Hey Everyone! The day I had been waiting for finally arrived and went by in a flash! It’s bittersweet feeling! I finally can be less meticulous about diet and training, but I definitely will secretly miss feeling this lean! I had an amazing time my first competition! I thought I would be more nervous or awkward, but the day went by so smooth! All of the alcoholic drinks I turned down while out to dinner, all of the meal preps, all of the cookies refused at work—all worth it! Be prepared, this is going to be a LONG post. I’m going to reflect on the entire process but add in advice for first timers.
This final week flew by. I worked 5 of 6 nights, so it was a lot of work, little play. Luckily I did not need to work out much this final week. I worked out Sunday through Wednesday and took off completely Thursday, Friday, and Show Day (Saturday) Nutrition stayed the same, except I tried limiting dairy products. I didn’t really notice a huge difference, so I am unsure if this was truly necessary. So, I’ll run you through my competition timeline so any first timers may gain a better idea of what to expect.
Friday, the day before the competition. I got my hair colored and high lighted. My friend Shannon did an amazing job. She made my overall color a nice, deep, dark brown and added a reddish/maroon “high light” that really added an amazing pop on stage! I was and am still currently in LOVE with the final product. For show day I added clip in hair extensions and curled it.
I got my nails done, but truly I do not believe that competitors need to do this. As long as your nails are neatly done and polished, you will be fine on stage–nails are obviously not what the judge will be looking at, but you do use arm movements during posing that needs a clean polished look to give the full effect. A lot of girls just kept it very natural with nude colors. If you want to save money, save money here.
Next, the SPRAY TAN. You get the spray tan the night before the competition to allow it to settle on your skin. This is something you do NOT want to skimp on. Spend the extra money and book an appointment with the tanning salon that is sponsoring/used by the show itself. They are specialized in COMPETITION tanning—-this is MUCH different than walking into a regular tanning salon and asking for their spray tan. No matter how dark the tanning salon says they can make you, the girls that tried this either look orange/yellow/green or completely washed out under the stage lights– totally defeats the purpose of the tan, which is to emphasize your musculature.
The inside scoop on the tanning process:
I was most surprised about what a process the tanning was. There is a PROCESS you must follow. You should exfoliate 3x week starting at least two weeks away from competition, you should use a specific body wash that perfects your bodys pH to hold onto the tan, and moisturize regularly— that is, until the day of the tan. The day of the tan: NO DEODORANT, NO BODY LOTION, and wear loose dark clothing—but no red color in the clothing. All of these things could cause your tan to turn green.
After the spray tan, we went to our hotel–another expense you have to figure in if you are not competing in a local show. I made sure to bring DARK, old sheets, because the tan would have been everywhere all over those nice, clean, crisp, WHITE hotel sheets–and that would be an extra expense I do NOT want to pay. You will soon realize you need to get creative when you need to urinate. Any splashes or sprinkles from you or the toilet bowl WILL ruin your tan, and it will be noticeable. Most girls recommended using a paper or foam cup with a hole cut out the bottom, to funnel into the toilet without the splash. Oh, the things we do for beauty…..
PS, when going to get spray tanned, prepare yourself— you will be totally nude. You will be surrounded by a bunch of other naked fit competitors (they separate the genders) in spray tents, but it can still be a bit shocking to be completely nude around others if you aren’t expecting it. The person who is spray tanning you also gets VERY much up into your naked personal space –try to be as comfortable as possible—they do this all the time–they’ve seen it all.. Get in and get out.
I prepped meals and took them with me in my meal organizer lunch bag. I prepped steak and sweet potato after reading MANY professional reviews online as this was the best options for the day before and day off– something about the perfect protein/carb/fat ratio. Not entirely sure the science or logic, but this is what I listened to because STEAK AND SWEET POTATO?! THAT SOUNDS AMAZING compared to my chicken/cod with veggies I’ve consumed the four weeks!!!!
Make sure your hotel has a refrigerator AND a microwave. This is something I would never even think about, what hotel doesn’t have both of those items?! BUT, I learned by experience…… My hotel did NOT have a microwave. So I went to eat my meal prep, and….. looks like its going to be cold! That being said, don’t forget cutlery like I did, or you will also be eating your cold steak and sweet potato with your obnoxiously tanned fingers. Le sigh.
Saturday Morning, SHOW DAY!
I have to give a shout out to my best friend, and former bikini competitor, Meredith. She came with me, woke up at 0630 and helped with my hair and make up! And she ROCKED IT! My hair looked great and my stage make up was FLAWLESS. This is my biggest recommendation to future competitors– find an amazing friend and save $200 PLUS on hair and make up. Or just DO IT YOURSELF!! Seriously, Hair options are curly and straight—no up-dos, always down. There is NO REASON you need to spend $125 for someone to do this for you. Make up is a little different, look up online “competitor stage make up” You want it to be dark so it is noticeable under stage lights, but not too flashy with crazy colors. A smokey eye is a great choice! Buying fake eyelashes is also an easy way to add the extra oomph and sass to your look. I got mine at walmart–the cheapest kind– you don’t have to go expensive! Emphasize cheek bones and pop your lips with a medium red/pink. The hardest part is finding a foundation that matches the CRAZY tan you will be rocking. Luckily, Meredith has competed before and had the perfect foundation color. I believe she bought this through “Liquid Sun Rayz” Meredith has done her own make up for her shows, she recommends going to bed early and waking up extra early–giving yourself at least 2.5-3 hours for hair and make up. She recommends NO color for eyes–stick to naturals and NO GLITTER. As for the face– contour, contour, contour!! Below is a closer look at my make up.
