My Bikini Weight Loss Transformation
This is my 6 month journey from 122 ~ lbs to 105 to get into a bikini. But first, you can read part 1 of how I lost weight from my highest weight here. (post edit: How I maintain the weight loss 2 years later)
The last two years I’ve been struggling with a mid-life crisis. Two of my kids have already left home, and I’m one year away from being a total empty nester. The transition from full motherhood was more difficult than I imagined.
So, to get past the lack of direction, I decided I needed to start living a more interesting life. I wanted to start checking things off my bucket list, and pursue a life of no regrets.
That’s when I decided to compete in a physique / bikini show! I’d been watching girls on YouTube for years prepping for bikini shows and always wondered if I had the discipline to do it myself.
Turns out, I did! 6 months ago, I signed up for a summer 2020 NPC show in Utah, and dove in 100%!
My decision to compete in a bikini show
For someone who would never have been caught in public wearing a bikini, the decision was not typical of me. However, there were a few reasons I went for it anyway.
- Mostly, a desire to getting truly lean and look strong. It’s been a goal for 3 1/2 decades, and it was high time I made it happen!
- I wanted to see how much discipline I had. I’ve always been a healthy eater, and habitual exerciser. Yet, I never had the body I felt reflected that.
- I needed something to focus on through my mid-life crisis!
- My motto has been, “Live the story I want to tell”. And what better story than this!?! Even if it ended up a disaster!
- My desire to start a “Fitness Bucket List“. There are a lot of fitness things I want to accomplish. Next up- Qualify for the Boston Marathon!
- I needed a north star. Something to set my compass to and a specific event to channel my daily decisions.
- Quarantine and isolation actually made it perfect timing! Prepping through a pandemic did have it’s challenges, but overall, I actually found it easier. I’m a social eater, and family parties and potlucks are impossible for me to get through without eating everything on the table.
How I got started on the Bikini Journey
- First, I told my husband. I needed to make sure he was on board with the idea. It was not only an expensive new hobby, but would also mean I’d be stricter and less flexible with my food and exercise.
- Then, I told everyone I knew. I didn’t realize how this decision alone would get me through the entire 6 months. I really didn’t believe quitting was an option. People I’d see in the neighborhood would ask how it was going, and I couldn’t bear to say I quit!
- Watched hours of YouTube. I love YouTube to be inspired by girls who have already competed in a show, or are prepping for a show.
- Listened to hours of podcasts. Like YouTube, I found information through podcasts and stories so inspiring! Plus, it got me through so many workouts!!
- I found a coach who got athletes ready for the stage, and whom I’d be accountable to each week.. I picked the L8R team and Debbie Bird was my amazing coach!
How much weight I Lost in 6 Months
My goal was 1 lb per week. Even though I decided in December to do the show, I didn’t really start till January. Christmas had ended and I had just returned home from a cruise. Even though I ate healthy on the cruise, my weight was 124 lbs. I was honestly happy there. I don’t think 124 lbs is high, and I’ve been a lot heavier. However, I am 5 ft 1/2 in tall, so, it was just a little on the heavy side for my frame.
I got on stage at 103 lbs. I was able to get my body fat tested (both an Inbody machine as well as a Dexa machine). My body fat went down by 20 lbs, but, I gained 4 lbs of muscle! A total loss of 15% body fat. My bone density improved, my nails and hair were strong the entire time, and I never lost my period, like some girls do when they get too lean.
I was consistently able to drop close to 1 lb per week the entire 6 months. I did have to dial it in harder each week. By the end, I even decided to trade my gummy vitamins for capsules, just to save 20 calories! Haha. I was ultra consistent. I rarely had a cheat day.
What I ate on bikini prep
I’ve always been a casual calorie counter/tracker on MyFitnessPal. So, that part was easy. However, the last six months I was meticulous. I weighed everything, and counted every crumb. This was fascinating, because I always tracked my food and would end most days around 1200 calories. (check out my new 30 day, 1200 calorie paid plan here). But after being as meticulous as I’ve been, I know I was eating more. There were just so many little sauces, flavorings, nibbles, etc. that I never counted. These add up quickly. Pre-diet, I’m sure I was eating closer to 1500-2000 calories.
