All my life I’ve dreamed of having a flat stomach, but I simply didn’t have the knowledge on how to get it. I wanted to tone up and have a little muscle on me. I knew I wasn’t “fat,” but there was definitely some fat I wanted to lose.
My boyfriend, Kyle, has been lifting weights for years and knows what he’s doing in the kitchen. A little over a year ago, I asked him to help me tone up and get my body on a proper eating regimen. We started immediately, and that’s when I picked up my first dumbbell.
Training for a Bikini Competition
During this time, one of my best friends decided to compete in a bodybuilding show for the bikini division. She asked Kyle to coach her on a diet, since he had competed in the past himself. I watched my friend transform her body into a lean machine. She looked fantastic, and I’ve never been more jealous for a six-pack like hers. That was when I decided I wanted to do a show myself. I needed something that was going to motivate me to lose the weight.
Kyle and I started prepping for a show together on January 1, 2012. I’d gone backwards over the holidays and had a long way to go in only 11 weeks. Kyle made us a very strict diet that was split up into 6-8 meals a day so we’d be eating small proportions every 2-3 hours. We measured every ounce of food on a scale to know exactly how many calories we were eating (we kept track of our intake by using the DailyBurn application). This meant we had to be prepared 100% of the time. We did cardio daily before breakfast in addition to evening weight lifting sessions. There was no eating out, there was no “I’m too busy to eat,” and there was no “I’m too tired to go to the gym.” Food and working out was our number one priority for 11 weeks.
I knew the path ahead was going to be tough. All my friends who had competed in the past told me no one will understand until they go through it themselves. I started realizing exactly what they meant around week five, which was a milestone I’d been warned about. It’s the time when the weak separate from the strong, when a lot of people give up and say they’ve had enough, but it was also when we began seeing the serious changes.
There was no alcohol allowed, which meant we couldn’t enjoy a nice glass of red wine together after a long day. We both gave up on trying to go out on the weekends for many reasons. We eventually got to a point where we were so tired that we wanted nothing but to lay around on the couch all evening. Weekends weren’t weekends to look forward to any longer. I worked in the mornings, and then we’d meet up for our workout. We’d then go home to cook our food for the upcoming week, which took the rest of the day. We had turned into zombies. We did the exact same thing every day, and ate the exact same thing ever day. The last six weeks of training are a blur to us.
The Hard Work Pays Off
Surprisingly, the last two weeks flew by. During the final week I got my final preparations done, including my stage spray tan (a very specific color made for competitions that makes you look like an oompa-loompa). We looked the best we ever had in our lives and we were almost done…all the hard work was about to pay off.
During the morning of the show my anxiety levels were sky rocketing. I had no idea what to expect or what to even do on the stage. I just sat and waited…and waited…and waited…until my name was finally called to get in line and head toward backstage.
I remember peeking around the curtain to see that the room was jam-packed with friends and family of all the competitors. I was as nervous as could be…and then it hit me…this was the moment I had worked so hard for. I had lost 11 pounds in 11 weeks and about 7% body fat. That was all that mattered to me. I didn’t care if I brought home a medal or a trophy. I didn’t care if I made top five and qualified for nationals. All that mattered to me was that I had accomplished what I had set out to do. I went on stage and I rocked it. It felt amazing to hear the crowd cheering and the hundreds of snaps from the photographer’s cameras.
After I was done, I joined the crowd to watch Kyle compete on stage for all that he had worked so hard for. I didn’t place, but Kyle earned third in the men’s physique category and fifth in the men’s bodybuilding. I was so proud of the two of us and ecstatic for his winnings as well. We celebrated that night by indulging at the local frozen yogurt joint.
Finding a Fitness Passion
That night, I couldn’t even think about doing another show, but now, I’ve realized I’ve found a new passion. I can honestly say I’m excited for the next time the two of us start dieting again. We’re currently taking the rest of the year off to build as much muscle as we can and plan to compete in multiple shows next spring.
Going through this experience was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, which makes it my greatest accomplishment. If it wasn’t for Kyle I never would have been able to do this. Some people thought it was a bad idea to diet together, but we proved them all wrong. We decided for the future that there’s no other way we’ll do it because we were there for one another and understood what the other was going through. There were no tempatations in the house because we ate the exact same foods. We were there for each other every step of the way and will be the next time around, too.