5 Things I learned doing my first bikini competition

Hello there, it's been a while! I have been apologizing for my lack of consistency on here since 2015ish (omg), but I think I'm finally in a place in my life where I can commit to more consistent content on here. Last July, I made a big change and left my job of three years; I was working as a geologist/project manager in the environmental industry, and I was constantly on the road doing field work. That job, as great as it was for my career, made it hard to balance work and a personal life. Now that I have more regular hours, still working full time as a project manager, I was able to compete, and feel like I am a more balanced, well-rounded individual. 

My prep was a 12 week cut, and prior to doing this show I was lifting 3-5 times per week and doing NO cardio. I had in my mind I wanted to compete, and I am naturally thin with a fast metabolism so in my head I was prepping/"bulking", which maybe gave me a bad excuse to eat a little crummy in the early fall last year. I started early November 2016, and my show date was February 4, 2017, and I only cut during the 12 week process. I was a little skinnier than I would have liked (<130 lbs, 5'11" tall), but it's a marathon, not a sprint, and I will get there with time, consistency, and proper nutrition. Bikini competitions have become so popular, I think largely due to social media, so I thought I would share some lessons I learned along the way. Here are 5 things I learned that may not be as obvious as just hiring a coach. 

1) Show up. 
That doesn't just mean be present, it means never missing a workout, following your plan (or the plan your coach gives you) to a T, and not letting excuses get in your way. You started the process for a reason, and not giving anything but 100% is really only short-changing you.

2) Your prep will vary from person to person. 
Depending on your starting point, and your bodies natural metabolism, your workouts and meals may be drastically different to what you see your friends or those on social media doing. Some people are carb sensitive with slower metabolisms, and have to do a lot of cardio to get results, understand that the journey will be difficult regardless and don't drive yourself making comparisons to others. 

3) Plan! 
As a full time project manager, planning is ingrained in the way I life my life. Failing to plan is planning to fail, as the saying goes. Set aside time every week to go grocery shopping, and pack meals and workout clothes the day before so there are no excuses to skip, or no rushed mornings or potential missed meals. For me, there were days where I would go to the gym before work, go to work, and then train a client or two in the evening, all without going home, so I needed all my meals with me as soon as I stepped out the door. Spend time thinking about your schedule, and anticipate issues before they come up. Even at a micro level, I would look at my calendar at work in the morning, anticipate my meetings for the day and try to time when I would be able to get meals in roughly every 2.5-3 hours.

4) Stay mentally positive by focusing on why you started. 
Everyone has different reasons for wanting to compete, and on the days where your carbs are low and your energy is sapped, focus on what originally motivated you to take on this challenge. For me, this was something I aspired to do for several years, and other than the temptations of dieting through the holidays, I did not struggle with motivating myself. All I had to do was think back to all the times over the last three years I had thought about competing, and remind myself I am lucky to be in a position in my life where I was able to pursue this goal. Tap into whatever drove you to compete and let that feed your spirit, even if your tummy is grumbling. 

5) Give yourself a break (when possible). 
I had a couple cheat meals (sanctioned by my awesome coach @doritodale), and they definitely helped remind me that food is just that, energy for your body. Some tastes better than others, but pasta and sweets, or whatever your food of choice may be, will still be there when you're done. Be kind to yourself, and keep in mind that the cut and the discomfort is temporary, and you can push through it if you want to. 

I would love to hear from any of you lovelies that may have competed, and what your experiences were like. Comment below or follow me on social media (insta: @chicinseakers, snapchat username: chicinsneaks).

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