Discipline, Dedication, and Hard Work Behind Stroll Across the Stage
My alarm goes off every day at 5am. Some mornings, of course, I want to hit the snooze button and head right back to bed. Nevertheless, I get up and head out for my morning cardio. Snooze is not an option for a figure or bodybuilding competitor – especially for a fitness model with a bikini competition coming up. This morning is different, though. Today, cardio is not an option as I have to catch a flight to Dallas for the 19th Annual Europa Get Fit and Sports Expo! This year, the Europa Expo will be held in four major cities: Orlando, Hartford, Dallas, and Phoenix. At the Dallas Expo, the third in the 2012 series and the longest running Europa Expo, there were martial arts and cross fit events, Olympic weightlifting, children's playgrounds, International Federation of Bodybuilding (IFBB) competitions. and, the event I had worked so hard for, the National Physique Committee (NPC) competition.
Preparation for Bodybuilding Event
I have been training for the past two months as a member of IFBB Pro Shannon Dey's “Team Bombshell”. Many thanks to the coaching staff and Coach V for being such great role models and influences. They have helped me prepare for my last two bikini competitions and have been helping me make improvements to my physique and stage presence.
My contest prep for the Super Show was similar to my last bodybuilding competition. We added in a little more cardio and abdominal work, but nothing too drastic. Since I had already completed one show preparation with “Bombshell,” my prep for the NPC Europa Super Show felt like a breeze. I made sure to stay organized, manage my time, and remain calm and in control. My goal was to compete to my best ability and I worked too hard to let emotions or other people take my focus off that goal.
The week before the show, I was more hungry than usual each night before I went to bed. In preparing for these competitions and committing to a focused training schedule, my strict diet usually keeps me full because I am constantly eating. In the last week, extra exercise definitely made me feel hunger a little more.
Day Before the NPC Europa Super Show
- The hotel gym was shut down and would not be open until 5 pm
- I had to sign a waiver stating I would not let my spray tan ruin their towels or sheets
- They offered a bodybuilder friendly foods list at the restaurant but they were not offering microwaves in the hotel rooms
There was a single microwave in the lobby for all of the athletes to heat up their food -all 350+ bodybuilders plus an untold number of athletes from other events in the expo. There was to be a steady line for this single microwave at all hours of the day.
After taking in all of this information, I made my way upstairs, unpacked, and went to “Plan B.” I jumped online to find the nearest LA Fitness. Lucky for me, there was an LA Fitness 10 minutes away. While I was out, I had an opportunity to stock up on essentials like water, plastic containers to heat up my food separately, and sheets so I wouldn’t have to worry about the hotel room sheets.
Day of Bikini Competition Prejudging
On Friday, I woke up at 6 am, made my breakfast and headed to the gym for my last workout session before hitting the stage. At 10am, there was a meeting for all of the competitors in the NPC Super Show portion of the event. As I looked around, I realized that there were hundreds of beautiful competitors all waiting to be checked in. I knew this would be a big show since it is a national qualifier, but I had not realized how big it was actually going to be. In the bikini division, everyone is categorized by height, rather than by weight, so this took a while for such a big group of competitors. We were also introduced to the judging panel and told the order of events for the evening. The Bikini Open was the second to last event on the schedule. This meant it was going to be a long day for me.
Most NPC events have prejudging in the morning and then the awards event later that evening. The NPC Europa Super Show runs a bit differently. This show is a Pro/Am show meaning that they host professional (IFBB) and amateur (NPC) divisions at the event making the prejudging process take longer.
The Get Fit and Sports Expo doors opened at 2pm. Hundreds of fitness enthusiasts flooded the convention center halls and got their samples and learned about the new products available on the market. Chris Riccio attended the event for Celsius and handed out samples at the Celsius booth. I was unable to get to the booth this day because I was back stage for my first layer of spray tan from Pro Tan. I had hours before I needed to be all ready. So I sent pictures over to my coach for her final critiques, and then found a secluded bathroom so I could get ready and take advantage of a few peaceful minutes away from the busyness of the event. . I did my hair and makeup, took my time, and tried to stay mentally focused.
It can be easy to doubt yourself a little when you see hundreds of beautiful women who are all in the best shape of their lives. Rather than psyching myself out, I remembered why I compete and how hard I have been training. After I got my mind right, I didn’t pay attention to the competition and decided I would just go in trying my best and have a good time.
One of my teammates was also at the Super Show. She is from Colorado so we had never met before, but we train with the same coach. It was great to talk to someone who had done the same training and meal plan to prepare for the competition. She had such great energy and we had a blast getting to know one another before it was time to compete. It was like having our own cheer squad backstage.
Hours have gone by and I am still not on stage. I went back to the Pro Tan booth and got my “bikini bronzer” which is a darker coat of spray tan, and then I waited some more. Finally, at 11:45 pm, the expeditors start calling for bikini competitors to line up. Yes! I quickly made sure that all of my makeup, hair and jewelry were just right, put on my heels and went back to the Pro Tan crew to get my glaze, which is like an oil or sheen that makes your muscles pop on stage. I had the opportunity to watch Class A (the shortest bikini class) on the monitor back stage. I mentally prepared myself and said, “Do it like you have practiced, don’t follow the other girls, be yourself, and go slow. It is your time to shine!” My teammate and I hugged wished each other luck and then I hit the stage.
In bodybuilding there is something called “first call out” this is typically the top five competitors from the division. After each woman goes on and performs her model turns (front and back poses), they make us stand to one side of the stage. Then the judges tally up their scores and the head judge calls the “first call out.” “Number 170”…that was me! For a brief second I forgot my number and almost didn’t move! Then he called out the other women and we had live judging against one another. Once the judges have made their decisions, they excuse your group and you have to wait for the awards ceremony.
The Moment of Triumph – Awards Day
Once again, I was up bright and early to get another coat of tan before the awards. Since I was in the first call out, I had a pretty good chance of placing in the top 5 and getting an award, so I had to make sure that I looked good for the pictures that the media takes. Bikini was last this time, but the show started at 11am so it would last until after midnight like the night before.
When it was time for bikini, they presented us to the audience one by one and then quickly led us off stage to await results. Being in the first call does not guarantee a place in the top five overall, but to my surprise, they called my number again. At this point all of the judging had been done. They simply call us back on stage so we can find out our placing, receive our awards, and take photos.
At the end of the day, I placed 3rd in Bikini Class B. I could not have been happier. New to this event and having never competed in Texas, I did not know what to expect or what type of package/physique the judges would prefer. I just had to bring my best package and present myself as well as I possibly could. Having a top three finish at such a competitive and prestigious NPC event was very exciting.
That night we were able to relax and celebrate at Hard Rock Café. Now that I am home in Florida, I am back on track with training and my competition diet. Special thanks to my friends, family, and coworkers for being so supportive during my training. It might be a crazy and hectic life, but I would not have it any other way. My next bodybuilding event is in 2 months at the Ruby Championships in Boca Raton, FL. I am already looking forward to rocking the stage.