Well, the cat's out of the bag -- I am officially less than 8 weeks out from my first bodybuilding competition! I know that it's a foreign sport to some people (including the 8 month-ago version of myself), so I wanted to write this blog post to answer some of the questions I commonly get about it and my experience, including how I was introduced to the sport and why I decided to do the competition.
Honestly, the sport was introduced to me by accident. This time last year I started training at Elite Fitness in Huntersville, North Carolina, which was recently ranked as one of the Top Ten Gyms of the Carolinas by Carolina Bodybuilding Magazine. I trained on my own for a while, dipping my toe into the gym's community, training for my then-upcoming half-marathon, and exchanging incidental glances and conversation with other members as we worked out. A few days after ringing in the new year, and after about a month's hiatus from the gym, I found myself easing back into weightlifting with an undemanding leg day when I was approached by a veteran gym member.
"I want you to be really honest with yourself and with me," he began.
"Do you feel like you actually trained or did that feel like a warmup?"
Now, before you decide to hate the acerbic protagonist of the story, you should have some context. It's not like he was a total stranger -- I had been introduced to him on my first day at the gym when the person giving me a tour pointed out his picture from a prior bodybuilding competition that was hanging on the wall. He'd also helped me a few other times by spotting me and correcting my form on different lifts. It was always clear that he knew what he was doing and, since I'd been out of the lifting environment since high school, I figured he would be more knowledgeable than I. So it's not like we'd never had any interaction before, and I could tell he was very intentional in his decision to call me out. My respect of him allowed me to answer,
"I guess, if I'm being honest, it did feel more like a warmup."
He nodded in reassuring agreement and invited me to go finish training legs with him. After a few sets of banded single-leg presses, I snuck off to the bathroom and threw up. This was a level of intensity in a workout that I hadn't had in a long time -- and one that I missed dearly. Cleaning myself up, I returned to the machine where I found him waiting patiently.
"Well, you did it. You made me sick. Let's finish this," I said.
I finished out his leg workout and bid him farewell with a question:
"What are you training tomorrow?"
And that's how it started -- I wound up with a bodybuilder as my training partner. After a few weeks, he made a seemingly off-handed comment to the gym's owner about getting me on stage. It wasn't long before I realized he was serious and I started toying with the idea myself.
I spent a couple months allowing the idea of doing a bodybuilding competition to roll around in my mind. I didn't want to make any commitments — I had a half marathon to get through, first (and the last semester of senior year, job applications, graduation, etc.). When I finally decided to pull the trigger, it was neither spontaneous nor unintentional. In fact, there were several reasons why I wanted to give it a go:
Okay, so when is it?
I will be competing in the Women's Figure Division (check out this article for an explanation of the differences in women's divisions) in the NPC Mid-Atlantic Classic on October 23, 2021.
As of today, I'm less than 8 weeks out and only getting more and more excited for the show! I've had the greatest support system in my training partner, my gym and my family. I already know that I would not have been able to get this far if any one of those factors were missing. I'm so incredibly thankful for the village that has helped raise me as a competitor. My greatest goal is to bring the absolute best version of myself that I can to the stage in October.
I hope this answered any questions you had! Feel free to ask those that I may have left unanswered. You can keep up with my progress through my Instagram, where I share progress updates and daily insights.
1 Thess. 2:2
"...but with the help of our God we dared to tell His gospel in the face of strong opposition."