Faced with a full-time course load and two jobs, Katelyn had a difficult time prioritizing her health. "I ate out often, and it wasn't fast food necessarily, but I rarely ate home-cooked meals," she remembered. "I always said to myself, 'On Monday, I am going to start eating healthy and going to the gym." Much to Katelyn's chagrin, 'Monday' would turn into the next week, and then the next month. "Now that I use PumpUp and avidly go to the gym, my lifestyle has changed completely," she insisted.
"Once I started using PumpUp daily, I became more motivated. I would see everybody else getting their workouts done, so it gave me some energy and excitement to [exercise] as well. I love all the food posts on PumpUp. It inspires me to be more creative [with] meal prep and I have seen so many delicious recipes that I want to try." Not long after Alison joined PumpUp in April 2015, she started to research and train for her first-ever bikini competition.
This is part of a series of posts by Jennifer (@liftingfairy on PumpUp), a bikini competitor. Check out her blog here and vote for “Jennifer Reis” so that she can achieve her dream of attending the Miss FIBO power beauty competition.
Everyone has to start somewhere… For some athletes, their first round of competition preparation launches their journey into “Fitness Land.” Starting can be intimidating. Some people are unsure of what to expect. I faced the same hesitancies last year.
The pros and cons of preparing for a bikini fitness competition
In my first ‘post-competition’ post, I wrote how taxing contest-preparation is. It will challenge you not only physically, but also mentally. Don’t expect it to be easy. Your first time preparing for a competition will be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. If you consider it easy, go harder because that’s what makes the difference on stage.
Once you start your prep, you will see your body change from one day to another. The last two weeks for your prep will be mind-blowing. Prior to my first competition (and still today) I took pictures at least once a week to remind myself about how much I already achieved. Don’t only look back on your progress. You also have to look forward and focus on your goals and what you want to accomplish.
There will be A LOT of sacrifices. You don’t see me in a restaurant during my prep, rarely in the cinema and even less in a bar. When I decide to go to the movies, I always have my Renee Tote at hand with the meals I need, because planning meals is the key and it will keep you from getting anything at the candy shop. I never stay out too long in the evenings during that time, because I have to get up early the day after to hit the gym, or simply because my body has adapted to a regular rhythm (more about this soon). I left a lot of people behind, because negative words aren’t what you need during a contest-prep, especially from people who won’t even attempt to understand your lifestyle or those who eat pizza, pasta and burgers all day long and want you to do the same. They don’t have the slightest idea of what you are going through. (If you need some positivity, have a look HERE).
You will be amazed by your own results. Even if you have never been a very sporty person before, contest preparation will allow you to be in the best shape of your life because you pay much more attention to your eating habits and training routine. You have to put everything in your preparation and knowing that you will look the best you could possibly look is just an amazing achievement.
Sometimes you will be hungry and want to do a table-flip with your whole diet, which is totally understandable because you are slowly cutting carbs and at the same time training even harder. YES, you will be hungry and damn tired, but in the end it will be totally worth it.
The mirror is going to be your best friend and greatest enemy. It shows you how far you’ve come, but at the same time it plays very dirty mind-games with you… You will NEVER see yourself like others do. If someone else tells you ‘oh, you look great!’ you will be like ‘naahh… still not satisfied yet…’ The further you get in your prep and the closer the D-day comes, the more you will start to freak out and worry that you are not lean enough already and that you won’t be dropping fat fast enough etc. But let me tell you one thing, there will ALWAYS be one thing that is 100% honest with you. It’s the process.
People will tell you that ‘you are going too far’ or ’ you are too skinny and muscular, eeerrww…’. BUT there will also be positive people who support you with simple words or tiny actions like ‘wow, you are really inspiring’ or ‘because of you I started to hit the gym and watch over my eating habits more’. You are going to experience great support from people you never ever expected.
Most of your thoughts will be dedicated to FOOD. Because the only thing that matters during your prep is the right food. I am convinced that you will find yourself looking at other competitor’s food-posts to see what they are eating. And you will be spying ‘food-porn’-pictures because you have enough of chicken, broccoli, tomatoes and turkey-steaks.
Try not to follow your opponents on social media, it will drive you crazy. You can’t control what other athletes are doing or how they are training to get their physique. Focus on yourself and on your own preparation to achieve your personal goals. If it motivates you to get it on, go ahead. And while following those athletes you can also leave a positive comment to cheer them up, because it will cheer you up as well.
