Bikini Prep – 9 Weeks Out – Strike a Pose

At 9 weeks out, all of the puzzle pieces are starting to come together for my fitness competition on November 19th.

I’ve made all of the muscle gains possible in the 12 weeks of training so far. I have about 2 weeks left of solid training in the gym to make any additional improvements possible in my legs, glutes and shoulders. That’s 14 weeks total of lifting for 6-7 hours a week (close to 100 hours of JUST lifting), 14 weeks of fueling my body in the best possible way with proper nutrient timing (making sure my body gets the correct ratio of carbs and proteins pre and post workout for maximum muscle growth) and 14 weeks of recording every lift, every weight, on an Excel spreadsheet for my coach. 14 weeks of true dedication to training. Check, check, check.

Now that the muscle growing phase is almost over and the bikini is ordered, it’s time to focus on a very important part of my show: posing. You can’t just get up on stage and hope for the best. You have to learn to walk and pose to make sure that you are showing off all of your assets in the best possible way. If you’ve ever seen photos of girls posing on social media, you might be thinking something like, “that doesn’t even look comfortable,” and you’re right. The more uncomfortable and the more twisting, the smaller your waist looks to the judges. In the bikini division, judges look for strong wide shoulders (check), a small waist (working on it) and large, round glutes (better today than 12 weeks ago).


Examples of bikini posing

Just how I hired a professional coach to train me for this show, I also hired a professional in Tina Peratino from to teach me to pose. Tina, a.k.a. “Mama T,” is the owner of Center Stage Figures and Physiques. She began competing at the age of 33, after her son was born, and continued to compete for seven years. During that time, she earned pro status in Figure, Bodybuilding and Fitbody (a version of Women’s Physique wearing heels). Shortly after winning her first pro title, Tina decided to retire from competing to pursue her passion for coaching and to focus more attention on her clients.

tina Tina

Tina has a very important role in the coaching world of fitness competitions: she helps women feel confident about themselves on stage. Many women put in so much hard work during their prep on diet and exercise, and they fall short on stage because of their inability to pose and show off all of those training hours.

I was immediately impressed when I first met Tina a few months ago because she, herself, was confident in her teaching ability. She knows what judges are looking for on stage. She knows all of the rules that each bodybuilding association has about everything from posing techniques to bathing suit styles. She knows the “look” that they want to see, and she does her best to teach her clients how to achieve that look. In a way, she is an image consultant.

I met with Tina this week to make sure that I understood the front and back poses that I would need to perfect over the next 9 weeks. I’ll be meeting with her regularly to make sure that every angle looks like I haven’t had any cheat meals over the past 22 weeks. Wink. Wink.

Just like everything that we do that is new, this posing will require a lot of practice. I have my own little theme song picked out when I pose at home: “This is What You Came For” by Calvin Harris and Rihanna. It always makes me smile. Gianna likes it too. She always dances when I play it. She doesn’t care if she looks funny. She doesn’t overthink it. She just moves. Now that I think about it, that little person just taught me another life lesson. Don’t overthink this whole goal. It’s supposed to be a “fun challenge.” At 9 weeks out, I still forget that sometimes when I am measuring out my 150g of white rice for my post workout taco bowl. Things just get more real each week, and I need to stop and remember that it’s okay to not take it so seriously sometimes. So this week, I’m going to continue to strike a pose and have fun while doing it.