I competed in my first physique competition last weekend. It was a small competition, but perfect for me as a newbie. I placed in several categories, including first in Ms. Florida Masters Bikini. I trained hard with different trainers for 2 years, and finally did an online contest prep with a company owned by my former classmate who has vast experience in the industry.
So why did I decide to compete? Here are my 4 reasons…
- Some years ago, a friend told me I should consider it. I declined, but then changed my mind a couple of years later as I was tired of the weight loss cycle and wanted to see if I could focus more on body fat percentage rather than weight.
- I started to like the way muscle looked on women of my similar build and wondered what I would look like with more muscle.
- I have always had body image issues. This was my way of confronting them head on. At the end of the competition, all of us were able to receive critiques from the judges. The biggest criticisms I received were that my legs needed to be more lean, and that I needed a lot more development in the glutes area. So basically, if I can paraphrase, “you have fat legs and no butt.” The biggest accomplishment here is how I responded internally. Years ago, comments like these would have broken my heart to the core. But this time, I heard their comments and believed they were valid for competing in a bikini category. But I know the before/after progress I made. So I was just excited that I had enough confidence to get on stage in a bikini, and not look too shabby. I was proud of the body I helped to produce. Though I was a nervous wreck, I put my insecurities out there and was proud of how I felt.
- Training to compete forced me to stay accountable with my eating. I love sweets…really just cupcakes. But 12 weeks without cupcakes? Whoever heard of such a thing??!!! But I did it. And I never thought I could do it. I thought I was a slave to cupcakes. But every time I thought about my goal, I was deterred from making slip-ups in my diet.
In conclusion, this was not easy and it was not cheap. Everything came with a cost…and I’m not just talking financially. However, the benefits of the process outweighed any costs incurred. My next goal is to put on more muscle. I don’t know that I will be competing any time soon, or even again for that matter, but I will say, I like the way muscle looks on my body. Over the course of two years, I went from close to 170 pounds, to close to 135 pounds when on stage (which, when compared to the other competitors, was still a little heavy). Aside from the weight, I went from close to 30% body fat to around 19% body fat. This was my greatest feat.
The inspirational message I can provide to you from this experience is to always challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone. You have no idea of some of the things you are able to accomplish when you step outside of your box and stay consistent with something. We are great at being inspired to do something new, but often don’t have the tenacity or endurance to stay consistent with it. Find a challenge and become passionate about sticking to it. You will learn so much about yourself and realize skills that you have that you were previously unaware of. There are also a vast amount of spiritual lessons learned in the process (especially in my process). In actuality, the key to consistency is spiritual in nature. Because it is a supernatural will to not give up. This is not a strength that comes from you. It is only a strength that can come from your Creator. Embrace that and discover all that you can do through Him. Be blessed!
-Dr. Jenelle Nicole