The week prior your competition-day will be the most exciting week of your entire preparation because you are doing something different every single day. You will have to decrease your water intake because you start the water-depletion, as you want to get REALLY lean and then load up on carbs during the last few days. Your final preparations are going on, like showering, shaving, scrubbing, and putting on a tan (HERE some tips for your first tanning). Depending on your own preparation plans, you should be allowed to go grocery-shopping and get yummy food like gums, sweets, chocolate or whatsoever to get a little pump before the show or simply to devour post-contest. Believe me or not, you will look like a little child on Christmas when you are buying delicious treats.
The big day will be so much fun and thrilling. The time has finally come to be paid for your hard work. You can put on as much make-up as you want. You can style your hair as fancy as you’d like it to be. The best is yet to come… the moment you line up backstage. You will be so hyped up but still, you won’t be thinking about anything else than stepping out on that stage and rocking your banging body. That moment on stage is the best and most thrilling feeling ever, and you will always remember it. Even if you didn’t get the ranking you wished for, you can be damn proud of yourself that you didn’t give up and that you stayed strong.
I wish every new athlete best of luck over the course of their first preparation and competition(s), may the chicken be with you. Enjoy your season!
When Louise began her journey on PumpUp, became inspired to tackle one of the biggest challenges she’s ever faced: to enter in her very first bikini competition using her own methods and research. Her truly admirable story and the dedication that she devotes to her craft never fails to inspire PumpUp’s million-member community on a very regular basis.
Never one to be sedentary, Louise described herself as an intermittently active person throughout her whole life. One crucial obstacle was holding her back. “I had very little knowledge of nutrition and no goal in mind other than to stay healthy,” she mentioned. In an average day prior to PumpUp, she would eat very little and rarely breakfast—just cereal and the dinners that were available to her at home. Hydration was also the last thing on Louise’s busy mind. “I rarely drank enough…maybe a glass a day,” she admitted. “If I would have continued on that road there would have been major negative health repercussions in my later life.” As a university student, Louise would practice cheerleading and dance once a week. Excessive drinking would, however, negate those workouts.
Since Louise was introduced to PumpUp in February 2014, she leveraged the community as a knowledge hub for health and fitness. “Everyone on PumpUp is very positive—there is a surge of energy that is very motivating,” she insisted. “I like that people ask questions and give support. I began my journey by answering peoples’ questions and adding photos with small facts. I like to spread knowledge.” The more engagement she received from the community, the more her thirst for knowledge about health and fitness intensified. “I found that many have been misled by fad diets from magazines and the media,” she continued. “I wanted to know facts.”
Louise amassed an extensive collection of science-based books and effectively placed herself at the center of her own ‘human trial’, experimenting with exercises, nutrition, and supplementation and using PumpUp to document everything. “Immediately I discovered that the body is a machine and if you fuel it efficiently, you will reap the benefits,” she concluded. “My energy levels were improving, I slept better, and my memory was almost at 90 percent—that’s not like me at all. I loved the feeling and that’s when wellness became a lifestyle choice.”
Over this period of time, Louise gathered a wealth of support from the PumpUp community and embraced the encouragement she received from her followers. Eventually, Louise became inspired to enter in her very first bikini fitness competition. “I came across a few people on PumpUp who competed in body building and fitness shows. I began researching and I knew straight away that it was what I wanted to do,” she recounted. “I picked the competition I wanted to enter and began to search for methods to achieve my goal. Now I’m working backwards from my competition date.” Louise is completing the entire process without a coach, learning as she progresses. “It’s been physically, socially, and mentally challenging but my PumpUp followers have always been there to encourage me when I am feeling unmotivated or alone,” she said earnestly. “It might sound cliché, but they have pumped me up when I felt deflated (pun intended).”
A journey isn’t really a journey without obstacles or speed bumps. Louise is only human. “I have had times when I wanted to eat every sugar-contained item in my house,” she professed. “When I do, I raid the cupboard—and of course I feel guilty. I confessed about it on PumpUp and everyone was very supportive. My journey has not been straightforward; but rather like hiking up a mountain. I know that when I get to the top, I did everything I could to be my best. That will be my reward.” Her dedication to her goal is admirable in every way, and she keeps sane by calculating a healthy balance that works for her—even if it means waking up at the crack of dawn to exercise, or turning down a social event every now and then to make sure that she sticks to her training schedule.
She has succinct and wise words for others who are just beginning their fitness journey or learning to love themselves. “Everyone is different and different things work for different people: there are so many individual factors that can impact a ‘healthy lifestyle’,” she advised. “Big changes take time. Start small and then develop.”
