Competition Prep B.C. – 5 Things to Know Before Entering Your First Fitness Competition

Co15025200_1069914893125895_4324883308266392994_ompeting in a Fitness Competition can be an excellent way to build discipline and see what your body is capable of while crushing new goals and pushing the limits. What it is not is a walk in the park! Prepping for a competition will impact every part of your life as well as the lives of those closest to you. Now, this doesn’t have to be a negative thing, but knowing what to expect before making the big decision to compete can definitely help you prepare.

Evaluate the time you will need to prepare – deciding when to start your prep is #1 because we are all different and while one athlete may only need 6 weeks another may need 12 or more. Figuring out how much time you will need should be evaluated by a prep coach or someone who has experience competing. The key indicator of being stage ready is your body fat percentage. The average woman is 25-31% body fat according to the American Council on Exercise. A bikini competitor is anywhere from 8-13% body fat. In order to show 6 pack abs, the body fat level needs to be <13% Finding someone who understands this and can help you gauge how much time you need to reach this is key.

As a single mom with two young kids prepping for a show not only effects me but my children as well. My first prep was a great learning experience for all of us and this made my 2nd prep a little smoother. I took the time before and during my prep to explain to my kids what I was doing and why, covering everything from the twice a day gym sessions to the 6 meals a day to the mood swings. While they liked to tease me with their Halloween candy, they were very supportive and understanding when Mom would burst into tears over nothing, needed a time out or had to ask their help taking progress photos for my coach. Letting your family and friends know what to expect and asking them for patience and support should definitely be one of the first things you do once you have decide to prep for a fitness competition. Unfortunately not everyone is going to be as supportive or understanding as others and so that is where our next topic comes in…..

Prepare to feel lonely – even with friends who compete and have prepped alongside me, there are times when I felt like I was totally alone and no one understood what I was feeling or going through. Looking back I know this is mainly due to the stresses that can come with prepping for a show. I found the best way to beat this feeling was to do something I enjoyed that had nothing to do with the gym or prep. A board-game with the kids, a hike with the dog…anything that will take your focus off your prep for a little bit.

As you get closer to your show (4-12 weeks out, depending on where you started) social outings and time with friends and family can be difficult and many athletes end up isolating themselves to avoid temptation and ‘cheating’ on their diets. Depending on the interests of your friends, this can cause some tension, so again, it is important to talk to those closest to you and explain the reasons as to why you may choose to avoid certain situations. True friends will stick by your side no matter what 😉

Cost – the cost of competing adds up quickly so it is definitely important to get an idea of how much everything is going to cost you to make sure it fits your budget. Have a look at The Cost of Competing to get an idea of what competing in B.C. can cost you.

15168728_762731867200940_3134113005952849267_o.jpgMindset & Expectations – your mindset and expectations during your prep, on show day and after competition is crucial and not just to succeed but in order to have a positive experience no matter what the outcome. Knowing why you are choosing to compete and what you hope to get from the experience is key in keeping you motivated and focused. While there is nothing wrong with being confident, going into a show with an arrogant attitude can do a lot more harm than good, especially if you don’t do as well as you were sure you would.

As a first time competitor my personal goal was to stay disciplined during my prep and to hit that stage knowing I did my best and to feel like I fit in with the other girls. I had no expectations to place so when I did, it was that much more exciting and rewarding. Appreciate the process, appreciate your progress and learn from the experience.

Post Show Rebound – while not everyone will have an issue with this, many will and so it’s important to discuss. You spend your prep sticking to a strict diet and during that time may find yourself day dreaming about the foods you cant have and making plans to get your hands on them after the competition is over. While you definitely deserve to reward yourself for all of your hard work it is important to have a plan in place to avoid any harmful effects of abruptly coming off such a strict diet. Your coach should help you with a reverse diet to ensure you avoid a rebound and transition from a pre-show to post-show nutrition plan.

Without a post show rebound plan many competitors find themselves binging which results in speedy weight gain as well as issues such as bloating,  cramping, digestion issues and so on. What’s of bigger concern is how this can effect your mental health and self esteem. Going from ‘shredded’ even back to your normal weight can be difficult, but adding extra pounds to that because you binged for a couple weeks post show can really mess with your self image. If you don’t have a coach then I recommend you seek the guidance of someone such as a registered dietician or nutrition specialist.


15000805_1071780842939300_1064812122837815025_oYour first fitness competition can be a great experience and a lot of fun if you plan, prepare and go in with a positive attitude. While yes, this is a competition, you may be very surprised at how supportive and helpful other athletes can be. I have made some amazing and extremely supportive friends who not only compete in the same shows but in the same class as me. This not only makes the experience that much better, but should you choose to compete again it can be reassuring to know you just may have a friend or two to share the experience with.

 

Fitness Competition Prep B.C.- Backstage Etiquette

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When preparing for a fitness competition there are many things to consider such as choosing a show, a suit, planning out your tan, hair and makeup and so on. One thing that may not cross your mind but is just as equally important is backstage etiquette. A lot of work, money and time goes into preparing a show for us athletes so it’s really only fair that we do our part as well to keep things running smoothly and stress free for everyone!