I thrived the best on a balance of carbs and protein, with low fat. My biggest change was increasing my protein to support muscle growth. I aimed for 100 grams of protein per day, and hit that goal almost each day. (this is a list of my favorite proteins to get 100 grams)
Here are some of the meals I ate consistently:
- Ground turkey, with white rice, asparagus (and mustard)
- Egg whites, mushrooms, and turkey bacon
- Sugar free jello (check out my list of “free foods” here.)
- Greek yogurt plus cookies and cream protein powder (My new favorite!!)
- Vanilla Protein shake with frozen strawberries and almond milk
- Rice cakes (the boring plain kind)
- Chicken and rice (Lot’s of chicken and rice!!)
- Spaghetti squash and chicken with Parmesan cheese
- chicken thighs with sweet potatoes fries
- Deli meat with string cheese
- Green salad with chicken
- Hamburger patty with lettuce
- Zero calorie noodles with chicken and veggies
- Zero calorie noodle with ground beef + zucchini
- Chicken and cauliflower crumbles
- Peanut butter powder, greek yogurt and sugar free syrup
- Apple and powdered peanut butter mixed with Greek yogurt
- Fried egg on Dave’s Killer bread
- Hard boiled eggs (or deviled eggs)
- Rotisserie chicken, green salad, and Bolthouse dressing
- Cucumbers with balsamic vinegar and salt
- Kodiak cakes with sugar free syrup
- Low calorie protein pancakes
- Cucumbers with Bolthouse dressing
- Ground chicken with sweet potato fries
- Canned chicken with light mayo on a tortilla
- Tortilla, laughing cow cheese, and chicken tenders
- Low fat cottage cheese and berries, with sugar free Jello
- Oats and egg whites
- Built bar (the only protein bar that didn’t wreck my stomach, and it’s only 110 calories – for the original flavors)
- Bell Peppers with ground beef and cheese
- Teriyaki chicken thighs with white rice
- Rice plus ground beef, light sour cream and mushrooms
- Eggs, mushrooms, peppers, toast
- Cheesy meatballs on zoodles
- Taco salad (ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, Bolthouse dressing)
- Oats soaked with Greek yogurt and berries
- Chicken tenders (baked with salt)
- Protein pancakes
- Protein ice cream
- Canned chicken with light mayo wrapped in lettuce
- Tortilla, laughing cow cheese, Deli turkey
- Greek yogurt plus strawberries
Foods I didn’t count until the final few weeks
- Diet sodas (diet root beer is my new favorite drink!)
- Sugar free apple cider
- Asparagus roasted with spray butter and salt
- Cucumbers, sliced with salt
- Tomatoes, sliced with salt
- Gummy vitamins! (I’m addicted)
- And I aimed for 1 gallon per day of water
I’ve been running or doing some sort of exercise for 35 years (since I was 12), I never liked to train with weights. This was the BIGGEST change to my life.
For my strength program, I
- Started at 4 days a week.
- Moved to 5 days a week around Feburary.
- Finished at 6 Days per week around March.
- I typically worked 3 upper body and 3 lower body days.
I liked to do this in the gym. I like the support of machines and the ability to make it somewhat mindless, so I could just listen to my podcasts. But once the gyms closed for Quarantine, I actually did pretty well with just some dumbbells at home.
For my cardio
I was already running, so I kept that in. But, I did more HIIT workouts and increased the intensity on the treadmill periodically.
The last 4 weeks I added a nightly roller blade ride, which I LOVED!!! I will definitely keep this up.
For my Mindset
As I said in the beginning, honestly one of the biggest thing that kept me consistent was the fact that I had told so many people and I didn’t want to look like a quitter.
