This weekend was quite an eventful one for me. I flew to Bacolod, Negros Occidental (Philippines) for the 2016 PCBF Bacolod Open Bodybuilding and Physique Championship. It was the culmination of all the hard work, training, and prep I had been doing over the past 7 and a half weeks. This was it.
My coach has a pretty amazing and scientific approach to competition prep. Apart from the guidance in form and technique, I have gained so much in terms of knowledge and information from working with him. Having him with me from start to finish (all the way backstage on the big day itself) did a lot for my confidence and self-esteem. I’ve discovered that most bodybuilders and bikini athletes think similarly about ourselves pre, during, and post-show. We tend to be pretty critical of our bodies and the progress we think we don’t see.
My coach and I flew in on a Thursday, two days out to show day. We wanted to have enough time to sort out hotel accommodations, my meals, and still be able to rest and relax. It was a great idea, as it turned out, because the travel had worn me out considering my low body fat, the calorie deficit, and overall stress my body had been subject to for the past month and a half.
I depleted salt two days out (because salt retains water, and water bloats) and water on the day of the show itself. It was such a mental and physical challenge! I looked at frosty bottles of water and wanted so badly to reach out and guzzle it down. My craving for sweets was worse than ever. And I was just plain exhausted. But it was necessary in order to look tight and toned on stage.
My coach applied several coats of the tanning formula on me while at the hotel and then oiled me up backstage. Got my hair and makeup, put on my bikini, jewellery, and heels, and I was good to go. It’s always a crazy mix of feelings doing these shows. You’re excited and nervous at first, and hours into the show (while athletes from other categories take the stage and judging continues) you start getting exhausted. The dehydration was really sinking in and I could feel my joints tensing up.
Being in 4-inch heels for hours was nowhere close to being a walk in the park. Sometime close to final judging, I felt tears threatening to roll down my cheeks because I just felt so completely exhausted–all I wanted was to crawl into my hotel bed. Finally, our names and numbers were called, and one by one we took the stage, threw down our poses, and waited to hear the verdict.
It was a massive relief and awesome surprise to hear that I had bagged gold and won the top spot for the Bikini category. It felt like more than 7 weeks of work went into this prep season and it all boiled down to this moment. However, as happy as I was to win this one, it made me think of all my weak points. I quickly thought about how much work I would need to immediately get into so that I can present a better and tighter package on the next show I do. I want to build my shoulders and glutes more and definitely need to work on the fluidity of my poses. A pretty cool bonus to this win is being told I qualified for the Arnolds Amateur competition in Hong Kong. I think it would be a fantastic experience to participate in that. It’s a much bigger league than this last one, and would be a good stepping stone to the actual big leagues.
What I love about this experience is not just looking good after all the hard work, it’s what it does to me mentally and emotionally. This kind of experience requires 100% discipline and follow-through. It’s not like my coach can see me everyday and keep an eye on me. It’s up to me to follow my workout routine on days I train without him, and it’s up to me to stick to my diet/meal plan. The results in my body will always show the amount of discipline and commitment I poured into the program.
After the show, I got to have a good meal, a dessert of chocolate cake, a beer, and two hours of sleep before hopping on a plane back home. What an experience. Come Monday morning, I woke up and took a selfie to make sure my hard work was still there and not undone by the pizza slice I had with my dad Sunday night. Haha.
The weekend came and went and when Monday morning rolled in, the first place I went to was the gym. Took my little boy with me so I could get a work out in and still spend some time with him. He has been incredibly understanding and supportive of me in the weeks he would wake up without me next to him (yes, I co-sleep). All in all, I look back at the weekend and the weeks prior and I breathe a sigh of relief and contentment knowing all our hard work paid off. Moving forward, I have my mind set on enjoying a little bit of off-season goodness (meaning, not to obsess over my macros or follow an intense diet), spend time with my little guy, but still hit the gym and maintain the work we’ve begun.
After all, there’s no telling when my team and I decide to get me back on stage again. It’s always good to be ready.