Dear Boys and Girls,
I’m back! I know many of you guys (ladies mostly, I think) were hoping that I’d provide a day by day account of the days leading up to my first bikini category competition. I went MIA on purpose, well, because I had to focus ALL my energy on getting ready. The last week was tough. I couldn’t bear talking about food and what I was doing or not doing. For a week, I had to make it ALL about ME. “Wait! Wait!,” you say, “So, how did you do?!!” I placed third in the Bikini Master’s Division. Yes, not bad for a first run!
I have so much to share since everything I experienced was all new. Let’s back up to September 6th, 2010, that is, 5 days prior to the competition. Upon the recommendation of my trainer, I cut all complex carbs (oatmeal, sweet potatoes!!) for three days and then carb-loaded for 2.5 days. The first 2.5 days I drank as much water as I could and ate nothing but fish and vegetables. The last three days, I drank as little water as possible. Oh, the irony that I finally got to eat potatoes, but was deprived of water to wash it all down. The purpose of all this? To remove subcutaneous water to give my skin a “tight” appearance. It’s what models and fitness competitors often do to appear ripped before a photoshoot. Did I mention that for these five days, I only consumed about 1000 calories a day? A woman of my height and weight, 5’5″ and 125lbs, needs about 1370 to function.
How did that feel, you ask? It was horrible! What was difficult was not the going without the things I like to eat, but feeling a complete lack of energy. No, it wasn’t just difficult, it totally and completely sucked. Seriously! Boys and girls, I hesitate to post my meal plan for the week because you should only do this if you are training for a competition. The day of the competition I looked great, and yes, lost about 4 lbs that week, but most of it was water weight. You diet like this for a photoshoot, not for weight loss. Within two days, I was back to my normal weight of 125lbs. In other words, unless you are competing, do not try this at home. Really!
I can easily admit that dieting that last week was unpleasant. I have the luxury of being able to take a week off from work (or slow down, rather) as a BeachBody coach, but what about other men and women who have full time jobs and children? I know people do what they have to do, but goodness, I sympathize. I hardly had the energy to get through the day.
My energy level went up once I started getting carbs in the fourth day. The night before the competition, I got spray tanned, went to bed, and woke up to have my hair and make up done at 4:30 am. It shocked me to see myself wearing so much stage makeup and to have such poofy hair. But I took a leap of faith by trusting my trainer and hair/makeup people when they said that I would look totally different on stage. They were right. From afar one couldn’t tell that I had pounds of makeup and that my hair was teased at the roots!
Oh my goodness, I almost forgot to share: the suit that I had custom-made for the event got ruined with the tanning spray after prejudging at 9 am. We knew that choosing a white suit might be risky, but we were confident that the color would wash out (and that it would dry) before judging at 6pm. Well, the color didn’t wash out no matter what we tried. I’ve learned to roll with the punches in life, so I just wore my green back up suit that I brought “just in case.” The upside? I got third place and two different sets of pictures!
Then there’s the tanning issue! My phbalance levels made my skin react strangely to the tanning solution, which made me look “muddy” as my trainer said it. The same tanning solution that was used on other competitors was used on me, but we had no way to predict how my body would react. This is all a learning experience. Next time, we will do it differently. Here I am with my white suit and too dark tan:
I had heard several women who had competed before say that being on stage was an indescribable and addicting feeling. I have to admit, although the pictures speak of confidence, I was shaking inside my shoes. My only thought as I was on stage doing my thing? “Watch your step and don’t fall!” The nervousness took me by surprise. I really didn’t expect to feel my legs shaking beneath me. I’m a confident woman who is used to speaking in front of people! Ahhhh, but I wasn’t speakkkkkking! It was just me, my physique, and my walk. It was tough!
I got to be on stage a total of three times. By the second time, my footing felt a little more sure, and by the third, I was no longer afraid that I was going to fall. Still, my walking and posing was a bit awkward and there is lots of room for improvement. Without meaning to come off conceited, I believe I could have placed higher overall with a little more experience.
Luckily, I get to do it again on October 16th in Temple, TX. My goal is to do better next time, and by better, I mean, personally better. I want to conquer that stage, not for someone else, not for a trophy, but for me. It may be hard to understand for some folks, but this was one of the most challenging things I have ever done.Embracing the woman in me was more challenging than I thought, but fun. Bring it on!
Barbie Decker, PhD