I DID IT!!!!!!!

So, after two years of hard work and knock backs, I finally did it….I stepped on stage and competed in my first bikini competition!!!!

And…I LOVED IT!

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Yeah, there are going to be a few exclamation marks dotted throughout this post(!)

As many of you know I have always been overweight but, three years ago I lost 4st. I was going to Mexico and, at the age of 33, I wanted to wear a bikini for the very first time.

I did it, dropping from just over 13st to 9st and going from a size 18/16 to a 10/8.

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In 2013 on holiday in Mexico

I felt fantastic, but I knew that if I was to keep the weight off after I got back from holiday I would need to continue exercising and eating healthily.

So, I started searching for exercise videos on the internet to keep my workouts fresh and interesting and, it was during my trawl of the web, that I started to read about bikini contests – where women go on stage and show off their physiques.

Some further digging and I found out there had been women just like me, who’d been dangerously overweight, but had slimmed down and competed.

‘Well,’ I thought to myself. ‘If they can do it…and I love a challenge…then why can’t I?’

So I looked into it further.

This wasn’t going to be a matter of eating healthy Monday thru Friday and popping to the gym for an hour every other day though – these women were devoting every day to getting into shape for these competitions.

Gone would be the workout DVDs, it meant I would have to start seriously weight training, I’d need to prep all my meals, I would have a coach looking over every inch of my body, the criticism would be tough, and there was just a slight difference between wandering around poolside in a bikini and getting up on stage in front of hundreds to have my body critiqued…

Still, there was one thing that stood out about all these women who competed.

When I looked at them I saw strong, confident, independent, funny, dedicated, inspiring, hardworking, persistent, powerful women.

They worked hard for their bodies, made sacrifices and were proud of their achievements, and their enthusiasm rubbed off on me.

So, two years ago, in July 2014, I started to prep for my first competition. Sadly, since then I have been weeks out of competing twice, but have had to pull out because I felt the coaches I was working with at the time had prepped my incorrectly and I wasn’t in the shape I should have been in.

However, in April this year, I found Jordan Saunders, who runs BodyByJR and is based in Basildon, Essex.

And, together, over 10 weeks I lost 2st and was able to finally make it on stage.

So, on 5 June, I competed in the Miami Pro European Championships. I entered over 35s Ms Bikini and Model.

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I didn’t go there with any expectations. I’d measured in at 24% body fat, having come to Jordan at 35%, so I wasn’t as lean as some of the other girls, who were anywhere between 18 and 13%. However, Jordan and I agreed that this show was about testing the water and building my confidence on stage.

Over the previous 10 weeks Jordan had provided me with all my training and food plans and also taught me how to pose properly on stage – I was as ready as I’d ever be.

(I’m going to do a separate post in the cost/prep that goes into a comp as well as what happens on the day, so stay tuned for that.)

Back stage everyone started arriving and setting up, no one knew each other but we were soon chatting away, sharing makeup, food, touching up tans and helping each other get into our bikinis and ready for the show.

In Miami Pro everyone gets to do an individual T-Walk – which means you start off at the back of the stage, walk to the front and centre, pose, walk to the left, pose, then walk to the right, pose, then walk to the back.

At the back you wait until all the girls in your category have done their T-walks before you are all called forward to the front and asked to do a series of quarter turns – face front, turn right for a side pose, turn right again for a back pose, turn right again for another side pose, turn right again to face the front.

Don’t get me wrong, it was really nerve-wracking but the music was great and back stage everyone was lined up and excited.

My legs were like jelly when I stepped out, but I’d been practicing my poses daily in the gym studio, so all I had to do was remember to smile and stand tall.

I was a little wobbly on my feet as I turned into some of the poses, but I really enjoyed being up there and it was over all too soon.

Sadly, I didn’t place, so I wasn’t called out as one of the top five in either of my categories, but for me this comp was all about experience.

To anyone who is thinking about doing a competition, I’d say it’s tough, but you should give it a go.

I’ve learnt so much and grown so much as a person during this process:

Never before have I used the free weights section of a gym, but now I am there daily – my confidence improved and I’ve made some great friends.

I’ve had to stand naked to be tanned and been waxed in some rather intimate areas – my inhibitions have been lessened.

I’ve had to power through training session when all I’ve wanted to do is sleep or cry – my willpower and determination have rocketed.

I can lift a lot more than I thought – my self-doubt is slowly being chipped away.

And I finally did it, I finally got up on stage and competed – I feel proud of myself.

Until next time, stay happy and healthy…

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