Competition season is upon us!
Typically fitness competitors compete somewhere between March through November. Serious About Fitness (Saf) currently runs 3 shows a year, April, June and October. During this time my social media feed is peppered with photos of meal prep, gym PRs, bikini poses and motivational quotes. It’s always exciting to watch the competition prep count downs and updates.
As we near the show athletes get leaner, train harder, eat less, flex often and might even complain a little more (low carb prep feels) 😉
We see veins and dark tan and more skin and so much excitement. The countdown is compelling and we cheer from the sidelines. We want to know what happens, all the details. How did you look, how did you place, how did it go?! Tell us. So often competitors go through it all and then don’t post the after. Share what happened regardless of the outcome because I guarantee you are inspiring someone.
I’m no longer competing and am instead honoured to be one of the saf ( and Physique Canada) judges. I’m not sure if I’ll ever compete again, although never say never, but at this moment in time competing is not anywhere on my radar because getting stage lean isn’t inline with my current life plans.
Stage lean, what is that anyway?
Getting lean enough for the stage is a goal. It means taking your athletic physique to another level. Depending on the category you choose to compete in will determine the level of your conditioning required. For example a bodybuilder of figure competitor (or women’s muscular physique) is leaner than a fitness model. A fitness model is leaner than a bikini model. Your current fitness level and your genetics play a part in choosing the right category for you and so does your personal taste. In saf for example a bikini model competitor can carry a slightly higher body fat percentage than a fitness model with the emphasis on an hourglass feminine and fit shape rather than the round shoulders and a nice quad sweep of a fitness model. Both are beautiful, both are a combination of training style, muscle mass and conditioning and genetics. Realistically though, regardless of the category you choose you will need to get stage lean and that means a lower than normal body fat percentage. The last few weeks of prep will go beyond your healthiest self to get there and let’s be honest, you will push the envelope of you regular the day-to-day “healthy” habits for a short time in order to get where you need to be. Know this and know that you will want a plan in place to find that sweet spot, your healthiest self again as quickly as you can post show.
From a judges perspective there are some things I want to address.
- Stage lean is not your maintenance goal weight.
Know that this body you’ve worked so hard for isn’t going to be the one you walk around in everyday. You can potentially maintain something very close but know that once you’ve been this lean, tanned, tight and glamorous it can mess with your head. Body image can be distorted and if you are not prepared to see some of this work fade you may be in for a shock. Be sure to talk about a post show plan and reverse diet with your coach. Plan to get your body fat and mental health back to a healthy balanced and “normal” place. This may only be a few pounds or it maybe more and that depends on your current condition, your genetics, your preference and your metabolism. Take the time to find this and be gentle with yourself while getting there.
- The level of your conditioning does not determine your placing.
Saf is not about how conditioned (lean) you are. We don’t care about your veins and your striations. We care how fit and healthy and uniquely beautiful you look on stage. Saf is about health, fitness, beauty and glamour and we want the best overall woman to win. The saf winners are inspiring. They are elegant, vibrant and dazzling. The look is well-balanced, full, fit, beautiful and achievable. The ideal look is whatever looks best on YOU. There are no cookies cutter winners. We have no preferences, it comes down to who looks best on stage THAT day. This includes, overall look and shape, conditioning (appropriate for the category), style and presentation. We are different from many other shows in that there is not set routine posing, no suit/shoe requirements, no hair style or colour preference. Be YOUR best self and bring that “it factor”.
- Win with humility and lose with grace.
Do I need to say more? No one likes poor sportsmanship – in fact we will not tolerate it. I can guarantee that if you check your ego and are your own genuine and authentic self you will make many friends backstage at saf. You will be amazed at the amount of women you will meet whom you have so much in common with. Yes you are competing but that’s pretty much any sport and instead of focusing on that and being open to making friends you will have so much more fun.
- Focus on you. Your goals, your progress, your achievements.
Yes you are judged that moment on stage, yes you are compared to the woman next to you, but only for your overall package in that moment not for who you are or why you are there. Do this for you and no one else and walk off that stage feeling glorious regardless of the outcome.
- Rock the shit out of your time on stage.
Seriously, it matters. Strut, smile and show your stuff. Do not let anything or anyone interrupt your focus. Mindset is a huge part of your confidence. We see your smile, your energy and your confidence and we love it. Share it with us!
To the Spectators
- These women worked damn hard for this.
Regardless of their current shape know that this was not without hard work and sacrifice. This is not a “I woke up like this” scenario. Many of these beauties lost many pounds and inches and/or worked very hard to gain every curve you see.
- The lights and stage skew reality.
Keep in mind the stage lighting is much different from outside lighting. The position of the stage also alters perspective. The same goes for photos, videos or watching the show live. All different and you’ll have a different view when you see these athletes in person in thier teeny tiny bikinis in the lobby. Kind of like social medial 😉 Usually the tan is shockingly dark (or orangeish like Oompa Loompa) and the make up and hair is much more than you thought. I bet you’ll also say oh she’s smaller in person. Remember – all for show day.
- They each have a story.
Some of the most inspiring competitors are the least expected. Something like, she lost 100lbs, she overcame her paralyzing shyness, she has umpteen children, She recovered from a severe injury, she is 60 years old and just started lifting. Or maybe it’s she’s been lifting for 20 years, she’s a professional dancer, she’s a gymnast. Everyone comes from a different background, with different path and a different goal. These are real women with normal lives putting in the work to reach their goals while juggling the rest of the usual.
- They may not look like this all the time.
Make up, tan, in the best shape of their life – this is a show look and women’s bodies change many times during their life journey depending on their life stages, goals, health, habits etc. Try not to compare. Try not to judge – yourself or them.
- Be inspired.
You can absolutely do this too if you want to! Give yourself plenty of time, there is no rush. Set the goal, have a plan and work towards it one day at a time.
So here we are a week away from the June Serious About Fitness Summer Spectacular and I’m so exited to see everyone. This is the final stretch, you’ve done all the work and now it’s time to shine.
Stay focused, find your zen and enjoy the ride and knock it out of the park! We are cheering for you!!