October 29th, 2016 is a day I won’t soon forget.
After a pretty decent night’s sleep, I woke up at my usual 6am to start my day. Even though my child sleeps well past 6, enjoying regular 12-hour sleeps each night, I am usually up before her and enjoy a few moments of silence on my own. Justin arrived home at 4am that morning after a long flight home from FL after a tough loss, so the house was very quiet.
I went downstairs, and had to remind myself NOT to drink my usual 48 ounces of lemon water like I do religiously each morning. On show day I was only allowed to “sip water as needed.” I reviewed my checklist to make sure I had everything: bikini, shoes, jewelry, cooler of 4 meals for the day, lipstick, hand wipes, $5 plastic e-z pee so that when I used the restroom I didn’t ruin my spray tan (yes, there is a market for everything in the bodybuilding world), ipod with my pre-loaded “pump up” playlist, earbuds, phone charger, sewing kit (you never know), business cards, and a host of other things that I packed “just in case.” I reviewed my timeline. I wrote out the exact times that I was supposed to eat the meals that my coach laid out for me. My first meal was set for 7:45am, 4 hours before I took the stage, and it consisted of 2 slices of bacon, 2 whole eggs, and 2 rice cakes with jelly. YUM. Needless to say, I was looking forward to it. I could also have 4 ounces of coffee, so I sipped on some coldbrew from Starbucks that I got the day before. WHY THAT MEAL, you may be wondering? It’s all strategy. SOAK up the water. Any remaining water floating around in my body that was not being pulled inside of my muscles would be directed that way with the series of meals that I would eat on show day. At 8:15am, I kissed my family goodbye and made my way to the venue.
I arrived early and started the glam process at 9:15 with hair and makeup by an awesome show vendor named Shawna Pringle. Shawna is no newbie when it comes to these types of events, but she is usually on the stage rather than behind it. She is an IFBB Physique Pro and an all-around badass. In 2014, she started her makeup business. She is also a pro at making women looking their best on stage. I was with her for about an hour, and I was really pleased with my stage face and hair. I felt beautiful.
At 10:15am, I headed back to the tanning pod to get a couple extra layers of spray tan added to my already dark skin. While in line, I had my second meal, 3 ounces of salted white fish and 2 more rice cakes with jelly. After I was finished, it was time to get suited up. I knew that I was not going on stage till around 11:45am, but I felt like time was going by really quickly, so I made sure to be ready by 11:15am. I had my Snickers bar, also part of the strategy to bring the extra pump to the muscles, did some wall squats and kick backs to bring some blood flow to the booty, and cued up my playlist. I will say that the BEST thing I packed in my bag for show day was a killer playlist to get me focused. I was in a room with all of the competitors during the pre-show. I could see all of my competition around me. I would have been very easy to look at some of the other women and start comparing myself to them, but the playlist helped me to stay in my zone. I turned up my tunes, and tuned everyone out. I focused on me. I stayed in the moment. I reminded myself how hard I had worked for this moment. I remained confident in my work, in the package that I was bringing to the stage. I got a quick hello and kiss from my hubby. I got some motivating words from my coach, and it was showtime. I was ready.
At 11:45am they lined us up in numerical order. There were 10 total competing in Novice Bikini, and I was number 62. As we walked on stage, I ended up in the middle of the stage, since the numbers ranged from 58-67. During the 5 minutes on stage, the judges never moved me from the middle. I had learned enough in the past 5 months to know that staying in the middle was a good thing. I felt strong and happy. I could see my family and friends. It was hard to smile that long with all of the bright lights in my face, and my mouth was quivering a little bit even though I didn’t feel nervous on the inside. Maybe it was the Snickers. Lord knows I had not had that much sugar at once in months. When our time was up, we all walked off stage. I thanked God for getting me through it, grabbed my robe and called in Justin and Joe to recap. Joe told me I was in the top 2 since I wasn’t moved from the middle. I was overwhelmed with joy. I could see the pride in my husband’s eyes. I couldn’t believe it. I was so incredibly happy. So much hard work. So many sacrifices. It had all paid off.
I went out to the auditorium to see my family and friends. Over 25 people came to support me that day. My good friend Sophia even flew in from Chicago. I felt very loved. We laughed and hugged and talked about everything that had just happened. I was overwhelmed with gratitude.
A couple of hours passed where I could sit with my family and watch the other competitors perform their 1-minute stage walk, which is when you pose to a song of your choosing and enjoy your 60 seconds to show off all of your hard work during training. It was amazing to see such strong bodies of all shapes and sizes take the stage. You got to learn a little more about each competitor when their bio was read. I later found out that the girl who took 1st place over me lost 100 pounds recently, proving the point that you can get fit at anytime of your life if you really want it.
It was almost my turn for my stage walk. I used the Calvin Harris and Rihanna song, “This is What You Came For.” It was really fun. I didn’t do anything perfectly during my walk, but I was okay with it. The walk was for fun and to show off my personality. I tried to stay in the moment and enjoy the present.
It was soon time for awards. The 9 other girls and I lined up back stage. They started calling out the numbers, 5th place, 4th place, 3rd place. This was it. 2nd or 1st. One was mine. When I heard my name for 2nd, I was disappointed for less than half of a second. Then I remembered that my GOAL was TOP 5, and I had achieved my goal. I DID IT!
After lots of hugs and pictures and congrats from family and friends, I headed home with Justin to see Gianna. I gave her a big spray-tanned hug. After all, she is my motivation for setting these big goals. I wanted her to know that anything is possible. That it is OKAY for me to take time for myself to work on goals and dreams that I have. It makes me a better mom and wife when I take care of me too. After a long, hot shower where some of my dark color when down the drain (at almost a week later, I am still orange and peely), we enjoyed a great night IN with our homemade pizza (the BEST in town) and some Levain Bakery cookies. The taste of those treats was sweet, but the taste of a completed, crushed goal was much sweeter.
What’s next for me? Some time off. My starting weight in June was 136, with 18% body fat, and my stage weight was 129 with about 14% body fat. My goal is to hover around 133 over the holidays while I make some muscle gains in the gym. In the spring you’ll find me back on stage somewhere, but for now, you’ll see me enjoying more of a social life. Prep life is fun, and I am definitely hooked, but now it’s time for family, flexibility, and rest.
Thank you for your support and for following me along this journey. I hope that I’ve inspired you to set some big goals for yourself along the way. Don’t let fear stop you from reaching your fullest potential today. Anything is possible.