Breanna Viken just graduated with her marketing degree from Grand Valley State University, and like many college graduates, is immersed in a job hunt.
Viken, a 2008 Grand Haven High School graduate, might want to consider marketing herself as a successful competitive bodybuilder.
Viken, in her first time competing in such an event, took first-place honors in her division at the NPC Grand Rapids Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure, Physique and Bikini Championships on March 26, in front of a packed house at Grandville High School.
The win sends Viken to the junior national level, where competitions are held at various times and locations across the country.
"If I decide to do it, it will be later in the year," Viken said. "I'm seriously thinking about it."
Although she's a petite 5-foot-2 and just over 100 pounds, Viken said she always enjoyed spending time in the weight room during her days at GHHS, while also playing basketball and softball. She decided to take it to an entirely different level last May, when she downloaded a 12-week online trainer from fitness expert Jamie Eason. It included a workout regimen and meal plan, which she followed faithfully.
"I actually did that with my family, and met some friends where I workout at and they helped me stay with it," Viken said.
She decided in February to enter a bodybuilding competition, with the support of Josh Kitchell, the owner of Anytime Fitness in Grand Haven, where Viken works out.
Viken began a program where she worked out six days a week, with each day dedicated to a different area of the body.
"I'd change it up every day, just so my body would have something new to adjust to," she said. "You see more results that way.
"The key thing for me was building up my legs," she added. "So I ended up doing (a leg workout) twice a week."
Just as challenging was staying committed to a new diet. Viken's goal was to actually add weight to her frame, and by the time of her competition, she tipped the scales with 15 more pounds of muscle.
"I'd eat six meals a day," she said. "For breakfast, I'd eat six egg whites and then six ounces of meat later. I got used to it after awhile. I enjoyed it for the most part."
The hard work and dedication eventually netted results, but another obstacle for Viken was overcoming nerves of performing in front of large crowds while wearing a bikini.
"I'm not the type of person who enjoys doing that in front of a lot of people," she said.