Diary of a Bikini Competitor | Balanced Brunette

Better late than never, right? 😛

Sorry loves, it’s been a crazy two weeks since show day. I had to play catch up at work, with school, emails, clients, and normal things like laundry, washing dishes, cleaning my house, and playing with my poor, neglected dogs. Competition prep requires most of your time, energy, and focus. (…and it’s nice to be done.) 😛

Grab a protein shake, sit down, and get comfy because this is going to be a long one.

Peak week went well. I followed my peak week plan that I laid out in my previous post. The entire week flew by. I’m glad I took Thursday and Friday off work. There is so much to do during those last few days! I cannot even image trying to work and balance all the little details.

Diary of a Bikini Competitor: Peak Week Abs!
Diary of a Bikini Competitor: Peak Week Abs!

Thursday: I actually started my day off with a dentist appointment. Weird, right? I needed my semi-annual cleaning and they happened to have an opening on Thursday so I took it. Nothing like walking on stage with pearly whites. 🙂

Afterwards, I met my teammate at a local nail salon to get our nails done. This isn’t something I would ordinarily pay for, since I am pretty great at doing my own nails and tend to mess them up quickly (weight room problems) BUT it felt nice to do something spa-like.

Ledbetter, INC. Spring 2015 HeadbandsAfter nails, I ran home, ate a quick lunch, and jumped in the car to head up to Fort Collins, CO. (About a 45 minute drive from Boulder, CO.)

Julie, from LedBetter, INC., had asked for some help shooting their new line of spring headbands and I was happy to oblige! Ledbetter makes the most adorable fitness apparel and their message and mission are amazing. You can learn more about Ledbetter here.

Diary of a Bikini CompetitorAfter we were done shooting I made the drive back to Boulder. While I was gone, one of my best friends had snuck into my house and decorated my home office! What a nice surprise.

She hung balloons from the ceiling with a note that said “FOR BALLOON POPPIN!” and a push-pin. Each balloon had the most adorable hand-written note and/or words of encouragement. Love! They are currently sitting in a jar on my desk. <3 She also left a bouquet of the most amazing flowers ever.

After several minutes of balloon popping (and scaring the crap out of my pups!) I grabbed a quick Tupperware dinner and headed off to the gym for one last light-workout. Light weights (upper body only) and light cardio. I probably worked core, I can’t remember. 😉 God knows I love working core though.

Came home, prepped everything for Friday and went to sleep.

Friday: Up early! Took my last shower (no showers after you get your spray tan – no makeup or lotions either) and ate breakfast.

This is where it starts getting fun…

On the list of “things no one tells you about competing,” tanning has got to be the most overlooked aspect. If you are uncomfortable being naked, wet, and bent over in weird positions in front of a LOT of other people then competitions aren’t for you. 😛

My teammate, Megan, and I had to be in Golden for our tanning appointments at 10:00am. Golden is about a 20 minute drive from Boulder so not too far. Megan met me at my house so we could carpool, we donned our ninja outfits (black shorts/pants, black shirts, black flip-flops, and black hoodies), and headed out. (Don’t forget to cover your car seats with towels!)

Pre-Tan: Looking fresh with no makeup.We arrived at our appointment, signed in, and put up and covered our hair. (*Pro Tip: While getting tanned early meant that we had to be more careful about our tan the rest of the day, it also meant the tanning room was fairly empty so it wasn’t quite as uncomfortable. As the day progresses, more and more competitors pack in and you are surrounded by even more people.)

Because our appointments were so early, there were only 3 girls (myself and Megan included) there at the time. This was really nice because, like I said above, as the day goes on more and more people pile into the rooms to get tanned. It’s much less intimidating to be naked with fewer people around.

