What’s It Like To Do An International Bodybuilding Competition

I’ve been doing local bodybuilding bikini competitions in Texas for about five years now, but have only recently had an epiphany: I can travel to different countries to do this too!

So that’s what I did.  In December I checked the Musclemania website and found that they had competitions all over the world: London, Australia, Dubai and…Costa Rica.  I did a preliminary search of what plane tickets and VRBO (vacation rentals by owner) accommodations would cost for a family of four (I can’t leave my family behind!) and discovered that a trip to Costa Rica was totally doable on my personal trainer salary.

For those of you reading this wanting a Cliff Notes version – I won!!  Yay!!

Now that’s a trophy!

It was an amazing experience and worth all the squats and banded kickbacks, the posing practice and delayed food gratification (a big slice of my son’s birthday cake is sitting in my freezer waiting for me.)

One thing I should have done was learn Spanish (!!!) at least for the comparison directions.  I had to look at the other competitors to see which way they were turning, which made me feel a little lost.  Fortunately, the promoters and some of the athletes spoke English, so they very graciously helped me out.


I actually did two divisions (bikini – didn’t win; the other women looked AMAZING) and sports model (won first place!) I can honestly say I didn’t think I would get it.  In fact they said my name and I was very confused until the competitor next to me said, “You won!”

My goddess Athena outfit

It felt like validation, like I’m on the right track and am supposed to be doing this.  Bodybuilding is my sport.  This is my jam.  Where else can a 43-year-old mother of two get to dance on stage in giant gold wings and get a trophy for doing it?

Side note – even though I won, this wasn’t a qualifying show, so I did not get my pro card.  Honestly, this is okay.  At this point in my life getting my pro card (to compete for money) would be awesome but it’s not an obsession.  I do bodybuilding to challenge myself and encourage other women to join the sport and get fit, not necessarily for cash prizes.  (But if you are a promoter and want to send me supplements, t-shirts, or cash prizes feel free!)

Quick shout out to my coach Robin Johnson Jr. for pushing me so hard, Dez Raven for helping me figure out how to walk with wings, Karelin Guinn for teaching me how to put in hair extensions, and friends and family for all the encouragement throughout the competition prep process.  It took seven months, but it was worth it!

One of the athletes told me that there is a saying here in Costa Rica: Pura Vida.  It means live life to the fullest, a pure life.

Bodybuilding has not only motivated me to get and stay fit, but it’s also allowing me to expand what’s possible and expose my kids to new experiences.  If you’ve never considered bodybuilding – try it!  Or find your own destination fitness.


Lisa 🙂

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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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One thought on “What’s It Like To Do An International Bodybuilding Competition

  1. I asked for a few details….about How you felt. No reply needed specifically now. The brief explanation offered in the paragraph written above, served to help me understand exactly your thoughts. Much Love, and APPROVED by me… Some of My East Indian dentists, from the Dentzz Mumbai Clinic are right about,, where you once were. I, your Father-In-Law…….am having a tough time deciding.. Who are the ( 2 ) most dedicated and impressive women, I’ve ever met. Tie Game !!!!

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