Its been a really long time since I did a fitness post, so I thought it might be fun to do one! If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know that I took part in a(nother) bodybuilding/fitness competition about 3 weeks ago to re-qualify for the Nationals next year. The division that I competed in is the “Bikini” division of bodybuilding where the judges are looking for good muscle tone ( not striated like a typical bodybuilder) and overall stage presence , but mainly …great glutes bahah. In short – do not have to be a female version of The Hulk to compete in this division – in fact that will go against you.
I feel many people wonder “Why compete….”, why go through all that hassle for a few seconds on stage ( literally..it’s a few minutes MAX ). Thought it might be fun/useful to share my thoughts on that. In all honesty, it’s really not that much about the few seconds of being on stage for me. Of course that is super fun and I don’t know anything that quite compares to it, but that’s really not JUST it. This year in particular for me , it was really all about getting back in shape.
The first time I prepped for my first ever bodybuilding competition April of last year, I dieted and trained pretty seriously for 13 weeks – I just wanted to see what the process was like to compete in one of these things! I looked pretty good ( I think:) ) but I *felt* even better :
I kept my diet pretty clean after that show and did the provincials that same year (the first one was to qualify for the provincials) . I had also kept up my exercise regimen so I only dieted for 8 weeks the 2nd time around and didn’t find it terribly hard compared to the first time. I placed 3rd there..
So that one qualified me for the 2103 and 2014 Canadian Nationals, but I didn’t do either of them because of something or the other that was going on ..”life’ in general:) Travel ( way too much of it), work, having fun, blogging, enjoying life…that kind of stuff! I almost thought I just wouldn’t compete again because I was getting really used to my relaxed lifestyle ( in comparison), being able to just eat whatever I wanted whenever I felt like it and really..quite enjoying it :))
I hadn’t really trained much this year due to various reasons…was travelling A LOT for the earlier part of the year and was generally just not in the best shape and most importantly not *feeling* great about it. I decided on my rather long vacation in Turkey around July/August of this year that I would train again for the Quebec Provincial bodybuilding competition that was to be on the 18th of OCtober . My hubby (also my coach) said it would be really tough this time because we were only getting back to Canada around 9 weeks before the competition, but that if I *really* really* wanted to then we could give it a shot. Well….I looked at myself …thought about how I felt and decided I really really wanted to .
FYI because I’m petite, it’s really hard for people who are not very into fitness to really understand that I could be fat even though I look small so I did get a lot of “oh but you look fine….”. Didn’t matter to me – I didn’t feel fine..I was pretty bloated from my diet being all over the place for a long time, was lethargic ( hadn’t been doing my cardio regularly at all or weight training much) and like I said – I really just wanted to get back in shape. I feel competitions are a great way to just push you to achieve that goal and they are kind of “set in stone” so you don’t give into temptations as easily and just keep going. It’s like an exam ….would you really have studied all that stuff in school if there were no exams involved?:)
Although I was pretty sick when I came back from vacation for a couple of days and had not trained much AT ALL in ages, I started my diet right away (exactly at the 9 week mark)..which is pretty much the day after I got back from my awesome vacation. I won’t go into details of how the prep was different compared to the past two times but suffice to say it had to be harder to make up for lost time, effort etc. Add about 2.5 to 3.5 hours of serious physical effort plus a lot of mental focus to your daily routine on top of daily work, the lack of much social activity, then add all the meal prep time that goes into it, and you have the stage set for competition prep! Anywhooo…the results were well worth it – I did feel great about how I looked and was happy that I was able to “stick with the program”. I also *felt* great because my body had been getting the cleanest food with copious amounts of water for so many weeks on end. I did end up placing 2nd at this one , requalifying me again for the 2015 Canadian Nationals so that was a nice win too:)
I know there are a ton of fitness blogs where you can get ideas on how to improve/stay fit/stay motivated etc but having just gone through this process again I really want to share that YOU CAN IF YOU TRY, and our bodies can go through SO much change in just a few weeks – you just have to put your mind to it . I just want to show a comparison pic that represents pretty accurately the changes that my own body went through in 9 weeks this time :
Can you see how bloated I was in the 9 weeks out pic? May not look that bad to some people, but trust me – on my tiny frame, that was BAD!! I didn’t use any filters and I didn’t try to hide anything because I really hope it will motivate anyone who is even THINKING about getting started on their fitness journey to really JUST DO IT!! Nike knows best folks 😉
This is the good, bad and the ugly about bodybuilding competitions as I see it:
- You can look hot..really really hot. Bahaha!
