My Journey to the stage | Part 3
So since my last blog post I’ve competing in both my first and second UKBFF bikini fitness competitions! The last few weeks of prep leading up to my first were actually easier than I anticipated. I put this down to the fact that because I had had a rather long and gradual prep, that by the time I reached the last few weeks I was basically in stage condition and no drastic changes needed to be achieved. Reflecting on the whole period I’d say the most difficult parts of my prep were around 7-8 weeks out from my first show and surprisingly, the three weeks between my 1st and 2nd show.
Hearing stories from other competitors and others in the fitness industry I feel I had a very healthy prep and I put this down to my amazing coach Josh Mchale. At no point were my calories drastically low, the most cardio I was ever doing was 30 minutes a day (and not necessarily fasted either – just whenever suited my schedule) and I never had to cut out whey, sweeteners or only eat asparagus and fish... My ‘peak week’ was certainly far different from everything I’d heard; I was doing zero cardio in my peak week and eating a little under 200g of carbs most days. I even got to indulge in a sushi ‘cheat’ meal the Friday before my comp! I never had to water load and then dehydrate either. Like I previously said I put this partially down to the fact that I was in stage condition a few weeks prior to my competition, so my peak week was a case of ensuring I looked ‘full’ and healthy and not too lean. However, I think it’s also important to note that the ‘bikini fitness’ category, just like the ‘men’s physique’ category, isn’t like the other bodybuilding categories – the look is much softer and is not about being completely ‘shredded’ or vascular. Certainly in bikini fitness being too lean or having muscle striations is something you are penalised for by the judges.
Ok so now moving onto the big day! I spent Saturday afternoon baking my post-comp treats with friends, something I found surprisingly therapeutic, despite not being able to taste them straight away. And because I’m sure you want to know I baked Reese’s peanut butter cap & salted caramel brownies, topped with chocolate fudge icing and Biscoff buttercream banana bread muffins. Despite having dieted for the past 4 months, I actually love to bake. The night before both my competitions I barely slept at all, I put this down to a combination of excitement and nerves.
The morning of South Coast I was up at 5.30am to get my make-up done by a very talented friend of mine, I then drove down with friends to Portsmouth, arriving just in time to get my tan done at 8.30am. Once I was sufficiently ‘‘Oompa-Loompa’d’ it was a case of registering, doing my hair, putting my bikini on and then waiting to be called backstage. I met some lovely girls backstage. Another one of the great things about competing is meeting people just like you, who have gone through the same process, the highs and lows and have the same love of the sport.
As soon as I stepped out on the stage with the rest of the line up I could hear the deafening shouts of support from all my friends and family. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say they were by far the loudest in the room! The competition starts with the whole line up being compared as we go through our quarter-turns, following this call-outs are made. 1st call-outs mean you have made the top 6. The top 6 are then narrowed down to the top 3. Each of the top 3 is then compared again as we go through our quarter turns, and finally each of the top 3 performs an I-walk. So my results?! Well I made first call outs, I also made the top 3, and then to my utter shock I actually won and got an invite to compete in the British Finals in October! It was honestly the most surreal experience, I couldn’t believe I actually won and I spent the whole day on cloud nine – as well as the morning after! It felt incredible to have all my hard work over the past 15weeks rewarded. As well as being able to do all my friends, my family and Josh proud.
So how did it actually feel to be on stage? I honestly felt so at home on the stage and the buzz you get up there is incredible! It’s easy to see how competing can become addictive, just that 10 minutes on stage makes all the weeks of prep and dieting so worth it. Even at Body Power when I didn’t place I still stepped off the stage having loved every moment of being up there. So briefly talk about my 2nd competition; the Body Power Classic. Following feedback from my first show that I was a little too lean Josh and I worked to make sure I had a ‘softer’ look for Body Power. However when the day came unfortunately my physique just wasn’t what the judges were looking for. I made the top 10, but didn’t get the top 3 placing I was hoping for. To say I wasn’t disappointed would be lying, I worked hard and my competitive nature means I go in with the mindset to win. However, I wasn’t upset as I’m proud of my performance on stage, my physique and the work I’ve put in; I just wasn’t what the judges wanted that day. Any sport that involves judging is highly subjective and it’s important to remember that.
So what’s next for me? To start with, a much needed holiday to Dubai! Then I have a nice break before prep begins for the British Finals in October. I want to spend the time wisely to make the improvements I need to to bring my best package to the British, as well as using this time to have a more balanced life that I can enjoy with my friends and loved ones.