Let me just throw a disclaimer out there: I’m not bashing on bikini competitions at all because I have competed and I was going to do another one. Competing might be for some people, but personally, it’s not for me. I’m going to be transparent as hell and share my own personal experience with bikini competitions.
As many of you know, I was prepping for my second bikini competition. Everything looks amazing and it was all sunshine on Instagram, but it was honestly a constant battle with myself. Just three weeks before my show date, I finally decided that it was enough and I wasn’t going to step on stage. I had so many people ask me why because I was so close and that I looked amazing, but if you’d never understand unless you actually tried competing.
You can be flexible dieting or whatever, but your calories will still be low regardless. I was on a strict meal plan, which essentially meant that I ate the same thing all day… everyday lol. All I ate were egg whites, chicken breast, and veggies 90% of the time. I got refeeds pretty often, but that didn’t compensate for the fact that I was starving myself to WORK for that refeed. By the time I stopped my prep, I was barely scrapping 1000 calories a day and I had to continue starving before I DESERVED to get a refeed. Some days I just felt the entire day laying down because I was so weak. Guess you guys didn’t see that on Instagram, did ya? Oh, by the way, I was consuming only about 20-30g of carbs a day. That’s like a slice of bread or two.
Countless Hours at the Gym (and Cardio! Yikes!)
I was spending 3-4 hours at the gym a day. Of course, your entire diet and training plan would depend on your current physique, metabolism, weight, etc. There are so many factors, but I was hustling my ass at the gym. For three months, I was going to the gym twice a day, 6 days a week. I would do fasted cardio in the morning, go about my day, then go back after school or work to train and do more cardio. I was almost up to 2 hours of cardio a day before I said that I had enough. I was doing all of this on minimal calories so you could imagine how exhausting it was for me!
Prep Brain is a Real Thing
When you’re super low on calories (especially carbs), everything starts slowing down. Your world becomes slow-mo and I remember the constant struggle trying to put my sentences together, trying to finish my homework or hold an attention span. I would blank out so often and lose myself in absolutely nothing lol. Hence why I stopped blogging for a bit… I couldn’t get myself to create any content because I was just so. damn. slow. and out of it.
You May Lose Your Period
This may sound like a good thing because who actually likes dealing with their period each month?! It’s actually a really bad thing because it means that your hormones are getting all f*cked up and it’s messing with your baby making machines! I hear about women that lose their periods and they don’t get it back for MONTHS after competing. I even hear stories about women struggling to have a baby after competing for so long and I’m honestly not surprised. Your body is malnourished because you’re pushing it to lose every last bit of fat that it needs to survive.
It Messes With Your Head
Going to the gym and following a diet plan is probably the easier part of prepping for a show. The hardest part about competing is how it messes with your head and how OBSESSIVE you become with everything. I’ve had people tell me that I had on “prep goggles”, which meant that I couldn’t tell how lean I actually was. I looked in the mirror at every chance I had and constantly thought I wasn’t lean enough and that I was holding on way too much fat, when in reality… My ribs were sticking out and my abs were pretty solid. I would become so obsessive that I wouldn’t stop pinching the last bit of fat on my hips, I kept taking pictures to see if I looked ok, I would ask everyone if I looked skinnier, and I developed a bad relationship with food. I couldn’t look at anything without thinking about how much calories it had or what it could negatively do to my body.
Post-show is just as hard as prepping for a show. I struggled a lot last year after my competition with food guilt and self-image issues. Regardless of how prepared you are to add the calories back it, it’s never easy saying bye to the shredded physique you worked so hard for. You know that staying lean year round is not maintainable or realistic, but your mind is still not ready to handle it. Even though I didn’t end up stepping on stage, I still struggled with these underlying issues. I couldn’t look at food without thinking of the numbers and the fat gain. I was constantly binging because my body longed for food and once I started eating, I just couldn’t stop. I would end up feeling like complete shit after each binge, spend an hour doing cardio the next day and decreasing my calories to compensate, then it’d just be an endless cycle. This is another reason why I disappeared from my blog lol. I was struggling with myself and I knew that I had to fix that first.
It’s Very Expensive
The amount of money I put into competing… GEEEEZZZZZ… I will definitely save the entire breakdown in a future blog post, but let’s just say that competing will cost you thousands. You’ll be spending on your coach, food, supplements, bikini, heels, posing class, and all the other competing expenses such as your tan, hotel, federation fee, show fee, etc. Thinking about it hurts lol.
Is It Really Worth it?
For me, it wasn’t worth it. I was literally putting my entire life into it. I was willing to risk my health, put in thousands of dollars, and give up a lot of priorities to step on stage for 10 minutes and get judged purely on my aesthetics against other gorgeous girls that worked just as hard. Even if I win, I’ll leave with a couple of pictures, a medal, and validation from an online community on social media. Why the hell do I even care about what people think on social media? I guess that’s just how things are in this time and day. I had no intentions of ever competing long-term or going pro. It may be for you, but it’s just not for me.
I hope this answers why I stopped competing. Once again, I’m not trying to bash on competing because thousands of people around the world compete each year, but you can’t tell me that all of the points above aren’t valid. There’s a story behind each face you see on social media and they may not always tell you the whole story. My priorities are much different now and I have so much to look forward to in life. Fitness was always supposed to make me healthier and stronger as a person, not do the absolute opposite. I’m just so glad that I’m slowly regaining myself again and can start blogging again. You’ll definitely hear more from me soon, xo.