Ready for your bikini spray tan?The tanning room is really just a conference room in a hotel converted into a crazy, plastic covered mini-pop-up tent village for the day. You know those little pop up changing rooms they have at races or events? There were rows and rows of those for you to stand in while being sprayed. You would think that they would offer some privacy – they don’t. 😛

You strip down naked with your hair in a shower cap and step into your little tent. (You also peek out the top and laugh at your friend next to you.) There is a heat lamp and fan in front of every tent which basically makes you feel like a little chicken in an incubator. The spray tanners walk down the line and spray you with several coats of dark, bronze tanning oil. You literally see yourself changing color. You also bend over (so they can get all under your buttchecks), sumo squat facing forward (can’t miss any part of the lady bits), and stick your arms and legs out in weird ways while drying. No touching any part of yourself!

This is bikini life, ladies.

After drying for 20 minutes (naked), getting re-sprayed for a second time (naked), and drying again for 20 minutes (naked), you are finally allowed to (carefully) put on your loose ninja outfit. We waddled out of our tanning tents and realized we had to pee.

Diary of a Bikini Competitor: Show DayGood lord, peeing. Can we just not? Peeing is the worst part of post-tan problems. I am convinced that it the REAL reason competitors don’t drink water.

Here is the low-down on how peeing works: Don’t touch anything. That tan sticks to everything. Line the seat of the toilet with paper or squat. (We’re all great at squatting by now.) Now, grab a little dixie cup, punch out the bottom, and pee through it so you don’t drip on your spray tan. For real. EVERYTHING ruins that damn tan. lol You will most likely pee on your hand. Just become okay with that now.

Check in wasn’t until 3pm so we jumped in the car (cover those seats!) and headed back to my house. We basically sat around on brown sheets and tried not to move or ruin our $120 competition tan. Ate some lunch, watched some TV, generally enjoyed being lazy.

Around 2:30pm we headed back to the host hotel. Check in was crazy! Many competitors were coming from far away or actually flying in from different states so the hotel was buzzing. Thankfully, the line moved fairly quickly. I purchased my NPC card (yay for procrastination), was officially measured (5’5 1/4) and my suit was approved. (Bikini Girls: Wear your suit bottom to check in. There is a woman who will take you behind a curtain and make sure it is appropriately cut for the stage – no thongs! Several girls ran into a problem when their suit was not approved for the stage.) Grabbed our swag bags and headed out.

Got back to Boulder, ran to Target and the grocery store for some last-minute items, and headed home to prep everything for show day. You really don’t want to be messing around with packing your bag the morning of the show. Do yourself a favor and get every single thing you need all situated before bed the night before.

Show Day!Show Day: Woke up early, ate my breakfast of steak & sweet potatoes, drank a bit of water, and started on my hair and makeup.

Having hair & makeup done before we arrived was a huge time saver! You can always touch up backstage. I opted for a fairly basic look and stuck with classic tan foundation, bronzer, a touch of pink on my cheeks, black lined eyes, and big fake eyelashes. My hair was volumized and curled at the bottom.

Bikini Competition Make UpCompetitors meeting was at 9:30am and our final coat of tan was scheduled for 10am. We arrived at the venue just before our meeting. After our meeting, we ran downstairs for another coat of bronzer.

This is even more “open” than the first go at competition tanning. Everyone is so spazzed out and rushed that people are just naked everywhere. You quickly jump into a tent, get sprayed, jump out, and stand in the middle of the room (in front of a fan), drying your bits with every other girl you are about to step on stage with. You just deal.

After you dry, you finally put on your suit and the nice tanning lady’s assistant will superglue it to your butt. (*Pro Tip: Pee before your morning tan. I forget to pee, had to rip my suit off my ass [OW!], and be re-glued.)

Backstage with Team Strength Queens! <3You want your suit glued. You don’t want to worry about it getting all wedged up in there while you are strutting around on stage in 5 inch stilettos.

After we were tanned and glued we headed backstage.

Backstage is a cluster of half-naked females, trainers, coaches, Tupperware meals, hair spray, selfies, pump up areas, and dressing rooms. You basically pick a corner and set your stuff down. We grabbed our makeup bags and curling irons and headed to a dressing room to touch up hair and makeup.

This is where the “hurry up & wait” begins.

Bikini Girls Have Muscle Too!Bikini girls are the last girls on stage. So, you sit through mens bodybuilding, mens physique, female body building, physique, figure, fitness and then bikini is finally called.