But, when I wanted to go “off plan”, I just stayed busy and distracted. I tried not to get food focused. I heard a girl on a podcast say, you’re life should be more interesting and entertaining than your next meal. I kept this thought with me a LOT!! She said, Love your life, more than you love food.
I took the emotions out of the results. I didn’t look at the scale each day to “judge” whether the plan was working or not. I only focused on the process and staying consistent.
I’ve always been a pro at sleeping. I fall asleep right away, and when I get up in the night to use the bathroom, I fall right back to sleep. But, because I knew muscle grows during sleep and HGH was released during sleep, I took it up a notch and started taking melatonin.
I don’t know if it mattered, but I told myself if my sleep was ‘deeper’, I would build more muscle. lol who knows. I am convinced though that proper rest does help you to make smarter food choices.
I chose to eat by the clock. I know intuitive eating is the ultimate goal, but I had to decide when my meals would be and stick to it. Snacking, grazing, and between meal eating is where all of my prior weight loss attempts have failed. (more on that here)
The Supplements I took
This was a small fortune in itself. I consistently took
- Multi-Vitamin (Costco)
- Vitmain C (Costco)
- Potassium/ Magnesium (Costco)
- BCAA’s (Walmart)
- Creatine (Amazon: The Dymatize brand)
- Glutamine (Amazon: the Allmax brand)
- Protein powder
- Omega 3 (Costco)
- Melatonin (Walmart)
NPC SHOW DAY!
And finally, we’ve arrived at show day! Just wanted to share some pictures from the day. I’m very happy with where I arrived. I definitely didn’t have the muscle development as most girls there, but I know that takes time.
I entered a new category called Wellness. Because it’s brand new, there were only 4 girls in my class.
I snagged first place in True Novice by default.
I got second place in girls over 40 years old (out of two)
And I got 4th place in the Wellness overall (out of 4!)
So, basically last place. But, the girls who won totally deserved it. Their muscles looked AMAZING!!!
There are so many things I learned throughout this process that I will keep for the future.
- I’m going to keep lifting weights.
- I will keep taking creatine.
- I’m going to keep my protein higher on most days, but try carb cycling a bit for better running)
- I will keep eating by the clock for now, and avoid grazing! ( Why 3 meals a day is perfect for me)
And, finally, I’ll remember this quote from one of our church leaders:
When we have a vision of what we can become, our desire and our power to act increase enormously.Dallin H. Oaks
And a few before and after pictures!!
Jan 2020 to June 2020
LIVING LIFE WITH NO REGRETS!!
UPDATE; SHOW NUMBER 2 JUST HAPPENED. READ IT HERE
https://healthbeet.org/bikini-competition-prep-diet-and-workout-plan/ANOTHER UPDATE! MAINTENANCE!! I’VE STAYED IN SHAPE FOR 2 YEARS NOW. HERE’S MY LATEST BIKINI PREP AND WORKOUT.
Download the free 7 Day Meal Plan here.
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SHOW #3! NO COACH THIS TIME!
Interesting journey. May you share how it is you dont have excess/sagging skin?
I don’t usually have any leftover, but I don’t think it would store well. You’d have to re-fluff it all over again, and it would take the same amount of time to just make it.
Wondering if you have a post on which podcasts you listened to and the videos you watched on youtube? thanks!
I don’t, but I’ve been meaning to write one!! I will soon!
I just started your program and I LOVE IT!! I have a silly question-do you ever drink coffee or alcohol? If so, what do you drink?
Thank you so much Kathy!!I actually don’t drink coffee or alcohol (but for religious reasons, and not health reasons).
But, for the last 25 years I’ve been a diet coke addict, but I just quit 3 months ago, and still going strong!Since quitting, I’ve been drinking a lot of carbonated flavored water.But this past week, because I’m trying to bring in my waist for my next bikini show, I took out the carbonated water and I’m drinking a lot of water with either “real lemon” drink packets or Mio drops for flavoring.
