Monday, November 5, 2012

What's Wrong With You?!

A few weeks ago, I competed in a Toastmasters speech contest. I won the Area contest and advanced to compete in the Division contest on October 20th. The category was Humorous Speech, which I found challenging. I don't consider myself a very funny person. Quirky - yes. Funny - no. But I gave it a shot and ended up doing quite well! I placed 2nd at the Division contest and am the runner-up for the District contest on November 10th.

Quite a few people asked me what my speech was about, and when I told them the topic was "bodybuilding," they all responded, "But I thought it was supposed to be funny?!"

For those of you who've competed, you may think the things we do to get ready for a show are perfectly normal. But to the general population, contest prep is just plain weird.

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What's Wrong with You?!

I've been weight training for 15 years. I started because it was required for college cheerleading, of all things! But from the moment I first realized I had a tiny bicep, I was hooked!

About seven years ago, people in the gym started asking me if I competed.

"Sure, I compete!" I said. "I compete in tennis, in softball, in dance ..."

"No, no no," they said. "Compete in bodybuilding!"

Bodybuilding?!

[In fake Ah-nold voice] "Yes, I am a body-builda."

"No, of course not! What's wrong with you?!

Someone once told me that in order to compete in bodybuilding, I'd need to eat the same thing at the same time every day. No cookies.

No cookies?! That sounds awful! What's wrong with you?!"

Then they showed me a magazine that had a smiling, athletic woman on the cover [Nicole Wilkins]. She looked nothing like the screaming mass monsters in the men's magazines. And I thought, "Hmmm ... I wonder if I could look like that."

I had no idea how to begin preparing for a bodybuilding competition. I couldn't afford to hire a trainer or a coach, so I spent hours and hours of quality time with my friend ... GOOGLE. I read everything I could find on how to prepare for a bodybuilding show.

I learned that the most important thing is diet. Bodybuilders turn their bodies into lean, mean, fat burning machines. I needed to find a diet that would strip the fat off my body and leave the muscle. The diet I created consisted of only four food items: chicken, tuna, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes.

I ate the same thing at the same time every day. No cookies.

It was awful! I had no energy! Even getting up to use the restroom was a chore. And to top it off, I was forcing myself to drink a gallon of water a day. That's four Nalgene bottles and a LOT of trips to the restroom!

I kept asking myself, "Are you crazy? What's wrong with you?!"

I followed this diet for four LONG months.

In addition to the diet, there are a few other things required for bodybuilding competitions.

I'm sure you've all seen pictures of oiled up, muscular men standing on stage, wearing tiny scraps of material. Well, for Figure, which was the division I was going to compete in, a suit was required as well. It looks similar to a bikini.

I researched suits and found some I thought were pretty. I was shocked to discover that the cheapest ones were $200! And that was for the plain jane suits! The sparkly, bedazzled, blingy suits that I really liked were upward of $700! Outrageous! Who in their right mind would spend that kind of money on two tiny scraps of material that barely even cover the essentials?! What's wrong with you?!

I finally found a suit that I liked - and could afford. When it came in the mail 2 months later, I was so excited to try it on! But when I looked at it, I wondered where the rest of it was. Even Baywatch had more material than that! As my Grandpa would say, "It looks like they ran out of goods!"

I learned that in order to get the tiny scrap of material to stay in place, I actually had to GLUE it to my body! I bought a special kind of glue, fittingly called, "Bikini Bite." But there wasn't much bikini to be bitten!

In addition to the bedazzled suit, Figure competitors wear high heels on stage. I'm not talking about just any high heels. I'm talking about clear, 5", Lucite high heels! No, these aren't for the latest pole dancing craze, although they probably could be!

When my shoes arrived in the mail, I tried them on and immediately fell over. I was an athlete and needed some practice walking in heels. So what better place to practice than at work?

I put on my long dress pants with the heels and tottered around the office hallways for a few weeks until I felt more comfortable walking in heels. The best part is that none of my co-workers even had a clue! Although I did get some questions about why I was so much taller than usual some days.

Finally after four months, it was finally almost time for the show. I learned that I needed to get painted an orangey-brown tan color a day or two before the show. The tan shows off musculature better than a natural skin color.

Two days before the show, I got painted. Yes, painted. With a foam brush. I'm sure you've seen them and used them to stain your deck. Ninety-nine cents at Home Depot! When I was finished getting painted, I resembled the color of an Oompa Loompa. I looked in the mirror and said, "What's WRONG with you?!"

In order for the tan to dry, it needs to freeze on the body. That meant that I had to freeze. I stood in front of an air conditioning unit for FOUR hours, shivering, waiting for the tan to properly adhere to my skin. That's the not the worst part, though. The worst part is that once you have the tan on, you can't get near any water because it takes the tan right off. This makes for some interesting and challenging situations in the bathroom, let me tell ya! Hey - you try brushing your teeth without splashing any water anywhere!

Finally is was the day of the show. When I arrived backstage, I was so excited to see that everyone looked just like me! There were a bunch of lean, Oompa Loompas with tiny scraps of material glued to their bodies, tottering around in high heels. I fit right in!

There was NOTHING wrong with me.

And from the moment I stepped on stage and the judge called out, "Quarter turn to the right!", I was officially [in Ah-nold voice] a body-buildah.

On stage at my first show.

8 comments:

  1. Hooray!! Nope, nothing wrong with you at all. :D

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  2. Love!!! Love!! Love!!!

    T.

    P.S. Congrats on your placing at the speech contest!

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  3. Oh my gosh, soo cute! Congratulations on your second placing and the runner up! I love reading your writing.

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  4. Hilarious! I loved it! Congrats!

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  5. I keep saying the same thing, or when I tell people what I am doing I almost joke a little that I want to be like the terminator because I dont want to hear the BS about what they think.

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