BE KIND!

If I could stress one thing, this would be it. Everyone backstage, from the other athletes to the volunteers are all a little stressed out and anxious to do their best. The volunteers work their butts off for us so be sure to treat them with the respect they deserve, without them we would be a lot more stressed out as we attempted to oil our own backs and glue our suits to our behinds! It’s a long day for all of us but even more so for these volunteers who stay behind to clean up after us while we’re out celebrating with our friends and family.

Every athlete has a story and a background you may know nothing about so don’t be quick to judge or assume. You can only control your own words and actions so keep them kind and avoid gossip or judging other competitors. If someone treats you disrespectfully or is unkind to you just remember that this is most likely their own insecurities talking. Be the bigger person and don’t indulge in such childish behavior.

Clean Up After Yourself

I really shouldn’t have to say this but you’d be surprised at how messy things can get backstage. Garbage and pee cups probably being the two main things people seem to have a difficult time tossing into the trash :/  I have never seen a shortage of garbage cans at a venue so why this happens is beyond me.

Backstage can get pretty chaotic and you can expect to share small quarters with a lot of other competitors so keeping your personal items neat and organized can not only help keep the space uncluttered but can help you avoid losing or misplacing items.

Sportsmanship

Perhaps you don’t place how you expected, this is no excuse to be rude to anyone or throw a fit. How you act both on stage and backstage matters, be an adult and keep yourself together. It’s ok to be upset, its natural, but taking others down to make yourself feel better is just not ok and will speak volumes of your character. Being happy for others is a great feeling and I highly recommend congratulating those who deserve it!

This can go for those who place well too. Being pompous or arrogant because you placed better than others won’t make you any friends and can be hurtful.


Backstage can be a lot of fun and you can create some amazing memories, meet some truly inspiring people and make a lot of new friends. Not everyone is going to be friendly or helpful but I can tell you from my personal experience, many will be and if you go in with a positive attitude and a kind demeanor you’re going to have a much better time 😉

 

 

Competiton Prep B.C. – Women’s Physique with Amy

May 7th, 2016- BCABBA’s Kelowna Classic. My first ever show- what a ride. Being who I am- of course I chose Women’s Physique to compete in. If I was going to go through with it- I was going to hit that stage packing more muscle than I’ve ever had in my life.

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Photo by P.Tography

I started out 5 years ago at 250 pounds and miserable. I hit the stage at 147 pounds and loving life. I worked for it. Every second of everyday. Sure I wasn’t shredded like the other women- but I guarantee I was 10000000% more proud of myself. I worked for 6 months- everyday- never cheating on my diet- and I placed an honorable 3rd place! As a first ever competitor- bringing home a trophy is a big deal.

But that wasn’t the win for me. The win was getting on that stage after losing 100 pounds and for the first time ever, actually being proud of myself for what I had accomplished. I didn’t just get up there for me. I got up there for my kids- to show them what hard work and determination can do for your life. I got up there for all of the men and women on social media and in the gym and on the streets that have watched my journey, supported it, and started one of their own because of it. I got up there to prove myself and my nay-Sayers wrong. But most of all- I got up there because I deserved it. I worked for it, I sweat and cried and bled for it.

The experience, the energy, and the sheer passion of every human being in that theater amy stageabsolutely radiated from every corner of the building. People laying down all over backstage waiting their turn on stage. Rice cakes and Nutella galore, the smell of spray tan and bikini bike wafting through the air- absolute perfection. I think the best part for me is the family dynamic that the association provides. The support the association provides is like no other- But the support between athletes- there are no words to describe it. I met and made friends with countless athletes over social media and I was blessed enough to have the chance to run into a bunch of them backstage. I had a TONNE of people see me in the halls of the hotel or backstage and make a point to stop me and tell me that they followed my journey over Instagram- and show me nothing but love and support. What an amazing feeling. I will always and forever cherish my friendships with each and every one of them.

The hardest part- my constant switch up of coaches. I had a hell of a time getting one coach to have the time or knowledge to stick with me and get me to where I needed to be. I did a lot of research and self teaching to get myself to the stage. Getting to know what worked for my body and what didn’t was trying- but an absolutely amazing adventure. Now that I know- prep for Popeye’s Fall Classic 2016 will be amazing. I am currently packing on muscle, eating TONNES of clean food, lifting some crazy heavy weight, and creating a whole new physique. I’m going to be the image for each and every single woman and man out there that doesn’t believe they can do it. The time is now. Find yourself. Find your dream, your spark, your fire. Chase it. Don’t ever let go. Once you let go of your “thing”- you let go of your soul, of what makes you, you. Push. Harder. Everyday.

#skyhighbaby

Follow Amy’s journey to Popeye’s Fall Classic on Instagram @Muscle_Nuggett