Bikini competition journal - SHOW DAY

Hey peeps,

I did it! A few days ago I competed in my first bodybuilding bikini competition for NABBA. I did 16 weeks of strict dieting and workouts, and I stuck to it from the beginning to the end.

I enjoyed every minute of competition prep and the new things that I experienced along the way. I'm so grateful and happy for every moment, every up and down, every single person who supported me and every lesson I learned! The last 3 days of the prep were the most exciting one. I had to start with the tanning, the organisation of the big day and plan and prep your meals.

The tanning

The tanning was something very special and new for me. I decided to do it by myself with the products from ProTan.

I started by taking a long bath on Thursday around midday. Exfoliated and shaved myself. In the evening we applied the first Overnight Base Coat. It was so funny to see myself with a tan, because I'm pale all year. Next morning (Friday) I rinsed it off and applied another 3 coats during the day. On Saturday after my make up and hair was done, we applied one top coat and I was ready to go!

The show day

Finally. The day I've waited and prepared for months.

I woke up at 5am, dreaming of custard filled doughnuts. I don't even know why, I never had them before! Stumbled across all the clothes on the floor (our flat looked like a mess after tanning over and over again) to finally make it to the kitchen. First coffee, then I made 50g of basmati rice for breakfast. While the rice was cooking I weighed myself for the last time. My final weight was 53.6kg. I started this prep with 61.2kg, that makes a total loss of almost 8kg.

I sat down and took the time to actually enjoy my 'breakfast'. I knew the day would get hectic enough.

At around 6am I started curling my hair. Yep, I did it by myself, enjoying another cup of coffee along with that. I'm not a huge fan of girlie-stuff. That's why it took me quite a while to get all my hair curled. However, the result looked pretty good.

Now the most exciting part began: at 8:30am arrived my make up artist Mireya. I've never got my make up done before so I didn't know what to expect. It was amazing! She was so kind, calming and she knows exactly what she's doing. I really appreciate working with professionals and she is definitely one. If you live in or around London and need to get your make up done, she's definitely your girl!

Special thanks to her for making me look so good! Every girl asked who did my gorgeous make up. I've never looked and felt so beautiful in my life.

At 10am we applied the last coat of tanning, packed the last few things together, I ate a few rice crackers with jam and we went off to the theatre. We took the bus, so we had a 50 minute ride in front of us. I was really calm and enjoyed the silence before the storm.

Check in was at 12pm and we arrived at the venue just in time. I collected my number and then we had to wait...wait...wait in the foyer with all the other athletes and with the audience. Nobody was able to tell me where the changing rooms are or where I can put my stuff (and you have a lot of stuff with you). I got moody and just wanted to leave. If there's one thing I absolutely don't like, it's bad organisation.

After 1.5 hours of waiting in the foyer, somebody was able to tell me where I can find the changing rooms and get ready. I was so lucky, that I already got everything done and my suit on.

We were the 4th class on stage, so I got another 1-1.5 hours to dawdle away, why I decided to just walk around the backstage area. It was now 2.30pm and the show begun. Backstage was a cluster of half-naked females, soy sauce drinking males and Tupperware meals. I don't know why, but sadly coaches weren't allowed backstage, so I was alone. Basically you just pick a corner and set your stuff down.

There was no real connection to the stage, so we didn't know which class was on stage and how long we have until it's our turn. From time to time a staff member ran around to count if all girls are there. In my class we were 10. I was number 10.

At around 4:30pm we were told to "do our stuff", because we're the next ones on stage. I had to do a routine and a comparison.

Once your class gets close to stepping on stage, you take your heels and go to the pumping area. But wait, there is no pumping area?! Okay, no problem. So I did some Push-ups and luckily I got some resistance bands with me to warm up my shoulders and arms properly. Always be prepared for the worst!

I took this picture just seconds before I stepped on the stage. What was in my mind? Was I tanned enough? Did my makeup look ok? Should I eat? Decisions, decisions.

Nah, not really. Sixteen weeks of strict training and dieting was about to come down to 20 minutes on stage. I was just full of excitement, pride and gratefulness. I love those moments just seconds before something big and new happens to me. When everybody is flipping out, I just try to focus on myself, calm down and enjoy this moment to the fullest.

And then they called my number and name and I stepped on stage for the first time to do my routine. I started facing the judges with my back. Took a deep breath and my song began. Head's off, intention on. It was amazing.

Right after my routine I had to go backstage, put my shoes on and we were very quickly shuttled into a line. I was shaking because of the adrenalin spike and had not a minute to calm down. Then we were quickly called on stage for comparison posing. Sadly, the stage wasn't big enough for 10 ladies, why I ended up standing behind the desk of the presenter. I tried my best to make the best out of this situations and just smiled and posed and fought myself in the middle of the stage. Yay, this is a good thing, right?

You stand there, under crazy hot lights, trying not to make eye contact with anyone but the judges, smile like a crazy bitch and thinking "look at my glutes NOW NOW NOW ... noooo, not now.". And I loved it. Yes, it was weird, but I really enjoyed it. Then you wave and head off stage.

And that's pretty much it. We went backstage again, waited a few minutes, and then you get called back on stage for the top 5 to accept their trophies.

Sadly, I wasn't one of them, due to my lack of training years. My conditioning was good, but after 2.5 years and coming from 80+ kg, you can't beat girls that are competing for 5+ years. They had 5kg more muscle mass than I had. And since the classes were not divided by weight or height, I had no chance.

Nevertheless, I'm very happy with my form and my progress. The other competitors brought a lot to the stage and they owned their trophies! Give me another 2.5 years and I can beat them :)

As soon as I was back behind the stage, I took off my heels, ripped my suit off my butt, put on some crazy comfortable sweat pants and a shirt. Mario was waiting for me outside. I was beyond happy. I did it! My first show and I did it! And I loved it.

As soon as we sat in the bus, I have never been more excited to take a shower. 5 coats of tanning, no deodorant, make up and hair spray made a sticky combination.

After the competition

I know what you think: Now comes the fun part, getting to eat everything you come across. No, actually that's the worst you can possibly do. Of course, you can enjoy a good cheat day, the day after the comp, but don't cheat longer than 24 hours. Cheating for several days or even weeks will lead to putting on all the fat you've lost over the last weeks or even more. You'll completely destroy your body composition.

It's important to continue to exercise some self-control post-show and reverse diet. I will publish a separate blogpost about that next week. Stay tuned!

My experience

A lot of people make contest prep sound like it is an absolute miserable experience and that you, if you want to make it right, have to feel like shit. Nonsense!

I want to make it clear, that it is not easy, but it's also not terrible and it doesn't have to be unhealthy. If you do things intelligently the entire process should not be miserable at all.

Of course, you have to cut out foods you enjoy, but it's only for a period of time. It's not forever. And yeah, there will be difficult times, but you just have to push through them, that's life.

Competition is not going to kill you. On the contrary, win or lose, it will make you stronger.

What's up next?

This was definitely not my last competition. I am thinking about competing again in November but with another association. NABBA is definitely not the right one for me for several reasons.

But for now, I'll start my first off-season - a little bulk. The next weeks consist of reverse-dieting. Meaning, slowly increasing my calories. I will do another series about the time after the prep, called "When the tan fades", so stay tuned!

Stay up to date by following us on Instagram and Twitter. Thanks!

See you next time.

Until then, train hard and eat right!

Cheers, Sarah

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