I get quite a lot of emails from girls asking for advice on their first bikini competitions so I thought I’d write a blog on it.
There are many things that someone needs to take into account before they decide to step on stage. Competing isn’t just a case of dieting for a few weeks, losing ‘weight’ and then strutting your stuff in a pair of clear heels. You need to be fully committed to the whole process and understand what it involves because prep can be damn hard!
My first question to someone who asks me advice on when to compete is how long have you been weight training for? If they haven’t been weight training for long my suggestion would be to continue building muscle so they have a good foundation for when it comes to leaning down. Bikini competitors need to have tight, lean and muscular curves that promote a healthy and fit look. The judges are looking for that classic hourglass shape with a small waist, nicely rounded shoulders, well developed but balanced and tight glutes, hamstrings and quads. The bikini look isn’t too muscular, hard or lean but a look that stays very feminine and a look that most people could achieve with hard work in the gym and a structured diet. If someone hasn’t been training for long, when it comes to leaning down they could end up looking ‘skinny’ on stage. This is because they haven’t got that muscle development underneath to create the bikini curves needed once body fat levels get lower. My advice is to always invest time in building muscle and not to rush the process of getting on stage. The stage will always be there once your physique is ready!
Most people think a competition prep is 12 to 16 weeks long but that can differ from person to person. If you have quite a lot of body fat to drop then you will need longer than 12 to 16 weeks. A safe guess is to drop roughly 1 pound per week so if you have 30lbs to drop, 12 weeks in my opinion isn’t long enough.
Yes you can diet hard for 12 weeks, go low carb and do cardio until your eyes bleed but why make prep harder than it needs to be? Like I said above, don’t rush the process of getting on stage, there are loads of shows you can do so just ensure you give yourself enough time to look your absolute best.
So that’s the physical side before you prep but what about the prep itself? What about how you are going feel, how it’s going to affect your social life? The dedication required and sacrifices that you will have to make? Like I said prep can be damn hard and these are the reasons why. You are going to have to push your body beyond where it wants to go. On mornings where you want to stay in bed, your mind needs to force your body to get up and get your fasted cardio done. Your mind needs to be your strongest tool when it comes to achieving your goal. You will feel hungry at times and probably more hungry than you have ever felt before but there’s no more picking at your partners chips or a few sweets at the cinema! Your food will all need to be weighed and there’s no going off plan unless your coach gives you a refeed.
Your energy levels will drop where some days lifting a weight you used to find easy, is going to feel like trying to lift 10 tonnes! I remember being in the gym one day bicep curling 5kg’s, I ended up nearly crying in frustration because it felt so unbelievably heavy when a month or so before, it would’ve been too light. You are going to have to say goodbye to nights out with your friends because alcohol is off limits and sleep needs to be a priority. All of these things might sound hard to deal with but I can guarantee you they aren’t going to be as hard as the mind games you will play on yourself, the self-doubt and thoughts of am I going to be ready? Am I lean enough? Have my muscles gone flat? Am I holding water? Why am I bloated?! I laugh as I write this down but any competitor will know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. Like I said, your mind needs to be your strongest tool so don’t let those moments of self-doubt take control.
That all sounds pretty doom and gloom doesn’t it?! Obviously everyone has different experiences of prep but I think it’s important to be aware of how you are sometimes going to feel.
However hard prep can get, believe me when I say it’s totally worth it! I love competing! I love the challenge of pushing myself to achieve my goals and there’s no feeling like the one you get when you are on stage and all of your friends and family are screaming out your name. The sense of ‘holy shit, I did it!’ is one you can’t buy, you have to earn it and knowing that makes it even more special. On show day you feel like a (tanned) princess. You’ve got all of your jewellery on, your hair is on point, make up is looking fabulous and the bling on your bikini makes you feel like a million dollars!! Competing can take you some amazing places and open up many doors. Some of my previous clients have started new careers within the fitness industry because of the passion for health and fitness that competing gave them. You may end up featuring in a fitness magazine or like myself get the opportunity to represent the UK and compete all over the world so dream big and don’t limit yourself!
I hope this blog was helpful to some of you or at least made you realise you’re not going mad 😉
If you are starting your prep for a show soon then good luck! Remember what I said, its hard work but it’s worth it and if you currently prepping for a show, keep going and stay strong! You can do this!