The Real Housewives of New Jersey star, 46, tackled her first bodybuilding competition in June, despite getting pushback from other people — including her currently incarcerated husband, Joe.
“I don’t care what anybody thinks; my husband or anyone … sorry Joe,” Giudice said on the season premiere of RHONJ on Wednesday night.
The mom of four told PEOPLE Now on Thursday that bodybuilding was a longtime goal of hers.
“I’ve always wanted to do competition fitness, and I just never had the time to do it, or just always pushed it off,” she says.
Plus, Giudice adds, Joe wasn’t a big fan of the idea.
“Joe really didn’t want me to do it at the time — you know, wearing a bikini thong and struttin’ your stuff on stage. So now he wasn’t here, I’m like, I’m doing what I want when I want, so I decided to do it,” she says. “And he was really supportive of it.”
The workouts and meal prepping wasn’t easy, Giudice says, but she was determined.
“I just put my mind to it,” she says. “And I also wanted to show my daughters, you know, if you put your mind to something you could achieve it.”
Giudice started training for the competition in December, seven months before she would hit the stage. She ended up having a great day, and placed third in the 40-plus bikini division at the NPC South Jersey Bodybuilding Championships.
“She wanted a new challenge and pushed herself to the extreme,” a source told PEOPLE in June. “Right now she is in the best shape of her life.”
“She has lost a bunch of weight,” the source continued, and Giudice is “even more fit than when she got home [from prison].”