Three weeks ago I competed in my first ever national level bikini competition. It was such an amazing, heart warming experience. I did not place but what I walked away with was so much more than a trophy.
After suddenly becoming homeless in Vegas and having my savings stolen from me I won’t lie I wanted to throw in the cards with this show. It was rough…all I really wanted to do was eat a pizza…and I did. Then I was reminded from my coach.. “You can use this to help inspire more people than you ever could have before” - Coach Eric. And it lit my fire.. Suddenly, I was not just doing this show to prove to myself I could. But I was using it to help inspire others. The decision was made.. I would do the show rain or shine.
From Vegas I headed to Washington to live in this adorable cabin right in the middle of Mt. Baker. It is a beautiful place in a small town and the closest gym is about a 45 minute drive. I promised myself I would be 100% vulnerable and honest with this experience. My goal to be transparent and aware of my thoughts and actions and share them with the world on YouTube. Ha!
I might not have walked away with a trophy or pro-card but I walked away with clarity and growth. This prep was hands down the hardest mentally, as you have seen in my other blog posts. I was struggling mentally. Sitting at 30-50 grams of carbs for an extended period of time is extremely difficult to stay adherent to. There were nights I would eat an extra rice cake, or sneak a bite of something not on my plan. When I didn’t follow the plan it made me feel worthless and unconfident. This was hard to put myself through and I wondered how anyone would find me inspiring. I felt like a fraud. The last month of show prep I decided I needed to stop with the negative talk (mostly because it led to more frequent off plan moments) and really own it. I pushed myself both mentally and physically to new heights.
Fast forward to Vegas. I felt pretty good especially after my spray tan, Shawn is the best! Backstage everyone looked amazing and I was reminded why I love this sport and the human body. Bikini class A was called to stage. I was the first in line. My suit was amazing my hair and makeup looked great I was ready. Before stepping on stage I did something I do not normally do. I prayed.. Now I do not consider myself religious but I am spiritual. I prayed to have the confidence and ability to not rush my solo and to feel like I hit every pose like I had in posing practice so many times before. I prayed to go out there and preform the way I had imagined in my head so many months before this very moment.
Walking on stage for my solo I felt amazing. My personality was there. I felt like I hit my back pose and I felt so beautiful. When it came time for callouts in my mind I thought I would get low 2nd to 3rd callouts. When they called 1st callouts I looked at the girls and thought “yeah they look fucking amazing, I knew that girl would take it. Damn her shoulders look great!” Second callouts come around and I still was feeling good. 3rd call outs come along and my mindset shifted. I started to look at these girls and think “what do they have that I don’t?” “Really my posing is worse than hers? Like wtf is she even doing?”… My confidence was gone in a matter of minutes. Standing there my face started sweating. Finally, I got called to stage… last call outs and basically second to last of the entire class.
Leaving the show I started to cry. Thinking to myself “why do I do these shows?” , What is wrong with me? Blaming everything from needing to have dropped 5 more pounds, to my suit being not the typical bikini suit, not having fake boobs, etc. Then my biggest supporter sent me the video of my posing and yet again my mind state shifted. It turned from disappointment to…. “fuck it”… I felt so beautiful and I was not going to let a placing take that away.
I love bodybuilding and I always will. But this is what I learned…
- Being on a diet for an extended period of time makes you more vulnerable to negative eating behaviors, and thoughts
- You are not your placing
- This sport is subjective and slightly fucked up
I want to repeat again…. YOU ARE NOT YOUR PLACING !
You want to know what you are though?
A beautiful amazing person who has the will and determination to push yourself through obstacles that most never will. Sure we all could have tried a little bit harder, practiced posing a little bit longer, not gone out to dinner with friends that one night, or not missed that workout because you felt sick. Needless to say you accomplished something 99% of the population will never do and that is something to be proud of.
Most of all I gained clarity on myself. I can not say that I will never compete again but it became clear this prep that I fell out of love with the process. It became clear to me that mostly what I admire about competing is being on stage not the dieting. And yes it is pretty cool to see your body so lean and muscly but it’s not what I live for anymore.
I learned through experience how shame and dieting is a lethal combination to self worth. My new goal is to find my place with training and diet that allows me to live my lifestyle the way I chose to.
The thing I do not like about this sport is… Speaking to experienced competitors here.. you can tell me all you want you do this sport for you and at the end of the day you probably really do. But for that brief moment on stage when you do not receive the placing you thought or wished for you can not tell me you do not become a little judgmental of others and yourself.
I wondered if it was possible in this sport to love your body. To really love and accept your body when you’re told from judges.. “you have great stage presence but your legs needed to be leaner and you need larger shoulders”. I wondered if anyone in this sport could really find a place of loving their bodies right now in this moment. Right then I made the choice, I decided to love my body right now exactly how it is.
Today I choose to fit my training and diet program around the body I want to have not what the judges think I am lacking. I want to paint my own picture. Thick muscly legs and the never ending journey to growing boulder shoulders…All while keeping this tiny waist line. My goals are no longer just aesthetic either. Flexibility and performance are going to be major components.
Personally I see myself doing heavy compound lifts 2-3x/week (really focusing on form and increasing volume and weight), slowly increasing daily caloric intake, getting my pull ups to 15 repeatable reps with a solid wide grip by the end of September (right now I can do 10-11 reps), and increasing my flexibility through yoga or dance classes!
So many great things in store for Quest2SelfLove as well!
You were always there for support and a helping nonjudgmental hand. I have learned so much from you two and I am so grateful.
You never know why I do this sport or what the judges look for, but you love and support me unconditionally.
My suit was so beautiful
Love your spray tan and kindness. You and your wife are so sweet and love this sport. Joy to be around. Thank you.
The Stretch Doctor:
Thanks for getting me in last minute. Helping increase my hip/shoulder/ and back mobility You Rock.
Supporters and Followers:
Where do I even start? You all feel my fire and keep me motivated. I couldn't have done all this without you.