Last year I entered a bodybuilding competition to lose weight. My trainer was Daniel Rufini. This year I working to gain lean muscle mass. My trainer is Melissa Merritt Coker and I’m an all women’s bodybuilding team called Mel’s Machines. And now it’s time for the next installment of Same Show/Different Trainer. (If you missed the other installments, feel free to catch up now: Weeks 12-11-10, 9 1/2 Weeks, Weeks 8-7-6, Weeks 5-4-3, Week 2.)
(Please note, these progress pictures are from my first and second shows when I was training with Daniel. Mel has a rule that we can’t post progress pics until after the competition, so you’ll see those pics tomorrow.)
Week 1 – a/k/a “The Most Expensive Week Ever”
That’s my husband’s name for the week. I prefer to call it
“The Most Funnest Week Ever!!!!”
Why is this week so fun and expensive? Because you get to do all those girlie things usually reserved for special occasions like prom night or your wedding.
Start the week off right by going to your final tanning bed appointment (not to be confused with the spray on tan – that happens at the end of the week.) You stand naked in front of a mirror and rub fabulous smelling bronzer with a name like, “Worship Me” or “Kardashian Glow,” all over your chiseled body and then take a 10 minute nap as imitation sunlight lightly toasts your skin.
Then, you cut and color your hair, get a French manicure and matching pedicure, and do a final fitting of your very sparkly, very, very, very expensive little piece of cloth and string known as your “posing suit”.
Perhaps it’s the fumes of the hair dye or your brain was baked a little too long on the sun bed, but all sense of economic reason floats out the window as you think, “Yes! I’ll get my eyebrows waxed for $17. My husband won’t see the credit card bill for at least 30 days, and since I’ve already hired the babysitter, how else could I possibly fill this time?” How else…
Why with a photo shoot, of course! Because if, like me, you just lost 50 lbs. and are not totally convinced that this “fitness thing” wasn’t just a fluke, you want legitimate documentation of your physique so when you’re old and gray you can view evidence of your once svelte body.
Back at the gym, you start talking to other women bodybuilders and find out that they too are spending piles and piles of cash on all sorts of things: fake eyelashes, new make-up, hair extensions, bikini waxing. “What great ideas! Maybe I should do that too!”
And this delusional conversation just rages on in your head. You’re not thinking about your husband, job or kids AT ALL. “I don’t have a care in the world! It’s what it was like when I was 23 and single! This is what it must be like to be a REAL real housewife! Or a husband playing golf! OMG! I. AM. A. TROPHY. WIFE!”
Reality rears its ugly head. “I am not a trophy wife.” 😦 The kids are hungry for dinner, the house is a wreck and your husband finds the online receipt for the NPC Card and show entry fee and says he’ll be glad when this stupid competition is over. If your family is coming into town for the show you also have to clean the entire house and coordinate travel plans. Also, you begin to calculate how many items you’ll have to sell off in a garage sale to cover the credit card bill. *Sigh*
Shiny New Diet! Shiny New Diet! The diet the final week of the show changes daily, based solely upon your appearance. Previous weeks were spent carb-depleating, giving you a bit of a sunken-in look, but this last week you slowly begin carb loading and adding back fat to give your muscles a plumped-up look. Simultaneously, you begin a “dry out” process to shed water weight so you see full definition in your muscles and look as hard as possible. And then YOU’RE THIRSTY.
Exercise tapers off. You’re on the exercise maintenance plan now. Weights are lighter, cardio gets switched up, then all exercise ends.
New Ethnicity. Time to exfoliate, get naked, and get your spray on tan. Say good-bye to deodorant, lest it react with the tanning chemicals and turn your armpits green. Stay far, far, away from water so the color doesn’t smear. You are now a new ethnicity. You are an orange person.
Athlete’s Meeting. It’s Friday night. You go to the host hotel and are so excited you’re bouncing off the walls. The promoters tell you what time to check in the next day and have pros show you which poses that are allowed. The men get weighed in and the women get their height measured. (Thank God the women don’t get weighed in – can you imagine the orange tanning smears from all the tears!?!) All the women line up and it’s exactly like being in Catholic high school again – the officials check your bikini and if it is too risque you are not allowed to walk on stage.
Final thoughts. If you did bodybuilding as a way to weight loss, a little piece of you is always nervous that after the show you’re going to gain all the weight back plus 10 more pounds. But mostly you look at your calendar and think back to where you were 12 weeks ago and kind of can’t believe you got through it.
You hug your trainers because you are so grateful for how much they helped you. You hug the women on your team, who are now friends.
You are truly in the best shape of your life. You are stronger both mentally and physically. And if you’re a mom, like me, you realize your stomach will never be like it was in your 20’s without the help of a surgeon, but you feel something that you’ve never felt before: at peace with your body.
So even if tomorrow you lose…you’ve won.
My progress pics from this competition will go online tomorrow…If you have trained for a bodybuilding show, did you have similar experiences?
Also, please “like” my Facebook Page. I’m trying to get 1,000 likes before my blog birthday!
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