As a physically active person my entire life part of that has been weight training. I just love to lift weights, I always have and my husband is who first introduced me to the world of bodybuilding. He had a personal training client that he coached for a competition and from there I chose to compete myself. Now there are many different categories, the sport has grown quite a bit in the four years I have been away from it.
In order to compete in an any natural federation, there are many, such as NANBF, NGA, INBA, ANBF to name a few you must be a natural athlete. That means you cannot take steroids, growth hormones, prescription diuretics and more. Each federation has specific lists of banned substances that athletes are not allowed to take. When you compete you are required to take a polygraph test before the competition and a urinalysis right after you compete.
I personally prefer to participate in natural competitions because I have zero interest in taking any of the banned substances to enhance my physique. For me it is all about hard work, discipline and most importantly nutrition. It takes time to build muscle and proper nutrition to fuel and help build those muscles.
This fall I will be competing in the NGA federation. My choice was based on the timing of competitions. I have a daughter and she comes first in my life, no matter what. Do I dedicate a lot of time to training? Yep. Do I dedicate a lot of time to meal prepping? Yep. Do I dedicate a lot of time to posing practice? Yep. She watches me do all of these things and you know what, she ENCOURAGES me, she is PROUD of me and she is learning that a woman can work a full-time job, run a gym, make time for family and friends all while doing the "crazy" things it takes to compete. I had chosen a competition in my home town but it fell on her birthday, I talked to her about it and she asked me to choose a different competition. Without missing a beat I immediately looked for a different weekend to compete and it will be the weekend after her birthday.
My very first competition happened to be the weekend of her birthday, the day of the competition was my mom's birthday and my sweet Bella's birthday was the following Sunday. It was a wonderful weekend full of support from my family for my competition and we celebrated both my mom and Bella that following Sunday. Bella even participated in the kids "showdown" and received her very own medal.
This sport certainly takes dedication but it doesn't mean it has to consume your entire life. I am in cutting mode so yes there are days when I am not having that beer I may want or a piece of cake. That is MY choice and honestly I do not feel deprived. I have THE best coach with Chris Goodman of GPS Coaching guiding me, if I want that beer I can certainly make it fit into my macros. 20 weeks of cutting are part of the sport I choose to participate in, there are much worse choices I could be making.
Figure is the category I compete in because frankly I don't feel I have the size for physique and you really have to get LEAN in physique. Bikini isn't really my style, I just don't have the "sass" it requires and I don't have the desire to put on the size required for the actual bodybuilding category and you must be even leaner than the physique competitors.
Figure judging encompasses symmetry of the physique, overly bulky and striated muscles are not encouraged for Figure but I have seen plenty of competitions where women do very well with striated muscles. The idea is to have a toned, proportioned and feminine physique. The tricky part is that for each judge they could have a different idea of what they are looking for in a competitor. That is why it is so very important to go into this sport for yourself and to compete against yourself. You may step on that stage presenting your best physique but another competitor could have slightly better posing presentation or the judges could prefer another competitors look to yours. These ladies who compete together are all about cheering one another on and sharing in the joy of simply competing.
Starting off that was hard for me and a reason I took four years off. I had to get myself into a better place mentally and life also had other plans for me. As I go through this process again there is change in me. I am relaxed and enjoying myself as I slowly change. My mindset is on bringing the best ME to the stage in October, the outcome shall be what it may and I will be happy regardless.
You have mandatory poses you must do on stage to present your physique to the judges. You have your front pose, side pose, back pose, side pose. It is a quarter turn into each pose and rather than make hard transitions making smooth "pretty" transitions are what you work for. Even in my four years away I still practiced my mandatory poses, I can say that has paid off for me big time.
Now that you have hopefully learned a little bit about the sport I truly love here are some comparison photos in my first few weeks of cutting. This is my first time doing a longer cut and I am so happy that Chris approached me to take me on as her sponsored athlete and guide me as she has. Finding a good coach is HUGE, I can't possibly say enough good things about her. She has her clients best interest at heart, she is honest and she is knowledgeable, continually learning as the sport evolves.
I am slowly leaning out and seeing more muscle definition. I will continue to share comparison photos because it is truly is crazy how the body changes during this process. Always remember, do what makes YOU happy. As long as you are able to be present in your life and enjoy your hobby don't let anyone dim your shine or minimize your personal goals. Those who truly support you in life help to bring you up rather than bring you down because they do not understand what YOU choose to do in your life.