|Not me. Or my lady trophy.|
And just like that I competed in my first fitness competition. That’s about how fast the whole experience was. I walked on stage, hit a couple poses, stood in a line and in less than a minute was judged. I was not judged a winner. Instead I was judged thoroughly disappointed somewhere in the middle. My competitive streak was most unhappy.
My division, tall bikini had thirteen competitors. Divided by height, the show had two bikini divisions: one for those under 5’4 and one for those over. Now if this seems rather unfair, it was. The lower division had only five competitors. A division has five finalists. Yes, everyone was a winner in the lower division. In comparison, most people were losers in my division. I got the pleasure of being first loser. And yet again it sucks to be tall.
Anyway, judging is completed in the morning. This consists of you walking out, hitting poses at three marks and then all lining up at the back of the stage. They then have everyone turn around and a split second later they called five girls to the front. This ended up being their top five. They were picked in all of about two minutes.
After calling the top five and viewing them front and back, they called up the rest of us and we also posed front and back. At this point, I was called forward along with another competitor. Generally this is a very good sign and I figured I was being compared for inclusion in the top five. This was not the case. Rather than comparing again – which is common in big divisions – they put us back in line and moved us off stage. And that was it.
After judging, given that I had been moved, many people thought I was a shoe in for a top five finish. I felt confident as well, sure that I had at least landed myself a fourth or fifth place. Really I didn’t care as long as I got a trophy. I’m a girl. I like shiny things that say I’m awesome at stuff.
Since judging was over, Dreamy and I decided to have a little lunch at which point I let myself go a bit. Yes, I had to put on a bikini again, but the hard part was over. I had earned an effing tamale. And rice. And a daiquiri. And ice cream. Yes, I ate all of that before putting on a bikini six hours later for the night show. I only felt marginally guilty.
The night show is basically just all flash. Since the judging is complete, they parade everyone around and hand out prizes. It’s easy. I went out and hit my poses again and then they called the top five. One name. Two names. Three names. Four names. Five names. WHAT THE EFF?! None of the names belonged to me. I left the stage dejected as they begin announcing the places of the girls left on stage. Why hadn’t I been called?
Initially I got mad. I got upset. I let it get me down. Yes, I’d gotten sixth and done well overall, but being an intensely competitive person I wanted more. I wanted that shiny, lady statue. I wanted people to know how well I’d done. I wanted recognition.
I was about halfway through the best burger and coconut milkshake of my life when I realized I really didn’t effing care. No, I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, but I still had accomplished something pretty amazing. I’d been incredibly dedicated for months. I’d worked hard and while the results hadn’t led to a silly trophy, they had led to a strong, confident body. And as awesome as it would have been to get totally wasted while carrying around a trophy in the shape of a buff lady, the physical and mental results are far more rewarding.
Besides, judging is subjective. As Dreamy reminded me, “Any given Sunday, babe.” And inappropriate football movies aside, he was totally right.
Then, a few days later I checked my email. Now generally I don’t get many emails at According to Sauce. So when I logged in and saw two, I was pretty excited. But what really got me was the fact that apparently my journey and hard work had inspired someone. Both of the emails said that I had motivated them to get off the couch, go to the gym and make a change in their life. Reading those two messages left me feeling so incredibly inspired. While it’s nice to do something for you, it’s something else entirely when that personal change can positively affect another. That was never my plan, but I’m so glad it’s become an outcome.
So will I do another fitness contest? Honestly, I’m not sure. While I enjoyed the process, the diet left me with a short fuse and nearly entirely changed how I treated those closest to me. Nothing – no matter how much you like it – is worth treating those you love poorly. Let’s not sugarcoat; I was a raging bitch. I’ve heard that though changes in mood can be common they are avoidable with changes to the diet, but if it’s not than I’ll be going into retirement.
What won’t be changing is my dedication to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I’ll still be mindful of my dietary choices. I’ll still go to the gym. I’ll still treat my body the way it deserves to be treated, because it feels good to do that. And maybe – if I’m lucky – I’ll inspire another person or two. It’s not a lady trophy, but it will certainly do.
P.S: I treated my FACEBOOK fans to a peak at what I looked like at the contest. Feel free to become a fan and take a look!