By Jaime Rice
On May 30, 2015 I competed in my first National NPC Bikini Bodybuilding show, JR USA in Charleston, South Carolina. I was able to compete on a national level this year due to qualifying at two different local shows in 2014. I would like to say I was mentally and physically prepared for the National level stage but once I was backstage and saw how amazing all the girls looked; I realized I may be out of my league! Most of the girls had been competing for years and have numerous shows under their belts. This was my first full year of competing and only my 3rd show. Ideally I should have waited another year to compete nationally but I was financially able to this year and was not sure how much longer I would be able to devote time and money to this sport, so it was now or never!
I was 112lb on stage this year versus 108lb last year. I loved how much more muscle I had but knew I was not “shredded” enough to place on at this level. I ended up in last call outs out of 35-40 girls. It was an amazing experience and I am so thankful I was able to compete in a national show. With that said, I had a Fitness Epiphany. I realized I trained hard, dieted hard for over 12 weeks and spent a good amount of money for 10 seconds on stage in front of a panel of judges who’s idea of the perfect bikini body may change from show to show. Although I love bodybuilding, it did not challenge me in a way that would stimulate physical and mental growth. I needed a skill based sport. One I could set measurable fitness goals, not just appearance based goals. I wanted to be a functional athlete, one who can run, lift and have killer endurance. Anyone who has competed in a physique sport knows how taxing it is on your body and mind. I lost strength, mentally worn down, and a non existent social life. I realized what was most important to me; finding a balance with my social life and my love of all things fitness.
last year I dabbled in powerlifting and loved every minute of training. I decided powerlifting is something I want to aggressively pursue right after JR USAs and set my sites on Kentucky Muscle in November, giving me well over 20 weeks to train and get my offseason diet in check. I enlisted the help of fellow Skinny and Thick of It writer Lisa Rhea to help me with a reverse diet after JR USA. Reverse dieting is a technique used by bodybuilders after shows to prevent rebounding (gain 30-50lb) after a show. Essentially one slowly adds carbs and extra calories while reducing cardio, allowing the metabolism to transition back to a more normal diet. Lisa provided me with a carb filled diet and the results were almost instant. My strength returned and I could run 3 miles with ease while maintaining a slow weight gain and the return of my social life!
Here I am 8 weeks post show and with a solid 5-7Lb weight gain. Although I have gained weight, my pants still fit very loose and I still look lean.
I am loving the way I look and feel; so much energy and my physical abilities have only improved.
I began my powerlifting offseason program 2 weeks ago and I am enjoying every minute. My lifting program is completely different than any way I have trained in the past and I am already starting to see improvements in strength and body composition. I am so excited to see how my physique will transform over the next 16 weeks and will do another update closer to my first meet.
I am not sure if I will ever compete in another bodybuilding show but I know if I do , I will do it as a power lifter and approach the diet and training in a whole new way.
Follow me on Instagram to see my powerlifting journey! @ms.rice19