So now that I have had time to internalize the laundry list of preparation as a bikini competitor, it was time to set the plan in motion. I had survived peak week. And my body was coming together. The reward at the end of all of this is knowing that I had accomplished this physique through mindset, hard work, great coaching and personal training. Now I just had to make sure I checked all the boxes and had everything prepared to take with me.
The Day Before the Show
It’s Friday, the day before the show and it’s not just myself and Tiana heading out. We also have our entire families to worry about. This meant packing for the kids, making sure they had snacks, clothes for the weekend, the necessary blankets and posse of stuffed animals. Then of course we had to pack all the specific items necessary for show day along with our food. Once again this meant that we were going to have to eat cold fish, cold ground beef, cold vegetables and rice. Which at this point was a cakewalk. So between Tiana and I, we had enough food to have each other covered in the event we forgot something.
So we make it to the hotel, families are happy and now it’s dinner time. Of course they get to eat delicious cheeseburgers and french fries and we are stuck eating our cold fish and rice, but we are committed. It almost feels like Christmas, we just want to go to sleep to wake up the next day. But instead of waiting for Santa‘s arrival, we are waiting to get the show over so we can have our meal of choice!
Lie Detectors and Tans
After dinner, we head down to take our polygraph test and get our first coat of spray tan. And yes, you heard correctly. We had to take a lie detector test. Since the OCB, the conference we compete in is natural, they have to make sure we are not taking any banned substances or anabolic‘s. This was the first time I had taken a legit polygraph test. I stroll into the room, sit on a chair with a pad as instructed, get hooked up with a chest strap and a something or rather on my finger.
There’s no time for small talk or chitchat as this guy is very serious and intimidating. After going through a series of questions that relate and don’t relate to taking banned substances I am released with no mention of if I passed or failed. Of course I have not taken any drugs but the anxiety level is through the roof. Are BCAAs considered banned? Was there anything in those? I took digestive enzymes to help with bloating and gas! Was there anything in those? After momentarily feeling like a criminal and passing all the irrational thoughts it was time for the spray tan.
For those of you that know me, know I hate being cold. And of course a hotel conference room is anything but warm and cozy as it is. Also, we are very lean at this point with no extra fat to warm us up, so for me I would classify the conditions as miserably cold. As instructed we enter the conference room. Now mind you, we have to wear dark clothing because the spray tan will rub off on anything and everything your skin comes in contact with. Not to mention we are completely naked underneath as to not ruin any of our every day undergarments.
The conference room smells like spray tan and body odor. Another thing nobody mentions is that you cannot wear deodorant because it will turn your armpits green! So although these competitors look amazing, we all smell like hell. There are three individual tents set up, two of them are meant for spraying and the third is a drying tent. Here goes nothing! Butt naked, I hop into my tent. I am already cold and the spray tan feels like ice hitting my body.
I was so cold I put little thought into the fact that I was completely exposed contorting my body into different positions so that the spray tan could be applied evenly into every nook and cranny. After a few coats it was time to jump into the drying tent. There was no warm air kind of tent. Just a mini fan blowing cold conference room air onto my already frozen body.
When we were done, the next challenge ensued. We had to be very careful with everything we did as to not ruin our tan. This meant making sure we had the hotel linens covered with our own personal as to not ruin theirs. Remember the cups to pee in? Now it was time to see how graceful I really was. We take our criminal cold bodies back up to the room and crawl into bed. Since we had been consuming plenty of water of course I have to wake up in the middle of the night. Tired and stinky I stumble into the bathroom and don’t think twice about sitting completely on the toilet seat. And now here goes the first tanning casualty! Ring around my rear end and a drip of urine straight down my leg! Ughhh. Thank goodness we get touchups in the morning!
Its Like Christmas Morning
The next morning is literally like Christmas! Our bodies look defined. Defined and really dark. It’s show day! I have become a bikini competitor. Per our coach we get up early and consume our first meal of the day and grab an espresso. Next is the second coat of spray tan which I am absolutely dreading at this point. But with headlights fully on and all we make it through. Next is hair and make up.
Having short hair is relatively easy. The make up is another story. My make up skills are not fantastic as it is so fortunately we were able to utilize a make up artist. Stage make up is way different from normal every day make up. Thicker and more defined. For simpler terms I felt like a pancake/clown. But again, I was trusting the process.
By this time the kids are up and hungry. Fortunately the husbands and grandparents are able to fulfill their needs for pancakes and bacon while we continue to get ready.
So what’s next? Getting glued into our suits! Here’s where that spray adhesive comes in. It is important that your suit does not move. For obvious reasons such as to not have things flopping out where they should not. Secondly the placement of the bottoms high on the hips is important because of the way it makes your body look on stage.
