They say third time’s a charm, right? Right! My third bikini competition was a charming experience, and then some! Today’s article will tell you all about the weekend, why I had a blast and why I’m MORE than happy with “winning” 6th place 😉
But first, for a little background on this year’s “road to the show” click here; you’ll learn more about my short-term prep/diet, and the highs and woes of preparing for last weekend’s competition.
For starters, it’s important to remind you that I didn’t do a traditional 16 or 12-week preparation diet. I started dieting seriously– meaning I used a food scale for most of my meals at home, for example– at about 5.5 weeks out. From that point on, I traveled to Rhode Island twice and even had alcohol each weekend, including the Saturday before the show, 7 days out!
It was important to me to be as realistic as possible with this preparation because I wanted to walk the same walk I talk about with my clients. Eye-balling portions at restaurants, penciling vodka-soda drinks into my day’s nutritional stats, hitting my calories and missing my protein, etc….. I did all the things that I tell my clients it’s OK to do, and still make progress. I think the advice worked…
Without further adieu, here’s what the weekend entailed!
Friday: Traveling to the show
I woke up Friday and taught class at 5 a.m. as usual. I had my 100 calories worth of rice cakes and a 170 calorie No Cow protein bar. I taught the 50 minute class and then zipped home for the shortest workout of all time: 100 kettlebell swings, 10 sets of 10, every 30 seconds. I completed the workout in 6 minutes! Afterward, I had coffee and 1 whole cup of egg whites with sugar-free (lower calorie) ketchup.
The biggest difference between Friday (the day before the show) and other days from last week’s “Peak Week” is that a) I could have more than 80 grams of carbs, so I included the No Cow bar, and b) I could NOT drink the 2 gallons of water I was used to; I planned to only have 1 gallon of water, maybe slightly less.
My flight landed at 9 a.m. in Chicago for a long layover. I ate roasted asparagus (a natural diuretic) on the first plane ride and had a coffee when I landed. During the layover I power-walked for 50 minutes (two 25-minute work sets broken up by a 30-minute phone call). I also drank one small bottle of water. By the time I landed in Kentucky at 5:00 p.m. I’d had 4 bottles of water, 2 cups of coffee and 2 cups of water. Fingers greeted me with a cute sign! Then we drove to the hotel. I was thankful to have power walked, considering the day entailed much more sitting than I’m used to!
Friday night: Registration
Upon arrival at the hotel, Fingers and I dropped our bags and immediately went down to the registration table where you sign-in to the competition, pay for the NPC card (if you don’t already have one), and get your competitor sheet for the height check-in. What we didn’t know was that we needed to have our suits on us to be inspected when we got our height checked. We ran back upstairs, grabbed the suits and returned to a line of dehydrated, dark-tan people!
Fingers measured in at 5 foot 3.75 inches, landing her in class D– which was a VERY large class of 16 people. Your class size is one hundred dependent upon who decides to compete. It’s the luck of the draw. I measured in at 5’2″ flat, Class B, with only 8 other people.
After getting our height and completing registration, we had to shower, do last minute shaving and then head down to get naked with strangers for the spray tan. The tan is easily the most nerve-racking part for new competitors…. you see your competition up close and personal. All of your potential competition is standing in the room naked and hungry and gaunt looking. It’s weird to walk around butt-naked the first time you do it, but by now it feels way too normal for me, and I try to make sure not to fidget too much, or I ruin the tan.
Friday night: snack time
Fingers and I love to have 1 shot of vodka before bed, it’s become our tradition. Many competitors enjoy a glass of wine the night before, in efforts to further dehydrate. We prefer vodka. We also had some Swedish Fish and jelly beans! We do this to begin filling out our carb-depleted bodies, which had endured four days of low carb eating by this point.
This year I only ate three Swedish fish that night. I spent my calories on the plane on a peanut butter and jelly ~430 calories and ~150 calories of plain oatmeal, because I’ve had such weird digestive issues, the last thing I wanted was to wake-up feeling bloated from a 10 p.m candy snack. I wanted to give myself time to digest. The PB&J + oatmeal made for a very filling, carby meal on the plane to Kentucky. But for tradition’s sake, I still had the candy!
Saturday morning: Show Day prep
We woke up at 6 a.m. Saturday and began to eat immediately. We wanted to have time to digest; according to the schedule of events, there was a chance we’d be on as early as 10:30 a.m. I ate oatmeal and half of my second PB&J. An hour latter I munched on a rice cake while I did my hair.
After hair and some makeup we went down to get our final coat of spray! After the spray, we took our time doing more makeup, and then moseyed down to the athletes’ meeting. There, we met a really sweet young girl named Arden! We all had the same robes!
It’s important to know that this was the most professionally run show I’ve ever done. The stage not only looked incredible, but everyone was nice, good at communicating, helpful, clean and prompt.
Speaking of prompt, Fingers and I were not. We went back to the room to finalize makeup at 9:30 a.m. thinking we had until 10:30 a.m., easy. When we got downstairs at 10:35 a.m. I heard them calling my number. I kicked off my shoes, had a guy glaze me up with oil (that should’ve been done 30 minutes prior), and had time to take one deep breath before walking onto the stage.
