I know you read that title, and immediately thought it was going to be negative. NO! I devoted my LIFE to that sport. I gave it absolutely everything that I had, but now that I’m on the outside of it, I just wanted to share some of the things that I learned during my time competing with some good and some bad.
1. You will push more than you ever imagined you could.
You think that you have drive when you know you’re going to the beach to be in a bikini. Think about the motivation that being on a stage in front of hundreds of people in a bikini brings? HELLO! Time to become a bombshell! You’ll wake up at extreme hours to get your workout in, you’ll say no to every sweet food given to you, and many get very excited that for ONCE they are able to have control over their food choices.
2. It’s ALOT of waiting.
The glamorous shots that you see on stage are a five second snap shot of a day of waiting. They have the athletes meeting at around 8 which you get all ready for but normally bikini girls don’t go on stage until around 2. You don’t have things to do during this time. You just literally go in a room and sit. Then you walk on stage for maybe 5 minutes, then you get a small break before the night show. The night show may start at 6 and bikini girls may not go on stage until 11pm. So what do you do? Sit. And wait.
3. You will get to experience the euphoria of the greatest cheat meal of your life.
Truely, it’s unreal. I remember biting into that burger and I will honestly never forget it. HAHA! Your body sends happy neurotransmitters to your brain like I can’t describe. No matter what happens, that cheat meal is amazingggggg. ( However, be extra careful because post show binge is REAL)
4. Politics are HUGE.
Sometimes, you could be the absolute best looking girl or guy on that stage, and you will not win. In the end, companies are out to do one thing and that is to make money.
Scenario: A team of 30 people come to a show. They all look awful (which never really happens, teams normally all have great looking people). All the awful teammates don’t place. That’s THIRTY people that you have made mad, and won’t come back to your show. The girl that signed up and trained herself that no one knows is of no loss to them monetarily speaking.
People join teams because they know that they have a better chance of going pro on them. I have even heard that you CAN’T go pro without joining one. This is all “rumors” but just so you know what others say, but I have heard that girls sleep with judges just to get a trophy. Girls sleep with photographers to get in the big magazines. I’m ABSOLUTELY NOT saying this is always the case AT ALL, but apparently it does happen.
5. Unless you are one of the few that is able to balance from the first competition (which is what I want to STRIVE SO HARD to help girls do), you might push some friends and family to the back burner unintentionally.
I would like to take a moment and formally thank my family and friends for putting up with me (haha!). It’s so hard when you are just starting to find all of the information without doing it the hard way. I feel many do their first show in the ridiculous fashion where they essentially starve themselves and leave on protein and tiny amounts of carb and high amounts of cardio. This is going to make you grumpy. This is going to make you not want to do other things, or be at functions where food is involved. However, it is also normally only a short window of time and if your family supports your goals, then honestly it shouldn’t be a big deal if they have to commit to this for a few months.
6. You’ll achieve a body that you never imagined was possible.
Society almost doesn’t allow you to do the crazy things that you do to get to the stage if you don’t have a show to blame it on. You feel like you are “allowed” to say no in certain circumstances because a show is around the corner that normally you would “feel rude turning down cake at Granny’s 90th birthday party that she prepared your favorite flavor just for you even though it was her birthday” type thing.
Many become addicted to this body though, and it’s not maintainable. The body fat percentage that you achieve on stage is something that’s meant for that one day. It’s not healthy for women to maintain that, and many water deplete to get there so you aren’t going to have that body on a day to day basis. We have fluctuations from carbs and water and all of our food, so I think the glamorous stage shots can be misleading to girls who are just starting out in fitness about the bodies that they can achieve.