- You get to rock a fake spray tan that will have everyone going ooooh aaaaah ( not really but I like it!)
- You will FEEL great (once youre done:) ). All that focused clean eating and exercise – you will be in great shape and will FEEL it.
- I LOVVVVVE the makeup aspect of it. For me, it’s like playing dress-up and I just enjoy doing stage makeup.It’s so much larger than life, and I think its just so fun. I’ll be doing another post about my makeup and products used etc. I did do it a bit differently from last time and like how it turned out:
- Teaches you to be very disciplined ( about diet and exercise and really life in general because it touches so many other parts of your life too)
- If you’re the competitive sort, you’ll love that side of it
- Don’t drink much water? Oh you will now ( and forever after that).
- Stage shy? You’ll be over that the minute you step out in a teeny tiny bikini in front of 100s of people under super bright lights and have every little bit of you scrutinized by the audience and a panel of judges bahah.
- Your diet will *never* be as clean for as long a time, as it will be on a competition diet…guaranteed:) and your taste buds will be at their most sensitive best! You will be able to taste sugars in vegetables like Broccoli and brussel sprouts and other foods that you never thought possible by the end of it.
- You tend to make friends who are like minded and birds of a feather flock together as they say ! This can help keep you on course and have someone to share your passion for this sport with.
- The photo-shoots that you can do right before/after the competition can be super fun and you’ll have those memories forever
- The routine can be pretty tough to maintain especially if you have kids or are working full time or both . It is hard regardless but harder if any of the other two conditions are in play as well ! I do have so many fit mom friends though who continue to compete through all that and look and feel amazing, so don’t let anything deter you if you have a goal.
- It takes a lot of extra time on top of everything else, so be prepared to sacrifice time on other things in your routine ( in my case it was my blog for a bit and also going out with friends/colleagues a couple of times because I had to train instead)
- Your meals are bound to get repetitive and boring but you will crave even those a few weeks into your diet, and will not care about how “good” food tastes anymore:)
- Your standards for what is healthy/fit are bound to change ( this can be good or bad depending on how it affects you). Just…try not to obsess because you will never look the way you do on stage forever.
- Your body will find it very hard to adjust to a “normal” diet again and you will be ultra-sensitive to small spikes in sugars, fats, salt etc. This can be a good thing because it forces you to be more careful even after the competition. Eating too much too soon can leave you with terrible bloat and can even be dangerous for you.
- This may be bad or ugly depending on your financial situation but these competitions are expensive (esp for women becuase of our suits). At the very minimum you are looking at 1000 to 1500$ to take part in a bodybuilding competition -this includes the suit, registration for the event and any federation that you may have to belong to, photographs at the event , a photoshoot , the spray tan etc. Depending onyour current situation you will have to add on other expenses too like trainer fees,supplements, food ( you will be eating a lot more food a lot more often and this will be quality meat, veggies etc which will be an added expense – i LOVE Costco mostly because of this!).So….yeah they’re not cheap.
- You may become obsessive and be a bit selfish about your time/needs towards the end – this cannot be helped and to maintain focus you have to be, it just comes with the territory.
- You may be quite moody and crabby towards the end of your diet – this can’t be helped much either . You will be under stress physically and mentally and that does take a toll. I am a very easy-going person to start with and barely am EVER in a bad mood, and even I tend to get a little snappy in my last week of the diet.
- You may have to do a lot of long…steady state cardio if your body needs it 😐 ..mine did this time..sigh.
If I have any regrets, it is only that I didn’t start competing a lot sooner. Considering I started my healthy eating habits years ago, I really would have loved to have already done the Nationals one (or more times if I needed to) by now and also liked to prep alongside my hubby when he was competing too
I don’t know how many people are actually interested in a posts like this, but I hope it helps anyone who may stumble across it by accident too. Always happy to answer any questions etc. I’m also on Instagram and Twitter, so feel free to add me there.