The Merits of 3rd Place
This weekend I spontaneously entered a bodybuilding competition, 5 weeks before my actual bikini competition in Costa Rica. I did this for a couple of reasons:
- I like competing. Some people run marathons, others join softball leagues; I like strutting on stage in 5″ heels and a sparkly bikini. That’s my jam.
- Nothing concentrates the mind more on following the bodybuilding meal plan than standing next to other stage-ready women in bikinis.
- Sometimes it’s good to enter a local show as a dress rehearsal for the big show. There’s less pressure and an opportunity to try new poses and get some feedback.
The show was Musclemania Lone Star and it was in Galveston, Texas. In my mind it would be the perfect blend of my fitness goals and a mini-vacation.
So that didn’t happen.
We were supposed to do the 3 1/2 hour drive around noon on Friday. We actually made it out the door around 1:20 p.m., which means instead of getting to the coast by 4 p.m., we would hit Houston in rush hour traffic. Joy!
But before we even got there we were in a car accident. There was a huge traffic jam on the 290 with lots of stop and go traffic and we got rear-ended. It through out my husband Henri’s neck and delayed us even further. We finally made it to Galveston six hours later.
I checked in, got my spray-on tan and got us checked in around 8pm. The kids and Henri at some burgers and I ate some protein and spinach. I had to put on black sweatpants, long sleeve shirt and socks so I would stain the hotel sheets and I put a navy blue towel over the pillow case.
Around 1:30 a.m. my husband got sick from his allergies and was coughing up a lung, poor guy! At 3 a.m. I got up and headed over to the host hotel to get my hair and make-up done by Jolinda and her fabulous Glam Team.
My friend Karelin Guinn cut my bangs and added in the blue hair extensions the day before, so the real focus was on the make-up.
Just as an FYI – the reason why bodybuilders get spray on tan and the women wear heavy make-up is because those stage lights are so strong they remove all definition. The darkness of the tan and make-up helps provide contrast so you can see all the muscle tone and your facial features.
By 5:30 a.m. I was back in my hotel room and crashed, trying very hard not to mess up my hair or make-up. I took front and back progress pictures and sent them to my trainer, Robin, to see what he wanted me to eat (or not eat in this case.)
Generally speaking I weigh about 107 when I step on stage. Since I’m five weeks out from my real competition I was about 113 lbs. this weekend. Robin obviously was thrilled that I was stepping on stage a month early, but he knew I wanted to get my jitters out at a local show before doing the international one.
By 8 a.m. I was checked in at the theatre and getting ready for media hour, which is when they take a bunch of promotional photos. Since in my heart of hearts I always wanted to be a movie star, this is my chance to feel like a model for a day.
Prejudging started at 10 a.m. but the bikini division is usually later so Henri took the kids to the beach. During this time I was pumping in the corner with some resistance bands.
My arrived literally the moment before I stepped on stage for round 1 judging: costume/theme-wear.
During this round you can wear either a sports bra and shorts/yoga pants or you can get creative and wear a costume. I went with a Dallas Cowboys costume and found it ridiculously fun wearing a Halloween costume in the middle of June. These women went all out. I saw goddesses, Wonder Woman, gladiators, winged birds, African dancers and 50 Shades of Grey inspired outfits. I’m totally upgrading my costume before the Costa Rica show.
After prejudging there is a three hour break. We went to restaurant where my husband had a well earned cocktail and everyone ate burgers and I ate a giant lettuce wedge, no dressing please. That sucked. But I believe in delayed gratification, and still had the bikini round for the night show.
This is how I know the promoters were men: women would have put the bikini round in the morning when women are at their leanest and the costume round in the evening. I guess some day I will have to promote my own show, but in the mean time that means lunch is lettuce.
During the break I put my long sleeve fleece and sweat pants back on so I wouldn’t smear spray on tan everywhere, but it was like 94 degrees and humid, so I was dripping sweat as I took my kids on the rides at the pier while my husband sat in the air conditioned car and filed the insurance claim for the car accident.
The spray on tan crew fixed my tan drips and Jolinda and her Glam Team was there to do hair and make-up touch ups. She surprised me with the best gift ever: CANDY!!!
It hung out in my bag until after the show, but once the show was done, game on M&M’s!
At the end of the night I got 3rd place for bikini classic! Obviously the best prize to get is 1st place, but there are merits to coming in 3rd:
- At least you’re not last!
- It provides equal parts humility (“If you followed your meal plan better you could have placed higher”) and
- Encouragement (“Hey! All you have to do is follow your meal plan better and do more squats and you’ll place higher!”)
Getting 3rd place has just made me hungrier to do better. I have five weeks and I’m going to use this time wisely. And while there’s no guarantee who will stand next to you during comparisons or what the judges are looking for that day, at least I will know that I’ve put everything on the table and will present the best athleticism possible.
Wonder what it’s like to train for a competition?
Check out my book, “She’s Losing It!” about how I lost 50 lbs. while training for my first bodybuilding competition and fixed my messy life in the process. It’s like a Rocky for Moms.
Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two….and Original Cast Member of AMERICAN GRIT, starring John Cena, on FOX!!!
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