My latest fitness challenge for myself was a 14 week prep for my first time on stage as a bikini competitor. My Instagram feed is constantly flooded with bikini and figure girls, in prep, in peak week, in off-season. I have been active and fit all my life, but I have never put myself into that particular world, and I became really curious how I would like going through a prep and how I would do in a show. I roped my good friend Abbey into doing it with me (a fellow barre instructor at The Ballet Physique), we picked a coach and a show, and jumped right in. I have several vlogs from YouTube that I will link because I documented my last few weeks of prep that way, but I have never had the chance to write about the experience and process; the good, the bad, and the ugly that I took from it. I was jaded about it for quite some time because I had a pregnancy and miscarriage in the midst of the whole process, but now that I have had some time and space, I see a lot of positives that I have taken away from the prep and competition, and I see value in writing that out.
Here are my before and after photos, the day before starting prep, and the day before show (no tan).
Sometimes I wonder if my progress would have been different had I not had the pregnancy, and all the hormone changes and fluctuations, but looking back, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Most of the lessons and memories I will remember from this journey were more than physical. How much I liked taking time for my own workouts, and the initial discipline. What a learning curve it was to count every calorie and macro. And of course, the very real encounters with isolation, cravings, body image issues, and old demons that come with food restriction and analyzing every inch of your body in a bikini. 😉
There were several motivating factors other than curiosity that drove me to try a bikini competition.
- I have never participated in an intense, lasting diet. I have yoyo dieted with the best of them, and I eat healthy on a day to day basis, but I’ve never subscribed to a strict, regimented diet and exercise program, with the goals of weight loss/body composition alteration. I felt like this experience would help me relate better to my own clients. If I was ever going to coach someone into losing a significant amount of weight through diet and exercise, I wanted to know exactly how that felt.
- I was interested to see how much more my body could change. I started already healthy and fit, so I wondered how much more I could intensify workouts and clean up my diet, and what kind of visible impact that would have on my body.
- I craved a new challenge. I had heard that the mental challenge of a prep is intense and I wanted to know what that world was like!
Up next: Comparing the bodybuilding training style to CrossFit