I’m honestly a “drinkaholic”, so if I tried alcohol, it would absolutely be a disaster! I definitely have an addictive personality.
I am small too, only 163cm ( I am Norwegian and use centimeter and kg as measurements)
Would you have these amazing results if you only did training at home from the start, you think? You had the base from the gym,and just maintaned it home?
I am ready for a change (always done sports,but now it is time to accomplish to be real fit and transform the body,so I searched the web for fitnesstuff and saw your Journey)
Apologize for my probably poor english writing.
Yes- I do believe I could have done it all from home. I didn’t have much of a base before the lockdown. In fact, only three months. So, I am pretty sure I hadn’t made enough progress for the gym to have given me any benefits I couldn’t get from home.
I loved your story! I could finally relate and see a lot of myself in your story. This is exactly what I needed to see my goal of competing is actually within reach and I gotta take the plunge. You have no idea how hearing your journey has positively empowered me mentally and physically… on my way to the gym while I’m still inspired! 🙂 thank you!!!!
AUDRA!! Thanks so much for sharing this with me! I’m excited for you. It’s ABSOLUTELY within your reach. I can’t wait to hear about YOUR journey.
When do you want to compete?
Hi Amy, do you take on coaching clients? I’ve been wanting to get started but not sure what to do! Have some weight to lose and lots of fitness but think I could be ready in 6-8 months.
I’m not taking clients. I’m in graduate school, and it’s sucking up all of my free time.
I’d love to watch your progress though!! What show do you want to do?
HI Amy, How many weeks out do you start prepping for a contest? Also, do you have a workout regimen you follow that is linked on your site?
Thanks! Love your content!!!!
Hi Jen! So glad to hear from you. I haven’t written out my workout on the blog yet! I need to soon.
But, this is what I do: (and what I did before the bikini show)6-7 days a week, low intensity cardio for about 30-60 minutes. For strength, I use machines, barbells, and dumbbells at the gym. I do about 5-6 exercises for each day, 4 sets, 6-12 reps to failure, with 30 second rest between each set.Mondays- Leg dayTuesday- ShouldersWednesday BackThursday- LegFriday shouldersSaturday bi’s-tris.Hope that helps! I’ll get more specific in a post soon!
Amy what is the “Wellness” category of the fitness competition?
Hi Rhonda,It’s a new category between Bikini and figure, that has girls that h ave a stronger lower body. I always thought my legs were super thick (muscley like a soccer player), so I thought Wellness would be the perfect category for me. Bikini has less muscle, and figure has more muscle in the back and balanced with the leg muscle.
Hi Amy, Do you feel that taking creatine made you gain weight? I keep seeing mixed reviews about it making a person gain weight. Maybe it is just muscle growth. Also, can you comment on why you took glutamine. I have been following you now for a couple of months and your stuff is amazing!!!– Jen S
I’ve heard people say that about creatine, but if you do add a little weight, it’s just water and easy to shed when you get to your desired leanness. But no, I definitely do not believe creatine made me gain weight, if anything, I do think it got me as lean as I needed to be!
And I started glutamine just because my first coach recommended it. But I just listened to the BEST podcast by Huberman Lab and I’m convinced it can assist with muscle repair and quicker recovery post workout!
Thanks for following Jen!! I’m so flattered!
Wow, is this real?
Is it possible to transform so much in 6months!!
I am tired of being chubby,tired of searching for jeans that never looks good on me anyway …maybe I can get fit too..
I am inspired😀 but find it hard to compose the strenght training.
You look great😀
Yes! I did it in 6 months. I’m short though, so it was only about 20 lbs, but it looked like more!
Hi Amy! Thank you for sharing….is it ok to ask exactly what you ate every day in a meal plan form. I did a bikini show last year myself and couldn’t get as lean as you. I know everyone is different, but you seem to have it down right! Congratulations and you’re a rock star.
This is EXACTLY what I was eating for the last few weeks before my most recent show!