The “My First Competition” series continues with Amy Beaver sharing her trip to the Ft. Lauderdale Cup 2010 for her first time as a bikini competitor. To view all the articles in this series, click on the “my first competition” tag link above.
The mental determination and focus necessary to prepare for an NPC Bikini competition is unlike anything I have prepared for in the past.
I was always an athlete growing up which took me to the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill on a full volleyball scholarship. As a DI athlete you have a strength coach who designs your lifting and cardio programs and schedules when you will workout each day. In addition to daily lifting workouts, we had 2 ½ to 3 hour practices daily. Needless to say, at this point in my life I did not put much focus on my diet as I burned off anything I ate (although I can say I was always a fairly healthy eater).
Two years or so after graduating I had gotten out of my consistent workout routine. I work in advertising sales which can become very stressful and the last thing I wanted to do was workout after a long, stressful day. I was talking to a former trainer of mine who had competed in a Figure competition years back and said I may have interest in competing. What drew me to competitions was the discipline and focus necessary to prepare. I also knew I could get into the best shape of my life. I knew that I needed a concrete goal!
So, my former trainer, Erica Miller, put me in touch with a local Team Bombshell IFBB Figure pro, Tina White, who also lives in Atlanta. We had lunch and she told me a bit about Bombshell. I immediately sent an email to Shannon Dey to get information on the training and went down for a camp. The rest is history!
At Bombshell camp, Shannon and Rob decided my first competition would be the Ft. Lauderdale Cup on November 20th. This was about 11 weeks out from deciding to compete so I wasn’t very confident that I could lose the weight necessary to compete that soon, but they had the confidence in me so I went with it!
Team Bombshell tailors your workouts and diet for you. My workout schedule was very demanding. I would wake up around 5:30 AM to do an hour of cardio and then head back to the gym after work for another 30 minutes of cardio and weights. It really wasn’t hard to stick with this demanding schedule because I knew I had to be on a stage in a bikini in 11 weeks or less!The biggest struggle I had was with the dieting. I like food. And although I was already a fairly healthy eater, I like to have some bad food every now and then. Our diets allowed for a limited cheat meal from a list of options. However, a few times during my prep, the stress from life and desire for different food got to me and I binged. After the binge I felt really guilty and immediately emailed Shannon to explain what happened and hope I hadn’t ruined everything. Shannon was always supportive and would encourage me to move forward and get back on the plan.
Fortunately, I had a very supportive family and friends and I seemed to inspire some people at my workplace; they were very intrigued by the training process. I went on a trip to Savannah, GA with my parents and even ate my fish from a baggy inside a restaurant (they heated it up for me!!). As far as my social life, I tried to keep it as normal as possible; however, I did feel like friends were more hesitant to invite me to dinners because I couldn’t eat. But, I made sure to remind them that I am there for their company and not the food.
Competition day was so much fun! I was actually not nervous as all and just wanted to enjoy every moment. Shannon and many of the veterans had told us leading up that this is your time to shine and show off all of your hard work. There isn’t anything you can change on competition day so have a great time with it. All of the other competitors were so sweet and we had a good time backstage. On stage there wasn’t much going through my head other than “keep smiling…keep smiling…gosh my lips and cheeks are shaking…”
What I learned from the competition preparation process is everyone’s journey is unique. Everyone has their own circumstances, strengths, and weaknesses and you learn what those are and how to overcome them. Nobody is perfect and when you have a slip-up you need to let go of it quickly and not feel guilt. Everyone has them and as soon as you can accept that the quicker you will get back on your path.
At this point I am unsure when I will compete again – possibly Summer 2011. If anyone is reading this and trying to decide whether they should compete I say go for it. It is a great personal challenge and a life experience you will always remember!
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