7. Many many many girls preach health and don’t practice it.
Many top level competitors and who have STILL not figured out the science eat talapia with asparagus while running on a treadmill for 2 hours per day. I saw an interview once of a bikini athlete who said that if you wanted it and wanted to be a bikini girl, you needed to go ahead and block out 2.5 hours of your day each day doing cardio ( wait, WHAT? ). That’s not the norm and I think that many are FINALLY figuring out the balance of health with competing, but peak week water depletion and sodium restrictions on top of diuretic use and even some steroids to lean girls out can cause MAJOR health consequences, but no one seems to care.
8. You meet a lot of really amazing people.
I cannot say how many amazing people I have met through this industry. Some of the most passionate, dedication, interesting, driven people are apart of bodybuilding. You have to have a certain mindset to be able to compete that not everyone has that I love in others. You bound through the struggles that you had to go through to get to the stage and you make life long friends. Then, there are the people that aren’t the competitors but the coaches and the ones that run the show and backstage at the show. It’s like one big party and everyone just loves on one another because they know what it took to get to that day. I love that aspect and will never forget those relationships.
9. Be prepared to spend A LOT of money.
-Competition Suit ($250-$1000)
-Training ( Most are around $1000)
-Tanning ($100-$150 if you get it done at the show)
-NPC Card ($100 each year)
-Application for each show ($80)
-Tickets to get into the event ($35 for pre show and $50 for night show so $85 total. This can differ but it is a ball park number)
-Jewelry ($20-$50): This just depends on what you get and where and if you find a deal ( I wore my wedding jewelry haha!)
Then, of course you have all the food and supplements that you buy but I don’t count that because I would do that anyway. Many become pro after two shows, but many work for years and years. Once you go pro, you will start getting paid for certain things but it’s also not much and almost all top level competitors have to continue working their full time jobs. It must be something that you TRULY just want.
10. A post show reverse dieting plan is JUST as important as the competition plan.
Post show binge eating is running RAMPANT!! You don’t have that show right around the corner to get you up in the morning or to stick to your plan and so you start to try to eat normal again. Your body is not used to it, and your mind is not used to it and many unfortunate times this leads girls into a dark web of post competition depression where they binge eat to oblivion and can’t seem to find control of their lives. It’s very sad, and I experienced this on a very small scale before I took the reigns back and said “NO! I WON’T DO THIS!”
You normally have “dieted down” to get to the show so you need to SLOWLYYYY diet back up. The best thing that I ever did at my last show is I had ONE froyo and that was it. The next day I went right into reverse dieting. I have stuck to my plan relentlessly, and had very few “cheats”. Most of the time I fit them into my macros. Because of this, I have been able to only gain about 3lbs, but I have increased by 70g carbs and 20g fat because I stuck to a plan!!! It’s so so so important for your mental and physical. It’s SO BAD for your body to fluctuate in weight the way competitors do.
11. Stage presence is a HUGE player in bikini.
It’s always a joke, but it’s the truth. You could have the best physique but if you don’t show up to flirt with the judges and shake ya tail feather, it ain’t happening. You MUST practice posing. You MUST have some confidence up there to be able to take home the gold.
12. Contrary to popular belief, all fitness roads do not end in competing. All fitness roads don’t end in lifting weights and making gains.
It disheartens me how almost every email I receive says “I don’t want to compete, but I do want to get in shape.” Why does this new disclaimer have to be there because of instagram? NOT EVERYONE COMPETES AND THAT’S OKAY!!! We all don’t have to have an end goal of standing on a stage in a bikini in front of hundreds of people. That’s not for everyone. It’s also not the only way to get super fit!!! I’m on a mission to stop this trend, and my ideas for the future of katiesfitscript are just about to burst out of me, but I’ll keep them to myself for now! :)
I know this was long, and probably grueling, but I wanted to share from my experience! I’m so so glad that I competed. It changed my life, and taught me more about myself then I will ever know but I have to say that I’m not sure that I’ll ever step foot on a stage again after not competing, and viewing it from the outside! However, I love so many of the people in competing that it breaks my heart to say that so maybe I’ll just go to all of their shows to support them! Hehe! :)
With love and competing,