What Are you Doing...And More Importantly WHY?!
So I've decided to take on my first fitness competition. Specifically I will be participating in the bikini division, which is one of the fastest growing in the bodybuilding industry.
The number one question I've been asked by others is what is that? Well it is probably what you imagine in some ways and certainly not what you imagine in others.
When I told my Mom I would be going on this endeavour she wasn't exactly thrilled. Her thought process on the matter is the epitome of the stereotype over 'girls who lift'. I think she imagines the end result will have me resembling the hulk and that her daughter that has always had a love for bows and frills would be unrecognizable. I do not help my case on days when I get a crazy gym pump and decide to indulge in a flex friday post.
DISCLAIMER: No I'm not disillusioned and do not think I resemble the Hulk on any of my #flexfriday instagram posts. However any amount of flex I believe is then inflated 20x through the lens of my Moms eyes based on her reaction. (Love my Mom...but Moms..am I right?)
So what is a bikini competition. Certainly it is the level of bodybuilding that requires the least amount of muscle mass. That being said, any of those posts you've seen of women that take to the stage--I can assure you that body wasn't built in a day.
So what are you judged on as a bikini competitor:
- Balance and Shape
- Physical Appearance (YES the tan matters)
I'll be competing with the British Columbia Amateur Body Building Association and their specific breakdown is here: http://bcabba.org/bikini-3/
The only thing that bothers me is the connotation that comes along when people hear you're doing a bikini competition. When they aren't familiar with the fact that this is a bodybuilding sport they automatically think you just throw on heels and a bikini and hope for the best.
So to clarify...THIS IS A SPORT and BODYBUILDERS ARE ATHLETES! This isn't just "I like going to the gym sometimes so I'm going to give this thing a whirl."
Here are 5 things you may not realize that is going into this thing.
- COACHING: I have a Coach. His job is to design my workout routines tailored to my physique and ultimately sculpt and build my body for competition using his expertise. In addition he tailors my diet/nutrition plans specifically for me and makes continued adjustments through the process. (Sidenote I'm training with Ondrej Leipert, CEO of My Trainer 365. http://mytrainer365.gr8.com )
- TRAINING: Hitting the gym for your 1 hour class 5 days a week isn't going to get you there. Obviously any fitness you're incorporating in your life is amazing for you, but training for a competition is completely different. It involves 2-3 hour workouts 6 days a week. Your body is trained to its limits and delayed onset muscle soreness just becomes par for the course.
- NUTRITION: Eating becomes almost like a sport with the amount of prepping that is involved. Eating 6 times a day about every 2 hours becomes the norm. All portions are measured and weighed. Your nutrition plan goes through several phases as you progress closer to competition
- MENTAL GAME: A huge component of competition prep is mental. Analyzing how your body looks day in and day out can take its toll. Getting yourself to the gym when you've had a crummy day and just want to binge watch a show takes a mental push. Surrounding yourself with people who support your goals and understand what you're going through is so important. Why do you think the #fitfam sticks so close together?
- COMMITMENT: To get yourself to the stage it involves unwavered commitment. No excuses! Typically prep length is 12 weeks. During this time you don't miss a workout, you eat as detailed in your strict diet plan and NO...you don't get to have cake and eat it too. This means it can be very easy to be a social hermit. Its a mammoth time dedication and remember this is on top of your day job and relationships you want to actually still have when you're on the other side of competition.
So now you have some insight. I'm only 4 weeks into my prep and have 8 weeks ahead of me. So I'll now answer a bit of the WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS question.
A little background if you'll humour me and come along for the ride. My Dad was a type 1 diabetic. Lets clarify- very different from type 2 that you may be more familiar with. As a type 1 he was diagnosed at 2 years old. His bodies immune system destroyed cells that produced insulin and eventually this meant his body didn't produce insulin at all. Type 1 diabetes can not be prevented. This is the big difference from type 2.
Growing up I saw this amazing man that had a body that worked against him. It seemed as though every complication that could arise for him did despite his best health efforts. Kidney failure, heart attacks, neuropathy. Not to be graphic, but he stubbed and cut his toe quite badly once and literally lost his toe as a result. He had bypass surgeries, a kidney transplant and to many hospital stays to count. One of his surgeries was literally filmed by the Discovery Channel as it was experimental at the time...Trust me-I don't think that was the IMDB credit he was aiming for.
Somehow this man always had a smile on and was one of the most optimistic individuals I encountered. On top of that in his later years my Mom joined a gym and he went with her by her side as he knew she wanted the support. He would do as much as he physically felt well enough to do and pushed himself to join her even on days that most would be bedridden.
He never turned down the opportunity to play with us as kids. Chase us around the house. Teach me how to play baseball. Despite the limitations he pushed himself to live a full life.
That is my inspiration when it comes to always seeking a life that challenges me. This is my inspiration as I now push my body harder than I ever have before.
When the lactic acid is building in my legs and I feel like there is nothing left...I push on.
My Dad passed when I was 17 and he was a young 49. However our bond is still unbreakable. I've learned from him that when the going is tough you keep smiling and you keep giving it everything you've got.
So that's my plan. See you on May 6th Kelowna Classic!