Hello friends! On September 8, I competed in the IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding) Muscle Contest Philippines, and came home with 2 gold medals and 2 bronze. I’m absolutely thrilled with my results, but even more satisfied with the relationships I made that day, the bonding I experienced with the other beautiful athletes from around the world, and the lessons I learned to take forward into my next competition.
To give you some more details on my results, my gold medals were for each of my “Master’s” classes: Over 35 years and Over 40 years. Full disclosure: I was the only athlete in both of these classes! While I would have loved to line up with other “older” athletes, it made me appreciate that this is definitely a young women’s sport… I was the oldest Bikini athlete by about 20-25 years!
The bronze medals came for 1) my “Novice” class- a Novice is any athlete who has not won a top 3 placing at an IFBB contest, and 2) my “Open” class- any age athlete, with classes organised based on height, so I was competing against girls around 5’4″-5’5″ tall.
I felt great to be competitive among women who are more in Theda’s peer group than my own, and I have to say it was easy to bond with these amazing and ambitious young ladies. I formed relationships that will continue well past the competition, and it’s great to have some “partners in crime.”
This is actually one of my favourite parts of the day… bonding backstage, talking about training and nutrition strategies, sharing little supplies and equipment someone may have forgotten, and making sure we all look stage-ready by the time we line up for our call. Even though we’re competing against each other, we’re all in it together, and we help each other backstage. I think we all understand on a deep level what we’ve had to go through to even make it to the competition, and we want to see everyone do her best.
While I was incredibly proud of the physique I brought to the IFBB stage, a few things happened that day that were key learning points for me for next time (October 20 is my next show!) Call them “newb” mistakes…
- My skin did not cooperate with the spray tan, and it turned out sticky and too dark. It was like a manicure that never quite dried… my skin had that tacky feeling and the tan would crease & mark whenever I bent over or if anything touched it- including my bikini! I tried my best to NOT lean over, but standing ramrod straight from 5am until showtime at 2pm & 8pm was pretty much impossible, haha. The less than optimal tan affected my look onstage by hiding rather than highlighting my muscle definition. I think I can prevent this for my next show by prepping my skin with different (ie, non-greasy) products the week before the competition.
- I had to diet hard to get to my stage weight, 117.7 lbs (53.5kg). This is lighter than my previous stage weight because the Bikini look for IFBB is sleeker and slimmer than the Fitness Model look for ANB (my next show.) Because of the extended caloric deficit, my muscles looked a bit flat on stage. We did do a “carb up” the day before (1.5 times my normal carb intake, to fill up my muscles with glycogen and water), but it’s a fine line between enough and too much, and looking back on it, we could have done more. I didn’t figure this out until Finals, when I couldn’t get any muscular “pump” or vascularity despite eating about 8 packs of Smarties and 2 Reece’s peanut butter cups. So instead of looking my best at Finals, I feel like I looked a bit dull, and also found it hard to engage my abs- I just couldn’t flex! My coach & I are going to experiment with bigger refeeds for next time so my muscles are nice and full.
These self-reflections in no way take away from the beauty of the day… they’re just learning points for next time. And all in all, it was a simply amazing experience, filled with friendship, laughter, loving support from my family and friends, and the incredible high of performance. I just loved it. And now my sights are set on the ANB Universe International on October 20… 5 more weeks to prepare before doing it all again!