were all very real feelings I was dealing with at times. I had questioned if I was enough. Since I had publicly opened up so much about my life, my struggles, and my family, I felt very exposed for the first time. I wondered if I was far enough into my career, or if I deserved it. In hindsight I know how hard I worked to get here and that I absolutely deserve it, but I had to convince my mind that while it was playing tricks on me. One would assume that winning something as fantastic as a magazine cover would leave you in a state of constant euphoria (IT DID many times), and everything else would simply melt away. However, I learned that in reality, even accomplishing your biggest goals doesn’t solve all your battles in life. The self-care doesn’t stop. The building, the working, and achieving must continue. This win helped me notice areas that I still want to heal in my life, and it helped me remember why I started building I Am Power Movement. We are all affected by our mental health at one point or another in our lives and it is important to acknowledge what we are facing and get the help we may need.

It has been an honour to be celebrated for who I am, and the life I have built for myself. I have always been a person who marches to the beat of my own drum, and it’s so important to celebrate our unique qualities instead of trying to be like everyone else. I have always felt that if we feel like we don’t belong in an environment, we are meant to create one of our own! The people that are meant to be in your life will find you and stay by your side. Rock your individuality, and share your gifts with the world! Life is ours to discover so I absolutely believe in making your life as special as it can be in all aspects. I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to explore my passion for dance throughout my performance, and teaching career. Once you experience the joy of working in a field you absolutely love, there’s no looking back. I always knew that choosing an “unconventional” career path in the arts would be challenging, but there was no alternative in my mind. In life we will always have to work hard to accomplish anything, so we might as well grind towards something that makes our heart sing and brings our soul to life.

I’m so grateful for everything this win has taught me, but one lesson I will cherish greatly is to always believe in myself, and trust that I have the power to accomplish anything I put my mind to. Anything worth doing is worth doing right, so go all the way in and fight for the “seemingly” impossible.

For 3 years, when I showed up to training, I had tunnel vision on one thought - COVER! It was real in my mind and I believed I could do it. Everything starts in the mind before it can be made a reality. You can only come second place so many times until the hunger within you to win outweighs any excuse or mistruth you come up with. We can accomplish way more than we believe we can if we have the discipline and self-love to carry ourselves to the finish line. I am wishing the best of luck to all future applicants and I'm so excited to see who this year's winner is! Thank you again to the entire team at Inside Fitness for building this beautiful community of strong women, and gifting me this incredible platform to share my story. To my family and friends, thank you for always believing in me, pushing me, and being the best support system I could ask for. I love you all! Today’s the day, the moment is now, You’ve GOT THIS!

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