WARNING: This is going to be one of my longer posts. I have been meaning to write this post for a while, but life has been crazy!
I did a 16 week prep for my first competition. This ended up being a little too long for me. I didn’t have a ton of weight to lose to begin with. However, I wanted a longer prep because I wasn’t entirely sure how my body would respond to the diet and how fast I would make progress. My body responded well to the diet and I ended up getting to the point where I didn’t need to lose any more weight so I was stuck just “hanging out” for a few weeks of prep, not trying to gain or lose any weight. If I compete again, I will definitely do a shorter prep. For the most part, I enjoyed my prep! I have never seen my body make the kind of changes it did. The reason I decided to compete in the first place was to challenge myself. I have always wanted to get in really great shape and achieve that “toned” look. I knew I needed something to push me to do this. I needed A GOAL. So I decided to compete in an NPC show. Not much is more motivating to work hard and stick to clean eating than knowing you are going to be in front of tons of people in a swimsuit!
I learned so much about my body and about health during this prep. I learned how to maintain muscle mass while cutting fat, how to meal prep, and how to eat for my goals! It took a lot of self discipline. The training was the fun part, but the diet was difficult. I don’t mind eating clean and healthy. I actually really enjoy it! However, the most difficult part is not being about to have the cheat meals when you want them. You don’t realize how much your social life revolves around food until you are watching what you eat! Getting in enough protein was a challenge at first! Taking in a protein supplement every day helped me a great deal! I also increased by intake of lean meats like chicken and fish. I also ate lots of egg whites! Sticking to a diet and nutrition plan is possible with a busy schedule. I am a full time RN and still maintained a healthy social life while on prep. I even took a week long trip during prep! Prep should not totally stop your normal life!
The diet and training sessions are so worth it! When you start seeing progress in your body, you find new motivation! I had abs for the first time in my life! I woke up one morning and was like “WHAT ARE THOSE?!!!” Another part I loved about competing was being able to help inspire others. Other girls asked lots of questions and I was able to help some of them get started on their own nutrition and work out plans! 🙂
I would highly recommend having a coach while prepping for a show. You need someone to help you out and encourage you! Even if you know a lot about training and nutrition, an outside perspective is very valuable. My coach was absolutely amazing! She is a pro competitor and extremely talented coach. If you want her name and information, shoot me an email. My coach made up my diet plan for me and would tell me when I could have cheat meals based upon how my body was looking! This is very important! It wasn’t just based on my weight. It was based on how I looked. You can be making progress and looking tighter even if you weigh the same! Putting on muscle and cutting fat can be tricky when it comes to weighing yourself. Muscle weighs more than fat. Taking progress pictures and having an outside perspective is very helpful when it comes to measuring your own progress. I am all for using the scale. It can be a very helpful tool. However, the scale is not the only way to measure your progress.
Show day was an absolute blast! All of your hard work and training comes down to one weekend! I did a two day show. Pre-judging was on a Friday night and finals were Saturday night. I got my tan done by the recommended tanning place that was on site. I also got my makeup done by MaxxGlam on site. This made things much more simple and I was very happy with the makeup job they did! I did my own hair to save on money! Competing can get pretty pricey!
I was very happy with the way I looked on stage. I never would have thought I could achieve such a toned body. I look at my stage shots and still can’t believe that it’s me! I placed 4th place in the open bikini class A. My goal was to be in the top 5 so I was very excited to place in my first competition! Sure I would have loved to be 1st or 2nd place, but my biggest accomplishment was the changes I saw in my own body and the amount of confidence I gained through this process! Here are some of my stage shots:
One of my goals for my off season is to take some time off of dieting and try to put on a lot more muscle! I was one of the smallest girls up there, which I was not expecting. I was so worried about not being lean enough on stage. The funny thing is, the feedback I got from the judges was that I may have been slightly too lean and may have been more competitive 2 weeks prior to show day! I thought I wasn’t skinny enough and learned that a more full look is not a bad thing! This is good news for me because I may not have to cut quite as much if I compete again 🙂 I hope to put on more leg muscle and build up my shoulders as well. I am excited to see what I can do over these next few months!
Overall, competing was a great experience for me! You learn so much about yourself through the process. However, I would not recommend it to you if you are someone who struggles with body image or self-esteem issues. You are going to have other people judging your body. You need to have a healthy body image and be healthy mentally and emotionally before deciding to tackle competing. If you have any questions for me about my experience competing or just about health and nutrition in general, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to answer questions!
Having people around you who support you and your goals is so important! My husband was absolutely amazing and I know I could not have done it without him. He prepped tons of my meals for me, encouraged me when I was down, & told me to keep going when I wanted to quit and just go eat a cheeseburger! I can’t thank him enough!
If you are interested in the supplements I used on prep, here is the brand I love: http://uniconutrition.com/ref/319?campaign=Chelsey
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One of the biggest things I learned from competing was that you can do anything you put your mind to! So go out there are chase your goals 🙂