Lalayena 'Lala' Gamez: Fashion Guru Turned Fitness Pro

Four years ago as a freshman at Cal State L.A., Lalayena Gamez, or 'Lala,' was known most for her fashion forward personality and making a dent in the fashion industry as a blogger.  Recently, Lala has been known for doing something else by making her mark in the body building world.  After showing interest in Body Building and fitness about a year ago, Lala has transformed from fashion guru to an everyday fitness professional as well.  Our Her Campus chapter at Cal State L.A. was able to catch up with Lala for a little bit as she preps for her second Body Building competition.  
What are bikini competitions?  For collegiettes out there who don't know, is it similar to body building? 
Well a bikini competition is actually part of this body building show called NPC, which stands for National Physique Committee. It's basically a commitiee that consists of multiple categories within a men and womens division. For example, there are two divisions within the women's category which consist of Figure (which is for women with more muscle), and Bikini (for the leaner ladies).
How did you get involved with bikini competitions? 
I first got involved with competitions about  one year ago. I went to this fitness expo in Los Angeles--it's actually one of the biggest fit expos out here--and I was instantly inspired from the moment I walked through the doors. Just to see so many people come together for health and wellness was really captivating to me and a lot of fitness gurus I looked up to had competed in their past or still competed currently and that's where it sparked my interest and inspiration to compete.
Were you apprehensive about taking part in those competitions at first?
I was a little intimidated at first simply because I would be competing against other women who had been doing this for years or have had done multiple shows already.
What do you get judged on at these competitions? 
In the bikini division you get judged on multiple things such as, your overall physique, stage presence, and posing routine.
How long did you train for and what was the training process like?
I trained for my first show a little over four months and let me tell you it's not just draining physically, but mentally. Not only do you have to train in the gym five to six times out of the week, but there's also a ton of cardio involved and most importantly on top of everything, when it comes to competing is your diet. Constant meal prepping and staying on track with your meals was really exhausting. You start to crave and want everything around you after restricting yourself for so long from all sugars and sweets and snacks.
I have to ask, what did you eat?  Did you have to change your diet drastically?
My diet consisted of STRICTLY AND ONLY protein which either was chicken, extra lean ground turkey, egg whites, or white fish, along with a carb (depending on my carb intake for that day) which was either brown rice, rice cakes, or oatmeal, and lastly a veggie. AND THAT WAS IT.  It was like that for 4 long months. 
The day of competition, what was going through your head?
Oh man, my head was in a million different places! From being nervous, to freaking out and feeling like I was going to forget my posing routine, I felt so overwhelmed that day. But I also was really excited to showcase my physique I had worked hard for day in and day out.
You ended up winning first place as Bikini overall champion, what was that like?
It was completely unreal. To be honest I didn't believe it at first which is probably why it took me awhile to grab my trophy because I was such in shock. I almost wanted to cry as well because I was so happy to have won. Every single gym session -- the sweat and the tears from being emotionally drained all flashed through my head so quickly when they called my name for the Novice overall Bikini award.
What does it mean to be nationally qualified NPC Bikini?
It basically means that I am qualified to compete in a national level show to compete to become a Bikini Pro. Only competitors who place top 3 in the overall bikini division get qualified to do national level shows.
Now that you've won, what is next for Lala?
I am actually prepping for my next show in February! I have also started working towards getting my personal training certification so that I can train others in the hopes to change their lives just as my own life had changed from competing.
Let's switch gears for a little bit and talk about fashion.  Why did you choose fashion as your major at Cal State LA?
Growing up I was always in love with fashion. From the texture of clothing to the color variations and the colors on garments-- that all interested me. Even growing up, I was so focused on styling everyone because it was a way to express my creative ways through clothes.
How does fashion tie into fitness?
Fashion actually is being brought into the fitness industry through gym wear pretty fast as of late. Before, there was no relation really. It was just throw on gym clothes--which were some old worn-out piece of clothing and head to the gym; now fitness apparel brands are taking the time to make gym attire cute and modern and wearable not just in the gym, but even out and about on a daily basis. 
Do you have any advice for college women? 
First and foremost I would want them to find out what drives them. Ask themselves what goals they want and why they want to see those goals happen. That's how it happened for me. I am a firm believer of sparking that light of inspiration in someone's mind because that's what triggers their drive to want to take action toward their goals. The first step to working toward a goal is the mental ability to WANT to work towards it and then take action, because how else can one work towards their dreams if they don't believe in them?
What do you like to do for fun when you're not working out or in class?
I usually hang out with my friends. No matter what it is, if I am surrounded by my friends and family and we are all just hanging out, it means the world to me. I don't get to see them often because my schedule is so tight, so when I do I cherish every minute of it. 
You can follow Lala on her Bikini Building, Fashion, and Fitness journey on Instagram: @lala1land