I’m writing this a week after my first bikini competition. My competition was a 4 hour drive away from my house and I drove back home straight after the competition. I also flew to a really remote area in New Jersey for work on Monday and Tuesday, which gave me a tranquil escape from my very hectic life back home. I am so pleased I was able to do both of these things as it gave me a lot of time to really reflect on my own and also a chance to ‘catch up’ with everyday life. Many thoughts have raced through my head over the past week – I am going to attempt to coherently convey them and organize them here!
Overall, it was a very positive experience. Fellow competitors were friendly and I learnt a lot about bodybuilding as a sport as well as learning a lot about myself. Anyone who knows me can vouch for how shy I am, so walking around on a stage in a bikini is something that took a lot of guts. Prior to lifting weights, I had little confidence. Eighteen months ago, I had even less confidence. I was absolutely miserable, hating everything about myself and my life…except the gym. In fact, working out and my gym gave me a reason to get through the day. When people commend me on how hard I work, I always shrug it off. To me, it doesn’t feel like hard work, it feels like the inspiration for my day. Every day at work, I look forward to the gym. I find it rewarding and gives me a chance to have a couple of hours completely to myself. People sometimes make fun of the fact my headphones are on, but the gym was, and still is, my escape. Walking on stage last week was a really proud moment for me – it was nice to be able to boldly show off what I am passionate about.
With that being said, I expected fellow competitors to be as equally passionate about bodybuilding as me. It was a real eye-opener to find that lots of people were there completely lacking any passion. They were there for the glamour. For the selfies and for the audience. I expected to find backstage inspiring; to be in awe of other competitors’ bodies and stories. Some people, this is definitely true of, however, the fact not everyone was there with the same work ethic and drive both surprised and disappointed me. It was a complete anti-climax. Together with the fact that, compared to my fellow competitors, I was not as lean as them nor as confident as them, I felt very disappointed. I completely panicked during my morning posing and was extremely upset with myself that I had forgotten everything I had been told and practiced the minute my sparkly heel stepped on stage. This whole portion of the day weighed heavily on my mind.
My initial reactions coming off the evening stage were mixed. I felt both exhilerated and upset. Everyone’s first questions to me were “would you do another competition?!” My mind was too busy to be able to answer, and, depending on when I spoke to that person, my answers varied greatly. So, after a few days soaking everything in, I checked in with my coaches and convyed how I felt. I told them I wanted to do another competition. I am not happy ending 2017 competing season with that being my only experience competing. I am going to give this prep my all, as I did my last one. I can’t promise I will work any harder, because I couldn’t have worked harder, but there are several things I am going to do differently.
Nine weeks from now I will compete again and that will be my last competition of the year. By this point, I will have been dieting for the entirety of 2017 and it will be definitely time for my mental and physical self to have a dieting break. I also love food and cooking (as you all know), so it will be nice to play around with more calories. Plus, I love lifting heavy (well, heavy for me) and I am interested in the whole powerlifting scene… I want to be able to squat 200lbs, deadlift 300lbs and bench 135lbs by the end of the year. I conveyed these strength goals to my coaches too as I wanted the written commitment that, after June, I will not be focused on being shredded. Knowing how I felt after this competition, I didn’t want June to roll around and me to say “I want to do another competition”. As I said, it isn’t healthy to be dieting all the time.
So I am going to make the most of the last couple of days of my diet break and zero cardio and get back on the prep train for another 8 weeks. I am aware this time it will probably be tougher and I will have to dig deeper, but I am focused on bringing a better package to that stage.