Deciding to Train for a Bikini Competition

One of the 7 essential happiness habits I committed to for the last few weeks of 2017 was a fitness goal. At that time, I committed to going to one boutique fitness class each week. Above all, I just wanted to try a fun, new workout or get some social interaction while exercising. I was really good about sticking to that goal, and I enjoyed it, but I kept thinking I need an actual fitness goal.

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I worked out my entire pregnancy, and because I had a very quick and easy delivery, my doctor approved me to resume exercise very soon after birth. During pregnancy, my goal was health maintenance and supporting a healthy weight gain. After birth, like most women, I wanted to lose the baby weight and get back into my pre-pregnancy clothing. Through hard work, I lost my baby weight be 3-4 months, but since then I’ve been stagnant, and I’m craving something more. I’ve always liked working out and exercising for health, but I’ve never worked out with a real end goal in mind. After going on a group run with Fit4Mom Run Club, I considered joining and training for the local half marathon. I like running for exercise, but not really as a hobby, and I absolutely could not see myself enjoying any run longer than 45 minutes. Plus I would rather work towards a strength goal than a distance or endurance goal.

My New Goal: Bikini Competition!

Then I started considering something that has always intrigued me as sort of a bucket list item… a bikini competition! Growing up as a dancer, I loved the exhilaration of being on stage. I enjoyed performing and every other aspect of dance competitions… hair, makeup, being cheered on by the audience and having fun backstage with the other dancers. And I’d always admired the dedication and hard work of bikini competitors. They’re so strong, physically and mentally, and they exude confidence. So I decided to embark on this challenging training process to see what my body is capable of achieving with enough determination and self-discipline. I only know one person who has actually competed. A friend from grad school and I would sometimes workout in a small group at the campus gym before class or after an exam doing Beachbody workouts on her laptop. I hadn’t talked to her in a few years, but after seeing some of her pictures online I was so impressed and admired her dedication to achieve such impressive results.

Choosing a Bikini Prep Coach

I started looking into coaching, but I was worried about how I would fit in such intense training with my unpredictable work schedule and parental duties. I weighed the different options available:

  • Online: seems impersonal, worried I would get a cookie cutter plan, wouldn’t know anyone or have any team support at a show, hard to correct form, less expensive
  • In person: difficult to make appointments around work schedule, more attention to form, personalized, more expensive
  • Hybrid: flexibility to work with a trainer in person for form and assessments, more cost-effective, provided workouts to complete on my own time with occasional in-person training sessions

I found my prep coach through the recommendation of my grad school friend. He’s about 25 miles away, so his hybrid plan made the most sense for me. He and his wife (both competitors themselves) work together on both the training and nutrition and email me my workouts and meal plan for the week every Saturday. They’re also easily accessible to answer all my questions via text or email.

Starting Point

I met my coaches for the first time back in December. He assessed my starting point, taught me the most basic pose, and critiqued what needed work so we can tailor my training to build a desirable bikini physique.

  • My strengths: proportional skeletal structure, good muscle base, not too much body fat (just a little mama fluff around the waist and “power pockets” as he called them in the hips)
  • Things to work on: develop shoulders and glutes to create the appearance of a smaller waist and more hourglass shape.

I’m currently 7 months postpartum and weigh 118 pounds with ~21% body fat (I use THIS body fat analyzer)

He was very happy with my background in competitive dance as a teen, and I think the understanding of how judging works will help me stay mentally strong. I know I will be judged on my body and appearance alone, but it helped to be reminded that all of his critiques are meant to be constructive. One thing he pointed out is that bikini competitions are an aesthetic sport. In most other sports, athletes train long and hard with the intention to perform at a very high level. In bodybuilding, athletes put in a lot of work, only to be torn apart with judgments, so it requires a lot of mental strength as well as physical strength and discipline. Then we finished off our meeting with a back training session. I consider myself to be pretty knowledgeable about strength training and I always try to lift safely with correct form, but it was SO nice to have someone to make those tiny tweaks to keep the exercises safe and effective!

Journey to the Stage

Right now we’re planning to just get started on a meal plan and training program to see how my body responds. I’m currently 7 months postpartum and breastfeeding, so I also want to make sure it doesn’t adversely affect my milk supply. The NPC competitions being in April, which will be about the time I plan to start weaning anyway as I approach her 1st birthday, but I’m not ready to wean now. So I know I need to be fully prepared to pause the training for this goal if my milk supply drops. I’m also really happy that both of my coaches completely support this, and they plan to tailor my meal plan my individual caloric needs as a breastfeeding mother. Overall, I was really happy with how the meeting and training session went, and I’m super excited about this journey! I hope you’ll follow along with me!

Questions, Comments, Advice?

Have you ever competed or considered competing? And words of wisdom or questions about this process? Leave a comment and let me know!  

Journey to the Stage: Bikini Competition Series

If you missed any of my Journey to the Stage bikini competition prep posts, you can get all caught up here: