Why I Competed in a Bikini Competition at 49 Years Old {Show Recap 2023}


I just returned from my 4th Bikini competition after 14 weeks of prepping. Here’s why I did another show, without a coach and how it went!

On June 3, 2023, after 14 weeks of prepping (dieting), I competed in the NPC Muscle Contest in Las Vegas in the bikini division, 45 years and up, 5’4″ and shorter. I placed 5th out of 5 girls! And while it might be disappointing to some people, I never decided to get into this bikini stuff to “go pro”, or to take first place- although I wouldn’t hate it if I did win something. But I chose to endure 14 weeks of dieting for very different reasons.

The last bikini competition I did was 1 year ago in June 2022. (you can read about that show here) As I have three other times since losing weight, I decided those fitness shows were not for me. I really don’t like getting on stage, my loose skin behind my legs and glutes is dramatically obvious, and it costs a lot of money! I’ll likely never be competitive or get a first place trophy, yet I keep going back! Why?!? You’d think I’m crazy.

And, I guess I am. Because I did it AGAIN!

Bikini show for 2023 Amy Roskelley NPC competition

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Why I compete

In December 2019, I decided that I wanted to do a bodybuilding show, although I was still overweight and had never reached my weight loss goals. So, setting a goal to get in a bikini within 6 months and step on a stage was a major stretch goal. I considered that part 2 of my weight loss journey, with weight loss as the biggest reason I wanted to enter a bikini competition.

After competing that first time, I did two more shows over the next two years. Last summer I was definitely at my leanest weight I’d ever been.

After the third show, I slowly put on the 10lbs that should be expected after being so lean for a bikini competition. I felt great at my weight. I still could fit into my “skinny jeans”, and I felt healthy, strong, energetic, and confident.

But by October/November of 2022, I put on a few more pounds. Then, it started to make me nervous that I was going to reverse all my hard work of losing weight. So, I got back into tracking all my food. I had started partial day tracking, and would leave things untracked like some veggies, life savers, drinks, etc.

And while that worked to get off a few pounds again, my motivation was lacking. It was as if I needed a bikini show to get excited about tracking my food and increasing the intensity of my workouts.

That’s when a friend messaged me, asking if I’d sign up with her and travel to a June 2023 show in Las Vegas. As soon as she asked, I didn’t even hesitate to say yes. Going back into “prep” was such a good feeling. The feeling of having a structure to my meals and a purpose to my workouts really got me excited.

So, here’s a few reasons why I did it.

  1. To live a full and interesting life People think I’m crazy. But I decided, the only way to take me out of a boring life is to do crazy things! My motto’s and quotes that have kept me living life to the fullest are these:
    • No regrets.
    • Dare to live!
    • Live life to the fullest- you only have one chance.
    • Live the story you want to tell.
    • Life is short.
    • Be memorable.
    • Do something people talk about, even if it’s to call you crazy.
    • Do something that scares you.
  2. To Test my limits – I want to go “all in” and see what I was truly capable of.
  3. To prove weight loss is possible for me at any age, and my body is NOT broken. And, I found out it is! When you are honest about your true caloric intake, change really does happen.
  4. To see what I’m capable of- I was the last person to believe I could actually lose enough weight to get into a bikini. But with a strong enough reason, I found I was capable of this!
  5. Challenge myself to do hard things. This is a tough idea to swallow, but without challenges, you can’t grow.
  6. Learn how to cope with things without using food- Perhaps the most surprising thing to me is when faced with stress, my instinct is to snack! The last 4-5 weeks of this prep when snacking wasn’t an option, I really had to face my stress head on!
  7. To understand how my body reacts and responds to food and workouts- Taking data points along the journey from daily calories, macros, weight fluctuations, sodium, fluids, etc. you can really dial into how your body reacts and responds to food. It’s quite empowering to know!
  8. To commit to something and follow through– When I signed up to compete in this Vegas show, I was 100% committed. Dropping out wasn’t even an option. So, I had to keep going. Even if I messed up. I jumped back on the wagon SAME DAY! Which is different than other weight loss attempts that took me weeks to get back in the game.
Stage shots Amy Roskelley Bikini show 2023

Mental tips for a weight loss cut

Through 14 weeks of dieting, I had to pull some mental tricks out to help me stay on track. These change all the time, but this is what worked for me THIS time!

  • Healthy Living is my identity. It’s who I am! When tempted by cinnamon sugar bakery bread all I had to say to myself was: Is this something a bikini pro would eat? Is this something someone who publishes content about low calorie, healthy food would eat?
  • Get used to monotony or at least be ok with it.. if you’re the type that gets sick of one food, this might not be the path for you. But I found eating the same foods continuously made decision making easy.
  • Get more sleep! I have noticed a strong correlation between a lack of sleep and food cravings
  • Delaying breakfast till 9am or later makes staying on track the rest of the day easier.
  • Staying busy with things I like doing (watching YouTube, playing word games, etc.) is VERY effective at taking my mind off of my next meal.
  • Eat more high volume foods. I honestly rarely feel hungry because my food volume is so big.
  • Buy Portion controlled food rather than a full container. This is a problem for things like crackers, popcorn, etc. Buying the 100 calorie popcorn bags vs popping a large bowl is going to help you keep the overeating at bay.
  • Stop hanging out in the kitchen. Plain and simple! If I bring my laptop into the kitchen to work, I always get snacky!
  • Eat at table on a plate
  • Wear pants, not leggings. haha! Am I the only one that finds it easier to overeat in leggings vs jeans?!
  • Have some black and white, non negotiable rules. There are certain things I just don’t even taste if I’m trying to keep my calories low, because they will inevitably lead to overeating. (I’m looking at you Graham Crackers!!)
  • One mind game I think we play on ourselves is that we have to endure the “torture” of dieting indefinitely. But, we don’t! If you get to your goal weight and think the struggle wasn’t worth the results, you can ALWAYS go back to the more flexible diet and a softer physique! Nothing wrong with that at all.
  • Gum, soda, and flavored waters are a crutch that I’m happy to live with!
  • no overpriced crutches: supplements, soda, overpriced zero calorie foods

My meals during this prep

I publicly kept track of 80% of ALL the food I ate during the last 14 weeks. Most of them I posted to the blog here under Bikini Prep 2023. And a quick glance of all the meals are on my Instagram feed here.

But in a nutshell, I practiced flexible dieting with

  • 150 g protein per day
  • 125 g carbs per day
  • 30 g fat per day

More about my current macro splits for bikini competitions here.

Most days I aimed for between 1200-1500 calories, and it was broken up into:

  • Eggs and oatmeal for breakfast
  • Green salad with chicken for lunch
  • A protein treat (Greek yogurt or protein ice cream/shake)
  • And chicken with veggies for dinner

I included 30 days worth of those meals on my new 1500 calorie, 30 day meal plan here!

Day 11 full day of eating with egg white bites and pumpkin protein bowl and waldorf salad

My workouts during this prep

Not much changed during prep for my workouts. I love my workouts and I feel like they’re quite effective, so I didn’t do anything new.

I lift 5 days a week, split into:

  • Monday: Leg day
  • Tuesday: Shoulders
  • Wednesday: Back and Biceps
  • Thursday: Leg day
  • Friday: Shoulders and triceps

And I run outside or on the treadmill after lifting for about 45-60 minutes, 6 days a week.

You can find the full workout here on the blog, on an Instagram Highlight bubble, or on YouTube! I’ll be sharing more workouts on YouTube soon.

Bikini show for 2023 weight loss

Recap of the Show!

This year I decided to start loading my carbs on Monday before the show. The last few years I started on Thursday, so I was just interested in testing things out to see if I could really get my muscles to pop!

I completely depleted the glycogen by going low carb over the weekend and getting in some intense workouts. Then Monday I had almost 100 carbs, Tuesday 150, Wednesday 200, Thursday 175, Friday 175, and Saturday probably 150.

My friend and I drove from Salt Lake City, Utah to Las Vegas on Thursday. We brought our chicken and rice for the road, and lots of water!

I was only signed up for one category: Age 45+ and under 5’4″. The cost for each category was $180, and I wasn’t about to try for more. I’d be lucky if I even placed in the 45 and over group.

Check ins at Bikini show muscle contest Amy Roskelley

Pre-judging happened and I felt confident. I remembered all the things I had practiced. Stand tall, tight core, glutes up. Then, they did comparisons. There were 4 other girls, who were just beautiful!

Then we went back to our hotel room to wait for finals. I ate some more rice, rice cakes, egg whites, and sipped small amounts of water because I didn’t want to look bloated on stage.

Then, we went back for finals to get on the stage, and do comparisons one more time. Luckily for me, they were handing out 5 medals, because I got 5th place! 5th place out of 5 girls. LOL. And that’s where it ended.

All in all, it was a fun weekend. It was fun to travel with a friend who eats the same foods as I do. It was fun to get to know her even better. But most of all, it was fun to prep for the last 14 weeks to prove to myself it’s possible to lose weight over 40 and my body is NOT broken!

Sign up and I’ll send you a FREE Low Calorie Meal plan here!

comparisons Bikini competition after weight loss Amy Roskelley of Health Beet
Bikini show for 2023 weight loss
Check ins at Bikini show muscle contest Amy Roskelley
Bikini show for 2023 weight loss
why I lost weight to compete in bikini at 49 years old


  1. OMG you looked ripped. I think even better than some of the other ladies, so I’m surprised you didn’t place higher but the fact that you are in that kind of shape and had the courage to go up on stage is incredible. I definitely never want to go on stage (tons of cellulite, bad varicose veins and damage to skin from others removed etc) but I do want to lose fat. At 58 y/o gained almost 20 pounds from menopause and just less active in general. Haven’t gone to a real gym since before the whole covid nightmare. Recently started following a 66 y/o who also got into fitness competitions and her body now compared to 61 is mind blowing. She follows macros, so I plugged in my info into numerous sites. Overall they were similar, but range from 150 carbs to 123 carbs and calories from about 1230 to 1500 to lose weight. I think the ratio of approx 30% P: 40% C: 30% F. Do you think from your experience that is a realistic lifestyle plan? My downfall is always sweets, so hoping to keep that in check with recipes that seem like treats but aren’t junk food. Congrats to you. You are stunningly beautiful and have great muscle definition.

    1. Laura! Thank you so much for your kind words!  I almost forgot about my varicose veins! I had one really gnarly one on the back of my calf that even kept me from wearing shorts in public.  I had it stripped after my first bikini show and it was the most painful thing I ever endured!
      Who is the 66 year old you follow? I’d love to follow her too!
      I think that sort of split of calories and macros is great for lifestyle for sure. It’s how I try to structure my off season, and it is perfect for staying lean, but also felling like I have some flexibility.I have this article that talks a little bit about my calorie/macro split if you want to check it out here https://healthbeet.org/current-bikini-competition-diet-macros-and-calories/
      Good luck to you!!  I know you will feel AMAZING when you reach your goal!

  2. Congratulations! I hate to ask for something immediately after your big day, but I am super curious about your eating after a big show. Do you get a few cheat meals? Do you have to slowly increase your calories back to normal or do you go right back? Very curious and I think a lot of people who are in calorie deficit to reach a goal would benefit from learning how to “go back to normal.” I still haven’t reached my goal but I hope to in 2-3 more months using your plans.

    1. GREAT question Christine, and something I will be working on for a long time I’m sure! The night of the show we went to a Burger and shake restaurant. I definitely had a cheat meal that night. The week since, I’ve actually maintained my weight pretty close to stage weight. To start with, I’m keeping the same foods I ate during prep for my meals, but I’m no longer tracking veggies, which feels so liberating! LOL. I can eat a LOT of veggies.
      I am planning a free /untracked meal once a week. Sunday when my kids come over for dinner and I’m baking all day, I like to try/test the food. So, I had a free meal yesterday. So, basically – same meals that I dieted with, but with more flexibility. I believe I that gives me enough freedom and control all at once!

  3. Amy you look absolutely amazing!! Phenomenal! You are an amazing mentor and role model for me. I am learning so much through you. Thank you for sharing all the recipes, macros and mindset information.

    1. Oh my goodness, thank you so much Mary!! Your confidence in me is humbling. I’m glad you are finding some info that is helpful!

      Let me know if you have any questions!


  4. I have been silently praying and cheering you on Amy! I’m so proud of you and you are an inspiration. I’ve battled with binge-eating all my life that escalated two years ago after my only son’s death. I always look forward to your blog and videos as it is motivating. You radiate from the inside out which I think sets you apart from the competition no matter what your ranking was. It’s about living out your passion and what is fun and you did it!!!

    1. Annette! I’m not kidding when I say your message brings me to tears! Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and for your prayers. I am sorry for your loss. For what it’s worth, I would absolutely turn to food for comfort. You are not alone.

  5. Hi Amy! You are amazing! You look incredible and I appreciate your candid posts and all of your hard work. Thank you for sharing your journey and all of your meals.
    I am 56 years old and although I don’t want to enter a competition , I would just like to wear a bikini again.
    Can you suggest a modified Diet/workout plan of yours that would work for me and my bikini goal?
    I am 5’2” and weigh 136 pounds.
    I have access to all home gym equipment: rowing machine, treadmill, free weights, and a barbell.
    I don’t think I could run consistently for miles, but I can do intervals of jogging and walking.
    Is it possible to get into a bikini this summer?
    Thank you for all of your help, and suggestions. I will continue to follow you on your adventurous, life journey!

    1. hi Denise! Thanks for your comment and thanks for following. Of course you can wear a bikini this summer! Whether you feel good in it or not is the challenge! LOL. As far as a modified diet, I would start with just eating 4 meals (3 meals and one high protein snack) per day and not eat between meals. I think that practice alone gives you the most bang for you buck! And for sure intervals of walking and jogging is fabulous. It honestly might even be optimal for weight loss.

  6. Congratulations! I am definitely no pro, but I don’t see much if any of a difference between your physique and the other woman you competed with. The judges must have had a very difficult job placing each of you. Your hard work paid off, you look amazing!

      1. Congratulations Amy! You look AMAZING, and you accomplished what you set out to! 👏🏻 Love your”why” list. I don’t ever want to compete, but I’ve been doing Coach Mark Carroll’s Building the Bikini Body program for the past year and boy do I have glutes now! 😂🍑

        1. Thanks so much Michelle!
          I had to look up coach Mark Carrolls program. I hadn’t seen it before. Now I want to buy it! LOL
          It’s pretty pricey. You really think it’s worth the money?

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