So, right after we finished with my hair and make up, (with no time to spare) I left the hotel and went to the venue for the competitor meeting at 0830. After the meeting, we got our tans retouched and then we essentially just waited for prejudging to commence. As soon as the meeting was complete around 0900 I ate a meal prep of steak and sweet potato (this was about two hour before show time) Nearing showtime back stage, I sipped on water only when thirsty and consumed chocolate flavored rice cakes (YUM) around the time I would be going on stage. I utilized the carbohydrates to feed and pump up my muscles
The show is separated into two different shows essentially. Prejudging and finals. Prejudging was at 10 am. This is when you are evaluated on stage by the judges–usually with the group you are in (novice, open, masters, etc.) You will be on stage in a group and the judges will tell you directions such as “face front, face rear, quarter turn, etc) This is when the judges are essentially picking out their top 5, top 10 athletes.
I felt very comfortable and confident on stage. It was a great and exhilarating feeling! After you are done on stage posing with a large group, the judges excuse you off stage. You are then called back onto stage in groups of 5 so the judges can better evaluate you and compare you to pick their line up. The order of being called out usually matters! I got”first call outs” during prejudging–which usually is indicative of placing within top 5–so anywhere within second call outs you know you made it in the top ten, etc. I was so happy to be very first number called! I was on cloud nine and my heart was racing!
I went out with my fellow competitors that were also called out and performed the routine as called out by the judges until they excused us off stage. After we were excused off stage, we were done! Unless you crossed over and competed in multiple divisions— I competed in both Novice (never competed/never won) and open division C (height greater than 5’6″)
After prejudging was over (around noon) we had until FIVE PM to do whatever until the next athlete meeting. My boyfriend, friend, and I just went to starbucks to hang out and unwind over a cup of joe. We were unfamiliar with the area around and couldn’t find much else to do. If I were to recommend one thing it’s to research what there is nearby–restaurants/malls/movie theaters–anything that you could do with three to five spare hours!
It felt like a really long time to wait, I just wanted to get back on stage and finish what I came here to do! But, five hours, another steak meal prep (eaten around 430–trying to be close to 2 hours before showtime as possible) and 1 glorious soy-milk iced coffee later, I was back at the venue.
Backstage, I consumed chocolate rice cakes close to stage time just as I did earlier. Finals was the time to show off our individual routine– this is the routine I’ve been practicing for the past month! I felt like it went smoother than when I’ve practiced! It felt so fluid and natural. As soon as every competitor in your category was completed with her routine the finalists/winners were announced!
I won first place in Novice Bikini AND first place in Open Bikini “C” (the tall/above 5’6″ category)
TWO FIRST PLACE TROPHIES!!! IN MY FIRST COMPETITION!! It was amazing!! I did not win overall bikini open, but I was in the top three of OVERALL!! (After looking at the scorecard, I was SECOND! 😀 ) I am so, so, proud of my self.
I did this without a coach or without anyone meal planning for me– 100% true to me! If you have been following my journey through this blog you know that I have been HUGE on staying true to myself and listening to my body. I never once cut my carbs, limited sodium, carb cycled… no manipulation of any kind. Especially NO DIET PILLS and no fat burners—all natural. HARD WORK and good diet based on macros–never changing from a 40/40/20 macro breakdown. Was it easy? No. But I didn’t kill myself in the process.
My Final stats:
Body fat % (measured by calipers) 10-11%
Overall, this is not a cheap hobby. If you are interested in competing, you have to be aware you need to have the finances.
Entry Fee $110 (70 entry + 40 crossover –to compete in 2 categories)
NPC card $120
Nails (mani and pedi plus tip) $80
grand total: $645, woah!
BUT, this could have been A LOT more expensive… things I DID NOT pay for
-a coach (saved about $150/month AT LEAST)
-Nutrition plan (saved at least 100/month)
-hair and make up (saved $200)
This was an amazing opportunity and experience! I am so glad I did it! There were a handful of times when I thought about quitting, but I didn’t! I had amazing support throughout this process. I have to say THANK YOU to my readers who have been following this process providing with positive support and feedback each week! My boyfriend was incredibly supportive and was there 100% of the time–to listen to me complain about my lack of energy, my muscle soreness, or how badly I wanted a poptart, as well as being there during the ENTIRE competition day–through all of the girly glitz and glamour he may not have understood, through the long periods of waiting around…He did a great job! Everyone at my gym showed amazing support as well! I can’t thank everyone enough! Totally humbled by this experience.
“Will it be easy? No. But, will it be worth it? Absolutely”