I had intended to write this pre-show but was so busy training, prepping food and practicing posing that I never had the extra time so here I sit post-show writing this. It is a little harder to write post-show as you have a flood of emotions about your experience. You spend so much time preparing to walk on stage for 45 seconds and it’s over . . . and then you are judged. I have concluded that if you want to compete, you have to really want to do it for yourself – not for the glory (there’s not that much), not for the fabulous photos (they do come out great as you are in the best shape ever), and definitely not for the possibility of placing and walking away with a $10 trophy (although I’d like one).
This was my third show and I still question why I continue to compete. When I finished on Saturday, I told myself I would not do it again and yet today, I entertain the idea of doing yet another show in the spring. When preparing for this show, my posing coach told me to dig deep and ask myself why I want to compete so I did just that for multiple days. I seriously could not come up with one main reason but rather many reasons. These are my reasons:
Nothing is going to motivate you more than prancing on stage in bikini: Bottom line, there is nothing that is going to motivate you more than that. I don’t even wear a bikini on the beach but I’ll prance on stage – go figure. People say to me, but everyone is judging you, doesn’t that bother you? Not really. The only people out there are friends and relatives of the other competitors so basically they are waiting for their loved ones to appear on stage. They don’t care about you. Of course, the judges themselves are out there too but they know what they are looking for and I may not bring that package. I have to be happy with the way I look and how far I’ve come in the three years since I lost my initial weight and by the time I hit the stage, I’m not worrying about how my stomach looks, I’m more concerned if I’m going to look like a deer in headlights.
I love having a goal: Let’s face it, working out becomes mundane. I don’t always love it and I sometimes rather sit and watch “Housewives of Orange County”. However, if I know I only have six weeks to get myself in tip top shape, I’m going to move and when I work out, I’m going to work out HARD! Every show, I try a little harder to get a specific body part in better shape. I’m a work in progress. It’s funny, because before my big weight loss, I thought if only I was a few sizes smaller, I’d be a little happier with my physique. Now I’m a few sizes smaller and I’m looking for more muscle definition. There’s always some body part I want to improve so I have concluded that this is just my nature and I will continue to refine each part as I go along.
I eat clean as a whistle and feel amazing: My diet has been pretty clean for three years now but I still love my wine and chocolate (and guacamole & chips, cheese and crackers, ice cream, etc., etc.) There definitely has to be a balance in life and I tell all my clients that. One cannot eat 100% clean 100% of the time. When you train for a show, you do give up alcohol and sugar for the last four to five weeks and any other little cheats that you like to indulge in. Your diet is limited and it makes it very hard to socialize at times. But in exchange for that, you feel amazing. You feel recharged with tons of energy – most of the time anyhow. At times, you are just plain exhausted from working out but from the inside, you know you are doing your body good. And again, nothing would give me the discipline to turn away chocolate mousse like prancing on stage in a bikini.
I get to play dress up: As a 44 year old woman, I very rarely get to be all dolled up anymore. Everyone is married so there are not many weddings to attend and I don’t go clubbing anymore so it is fun to have your hair and make-up done for the day and play superstar. I am a girly girl at heart so I love to play dress up. It’s amazing to see some of these women whom you’ve seen working out with no make up. Sometimes they are unrecognizable with fake hair and more make-up then Dolly Parton. But when can you ever pull off that much make-up and hair extensions except when prancing on stage? It’s like you get to transform into somebody else for the day.
I feel like an athlete: Let me make this clear, I have NEVER been athletic. I was horribly awkward all through grade school. I’d break out in a sweat knowing I had gym that day. So it is kind of fun for me to feel like an athlete at this ripe old age. When I am training for a show, I push myself physically and there is nothing that will make you feel more athletic than pushing yourself beyond your limits.
I meet amazing women and have made wonderful lifelong friends: This is probably my main reason for competing if I had to pick one. I have met so many incredible women along this journey that I would not have met otherwise. The women that compete are motivated, smart and fun individuals. My two fitness BFFs I met standing in line at my first show. It was a first show for all of us and we were so nervous that we turned to each other for support. We have since supported each other through two more shows. Through training, posing sessions and more shows, I have met so many ladies along the way that are just extraordinary. To be surrounded by such strong and supportive women who inspire me, have similar goals and are committed to improving themselves is rewarding in and of itself.
So if you ask yourself why we crazy women, prance on stage and deprive ourselves of wine and chocolate for a short duration, this is why. I seriously had a moment driving home after Saturday’s show (as I pulled out hair extensions) thinking that I’m just plain done with competing, it’s just ridiculous (for God’s sake, I’m in my 40’s and a mom). I’m not going to lie and say I that don’t have insecurities and self-doubt after a show but today after looking at some photos from the show, I’m happy with how far I’ve come. I like my body, there’s definitely room for improvement but I like it. And even though I didn’t place Top 5 and get that affirmation, I’m still happy that I had the courage and strength to prance on stage in a bikini.