From an audience perspective a bodybuilding competition can look like a number of things… utter ridiculousness, narcissism at it’s finest, awkward, weird, entertaining, fascinating, motivating ect. The list goes on.
From the bikini athlete perspective show day looks… long. Fun and exciting, but long. So whether you’re a first time competitor or a seasoned veteran, this one is for you.
After barely sleeping the night before your alarm goes off at 4:00am so that you can drive to go get your second coat of tan (you received your first coat the night before). You stumble out of bed wearing your uniform of all black pants and all black long sleeve shirt, slip into your flip flops despite the freezing cold weather and arrive to the tanning venue in time for your 4:30am appointment. Within 30 minutes you have stripped down butt naked, been sprayed by an overly enthusiastic tanning professional using a spray paint looking device and are dried and darker than you ever thought possible. You wearily smile at other athletes as you leave the building, arriving back home by 5:30am in time to start hair and makeup.
Ignoring the smell emitting from your body since you have now been without a shower, perfume, and deodorant for roughly 24 hours it’s time to get “glammed up” as the makeup girls like to say. For the next hour you are primed, painted, powdered, set, baked, highlighted, contoured, glued, and beautified, pausing only at 6:30am to eat a meal of egg whites and 2 plain rice cakes and sip lady like from your bottle of water. Yum! After you eat it’s time for hair and by 7:30am your head weighs 2lbs heavier and you have a slight migraine from the 7 pieces of 22-inch long extensions that have been tightly clipped into your head, teased, curled, and sprayed. Whew. But holy crap, girl you are on FLEEK and ready to SLAY.
Time to send check in photos to your coach. You smile and pose for the lucky person who you can coax into taking your photograph, send them to your coach and anxiously wait for their response. Is your tan dark enough? Does your makeup look good enough? Is your body responding as expected? After coach’s approval you pack the car with not one but three bags as you have to have a bag for your show day food, a bag for your beauty tools, and of course another bag for your Oreos, PopTarts, trail mix and other food you haven’t been able to smell let alone eat for the last 12+ weeks.
One the way to the venue you calmly eat your 8:30am meal of more egg whites and rice cakes, double yum. You arrive at 9:00am, realizing you’ve already been up for 5 hours and you have barely begun the day and try not to let it get to your 2lb heavier, slightly plagued by a migraine head… sh*t it’s gonna be a long day. Hauling all your bags into the registration area you stand in line and try not to stare at all the other stunningly beautiful athletes. You’re measured, organized into a height class, and receive your pin/number which you proudly post to your snapchat story. The athlete meeting is supposed to begin at 10:00am but they’re running behind so you twiddle your thumbs and anxiously wait. 10:30am rolls around and you calmly eat, you guessed it, more egg whites and rice cakes, while you listen to the show promoter talk about the “rules” and how the show will run. The meeting breaks at 10:45am and everyone makes a mad dash backstage in order to set up camp and claim mirror space.
At 11:00am the bodybuilding class begins to pump up, get their glaze and head onto the stage for pre-judging. You send your coach a quick text that the show is running on time and expect to be on stage around 2:00pm. You spend the next few hours while all the other classes go on stage hanging out backstage trying to keep your nerves steady. Sipping water and eating your meals you chat with the other girls about their journeys, take pictures, practice your posing, touch up your makeup and stalk your own IG photo to see how many likes you’ve received. After hours of avoiding going to the bathroom all morning you finally give in, trusty Dixie cup in hand so you don’t “splash” on your tan. You can’t help but laugh at yourself and think “what kind of sport is this?”
Around 1:00pm you wander backstage and have the tanning company glue your suit bottoms to your butt, you can’t have that thing moving! You get a glaze so your muscle really shine on stage and you’re ready to go. The next thing you know the people backstage are YELLING for your class to get ready and lined up. It’s 1:30pm so you carefully measure out your pre-stage honey and rice cake meal, salt and pre-workout. You eat your food, choke down your disgusting shake of salt water and pre-workout and begin to pump up your muscles with your resistance band all while trying to maintain composure in 5-inch clear, plastic heals and not smudge your dark red, carefully applied lipstick.
Lined up with all the other girls you can feel the caffeine, sugar and sodium enter your bloodstream as your muscles fill. In line girls give each other last minute pep talks and words on encouragement. They call your number and you walk out on stage. As you do your routine your try your best to walk gracefully, smile, keep your stomach in and not let your legs shake. The lights are hot and bright but you have practiced this so many times, you have worked SO stinkin hard for these few seconds that you maintain your confidence and actually have fun. After your number is called out for the comparison round you walk back onto the stage to stand next to the other girls so that your physique can be compared to the other athletes in your class. For the next 10 minutes the judges call a series of poses for you to hit over and over while your legs start to feel sore and your jaw starts to hurt from smiling. Your friends in the audience yell at you to remember to smile, keep your legs tight, hips back and to keep your back arched. You’re 99% sure your back is going to break in half from arching it so hard but you keep smiling.
By 3:30pm pre-judging is over and you have a quick break before you have to be back and ready to go by 5:30pm for the night show. You send photos to your coach to update them on how it went. There is enough time to grab an iced coffee with sugar free mocha from Starbucks and go with your friends to Jimmy Johns so they can have a late lunch while you drink ice water and proceed onward with your old faithful, egg whites and rice cakes. You stay cool, you know your time for good food will come. Jimmy John’s beach club is peasant food compared to what you get to eat tonight.
The night show begins at 6:00pm and this time everyone is a lot more relaxed now that the judging portion is over. However, placings still haven’t been announced so you remember how important it is to stick to the plan, not let your guard down and avoid eye contact with anyone offering you limited edition Red Velvet Oreos because those are most definitely not on the plan. By 9:00pm you find yourself yet again pumping up for the stage, getting re-glazed, re-glued, and lining up for awards. This time during your posing routine you’re a lot more relaxed since you’ve already done it once and you have a better idea of what to expect. When your number is called to receive your award you can’t help but think “Damn, I fricken did this.”
After the show you quickly gather up your bags and say goodbye, congratulate, and swap IG handles with the other bikini girls. By now most of the other athletes and audience members have long since gone and backstage is quiet and almost empty. The staff is tearing down the stage, the tanning company is packing up their supplies and it seems like the day went by so fast. You kick off your heels, walk out to the lobby and give your friends and family hugs, take photos and thank them for sticking around until 10:00pm just to watch you on stage for all of 5 minutes. They fricken rock.
You call your coach and update them on your placing and are so relived to hear them tell you to “enjoy a meal, just don’t over do it.” By the time you and your friends get to Red Robin and get a table its almost 11:00pm but the second you bite into your bacon cheese burger (no butter on the bun please) you know it was worth the wait. About 3/4 of the way through your burger and countless handfuls of fries dipped in real (not reduced sugar, its the little things) ketchup you throw in the towel as fullness sets in and lets be honest, you’re saving room for some of those Cinnabon Oreos. Conversation is loud as everyone reflects on the day.
Finally home at 1:00am you’re happy, full, and feeling exhausted. Months and months and months of work has come to and end you cannot wait to do it again.