Remember, bikini is just the division. There are so many classes of bikini girls. So, even when they start calling bikini, you still end up waiting around. 😉

Diary of a Bikini Competitor: Show DayThis ended up being one of the biggest shows in Colorado history. There was an absurd amount of bikini girls and every class had 20+ girls.

Once your class gets close to stepping on stage, you put on your heels, pump up for a few minutes, and you move upstairs. Behind the curtain, frantic NPC staff will push you into line and triple check your number and place.

This is where it really becomes a blur.

Diary of a Bikini Competitor: Center Stage
Diary of a Bikini Competitor: Center Stage

I ended up being the first one to walk onstage for my class. EekK! This was the judges only impression of me (I wish I knew that at the time.)

We were very quickly shuttled into line and then myself and the girl next to me were very quickly called forward to do our individual routines. (There were so many girls that we were called out two at a time in order to move the process along.)

At this point, I was so flustered that I went through a routine I had literally never practiced. I hit a back pose I had never intended to hit, tripped on my heel, made a weird turn, and was pulled back into line. You stand there, under the crazy hot lights, trying not to make eye contact with anyone but the judges, with a forced smile thinking “what the hell just happened??”

So many girls expressed the same thing later on. You get on stage and something really weird just comes out. I suppose you just practice, practice, practice and keep competing until you get to a point where you can nail your posing on stage every time.

Diary of a Bikini Competitor: Stage PhotosYou smile, wave, flounce around a bit, and head off stage. Depending on how many classes you enter, you may head back to the stage several times. I happened to be in three different classes so I walked off stage and was immediately pulled back into line for the next round.

Each time you step on stage it gets easier and you get more comfortable. Unfortunately, I think I blew it with my first impression. 😉 Oh well.

For the most part, you pretty much know where you are placing depending on your call outs. I was called out between 11th-15th for each of my classes and actually ended up placing better in overall bikini (which includes both seasoned competitors as well as novice) than the novice division. More on that later…

After pre-judging, it’s just more waiting. We had about four hours until we stepped on stage again for finals so we headed back to Boulder, grabbed some dinner (Chipotle!), and rested at the house for a bit.

Show day selfies!
Show day selfies!

We arrived back at the venue about an hour and a half early. We literally laid around in the hallway, took selfies, posed, drank some pre-workout (so tired!), and listened to music.

30 minutes before bikini was scheduled to go on we went and had our tan touched up and our suits re-glued. Touched up hair and make-up, put our heels back on, pumped up, and took our places in line again.

By this point, I was exhausted and really regretting my decision to compete in 3 different classes. My toes hurt and my face was tired from my perma-smile.

You suck it up, put your smile back on your face, walk out on stage and do your thing. Like I said earlier, by this point you are totally comfortable on stage. You know what to expect, where to stand, how to move quickly, and what to do. You are shaking because you are holding your poses, you are sweating because the stage lights are so hot, you are exhausted, and everyone in the auditorium is screaming at you.

Diary of a Bikini Competitor: Team Strength QueensIt’s such a weird combination of emotions and feelings.

First call outs (or the top 5 girls in each class) are called back on stage to accept trophies. The rest of us will find out how we placed later in the week when the NPC posts the ratings.

As soon as my final class was dismissed from the stage, I booked it downstairs to take off my heels and rip my suit off my butt. Sweat pants and a t-shirt never felt so amazing!

I had literally never been so excited to shower in my entire life (and that says a lot since I grew up camping and backpacking.) 5 coats of spray tan, no deodorant, and almost 48 hours of no shower (plus hairspray and makeup) makes for a smelly and sticky combination.

Ate a giant cookie, a bowl of Cheerios (you want what you want), some leftover Chipotle, and jumped in the shower. The amount of black water pouring off me was absurd. (*Pro Tip: Invest in $4 scrub gloves from Target. Best. Thing. Ever!) Prepare to be awkward half-tan and patchy for about 2 weeks post show.

Diary of a Bikini Competitor Post Show: Sunday was really just rest & recover day. I am a true introvert so not only was I physically exhausted but I was completely drained emotionally and mentally as well.