Now it’s time, finally all the hard work and preparation for this day, this time. We stroll downstairs, bikinis on, covered with merely a robe and flip-flops and our bag of necessary items. At this point we have crossed paths with some of the other competitors and exchange friendly smiles. But everybody is sizing each other up. We are all nervous and hungry. But there is a sense of accomplishment and bonding. Knowing we have all gone through a very similar process to achieve this body. Let the show begin!
It’s Show Time
The seats are filled with the competitors family and friends. Some have done this before, but most of us are first timers. We have been briefed on how the show will go down. So we wait behind stage patiently for our class. Fortunately, the men were up first. This was a relief because we could visually see and hear the sequence of events. This was my first time ever attending or competing in anything like this. I was nervous. But I have to say the MC was the most amazing man ever to have for my first experience. He was encouraging, lighthearted, hilarious, and got the crowd going.
People who were there to support one individual quickly became an entire room full of people that supported every competitor that stepped on that stage. They too knew what it took for each of those competitors to get to that point. Personally my family saw me get up at crazy hours, bust my ass in the gym, meal prep and still be a mom and business owner. These other people were no different. They all have lives of their own, jobs, families….. none of us were handed this body nor were we genetic freaks of nature. We worked hard and made sacrifices.
As the mens competition came to an end the mood lightened up. The competitors backstage started to bond and get to know each other more. But it was our turn now. As I am lined up waiting to go on stage my mind is whirling. Suck it in, don’t do that dumb thing with your hand, twist! Dammit twist! Oh yeah, don’t forget to smile and make eye contact with the judges. Step, pivot, be graceful… but I’m not graceful! Don’t beef it in your stripper heels, that would be the worst, you cannot fall off stage. “Number 25!” Shit! That’s me!
Don’t Beef it on Stage
My first time stepping up on that stage as bikini competitor was terrifying but I could look out into the audience and see my family and friends smiling and cheering me on. I could hear my kids voices above everybody else’s and in that moment I knew that I had made them proud. That was their mom up there on that stage. I was his wife and their daughter. And in that moment the anxiety subsided and now it was about enjoying the experience. I made it, and I was proud of myself.
I had signed up for three different classes so I had the opportunity to go on stage three times. Every time progressively got easier. I did not beef it. But at that moment I was not sure if I was smiling the entire time, sucking it in and not doing that dumb thing with my hand. But by the end I was relieved and felt accomplished.
By this time all the competitors had become friends and were sharing donuts and laughs. Tiana and I had done well for our first bikini competition and took home a few trophies and medals. Some of which were first place! My family met me with flowers and Reese’s pieces. A complete weakness of mine. We took some photos and breathed a sigh of relief. Now we could celebrate!
We quickly ran upstairs to hose off so we could make our dinner reservation. The bathtub looked like chocolate milk as the tan ran off my body. I threw a dress on and definitely some deodorant and it was off to Lawrys! I was craving a fatty steak, a ribeye to be specific, warm dinner rolls and red wine. Dinner was rewarding, not to mention our family had also picked up donuts from a popular spot nearby for us to sample as well.
The next morning we woke up to our bodies looking full. Yes we were full of food but the glycogen had replenished in our muscles and we looked even stronger and cut the following day. That next morning Tiana and I had scoped out a nearby restaurant and knew exactly what we wanted to eat. We had picked out seven different breakfasts, but by the time we got there we had ended up ordering four different meals. Eggs Benedict, Chili Quiles, a breakfast burrito and macadamia nut pancakes. We were full and satisfied. STUFFED.
Now what? We were used to a strict regimen of meal prepping and working out. And now all of a sudden it felt like the first day of summer where you don’t have any homework or responsibility. It was almost like we were free, but we were lost. What do we do now? We don’t want to gain a bunch of weight. We want to workout but maybe not to the extent that we were to get to this point. We want structure but we don’t. The mental struggle was real.
The hype and the excitement of our first show was enough that we both agreed we wanted to do it again. So the healthiest and safest way to come out of a prep is to reverse diet. This is intended to not gain an excessive amount of fat and to get back to building muscle. A reverse diet is simply a way to increase your caloric intake over a period of time without gaining too much fat and speeding your metabolism back up. Side note: For those of you who are significantly restricting calories for long periods of time you will damage your metabolism and slow it down. Once we know how many calories you need based off of your resting metabolic rate we can then increase your caloric intake over a period of time to get your metabolism back up to speed and have your body start working for you to burn fat. So now it’s time to let the reverse diet and the muscle building to begin. Until the next show!