Confessions of a First Time Bikini Competitor

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About Jasmine

Jasmine is a novice bikini competitor registered to compete in the Australasian Natural Bodybuilding Association. The ANB is Australasia’s premier drug free bodybuilding organisation & this is part of what first attracted Jasmine’s attention. We first came across Jasmine through her Instagram where we observed her quest to not only change her body, but inspire others to get out of their comfort zone, stop feeling sorry for themselves and achieve their craziest goals. She has recently competed in her first ever bodybuilding show in the Bikini Model category. Her transformation is inspirational to say the least & this is her story.

Let The Confessions Begin

Let me preface this by saying, I was not a gym novice before undertaking this journey. I was training in the gym (inconsistently mind you) for 2 years before I took the leap, so you could describe me as ‘someone who worked out, but also enjoyed burgers and cake’.

I also had a love hate relationship with food. I would restrict food not caring where my calories came from as long as I stayed under a magic number that I thought I needed to hit my goal (there was a time where I was eating a single can of tuna and a row of Sakata rice crackers for lunch)

Well I would scroll through my selected fitspo on Instagram, follow their journeys, see their hard work displayed with amazing physiques and would think to myself ‘I wish I could do that’, then I would go about my day never actually making a change. Then I got sick of wishing I could do it, decided that I was going to make my dream a reality, and set my sights on my first bodybuilding competition.

But as a complete beginner, and not surrounded my people that had undergone the process before, I was unaware of what was in store for me. By writing this I hope to inform other newbies about things I have learnt along the way, as well as some tips and tricks.

First things first, before you consider competing in a bodybuilding competition you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Would you feel comfortable standing on a stage, in front of strangers, in a teeny tiny bikini or posing trunks (that barely covers what it needs to), contorting into a range of poses and being judged on your overall physique and appearance?
  • Do you have solid relationships (person, family, friendships), and will the people in your life support you throughout this journey?
  • Are you ready to push your body to its limits in the gym?
  • Do you have time to meal prep?
  • Are you free from any food/body image issues?
  • Are you ready to have your energy level (and libido) tank, but work through it to hit your goals?
  • Will you be 110% complaint to your coach and your protocols?

If yes, then body building is right up your alley!

These were questions that I didn’t really ask of myself (or others) before I decided to undertake my competition prep but here I am, 1 comp down (where I placed 1st in the over 30’s bikini division) and doing another show 7 weeks after that, I wanted to hopefully provide some insight and knowledge for anyone that is looking to undertake a journey to stage.

So, grab yourself a Before You Speak Coffee and read on for some handy tips and on things that I have learnt along the way.

Find a coach the suits your needs

This is where you need to do your research. I would first suggest asking yourself if you need the push of a face to face coach, or would you be able to be motivated and compliant enough to have an online coach and this will determine where you focus your efforts.

Look through social media at the physiques you admire and see who they are coached by, this will help you determine the level of work you will need to put in if you have a certain look in mind and your starting point. Also don’t skimp out, cheap coaches can be good but chances are you will get what you pay for.

Be financially prepared

Competing is super expensive, especially if you are going to compete in one of the larger federations. Bear in mind you will need to fork out your hard-earned money for lots of things during your prepping phase (coaching costs, supps, food etc.) and for the competition (bikini/trunks, tanning, photos, federation fees and division fees etc.) but if this is where your passion lies then all of those costs will be worth it.

You will have to commit to it fully

There will be no corner cutting during your contest prep phase. If your coach gives you a meal plan then stick to it 110%, don’t enter it into MyFitnessPal and check to see if the macros/calories match as your coach may have a different way of working it out and if you enter it in you may think you have some ‘free calories’ to play with, but you don’t. STICK TO THE PLAN. If you stuff up and go off plan bring it up to your coach straight away so your plan can be adjusted, and they aren’t in the dark about why things may not be working.

Don’t skip your cardio, steps, or shortchange your reps because you are tired/time poor as these small cuts will add up in the long term, and you don’t want to get onstage and think ‘I could have done more’.

But also, don’t feel like you must miss out on things to show commitment

There will be lots of occasions during your prep where you will have to attend events and there will be food that you are not able to eat and drinks you cannot consume, but do not let your goals get in the way of spending time with your loved ones. I had many occasions during the last 6 months (yes that’s how long I have been prepping for) where my loved ones were enjoying lovely meals, and I would sit there with my black coffee, but as they knew my goal and were supportive it was more about making memories and spending time together than what I was/wasn’t consuming.

Prepare to step outside your comfort zone

Competition prep is designed to test you. There will be physical struggles (DOMS, fatigue, etc.), as well as mental struggles (comparing yourself to others, feeling not ready, wanting to pack it in, etc.) and you need to be prepared to ignore all of these and push through. Ladies, as you drop body fat get ready to feel cold, all. the. time. and not fit into any of your clothes like you used to, but don’t throw them out as when you come out of comp and regain the weight back (more on this in a moment) you will need them again.

Stay in your lane and trust the process

You will be tempted to compare your journey to someone else’s, especially on social media (this is natural) but do not fall down the rabbit hole of comparing someone’s highlight reel to your reality. Yes, someone may be more muscular/leaner than you, eating more calories, training less, not doing cardio, but bodybuilding is a very personalized sport and what works for one person may not work for someone else so have faith in your coach and their knowledge.

On the flipside if you have questions or concerns please don’t be afraid to bring them up to your coach, after all you are paying them for their help, and if you feel your protocol isn’t working and you have been giving it 110% (be absolutely honest with yourself on that point) then you need to catch it early so your plan can be adjusted.

Have a plan for post-show

Whether you want to do multiple shows in the one season, or just do the one, I recommend having a plan set out with your coach for after the show before you compete so you don’t feel abandoned by your coach if you only used them to get ‘show ready’, and can help to stave off those post comp blues which can occur if you feel like you have nothing to look forward to anymore.

Reverse dieting after your show is very important, especially if you have been in a caloric deficit for a long period of time. Discuss this with your coach before the show day so they will be there for you to help you after the show and slowly build you back up to maintenance calories (or surplus if you are going into a development season) and you wont have a post comp blow out where you may regain more body fat than what you lost.

Enjoy the day!

The day goes by so fast, so take time to enjoy the moment and celebrate all you have accomplished! If you can arrange it have your support team that has been there for you throughout the journey to watch on the day and see what all your hard work and dedication has been for.

Make friends on the day, relax, take lots of photos and look forward to enjoying whatever post comp meal you have planned, you have earnt it!

I hope that this has been informative and inspiring, and I haven’t scared you off competing! If you have any questions, want to see what I get up to next, or just want to have a lot of gym selfies pop up in your feed then please follow me on Instagram @jasmine_l.davidson