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Emily Chao in Costa Rica

How did you get started in the fitness industry?
I was a cardio bunny up until 2014 when I dated a bodybuilder who introduced me to the world of protein and gains. I became obsessed with that world which inspired me to train myself through an NPC bikini competition without a coach or nutritionist which resulted in first place finish. As rewarding as the experience was, my discipline with the competition led to a bad relationship with food, body-image issues and missing out on a lot of social events. There’s more to life than a plastic trophy or sculpting your body to fit the idolized look of a competitor in the bodybuilding industry.

I didn’t think I would have a huge role to play in the fitness industry after deciding not to compete anymore but I met an amazing fitness photographer who instilled so much confidence in me. For the first time, I actually loved being in front of a camera and felt comfortable with my body no matter what it looked like. It’s disheartening to hear people speak of their insecurities so I love promoting overall health and wellness now.


Hope Beel - Costa RicaHeather Marsh - Costa RicaRah Engstrom

How do you stay motivated in your career?
I’m passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle and inspiring others to do the same. I want to encourage others to be the best version of themselves mentally, physically and spiritually.

What was your biggest challenge in your fitness journey?
Learning to love myself throughout a transformative process and avoiding comparison.

What are your favorite clean foods and splurge foods?
Sweet potato, avocado, veggies and Ice cream!

How was your amazing trip to Costa Rica and what was your favorite part of the trip?
Costa Rica was perfect! It was awesome meeting so many like-minded individuals who are so beautiful inside and out! I loved creating new friendships and reconnecting with so many amazing friends I hadn’t seen in awhile.

For More Emily Chao:
Follow her at @emmiechao
More Justin Martin @justinmartinphoto
More Brett Seeley @seeleyfoto

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