When I first got into fitness, my goal was to compete in a bikini contest. It kept me incredibly motivated and gave me that extra push I needed to get up and train in the mornings, or eat my chicken, veggies and rice when I really wanted pizza or brownies. I ended up getting pretty lean and doing some photoshoots. I had never seen my body like that before… and it was such an amazing experience! But there was one thing I did to myself that messed it all up… I got too restrictive. I started to obsess about calories and numbers and “bad” and “good” foods. I got to the point where I was even counting the calories in gum. I lost sight of the big picture. It finally took my doctor telling me my “uterus was too thin” and I “wouldn’t be able to have kids” someday if I didn’t gain some weight. But the damage was done and I had royally messed up the way I thought about food. As many of you who have followed me for years know, I went through years of binging and an overall unhealthy relationship with food.
Fast forward 4 years and although I still haven’t competed, my relationship with food is in a great place. There was no one thing in particular that changed that… I guess it was just a gradual process of seeing the bigger picture and learning to accept myself. Anyways… I don’t blame bodybuilding or wanting to compete in a bikini competition for my food issues…. it was my own mindset and the drastic restrictions I placed on myself that made that happen. I know firsthand how much setting competing as a goal can positively push you and keep you accountable! I have a tremendous amount of respect for the women who do compete, because I’ve seen how much time and effort goes into it. It’s truly incredible! So long as you go into it with the right mindset, it can be a great way to challenge yourself!
Anyhoot… that leads me to my most recent story!
A little under 2 months ago, one of the top personal trainers at my gym, Christina came to me with the desire to compete as a “bucket list” item. I was thrilled to hear that someone else at the gym was interested in the sport of bodybuilding! So you can imagine how incredibly excited and flattered I was when she hired me to take her through prep for her first bikini competition! When some of the other senior trainers found out, they seemed surprised.. even confused. I guess being the “new kid” on the block, that was bound to happen (pressures on). *Wide eyed emoji face* But I was up for the challenge! And to make the journey even more formidable…. we only had 6 weeks… EEK! While many prep for 12 or even 16 weeks for a show, we had a fraction of that. Thankfully, she had been lifting heavy for years, so she had built up a fantastic foundation. (Build up that muscle ladies… it makes it that much easier to lose body fat!)
This prep was done in 6 weeks time with NO supplements or drugs of any kind. No starvation dieting… In fact, she ate graham crackers (her favorite) almost every other day. I didn’t have her doing hours of cardio (in fact the most was 40 minutes), no water depletion, NO extremes of any kind. She said she never felt deprived or overly-restricted with her food… which is incredibly important to me (and now you know why). The picture on the left was the first week of our prep and the picture on the right was the night before her show (hence the spray tan, which is needed to show muscle definition under the harsh stage lighting).
Having heard horror stories about the extremes some “coaches” have put their clients through just baffles me! While I understand the competitive nature of the sport of bodybuilding and the desire to win… shouldn’t there be some limits? Is winning a show really worth months or years of hormonal imbalances or food obsession? In my personal opinion, it’s not… and that’s why even though we were short on prep time, I did not have Christina go to any extremes. She likes graham crackers, so she got to eat her graham crackers! (In moderation of course).
Last weekend I was lucky enough to watch her ROCK that stage at the Excalibur in Culver City! She did such an amazing job! And I just want to take a moment to thank her for the incredible opportunity. She was a dream client who did all her homework (weight-training workouts, cardio workouts, posing practice) and stayed on track with her nutrition. I put together a very long and detailed checklist which included registering for the contest, all the way down to packing suit glue… and she put it all together without forgetting a thing! I’m so grateful to her for that wonderful experience… She has encouraged me throughout this prep to take other girls through prep as well… and has referred to me as “the trainer’s trainer” which makes me blush *proud*. I guess you can say, I got to live vicariously through her… and it was quite an experience. My hands were literally sweating I was so nervous before she walked out on stage! Although she didn’t walk away with a trophy, she walked away knowing she did it!
If you’re thinking about competing, do it the right way. Christina was already at a point where a 6 week prep wasn’t out of the question… but you’ll need to pick a contest that gives you enough time to comfortably prep, without any crazy extremes! And last but not least… have FUN with it! Otherwise… what’s the point?
CONGRATULATIONS CHRISTINA… YOU’RE AWESOME!
If any of you are interested in online training or personal training, feel free to email me… =) [email protected]