"My journey as a competitor and getting into fitness and health has taught me a lot about myself and that nothing worth having comes easy, it has also helped me find my purpose and career."
Maria is an HD Elite Athlete, Fitness Coach and Bikini Competitor. In 2018 she competed in her first competition and has been a dedicated competitor since.
Fitness and Bodybuilding competitions seem to be the “cool” thing to do nowadays. Whether it is because you want to take your fitness to the next level or simply because you have been influenced and”inspired” by fitness Instagram accounts you follow and look up to.
In my case, I did it because I wanted to challenge myself and see if my body could take things to the next level. However, there are things I did not consider or know about before diving into preparing for something like this. With this I do not mean to scare you if you are considering to compete, but more so prepare you and give you the heads up before you commit to it.
Here is a list of few of the main things I personally consider a first time competitor should know about competing:
1) It is not ONLY physically demanding
To be honest, for me one the most challenging parts was mental. It is not physical exhaustion, but more so a constant wave of emotions and feelings. NOBODY prepares you for the emotional rollercoasters and they hit you when you least expect it. It is like you can go from being the happiest to the most dull person in the room. Why you may ask? Obvious answer would be the fact that you are depleting your body far many calories in order to achieve the required competitive physique. Try training without energy… yes! Here is where willpower and mental drive come into play. Let me tell you this is NOT for the weak-minded.
2) Get ready to spend A LOT
We are not only talking about money put towards hiring a coach, that’s only the beginning. Expect to make weekly trips to the grocery store, supplements (if not sponsored), gym membership, bikini suit ( $300-$1,000+) , jewelry, shoes, make-up, hair, tan, bodybuilding association membership, show registration, hotel + transportation (if not local) and may other little things that end up adding up to A LOT!. Also, strongly suggest hiring a posing coach if its your first time especially. Presentation is EVERYTHING and you really cannot cheap out after already investing that much and going through all the process to achieve that stage ready physique. Thus, if you are not financially ready wait until you are, shows will always be there!
3) It is not only about getting shredded
Your entire package is judged from hair, to suit colour, to skin complexion (tan), stage presence, facial expression, make-up and all that jazz! If you want to dive into a competition to lose weight without taking the needed time to build muscle you will soon find out that it is not the way to go about it. There needs to be a level of muscle density and proportions all around to complete the look. This obviously depends which category you are in. When referring to bikini the standard for this division embodies those girls with beautiful silhouettes that are not too muscular. specifically, small and tight waist without a six pack, high and full glutes with developed hamstrings aka “glute-ham tie in”, shapely shoulders that are not capped, not too lean, hard or vascular just all around balanced and conditioned look. So take your time to lose, build and get in the right conditioning and ratios to get those high placings. I mean, competing is way too expensive and demanding to just do for “fun and giggles”.
4) Expect to make sacrifices
We have talked about the financial, mental and physical aspect of competing, but what about everything else in life? like friends, family, work, school? If you did not already know this is a very self-centred sport where the only goal is to do everything and anything to look good and ready. You are not the only one making sacrifices and feeling the changes, but consider those around you. Friends? they might not see you as often because you are either working out, meal prepping etc. Family? especially those who live with you deserve an award! they will have to put up with mood swings, tears, complaining, moments of questioning why you are doing this to yourself! Work or school? performance might not be 100%. So I encourage you to take all of these into account and reflect on it.
5) It is a full time job
OR at least feels like it lol. To be honest between cardio (fasted and post workout), weight training and posing I would spend a minimum of 3 hours of my day just for that. Now add work, meal prep, house chores, laundry, grocery shopping, check ins, extra curricular, walking the pooches (if you have any), try to make it to family events and such….. A LOT. SO BE READY
HOWEVER, if you get through all these endeavours you are going to realize that you are capable of WAY more than you thought. You will discover things about yourself, weaknesses and strengths and recognize that you are mothereffing badass and no one will take that feeling away from you.
Not to mention you get to know who the real people in your life are and those that stick around deserve all the gratitude in the world.
In addition, all the amazing people you get to meet during the process and backstage is amazing. Just imagine a room full of people that went through the same if not worse times than you to get there. I have actually made long lasting friendships, achievements that have allowed me experience opportunities I only imagined in my dreams!
SO YEAH IF YOU ARE UP FOR THE CHALLENGE AND HAVE WHAT IT TAKES DO IT AND BE UNDENIABLE !