After her competition, Louise hopes to communicate with others more on PumpUp and aspires to assist them on their journey. “I already obtain all of the support and encouragement I need from PumpUp,” she affirmed. “Whether it is prep for a competition or even just to improve their healthy lifestyles, I want to help others by spreading the knowledge that I obtained. One day I may even become a sponsored athlete.”
“Michelle Lewin. She was the first bikini competitor I discovered. Her physique inspired my journey.”
“ I adore banana and peanut butter protein pancakes.
1 scoop of your favourite flavoured protein powder (I use peanut butter Quest powder)
Use a non-stick pan on a low heat. Mix all the ingredients together, don’t mash the banana too much (because it’s nice when you taste a piece in the pancake). Then pan fry like a normal pancake, when the base is solid and moves around the pan it is ready to flip over.”
“Every champion was once a contender that refused to give up”—Rocky Balboa
“I love to train my legs, the strength has developed so quickly. I strength-train four times a week. I love compound exercises, my favorites are Squats and Renegade rows. However, I do like to experiment with new exercises. Every session I try at least one new exercise, usually I feel it the next day. My last session I tried curtsy lunges with a barbell…great for the glutes.”
Fun Fact About Louise
“Although I do not use my qualification, I am actually a qualified fitness instructor.”
Follow Louise on PumpUp @louiseusa101 and keep her pumped as she strives to reach her goal!
Last weekend, on the 2nd of November, I had my very first NAC Bikini-Competition in Rheinbach, Germany. But I will start from the beginning: The weeks prior to my competition were very stressful, both physically and mentally. When I decided to compete, some months ago, I never thought that this type of preparation would stretch me to the limits as it did. I can call myself lucky that I am surrounded by people that motivate and support me day by day by saying how much they admire my dedication, discipline and focus. They encourage me by constantly telling me that I will look fantastic on stage and that I’m a winner no matter what, if I qualify or don’t.
Three days before the competition I wasn’t feeling well and I had to stop training a day earlier than initially planned, but fortunately this day off didn’t ruin anything. I had some bad stomach-aches and couldn’t eat very much, plus I was suffering from shivering. I was very worried because I didn’t know if I could compete or not. But when Sunday arrived I was a 110% ready for the competition and for my maquillage appointment.
I knew right from the beginning that I would be too nervous to apply the make-up all by myself. So my lovely friend Marga came to our apartment to pretty me up. She did a wonderful job and made me look simply fantastic. The maquillage was exactly how I wanted it to be and it matched the color of my bikini perfectly. Hats off to Marga and her artistic make-up skills.
While I’m at my bikini, I don’t want to keep it secret where it’s from. I ordered it at the beginning of October at AngelCompetitionBikini (www.acbikinis.com). The fabric is named ‘Hologram Jade/Mint’ and for the crystal design I chose the ‘Crystal Explosion’. I give a big and sincere thank-you to the TurboTwins, Karah and Lauren, who helped me out with the right size, color, connectors and design of my bikini. Believe me, these decisions were not easy, so I was more than happy about the great service from AngelCompetitionBikini.
Now back to the competition-day itself, which was very exciting. Backstage, you could feel a very vibrant atmosphere. It was a bit hectic because everyone had to get the last tanning-layer and get ready to step on stage, but every single athlete had his/her own little space to relax and switch off the uproar of the whole crowd. Waiting for my category’s turn wasn’t a big deal, but the moment we got called up for the backstage-lineup, I became super excited and nervous and I couldn’t wait to finally hit the stage. I always hated those moments right before stepping on stage, even back in the years when I was a gymnast. But once on in the spot-lights, the whole tension was gone and I enjoyed it to the fullest. I didn’t trip over my dress, my bikini fit perfectly, my heels stayed on my feet and I did all of the requested poses correctly, what else can you wish for?
Afterwards I was told by my family and friends who came to see, that my posing was absolutely fantastic and that I was shining out from the other girls. I really appreciated their words as it was my first competition and I was slightly unsure about my posing-skills.
In the end, I didn’t qualify for the Mr. & Ms. Universe competition in Hamburg, but it was a great experience and I did the best possible. I am very proud of myself and I will work even harder in the future, because now I know what the judges want and I am determined that I will reach my goals.
Never lose your motivation, because once you step on stage with your best form possible you are already a winner, no matter what your placement will be afterwards.
This is part of a series of posts by Jennifer, a bikini competitor from Luxembourg. Check out her blog and follow her on PumpUp @liftingfairy and on Instagram @lifting_fairy.