Teresa Giudice spent months preparing to compete in the bikini division of a bodybuilding competition — and the experience didn’t let her down.
“She has been training for this bodybuilding competition since December,” a source tells PEOPLE. “She wanted a new challenge and pushed herself to the extreme. Right now she is in the best shape of her life.”
“She has lost a bunch of weight,” the source continues, adding that the Real Housewives of New Jersey star, 46, is “even more fit than when she got home .”
On Saturday, Giudice showed off her muscles in the 40-plus bikini division at the NPC South Jersey Bodybuilding Championships on Saturday in Medford, New Jersey, edging out four women to score third place.
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In order to prepare for the competition and hone her ripped abs, toned arms and muscular legs, the reality star worked out “with experienced trainers to help her do this in a responsible way,” the source tells PEOPLE.
“And she had the time of her life competing,” the insider adds. “She really enjoyed pushing herself…the discipline, the focus. She may do it again in the future.”
Also on hand for the competition was Giudice’s brother Joe Gorga, who helped cheer his sister on to her impressive finish.
Although Giudice has kept fans appraised of her workout regimes since leaving prison with a noticeably more sculpted body two years ago, she kept quiet about her entry into the bodybuilding competition this weekend.
However, trainer Tara Zito had some sweet words to say following Giudice’s performance on Saturday.
“Show time Saturday! So proud of @teresagiudice for stepping on stage today for her first time ever in the bikini division!” she wrote alongside a picture of herself and the reality star backstage.
In addition to working her muscles at the gym (which she frequently documents on Instagram), Giudice told Women’s Health in 2016 that yoga helped her “get through it all” during her 11-month prison stay, adding that she planned to become an instructor in the practice.
“I love it so much that I want to get certified in it,” she said. “I have a few more months to go. I’m just taking my time, because I have four daughters. It’s a lot, but I’m definitely going to complete it.”
Meanwhile, her husband Joe Giudice, who is currently serving out his 41-month sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud, has also made some major changes to his body, losing 45 lbs. in prison.
Joe — who transferred from the Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Dix, New Jersey, to a federal prison in Pennsylvania last November — has completed more than 27 months of his sentence thus far. Teresa served a little over 11 months in prison herself for the same crimes and was released on Dec. 23, 2015.
A source previously told PEOPLE that the couple — who share daughters Gia, 17, Gabriella, 14, Milania, 12, and Audriana, 9 — “can’t wait to be reunited.”