The diet, workout, and the little things I did to prep for a bikini competition without a coach. “Die with memories, not dreams”.
My Weight Loss Story Recap
My weight loss over the past 25 years has come in stages. Starting at an all time high of who knows how much, at least 150lbs, at 19 years old. I was successful in losing at least 20 lbs over the next 20 years. But then I reached a plateau around 125-130lbs.
This was still a bit heavy for my frame, as evidenced by this photo of me in 2017.
From this weight in 2017, I decided I was committed to losing ten more pounds. And I did it through paying more attention to WHAT I was eating and WHY I was eating (you can read that weight loss stage here)
At the end of 2019 I was frustrated again because I still didn’t feel like I had the physique that represented my healthy lifestyle. I ate healthy food and I exercised! I did all the things!
I didn’t share this on my previous weight loss story post, but I remember telling my husband, “If I commit 100% to counting calories for the next 6 months and I still can’t get to my desired weight, than I am paying for liposuction!” And I was serious. I was going to give it my full effort for 6 months, almost to prove that my metabolism ‘must be broken’ and the only solution is liposuction.
Simultaneously, I was going through a mid-life, empty nester crisis, and wanted to make some goals that really stretched me and made life interesting. Which is when I decided to enter my first bikini show! (read about the last 10 lbs and my first bikini show here). Needless to say, when I finally buckled down and gave calorie counting an honest effort, it worked!
Bikini show #1 was supposed to be a bucket list goal, and I vowed to never do it again.
And then I did. After bikini show number 2, I vowed to never do it again. (I just hate getting up on that stage!)
And then I did it again this past Saturday! What’s wrong with me?
The biggest thing I learned from the past 2 1/2 years is that
- You can still get fit over 40 or 45 in my case,
- Your metabolism is NOT permanent and it’s not broken. It’s ALWAYS changing.
- And lastly, if you aren’t doing something that people think is crazy, you aren’t doing it right! haha
Starting Prep 6 months early
In January of this year, my weight fluctuated between 110-115lbs. Which was still great! I do think that is ideal weight for my frame.
But, at the same time, I was getting the idea in my head that I should do another bikini show. To be honest, I thought I could bring a better physique than I had in my last show. My last show day I definitely had too much food and water in my stomach to keep my waist tight, and I wanted another chance.
I planned to do a show in March in Utah, and figured 8 weeks would be an appropriate amount of time to get ready.
So, I started weighing and measuring my food more accurately. I believed I was eating 1500 calories, but there was a lot of untracked food (veggies, condiments, etc.)
Once I started tracking 1500 calories honestly, everything and everything, the scale started to come down on it’s own.
About 4 weeks before the March show, I tried to get the coach I had hired to support me in being in the show in Utah. To my surprise, he said he didn’t want me competing there! WHAT?? I had already spent 4 weeks in my own little prep and he told me I couldn’t do the show in March!
That’s when I decided I would sign up for an out of town competition of my choice, and do it without a coach!
So, From March – June I had no one to check in with, ask questions. show my progress pictures to, and no one to help with posing and logistics on show day. But considering I’m a 48 year old amateur, and not an elite IFBB competitor, I didn’t think it mattered too much.
And I’m glad I went solo! Saving money and not having the pressure of doing well on stage for a coach was a surprisingly huge weight off my shoulders.
A friend from the gym told me she was doing a show in Sacramento, California, and that I should do it with her. I immediately put down the money for the NorCal Championships, got a hotel, and from there, I was 100% committed. Turns out, spending money motivates me to give it my all!
My Bikini prep diet
My diet hasn’t changed much in the past 2 years to be honest. On or off prep, I’ve been eating the same foods over and over. I gave myself a lot more flexibility from Summer through the end of the year, but I’m a creature of habit, and I actually LIKE the foods that I have on my plans.
For my height and weight, I’ve been staying between 1400-1500 calories, 125 g carbs, 150 g protein, and 30 g fat. My meals consistently looked like this:
- Egg whites and oatmeal with fruit
- Chicken on a green salad or with a side of sweet potatoes
- Protein ice cream, shake, or protein bar
- Ground Turkey, rice, and veggies
Within those meals I can get VERY creative! Here’s a 30 day meal plan with those meals in a variety of forms. Here’s just ideas for those meals (without specific recipes). Also, here’s a recent full day of eating a few weeks before the show at 1400 calories.
Full day of eating examples
Here’s some meals I took photos of the last few months. They aren’t consecutive days. I just labeled them that way. I usually eat the same thing for several days in a row, before switching up one of the meals.
- Breakfast: Egg whites, oatmeal with sugar free syrup and cinnamon, turkey bacon
- Lunch: Salad with chicken, hard boiled egg and Bolthouse ranch dressing.
- Snack: Built Bar <-discount link
- Dinner: Ground turkey, rice and veggies
- Breakfast: Egg whites with sargento thin sliced cheese, Oats with raspberries
- Lunch: Chicken tenders with Kernel Seasons cheddar seasoning, veggies, and sweet potato with Feast Mode Cinnamon Honey Butter seasoning.
- Snack: Protein Ice cream made with CSE protein powder, <-discount link
- Dinner: Ground turkey and veggies
- Breakfast: Eggs, thin sliced cheese turkey bacon, grapefruit
- Lunch: Chicken, sweet potato, summer squash
- Snack/dessert Protein ice cream
- Dinner: Ground turkey, spaghetti squash and green beans.
