By Myprotein Writer
If you’ve been weightlifting for a while, you’ll probably have heard of competitive bodybuilding shows. Indeed, even if you’re fairly new to the sport you may have heard of it, as competing has massively increased in popularity in recent years.
Female and male weightlifters from all over the world are training and dieting to enter shows where they get on stage in front of a large audience and pose in bikinis/swim suits to present their sculpted physiques to the best of their ability.
Personally, I made the decision to compete late last year, after approximately two years of weight training. This article will talk about my journey through preparing for my first ever bikini fitness competition; what it involves, the negatives and positives, and what it’s like on show day.
Choosing A Bodybuilding Federation
In the UK, there are a few main federations that run bodybuilding shows – UKBFF (United Kingdom Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation) is the main federation, but many people also choose to compete in Miami Pro, Pure Elite, UKUP or NABBA shows, as well as other federations.
For my first competition, I chose to hire a coach as I wanted expert guidance, but many people chose to coach themselves through prep. It depends on how well you think you know your body and the art of bodybuilding.
The average time spent preparing for a competition is 12 weeks, but by this I mean preparing yourself to be stage lean by dieting and training methods. As any professional bodybuilder will know, the actual time spent in preparation for competition never stops, as you should always be working towards your next goals.
12 Weeks Before Comp
During this time, you will probably be pushed to your absolute limit both physically and mentally. Personally, I found my journey mentally challenging more than anything. I am extremely lucky in that I didn’t need to do any cardio to lean down for competition and I had a pretty flexible approach to my diet. However, the two weeks before my competition were gruelling to say the least, as I was disappointed in the amount of strength I lost and hated the feeling of having no energy to train well.
However – this is all part of the process, hence why it’s useful to know all this information prior to know what to expect! There is no doubt that you’ll have to make sacrifices during your prep, whether that be not being able to attend social events or eat out at your choice, or having to dedicate time to food prep or training. No-one said that prep was going to be easy, but it’s totally worth it.
Nevertheless, although preparing for my competition was definitely difficult and an experience in itself, come show day I was happy with my final package. I had tried my absolute best and no matter what the results were going to be, I knew that I was happy with my efforts.
The day flew by so fast, from my early wake up, to being really happy to have treats (with salt AND sugar – both of which you have to cut out in the week before competition), to being spray-tanned beyond recognition.
Suddenly I was getting glammed up with make up and putting on my super sparkly bikini and stage jewelry, pumping up quickly backstage and before I knew it I was stepping on stage with a bunch of beautiful ladies, in front of an arena full of strangers, wearing nothing but a bikini and 5 inch stilettos!
The spotlights were on us, the music was booming in the background, the audience was cheering and the rush of adrenaline was like no other. The crowd quietened down for the judges to instruct our quarter turn comparisons, we received our medals and did one final round of posing to music, and then we were escorted backstage to wait for the judges decision.
Experiencing The Stage
When I found out I had been selected as top three out of the selection of beautiful competitors, I was already SO happy. The top three competitors including myself were called out to the stage again, and we each had to perform an individual I-walk and one final round of pose comparisons.
To most competitors, the I-walk is their chance to shine as it is the only opportunity you’ll get to perform your posing routine alone for the judges and audience. As this was my first ever show, and first ever I-walk, I was so nervous but the adrenaline and excitement of the day just kicked in and I performed my I-walk proudly.
To my absolute amazement, I was announced as winner and presented with a trophy and bag of goodies, and the chance to pose on stage by myself. The moment was all captured by the event’s professional photographer, and the feeling of ecstasy that my months and months of hard work had paid off is indescribable.
Post-Comp Cheat Meal
I then enjoyed massive burger with fries and a snickers milkshake – this was probably one of the best parts of show day as I can tell you now that NOTHING tastes as good as that first bite of delicious junk after restricting your diet!
I think it’s the fun of show day and stepping on stage that makes competing so addictive. Before I did my first show, I always wondered why everyone was so keen to compete despite the tough prep; but now I completely understand why. I also met so many inspiring athletes and talked to so many encouraging people that day in the crowd, I can’t wait to compete again in my next show!
So there it is, a brief account of contest prep and show day by an amateur bikini competitor.
I always encourage those who are physically and mentally ready to compete to go for it!
It’s an amazing experience and you’ll never know what it’s like until you try it! You may love it or hate it, but in the end it’ll be an experience at least.