I wanna compete!! Now what......
I still remember when I was first bit by the competitive bug... It was 1997 and I was a stay at home mom for my 1 year old daughter. During the lunch hour, ESPN would have the Fitness America competitions on and I was hooked. Theses gals were strong, lean and athletic...exactly the opposite of what I felt at the time being a new mom and longing to regain my pre-baby physique. Like a lot of newbies, I jumped in with both feet thinking I'd kill this, regain my figure and the path to the stage would be smooth. I failed...miserably. After several weeks of eating nothing but egg whites in oatmeal, broccoli, rice and fish when it all derailed. I became very sick with bronchitis and pneumonia. Eventually, I couldn't take the restrictive diet and so I gave up. I felt like such a failure! What I didn't know was the way I was training, the restrictive diet and "all or nothing" thinking is what failed me.
Fast forward to 10 years later... I'm a lot wiser, realistic and have so much more life experience behind me. This time, I was much more calculated. I became an ACSM certified personal trainer. This would be about me applying my current knowledge and proving I could not only do well, but in the future help someone else reach the stage. I attended a local show in '06 so I knew what to expect. Then I looked at how much weight I realistically needed to lose to compete. I took my time and lost about 15#'s slowly over a few months. 10 weeks prior to my 1st ever comp, I stepped up my training and diet bringing in a winning physique!! I placed 1st in Novice and Open Figure!
Moral of the story? Don't do what I did...at least not with my 1st attempt at competing. Be aware of what you are getting yourself into. Go to a show and see what it's all about. Talk to competitors as well. Most are happy to answer any questions you may have about competing. Be aware that you'll have to put A LOT of time and energy into the sport. Also, make sure those closest to you understand and support you. Though they may not understand or may even think you are nuts, it's important to have them on board. Mainly because you are going to be crabby, tired and hungry.....embrace it. And finally, it's expensive! There are entry fees, federation dues, drug testing, posing suits, tanning and possible travel expenses. And if you're lucky, after spending maybe $600 or more, you'll get a little bronze statue.
So if it sounds so horrible, why do it? Because personally, I loved the challenge. I loved seeing how much I could push myself and the changes physically that happened. I loved meeting new people and seeing long time friends who I've met over the years competing. It wasn't about the little bronze statue....but placing was the icing on the cake. And speaking of cake, that's exactly what I had after that 1st show. My good friend made me a cake that looked like a stack of weight plates. After months of a strict diet, I have to say it tasted pretty darn good!