A few years ago, the Fitness Industry boomed with wannabe Bikini and Fitness Model competitors. And I mean boomed. Suddenly, it was the ‘in’ thing to do. It was a claim to fame, girls wanted to be able to say “I’m a Fitness Model”.
I’m not saying this is a bad thing, competing up on a bodybuilding stage is an amazing experience. My life has changed so much since I began competing 4 years ago. The people I’ve met, the friends I’ve made, the opportunities that have arisen, and the lessons I’ve learnt. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love everything about it!
But, along with the boom, comes a lot of over excitable girls that unfortunately, jump in the deep end without too much thought regarding the bigger picture. And then walk sadly away from their first experience wondering why they weren’t on the winners podium.
So let’s look a what you are judged on. Presentation. Poise. Beauty. Stage Presence. Posing. And… what else? Well let’s remember this is still BODYBUILDING. So most importantly, your physique. Do you have nice shapely, trained muscles? Small waist, nice shoulders, a little width to your back muscles, toned, defined legs, and beautifully rounded glutes?
The first list can be learnt or created in a relatively short period of time. The second list? Well, that takes time. It takes work, and lots of it. I always think the olden day term of ‘body sculpting’ was very fitting. You are creating, sculpting, and shaping your masterpiece that is you. And this cannot be done in 12 weeks.
And before anyone jumps up and down saying ‘Well I did it in 12 weeks and I won’. Yes there are always going to be the rare humans that are genetically gifted. Never lifted a weight in their life and can jump up there and take out the show. But these girls are very, very few and far between. I’m talking about us, the average, every day regular genetics kinda girl. WE need time, patience, dedication, and a lot of ground work lifting those heavy things up and down for quite some time before we can develop those important physical attributes.
So from where I sit as both a competitor and competition coach, there’s something I feel that is really lacking in many girls.
Yes, I know it’s all so exciting. I know you want to jump up on that stage yesterday, but let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
Have you been training for a good solid amount of time. Let’s say a year minimum. Have you been training effectively? Do you have shape to your muscles, do you have nicely built delts and glutes? Maybe you don’t just yet, but you still want to compete. Well, that’s okay. Go ahead and set that goal and do it. But I think it’s also important to manage your expectations. For the most part, you can’t really expect to jump up there and win the show. If that is not your goal, then that’s completely fine! But if it happens, then congratulations, that’s awesome! But please be realistic and manage your expectations.
But for me personally, I WILL not get up on that stage anything less than my very best. That’s just how it is for me. It’s important to me that I walk out on that stage and make the judges think ‘Wow, she’s done the work’. I generally do not do more than two shows per year. When I jump off that stage, it’s straight back into the gym to work on making myself even better than last time. And I am proud to say that I think I have done this year in year out, for every show so far.
Again, it comes down to patience. I can’t make the changes I need to by having a 6 week building phase before my next cut. When you understand how muscle is built (that is for another article), you will realise just how difficult and time consuming it is to build that muscle. You will eventually reach that point where you don’t need to build much more, if at all, and then your task does become somewhat easier. It’s just refinement, and you may be able to compete a little more often provided you manage things like health, hormones and metabolism.
But give it some thought. Must you compete right now? If so why? Maybe you should take some time to build your shape a little more? Perhaps if you take another six to twelve months to build the foundations, you can more confidently jump up there and make the judges say “WOW!!!”.
Melissa Crowther is a qualified Personal Trainer, Online Coach and successful IFBB Bikini and Fitness Model Competitor. She is passionate about all things health and fitness, specialising in Glute Training, Body Recomposition and Contest Preparation for Bikini and Fitness Model Competitors