I didn’t have time to pump up with weights, nor did I have time to practice poses. The one positive was that my mom was there… she is not only my good luck charm, but she keeps me sane and for my entire life, she’s ALWAYS been in the audience. It wouldn’t be the same without her.
My competition & pre-judging
I truly believe in running your own race. I never worry about who is or isn’t going to be in my class because the ONLY thing that makes any competitor feel good is their belief in themselves. I was proud of myself for not giving up despite all of my fun trips with Jeff during prep, and part of your ranking has nothing to do with how good you look, it has everything to do with how you compare to the others, which has nothing to do with your body’s actual body fat percentage. In example, if everyone was 14% body fat, then someone the person with the best shoulders might win because the leanness is equal; while at another show everyone in my class could be 9% body fat and even if my shoulders are awesome, I’d still be the least lean, and get last place.
I looked at my line-up quickly before we went out… the two girls who were the “most fit” or the leanest, in my opinion, were both barely a hair over 5’1″ so I knew I’d look like a monster compared to them since I’m technically 5’2.5″ so there’d be no comparison. The next two women who were notably leaner than me, (in my opinion) were women ages 20 and 46, so again, there was no way for me to even begin to compare my 26-year-old self to them.
I was happy to simply be proud of my pretty makeup and stunning suit and excited to get on stage… it’s such a thrill!
After I got off stage I hoped I was 4th or 5th, given how they moved us around…. the closer you are to the center, the higher placing you are.
After pre-judging Fingers and I shared a donut, thanks to Coach Momma Wood, which was a sweet gesture, masking her cut-throat coaching skills 😉
While we ate the donuts, she critiqued us, hardcore! In her opinion, we looked amazing in person, but didn’t do a good job of showcasing our physiques on stage in pre-judging.
“Shoulders back! Chest up!” she ordered as I tried to adjust to her liking.
“There you go! Now I can see your oblique! The judges needed to see that!”
“Darn! Why couldn’t you have told me this before!” I asked rhetorically, seeing as though we both knew I’d literally just said “hi” to her before running on stage. There was no time.
Just then, a man who sells fake guns for movies asked us to come take photos at his booth and enter a raffle; we paused on the donuts, took silly photos and then went outside to take a few more natural lighting photos before heading to our room to rest.
There’s always something that goes awry! And if almost missing my pre-judging wan’t stressful enough, my belly decided to blow up from the gluten in the donut about 30 minutes after ingestion. I had to lay on my belly and cross my fingers that I’d de-bloat by show time at 6:30 p.m. I looked like I was 4 months pregnant, but couldn’t drink water to help or I would’ve bloated more from the carbs soaking up the water.
Fingers and I relaxed, talked posing strategy and ate a few rice cakes before heading back down.
A note on eating/treats
Many of you who watched the Instagram stories saw that we ate jelly beans the night before, donuts after pre-judging and gummies with some vodka before the final show.
It’s important to know that we tracked/planned for these treats. We were not concerned with getting protein and wanted to plan out about 1000-1200 calories from carbs / vodka throughout the long day to fill up our muscles. This was not a free-for-all during the day.
We may have had a few more gummy bears than planned backstage before going on, but nothing crazy. We simply chose for our calorie intake to be made up of these “treat/candy” carbs because a) they take up little room in the belly b) they sound appetizing after low carb days last week c) they worked for what we needed to fill our or muscles.
The vodka is something we sip on (very sparingly) in efforts to calm our nerves and not make us retain a ton of water since it dehydrates you and a little goes a long way. I probably had the equivalent of two shots over the course of 3 hours.
Based on what I’d call a half-assed prep, I am SO HAPPY to have come in 6th place! I never gave up alcohol, I never said “no” to a dinner invitation, I trusted my eye-balling guesstimations while eating away from my own kitchen VERY frequently and most importantly, I never gave up!
Would I have done better if I’d eaten out of Tupperware for 10 weeks prior? YES! Would I have had as fun of a winter/spring? Maybe/maybe not.
The bottom line is that you have to be HAPPY with your everyday life to be consistent. My priorities of 2017 thus far have mainly to have fun with Jeff and friends, keep up my lifting routine and then thirdly, get leaner. I kept “get leaner” goal in my “Top Three” but was very lax, and HAPPY to be chill about it. Being chill keeps me consistent and not high-strung. It also gets me 6th place and I love that.
My mom told me if I would’ve lost about 4 more pounds I could’ve won, and I 100% believe her. And you know what? A HUGE part of me is kind of motivated to go for it at the NPC New England championships this fall! I’m not 100% sure if I’ll do it yet, but sitting here today, I really want to.
To enjoy life, to enjoy competitions, to enjoy training, and to be consistent with all of it, everything has to be in line. The effort you put in has to be at the level your heart truly wants to give, and then the results will be in line with what you want.
Cognitive dissonance makes me uneasy and if I had said “no” to all the dinners, stayed in while Jeff went out with friends, stayed home from a lovely Easter etc. I would’ve been sad because those are things I really wanted to do. I’d take 6th place any day if it means balance.
Stay tuned for this Wednesday’s CROF weekly to hear about my Post Competition Refeed, what “treats” I enjoyed and some awesome client updates!