Adventures in Fitness, Fashion and Fabulousness


As I enjoyed breakfast with a colleague during a business trip, I ended up having a chat about fitness.  Being that my colleague and I are both into healthy nutrition and exercise, the topic of body building came up.

“So, you compete in figure shows?” she says. “That’s so cool!”

“Why, thank you.  I am currently trying to put on weight so I can grow muscle.  So far, I am 20+ lb over competition weight, and I am trying to keep it up.  It’s very weird, but I am learning a lot.”

“Oh,” she says. “So you are supposed to drop all of that weight later?”

“Eventually, yes.” I reply. “But only for the show.  It is not sustainable to keep it that way.”

“So, this is not your real body, is it?”

That got me thinking.  This was not the only time in which someone tells me that this is not my real body, presumably because my real body would be the one I show up on a stage during a figure show.

Except that the rest of the year, I have the body that I have today.

The question also makes me feel like the Pod People from Attack of the Body Snatchers.

If I am not wearing my real body, whose body am I wearing?  My neighbor’s?

I find the question really amusing.

My back at the August 2012 Figure Show.  Weight: 110 lbs. soaking wet.

My back at the August 2012 Figure Show. Weight: 110 lbs. soaking wet.

My back today, April 2014. Weight: 134.

My back today, April 2014. Weight: 134. A lot more muscle, and honestly, a lot better.

So what is my real body?

The answer is simple.  My real body is the body I have today.

And the body I had in 2012.

And the body I will have a year from now, provided I don’t kick the bucket.

We are issued only one body, and we’d better take care of it because it’s the only one we have.

One of the weirdest experiences is that of the post-show blues.  Nobody tells you about that, but any competitor, whether a newbie or a veteran, knows what I’m talking about.

When you are prepping, you get a lot of compliments. “Wow!  You are losing so much weight!  You look great!”  And in our culture weight loss equals beauty.

However, once you are done with the show, you cannot stay in that weight and body fat levels without running the risk of damaging your metabolism.  Hence, you must slowly but surely bring your weight up to a more realistic level, and start building muscle again.

Why? Because you cannot grow muscle if you stay at that ridiculous level of low body fat.

On the other hand, eating for growing is such a change from eating for losing that it takes some time to get used to it physically and psychologically.

So after panicking after going up two sizes (from 0-2 to 2-4), I have come to the realization that the goal is not in being slim for the sake of being slim, but to be in the best shape of my life and get even better if I can.

Exhibit A, my back.  One of the major things in bodybuilding is to develop a nice “V” taper.  Back in 2012, I managed to get in great shape, but my muscles were not on par with my goals.  If you notice the two pictures above, you will know what I am talking about.

The first is a picture from my 2012 show.  I was 110 lb. and my “V” taper wasn’t that great.

As you can see from the second picture, the “V” taper is a lot more noticeable.  True, I will still need to drop body fat before strutting around on a stage in a posing suit, but I have a much better base to start with.

And there I am.

Yes, both of these pictures are of my real body.

I love my body.

I love dressing up that body.

And at the end of the day, it is all about taking care of that body and see how far I can take it.

~ Belfebe out.



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.