- Breakfast: Eggs, thin sliced cheese, oats with cinnamon and sugar free syrup, banana
- Lunch: Chicken, egg, veggies, and sweet potatoes
- Snack: Protein Bar
- Dinner: Steak, broccoli, tomatoes
- Egg whites, turkey bacon, avocado, oats, and raspberries
- Chicken, cauliflower rice with Kernel Seasonings cheddar, sweet potatoes, and asparagus
- Protein ice cream with blueberries
- Healthy Noodle (low calorie noodles), broccoli, ground turkey, and nutritional yeast.
The little things
Tracking honestly: The kicker when I’m trying to “dial it in” is to be more meticulous about my tracking, and focus on not eating between meals! The grazing gets out of control some days more than others, and it’s hard for me to track bites, licks, or tastes.
Cutting out Diet Coke: 3 months ago, I knew I’d have to quit my diet coke habit if my waist was going to come in smaller than before. The last show, I could NOT hold my ab muscles tight. I couldn’t even mentally connect to them! So, I gave it up cold turkey! *READ MY DIET COKE STORY HERE WITH MY BLOATING BEFORE AND AFTER PICS
Sodium makes my weight fluctuate several pounds! I didn’t realize how much water I was retaining, but I knew I was getting excessive with the salt. The more vegetables I ate, the more salt I ate. But the days when I avoided the salt shaker, my weight was always several pounds lower the next day, and you could start seeing the definition in my muscles again. So, I saved that in my toolbox for the week of the show.
So, with 1400-1500 calories, I got me almost all the way to the stage. Which means, at 112-115, I was actually eating a lot more, when I thought I was eating 1500 calories.
The last few weeks before the show, I ate the same foods, but I cut to 1200 calories with about 80-100 grams of carbs (except for long run days). And I kept looking leaner.
My workout for bikini prep
In the last 2 1/2 years I have added 10 lbs of muscle, which I’m thrilled about! (as measured by Dexa)
My workout hasn’t changed in the past year and a half either. I consistently do about 45 minutes of strength training and 45-60 minutes of running. (I do have a high carb day when my running exceeds 60 minutes, like for this marathon!)
But my strength split looks like this:
- Monday– Leg Day
- Tuesday– Shoulder Day
- Wednesday– Back Day
- Thursday – leg day
- Friday – Shoulder
- Saturday-Biceps/ triceps; except I always skip that day. haha
I generally get in 5 different exercises for each day. I always train at the gym and have a mix of machines, dumbbells, and a barbell. (except during quarantine and that home workout is here)
I try to load the weight as heavy as possible, but enough that I only take a 30 second rest break in between sets. I do plan to change this so that it’s heavy enough that I need a full minute or two between sets.
And that brings us to last week, peak week!
I honestly didn’t change much during the week of the show. I was already lean enough, and my diet was already clean. But, in order to try to “fill out the muscles”, I tapered up my carbs towards the end of the week.
I had been on carbs below 100 the last few weeks, so on
- Thursday, I increased it to 125 carbs (with rice, rice, cakes, sweet potato, oatmeal, and bananas)
- Friday I increased it to 175 Carbs (with rice, sweet potato, and rice cakes)
- Saturday (show day) I increased it again to 200g carbs – But this time I used Salted Caramel Gu and Rice cakes. I knew both of those things took up very little space in my stomach, and I knew I could digest it well- no bloating! Also, I didn’t get on stage till almost 4pm, so that’s pretty much a full day of eating before the stage. I didn’t want to screw it up.
(Photo- me at 19 years old, vs 48 years old, backstage, eating rice cakes!)
I also went light on the salt shaker, and heavy on the water! 1 1/2 gallons of water per day, until show day, when I took only sips of water! I didn’t want to bloat again.
Tan, Makeup, and Hair
I decided, unless I was a contender for a top spot, I didn’t want to spend my money on the show tan, or the official makeup artist. Each one of those is usually $125 or more!
So, I bought the Pro Tan, DIY kit, and the color this year on me was 100X better than the color I got the last two years from the show tanner. (year 1 looked green, and year 2 – TOO DARK!)
I would have liked to have my makeup done professionally, especially since my face was too white for my tan! My sister calls it my ghost face pics. haha!
But for my hair, I wore a hairpiece from Thin Hair Thick! I liked it because you can curl it once and it stays curled. Plus, I won the hairpiece during a giveaway earlier this year, and it meant I didn’t have to pay for my hair to be done at the show.
I think I looked the best at this third show than the prior two shows. The competition was tough, again. There were more women over 40 than under, and my age group 45+ was the biggest!
My biggest weakness is that I have to pose so hard to not have a saggy back side! It turns out, being heavy in the legs for 25 years really stretches out that skin! (I shared all about it in my IG stories here)
Although I didn’t get placed, I did get 8th out of 12th, and I’m not mad about that! (here’s the placings). I met some incredible ladies that I will forever keep in touch with. I shared a room with a friend the friend I met at my local gym, and she killed it in her class!
After the show we went out to eat! I ate pizza, nachos, and a sandwich, and it tasted AMAZING!
But, now of course, I need to go back next year and see if I can do better! haha.
Pin for later!