By Katherine Goodrich
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Let’s be honest, most of you reading this have these visions of glamour and sparkly bikinis… you see the fun and exciting things show days brings. But what you need to know is that is only 5% of the process.
It’s what I saw and thought “Wow! This looks so amazing!” But when I started my first prep for show…oh boy was I in for an eye opening experience. So here it is… what I wish I knew…
- Go into this with a good sense of self and a positive mindset.
I guarantee you as your body starts to change, you see new muscle, lose some body fat… a wave of self satisfaction will be the first thing to hit. And that’s great! But self doubt will start to creep in, you will question if you will be ‘good enough’ or ‘ready’. Here is a less talked about truth, the hardest part of this sport is the mental aspect. Your mind will play games with you and you have to be strong enough to push those thoughts out of your head. Remind yourself how strong you are, how you aren’t where you used to be and THAT is all that matters.
- Not everyone will support you.
Some honestly won’t understand what or why you are doing it. Yes it’s important to have those closest to you (i.e your spouse, children, parents or best friend) on board with that you are doing and your overall goals but it’s NOT a necessity. Surprisingly, what you will find is support from strangers in this industry. Encouragement from people you have never even met in real life. You will find friends with similar mindsets that truly GET what you are doing for yourself. Remember, not everyone will support what you are doing and that’s OK! You have to do this for YOU.
- Enjoy the process.
If you spend your whole prep agonizing over the time you didn’t get to eat this or that… maybe you should re-evaluate why you are doing this. This isn’t meant to be a time of painful deprivation (although it’s gonna feel like it) it’s meant to be a temporary struggle for a far greater reward, to push you past your limitations and comfort zone… seeing everything you are capable of is something that’s priceless after all. Don’t fixate on the end goal…. enjoy the journey it took to get where you wanted to be.
- It’s gonna be hard freaking work!
I feel like this is the most underestimated point. People see bikini competitors differently than other classes. But let me put this as simple as I can… we are bodybuilders just like every other class. The consistency, dedication and heart that has to be put into creating our physiques is HARD FREAKIN WORK! We lift heavy, we push ourselves through grueling cardio sessions, we put in the work and if you don’t… you are gonna know it come show day.
- You are going to want to quit.
Probably more than once, hell maybe even more than twice! The physical and mental struggle of this sport is not for the faint of heart. There will be days when getting up for fasted cardio seems impossible, trying to lift when you are depleted will make you want to cry. It’s gonna take everything you got…but you can make it… take it one day at a time, one workout at a time, one meal at a time.
- Practice til you can’t get it wrong.
If you are reading this and are wondering when should I start working on my posing? The answer is yesterday! From the moment you decide to step on stage you should strap on those heels and get to work. Practice being comfortable walking in them…wear them around the house, cooking dinner. Learn your routine til you can do it blind folded in your sleep! Because the truth is… It won’t matter what your physique looks like if you can’t showcase to the judges what you worked so hard for.
- Manage expectations of your results.
Of course everyone wants to win, everyone wants to earn that pro card! But the truth is… there is only one winner and you have to be okay and still proud as hell of yourself even if that person isn’t you. Its not about the trophy, it’s about the transformation!
- It takes TIME.
Let’s be real… the women you see, the women you follow, national competitors and IFBB Pros have been doing this for a while! They have spent years getting to where they are, grinding day in and day out to bring their best physiques. It doesn’t happen overnight, over one 12-week prep. This sport requires a dedication like no other, the consistency and intensity needed to constantly reinvent yourself is far from normal. Bodybuilding is a constant goal, always trying to be better than before. It’s not about how quickly you can get from point A to point B. Because the truth is… it will probably take a lot longer than you think. Remember, consistency over time will always lead to results.
- Don’t measure your progress by someone else’s ruler.
Stop comparing yourself to the girl next to you, the girls at nationals or IFBB Pros, the girl that showed up and took home overall… just stop! You have no idea how long someone has been working towards their physique. You don’t know if they are natural or enhanced. You have no idea what their offseason or prep looked like. You are only in control of one thing and it’s your attitude and effort. If you put everything you have into your prep and I mean EVERY LITTLE PIECE… then you can walk on that stage already knowing you have won. Be happy with YOUR progress and don’t focus on anything but what you are doing and creating.
- Be mindful post show to avoid rebound.
You just spent months upon months dialing in your physique. Getting down to an extremely low body fat and being in calorie restriction. I know the first thing you want to do when you get off stage is to eat all the things… but be CAREFUL! It’s easy to overdo it and shock your body by the excessive amounts of calories, but your body may not react in the best way. Enjoy yourself but be aware of how much you are truly in-taking. The one thing you don’t want is a 15 pound rebound because you couldn’t control your cravings. Remember, the food is always going to be there… whether it’s the day after your show or the week after your show. Pace yourself!
I hope this gives you some helpful insight on what it means to truly prepare for a bikini competition. It’s my intention to shed light on the not so common aspects or the less talked about things when it comes to competing. It’s a great experience that can change your life for the better and truly is something you will never forget but you must be willing to put in the work.