The more articles I do on the women who compete in the bikini division the more impressed I become with the drive and enthusiasm of these women who are, after all, competing in a class which is still under a great deal of scrutiny when it comes to its value within bodybuilding competitions.
One such competitor is Monica Eiler, born in Germany and moving to the USA at a young age, Monica’s original aspirations of being an architect were quashed by the sedentary aspect of the occupation. Taking a time-out to become a waitress on a cruise ship she encountered a few personal trainers, got hooked on the idea and took it back to New York where she became a rising star at Crunch Fitness before expanding her horizons to running her own training business and, of course, competing in the bikini division.
In her first show (the Eastern USA) she not only took first place but also grabbed the overall title! Now that is what I call making an entrance…and, according to Monica, she has only just begun.
So let’s find out a little more about this ambitious athlete and her plans for the future...
First of all, where did her interest in sports and becoming a personal trainer come from?
“Well, I have always been involved in sport and always felt better when I was active. I was always on my bike when I was little and I used to be on the swim team at school. Then when my family moved from Germany to California when I was nine I started life guarding, surfing (we had a surf team at school) and I also did a lot of running.
“When it came to my choice in careers I actually applied to five colleges for architecture and, as much as I love architecture, the thought of sitting behind a desk and drafting every day was not so appealing. So I took a ‘time-out’ and got a job as a waitress on a cruise ship in Hawaii. This way I would see Hawaii, make some money and have time to figure out what I wanted to do. I knew I was going to move back to either Europe or the East coast after that because I love the culture, but beyond that I had no real plans.
“During my time on the cruise ship I wasn’t working out any more or going for my usual runs. Basically the whole job was pretty stressful, my diet went completely down the drain and I felt horrible. I had some friends at that time who were into personal training and they told me the money was really good, but most of all I just wanted to learn about fitness and nutrition. I always had this idea about wanting to be really fit and I figured with training other people I could be learning every day and eventually get myself to that point.
“I asked some of my friends about the various certifications looked them up on line and, once I figured out what to do, I quit went back to my mom in California for a few months and then moved to New York….”
In New York Monica began her personal training career at ‘Crunch’ where she quickly rose to the level of training manager. However, as that position was more desk orientated than physical Monica decided it was time to break out on her own and start her own personal training business – which she now runs successfully out of several locations, one being Complete Body and Spa on 19th St in Manhattan.
So how did the whole interest in competing manifest?
“Some of the people in the gym were competitors so I started working out with them and following their diets, from there I started looking into the competition aspect.
“I looked at the fitness and figure sections initially but honestly I didn’t have the muscle mass so I thought I would start with the bikini division. I figured I would have a better chance there and I am actually very comfortable competing in that section now.”
That being said, do you think that a move into figure is in your future?
“Well first of all I want to get my pro card in bikini and then maybe transition when I have more muscle into figure. But I am basically thinking that the bikini division is very favorable as far as marketing myself to a larger audience, since it is more acceptable to the general public and media and there are more opportunities for exposure.”