I’m not one who makes quick decisions.
Wait, let me go back.
I’m not one who makes quick decisions ANYMORE. Rewind to my twenties, and you would have met a Mary who often made quick, sometimes rash, decisions. I’m very grateful to be older and wiser now.
So when it came to thinking about, possibly considering, maybe-one-day, competing in a bikini competition, let me tell you this was one of those decisions that I did not make quickly. The Mary that I am today, in my rational, mature, well-thought-out, decision-making brain, researched the hell out of this idea for months before I made this decision. I stalked strangers on Instagram, asked everyone I knew who has ever competed in a bikini competition about their experience, read countless articles about why competing is the best and worst thing you can ever do, and interviewed several coaches. And at the end of the day, I have decided that I am going to compete.
And I am going to compete for one reason only: because it scares the sh*t out of me.
I am the type of person who likes a challenge. Who needs a challenge. Who likes to have a goal. I function best this way. And when I commit to a goal, I try REALLY really hard to hit it. So not only does making the decision to compete scare me because I have to get on a stage in a terribly dark spray tan, with a very small bikini on and walk in really high heels without falling, it scares me because it’s my new goal. And I really, really want to hit the goal, and the challenge to get to that stage and not totally embarrass myself is a long road that will take extreme discipline and commitment. And all of that wrapped up together (especially the walking on stage in heels), is very scary to me.
Sure you can roll on stage and not have abs and not eat clean 95% of the time and not track your food 98% of the time and not train for months, but the Mary that is going out on that stage is doing all of the above. There will be less dinners out and less chocolate chip cookies and more “sorry I can’t eat that.” And I hate the “sorry I can’t eat that” part because my whole life and diet is based upon the flexible eating program where I CAN eat whatever I want If It Fits MY Macros. But now, I’m going to be “that girl” who can’t eat anything and can’t build in treats all the time, and for me that is uncomfortable. They say, if you want something you’ve never had, then you have to do something you’ve never done. Well, I’m about to do it.
For those of you who do not know much about these types of events, here is an overview.
Below you will see an example of the 4 main divisions featuring the elite of the sport. These women have all won numerous titles and are at the top of their game. From left to right: Bikini division: Ashley Kaltwasser, Figure division: Nicole Wilkins, Fitness division: Adela Garcia, Physique division: Dana Linn Bailey.
1.) Bikini. In this category women are very lean. The judges are looking for a more softer look than that of the other categories (they are not looking for the same muscle mass or definition as that of the fitness, figure or physique competitors). Competitors are judged based on balance, poise and physical appearance, from front and back angles. Think tight and toned.
2.) Figure. Judges are looking for the same type of physique as fitness competitors however there isn’t a fitness routine, only posing. Competitors are judged from all angles and the goal is to have an athletic appearance – wide shoulders with slim hips and thighs. Think conditioned and more a defined physique than that of the bikini class.
3.) Fitness. The goal is to be athletic in appearance and the judges are looking at your shape from different angles. One thing that sets this division aside from the others is that there is a fitness routine set to music where competitors show off their flexibility, gymnastic training, strength and physical fitness.
4.) Physique. In this division competitors are looking at lean muscle mass with very little body fat. Comparisons are made of the athletes (in groups) when they perform poses that show off their muscle definition.
I have decided to focus my training to enter in the bikini division. There are several sub categories within bikini that you can elect to compete in like debut (never competed before), novice (never won 1st place before) and masters (over 35) and you better believe I’m entering all of those sub categories after 22 weeks of “no I can’t eat that.”
I researched coaches. I am not a professional in this area. Frankly, I have no idea what I am doing, so instead of trying to half ass my training, I decided that hiring a coach was the best way to get prepared for this type of competition.
This is my coach. His name is Joe Bender. I think he knows a thing or two about muscles.
I picked Joe to be my coach because he has made it his profession to train men and women to compete in these types of events. He has been training clients for over 12 years, holds three personal training certifications and has been competing himself for 10 years. I also picked Joe because he is going to help me to protect something that is VERY important to me: my metabolism. Joe isn’t going to put me on some 1200 calorie diet for the next 22 weeks (yes training is 22 weeks!). He is going to slowly modify my macros the RIGHT way and after I leave the stage, he is going to slowly help me to reverse diet back to my fighting weight of 132 pounds and 2000 calories per day.
He is going to help me to get lean and super shredded, and I will probably be cursing his name several times a week because my weight training program is fierce and the groupings of exercises, reps and sets are very different that I am used to. More outside of my comfort zone. More fear. More let’s do this!
If you follow me on social media or have taken one of my spin classes at 24 Hour Fitness, you know this about me: I LOVE FOOD. In fact, my motto is: EAT ALL THE FOOD. I educate women on the importance of properly FUELING your body. I debunk the 1200 calorie myth daily. I love pizza and ice cream and I eat everything in moderation. That is why I follow the flexible dieting program called If It Fits Your Macros.
So part of the research that I did during my months of stalking was around the nutrition plan to prepare for the show, how flexible I could be, and how long I would have to train. The physical aspect of this competition will not be as mentally challenging for me as the nutritional aspect. I run to the gym most days, and the idea of a new, crushingly hard, weight training program is so damn exciting to me. However, the idea of a new, less flexible, but still somewhat flexible nutrition plan and new macros (including less fat macros, and I love fat!) was not as exciting. Wait, are you telling me I can’t have THE dessert I want to have every night after dinner?! But I really WANT to eat WHATEVER I want to eat whenever I want it. More uncomfortable feelings.
So after careful thought and lots of research, and then more research, I’ve decided that I want this goal more than I want ice cream every night.
So I’m off to the races. Training starts today. It ends at the end of November. Thanksgiving will be the best meal of my life. Unless I crush this goal. Then I have all of the chicken and brown rice and protein shakes and rice cakes to thank. The taste of satisfaction is pretty sweet too.
Wish me luck.