I slept in, woke up long enough to grab breakfast with my mom (who drove in from Michigan to experience her first bodybuilding competition!), and went back to sleep until the afternoon. I skipped the gym and really just focused on sleep & food. Unpacked my bag, cleaned my suit and heels, and started picking up the scattered pieces of “normal life” that had been pushed to the side during peak week.

I was able to really process my experience over the past week. There are many things to talk about and explain when it comes to competition prep, show day, politics of bodybuilding, and post-show experiences but I will leave that for the next post. 🙂

Next post will be coming shortly!
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12 Comments on Diary of a Bikini Competitor: Show Day

  1. Chelsea
    May 19, 2015 at 1:23 pm (3 years ago)

    Love this! First time bikini competitor here (7.5 weeks out) and enjoyed reading about what to expect. Thank you!

    • Balanced Brunette
      May 19, 2015 at 5:17 pm (3 years ago)


      So glad you enjoyed the series! GOOD LUCK <3

  2. Kailin Turner
    May 29, 2015 at 8:34 pm (3 years ago)

    Okay so the part I hate is that you have such a beautiful core but as soon as you start bikini posing the core muscles completely dissapear!! I hate this part!!! urg!! I have the same thing. front and not posing the abs pop… Bikini posing and the ab pop is gone!

  3. Alisha Mills
    June 1, 2015 at 12:18 pm (3 years ago)

    I really enjoyed reading these posts! My very first competition is THIS Saturday (June 6th) in Pueblo. I was already nervous and although your post made me even more nervous, it also was very helpful! How did you place?

    • Balanced Brunette
      June 1, 2015 at 1:55 pm (3 years ago)

      First of all, GOOD LUCK! It’s an incredibly accomplishment to even step on stage. Not many people have the discipline or guts. I placed 12th out of 70 girls. The “type” of girl that my show drew was a much less muscular, more fake boob type of look so I was told I was too muscular. I will be competing bikini one more time. If I run into the same problem I will be moving to fitness/figure. 🙂

  4. Nick
    June 13, 2015 at 7:50 am (3 years ago)

    Hi! Ive read a couple of your articles and think they are extremely helpful. I am helping my girlfriend with her peak week diet and we will also be following Laynes protocol. She is as lean as she needs to be so we don’t want
    to do anything too drastic. Did you end up peaking well on show day? Did you follow exactly what you wrote or did you have to increase/decrease carbs a bit? Thanks for your help!

    • Balanced Brunette
      June 14, 2015 at 10:17 pm (3 years ago)

      Nick, I followed Layne’s recommendations to a T during peak week. Increased carbs/lower protein first three days followed by lower carbs and increased protein (5% per day up to show day.) The only thing that differed was show day itself. I simply couldn’t eat that much food (the every 2 hour steak/potatoes) because a. nerves (lower appetite) and b. too much going on! Running from competitor meeting to tanning to suit glueing to stage was stressful. In hindsight, I would have slowed down, eaten my meals, and tried to remain calm. 😉 Easier said than done!

  5. kat
    September 11, 2015 at 12:38 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing this whole process.. Loved reading everything!
    I am about two weeks away from doing my first show and will be doing this for fun.
    I am a curvy pear shaped gal and tend to have fluff around my hips as I have burned off as much fat as possible, so I’m trusting the end process of my abs. I may not place but hell I am just happy I got to experience this process and diet – I will return to doing it again when better able to (financially).
    I cannot wait until I can eat like I normally did and be able to workout like a normal chick would lol!
    Thank you again!

  6. Kalyn Osborn
    December 22, 2015 at 10:47 am (2 years ago)

    This was a great read! Thank you for the info. I am going to be doing my first competition in 2016 and this gave me a lot of information!

  7. Aubree
    January 6, 2016 at 1:15 pm (2 years ago)

    Seriously so thankful for this post! I’ve been stressing about what to expect the whole day to be like. You rock!

  8. Patricia Schneider
    July 30, 2016 at 9:18 pm (2 years ago)

    Where did you get your suit from? I love it!


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