Adventures in Fitness, Fashion and Fabulousness


Figure Show Aftermath: Lessons Learned

So last Saturday I did my first figure competition.  I had a great deal of fun, met a lot of really cool people, and got not one, but two shiny trophies.

Yay me!

Will there be pictures? You ask.

Why yes!  There will be pictures!  There was a professional photographer available and I did purchase the package.  I have not gotten the photos yet, but I did get the notice that the CD is in the mail.  Horay!  So pictures will be up as soon as I receive them.

Which brings me to the section of … *drumroll*


Lesson Learned #1:  If there is a photographer available, purchase the package.  Especially if this is your first competition.  After all, you are probably looking the best you have looked in your life, and you don’t know if you will have the opportunity to compete again.  So yes!  Get the pictures for posterity!  Bonus points if you have children!  Nothing like leaving photos of you in a tiny posing suit for future generations!  (Holy cow! Is that Grandma?)

Lesson Learned #2: If you think that your spray tan is too dark, it probably isn’t.  I got only two coats of that stuff  plus a retouch, and I was one of the palest competitors onstage.  Not that I was terribly pale, mind you, but the darker you are the better you look under those bright lights and the more your muscles can be seen from a distance.  This is important because you want the judges to see those muscles.  It can be all the difference between placing or not.

Lesson Learned #3: Spray tan gets into everything! Once you have been spray tanned, the stuff will take a while to dry.  And even when it does, it will stain everything you touch – from your bedsheets to your toilet seat.  Plan accordingly, and warn your significant other.  You may not want to get hand prints in funky places and then try to explain that that to your spray tanning technician (although I suspect that these folks have seen everything!)

Lesson Learned #4:  Water is not your friend. At least, when it comes to spray tanning. Shower several hours before your session and leave it alone afterwards.  Otherwise, the stuff will come off, look awful, and make a mess in your shower.  Your spray tan will be fixable, but the mess in your shower may not be your idea of fun.

Lesson Learned #5:  Aveeno and Bag Balm(TM) rock.  When it comes to moisturizing prior to your tanning, Aveeno on your body and Bag Balm on your knees and elbows are awesome.  There are many other more expensive products, but Aveeno and Bag Balm trump them all.  CAUTION! Do not moisturize the day of your spray tanning! Any moisturizer will leave a film and mess up your tan.  But moisturizing several days before that is highly recommendable.

Lesson Learned #5: If you think that your makeup is too dark, it probably isn’t.   Purchase a shade that is only one shade lighter than your spray tan, and bronzer that is as dark to provide dimension.  I had purchased makeup that I thought that was dark enough for my purposes until I got out of my tanning session and learned the error of my ways. (My coach had warned me about it, but would I listen? Nooooo.)  In the end, I had to make a run to the MAC store, show them what I had, have them shake their head and agree with me that it would not work.  Luckily, I got a really cool African American makeup artist who hooked me up with the same shade of makeup that she was using.  It worked great.

Lesson Learned #6: Watch your bootie! No, really, watch your bootie.  I was so paranoid making sure that the top of my posing suit was properly aligned that I forgot about my bottom.  I had not realized that it was crooked until I saw the proofs of the pictures.  I am sure that it cost me points.  So from now on, I will be policing my bootie like nobody’s business!

Lesson Learned #7: “S” Hooks are your friends. Unless you are a big fan of ties in your posing suit, go for “S” hook closures instead.  Sooner or later you will have to pay a visit to the ladies room and getting in and out of that thing, and having to re-tie it, is a royal pain.  It may also lead to ending up with a crooked suit when going onstage (see “Watch your bootie!” above).  If your seamstress does not offer the “S” hook closures, have your suit altered as soon as you get it.  It is quick and easy and even your local dry-cleaner can do it.  I wish I had known that.

Lesson Learned #8: Speak softly and carry your own exercise bands.  Before you take the stage, you may want to “pump up.”  This means that you will exercise with rubber bands or dumbells in order for your muscles to “pop” at the very last minute.  Often, the promoters of the show will have equipment available for everyone.  However, it is not guaranteed that they will offer it and, even if they do, there may be too many competitors having to share equipment.  So bring your own.

And I think that’s all for now.  I am sure I will think of something else, and post it later.  But these are the ones that come to mind.

So, would I do this again?  You bet your bootie!  And next time, mine will not be crooked!



What Do You Get when You Do A Figure Show?

Tomorrow, I take the stage for my first figure show.  I have been preparing for this for almost a year and a half, with a grueling last 12 weeks of work and dieting for “D” Day.

It feels good.

And today, for the first time in 12 weeks, I am not going to the gym.  Instead, I will take care of my spray tanning, my hair, and I will be practicing my posing (a lot!).

Oh, and when I’m not practicing, I will be spending a lot of time with my feet up.


At any rate, I keep being asked in regards to my show “So what do you get?” (Ostensibly, if I win.)

It is a very good question.  In fact, the thought has never even crossed my mind.  However, since folks have asked, I have come up with a list of stuff that I believe will answer that question:

By prepping for a figure show I get:

  1. A banging body
  2. To be in the best shape of my life
  3. To feel like a million bucks
  4. Bragging rights
  5. And if I get to place in any category, a shiny trophy (see bragging rights above)

For a 55 year old woman, that ain’t bad.  It ain’t bad at all.

I have also learned a lot about myself, my relationship with food, my ability to accomplish those things that I never thought I would, and I have also expanded my capacity for making things work by juggling gym, nutrition, and a demanding career.

I have learned to appreciate my husband even  more.  His patience and support have been a godsend to me.  And I have met a lot of fun people.

And of course, there are always those bragging rights.  We cannot forget about those.

For this senior citizen, it doesn’t get much better than that.

PS.  Yes, there will be pictures.

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Sparkly Posing Suits!

Looky there!  I am moving all of my fitness blogging to this new place.  I am excited!

And hey!  I even got a nifty picture for my blog’s header, and it’s one of my shots from Brazil!  Who said that photographing food when you travel is not a good idea?  Take note boys and girls!

Anywhoo, as some of my friends know I am working on my first figure competition.  By the time the show happens, I will have been dedicated to this endeavor for almost a year and a half, with the last 12 weeks coming down to the wire.

Because I am less than three weeks from competition, I will be posting mainly about the last stages of my preparation.  Why?  Because:

a) I can always post about contest prep later on;

b) This is the stage I am in;

c)  There are a lot of details in these last stages to take care of and a girl has just so much time; and

d) Because I want to.

So there.

At any rate, the first piece of news is that I just heard back from Nina, the fine lady who is taking care of my posing suit, and the suit is ready. 

My posing suit is black, it’s sparkly and it has rhinestones.   I am totally sure that it will be awesome and I am already doing a Snoopy dance in anticipation.  After all the sacrifice and work and dieting that I’ve gone through, I can’t wait to try it on.

Sparkly bikinis.  One of the nifty things about figure shows.

And now, to practice in those blasted 5 inch heels…

Stay tuned…