Summer and bathing suit season are officially here in the United States, but for NPC (National Physique Committee) competitors it is always bikini season! The concept of a competition based on muscle tone, appearance, etc of one’s body and not on a more objective performance standard like speed, distance, or points scored in a game is different from my sports based mentality, but it is also very intriguing to me. And I don’t think anyone can deny that these men and women look AWESOME! Since this is obviously not a realm of the fitness world I am familiar with, I talked my friend Kate (who is one of the beautiful girls I got to hang out with in Denver early this year) in to answering some questions about her journey to becoming a bikini competitor! Truth – the girl was looking REALLY good back in February and multiple comments were made about her being jacked then! Below I have her give us some insight about competitions and how she prepared for her 1st one earlier this month.
Background Info about Competitions:
1) Me: What is the name of the competition you recently competed in? Which division/class did you compete in?
Kate: Max Muscle Mile High. I was in two separate classes which are divided by height, Bikini Novice Class C and Bikini Open Class C 5’4 to 5’6.
2) Me: What is the difference between the figure and bikini divisions at fitness competitions?
Kate: The best way to describe the difference between the women’s division in a fitness competition is by comparing body type. Bikini girls are judged off of poise, presentation and body lines. Muscles in a bikini competitor are softer and the judges tend to look for curves, femininity and beauty. Hair, skin tone, makeup and comfort on the stage are all factors. Figure girls are judged more on the leanness and condition of their bodies. Their body fat is less than that of a bikini competitor and the judges look for healthy proportion and symmetry.
Information about Kate:
1) Me: Tell us about your athletic/fitness background prior to becoming involved in NPC competitions.
Kate: I grew up playing sports and working out. In college I was introduced to weight lifting but never really saw any changes in my body due to the weekend beer drinking and fried food. Upon graduation and starting my “real world job” I needed a way to release the stress of work and a way to relax. I joined a gym, hired a trainer and did cross fit type workouts. After 6 months and 5 days a week of weight and HIIT training I started to see striations in my muscles and a substantial change in my body fat percentage.
2) Me: What sparked your interest in competing?
Kate: My interest in fitness competitions was sparked after watching one of my best friends take the stage last year. I started doing a lot of research and was inspired by the dedication and success of other competitors.
3) Me: How long was your “pre-contest workout and diet” and how did it differ from your normal workout and eating habits (since you were obviously very fit to begin with)?
Kate: I went through four different pre-contest diet phases in 6 weeks to reach my end results. I made it my “goal” for 2012 to live a clean and fit lifestyle. I changed my daily diet to incorporate clean proteins, fresh fruits, vegetables, supplements, vitamins and complex carbs. My pre-contest workout routines focused on a different muscle group every day. I increased the amount of weight I was lifting and the repetitions I was doing. My personal trainer and nutrition coach, who has 20 years of experience and has competed herself, customized my meal plans and my workouts.
4) Me: What is the hardest part of competition preparation?
Kate: The hardest part of competition prep, for me was not giving in to temptation. I love chocolate, chips and salsa and yes, beer but I held strong and giving up those things was worth it.
5) Me: Which part did you enjoy most? Which did you enjoy the least?
Kate: I love working out and nutrition planning. It is such a science in figuring out what to put in your body, on what days and seeing the results. I have never been as energized and happy as I was during this time. My least favorite part of competing is the lack of knowledge of some of the people around me. People who don’t understand eating clean and working out can be very negative and mean. I made it a goal to take any negative feedback that was given to me and turn it into something positive so that it wouldn’t bring me down on my amazing journey.
6) Me: Describe the competition experience itself. Were you nervous, excited, confident, etc?
Kate: I am very lucky in the fact that I had an amazing experience leading up to my competition. I met so many great people and really enjoyed all of the preparation. I was totally confident in the way that I looked and it wasn’t until I was in my line up, on the stage that my nerves really kicked in. My cheeks where twitching so bad it was hard to smile and my hands were shaking and sweaty. I hit my poses with confidence but anyone could tell how nervous I was by the “smile” on my face.
7) Me: Have you received any positive feedback regarding your decision to compete?
Kate: I cannot say that I was surprised by the support I received from my family and friends because of how many amazing people that I have in my life but I can tell you that I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. Not a day went by that a family member or friend wasn’t encouraging me, asking me questions or pushing me to keep going. I have to give my boyfriend all of the credit in the world for eating clean with me, helping make all of our meals on Sunday nights for the whole week and most of all putting up with my sour mood on low carb days.
8) Me: How about any negative? (If so, how do you respond to those negative ones?)
Kate: Any negative feedback or comments that were made to me I turned in to something positive and used as fuel for my fire. A lot of people do not understand what it takes to compete and because they don’t understand it they disagree with it. I hope that these types of people can learn to be more open-minded and take the opportunity to learn about living a clean and fit lifestyle and how truly rewarding it really is.
9) Me: What does the future hold for you?
Kate: I am going to continue doing exactly what I am doing now. Working hard, eating clean and enjoying the fit lifestyle that I have worked so hard to build. My goal is to be positive motivation for the people in my life and help at least one person change their lifestyle around. As far as my next competition, I will be competing in the ARMBRUST PRO GYM, Warrior Classic in August, again in the Bikini divisions.
10) Me: What advice do you have for those interested in becoming involved in Figure/Bikini/etc competitions?
Kate: Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do it. I met a girl through this competition who lost 60 pounds, competed and took 3rd place; if that isn’t motivation I don’t know what is. Set your goals high and work towards them every day. Make clean eating and fitness a priority in your life. Life is too short to look back and say “I wish I would have eaten better, I wish I would have pushed myself harder”. Do it now and enjoy the benefits every day of your life. (Emphasis added by Tanya – since I loved this quote from her!)
Kate: I do want to give credit to my trainer and coach Angel Granieri, Owner of Team Fitness and Nutrition and also a thank you to my sponsor, Chris Girany of Nutrition Company . If anyone is interested in competing or would like more information please feel free to contact me. I can refer people to my suit designer, make-up and hair artist and of course my trainer.
If you want to track Kate’s progress as she continues on this journey, you can do so at her personal BodyBuildingPage .
Have you ever been in a fitness competition? Have you (or do you currently) want to? Any questions for Kate? Leave them below and I will sweet talk her in to answering them! 🙂 If you don’t have questions – just tell her how motivating she is and how great she looks instead!