Whenever I work out with my trainer, I try to remember to ask a couple questions about the world of figure competitions that I’m getting myself into. Yesterday I was asking about how the bikini competitions are scored (or he was just telling me, I don’t remember), and the information he gave me was super helpful. Apparently, bikini competitions used to be scored with the following criteria: if you saw them walking down the beach, you would think they looked really good. Now the criteria has been updated to suggest that they should also look like a track athlete.
I know what you’re thinking. I already would look awesome on a beach, or even in other places like an aquarium or at the dentist. It’s true – but the issue is that in a competition, I won’t be the only girl on the hypothetical beach – there will be other beach girls too. Another issue is how the judging is done. Somehow this criteria leads people to judge favorably for different things. Some like a softer look, while others go for a more hard-body look. This is surprising, considering how specific the basis for judging is. Luckily my coach only gives people rock-hard bodies, because as he puts it, “I only know how to make people look good, not look like shit.”
For anyone who has no idea what I’m talking about right now, I’ll give you a quick and mostly uninformed rundown. There are four levels of competition: bikini, figure, physique, and bodybuilding (there’s also fitness, but that’s a little different because it involves dancing around in a fun routine – see below). Bikini is for the small-muscled girls (relatively), and it goes up from there, with bodybuilding being for the girls that look like they could throw you across a football field. The name “bikini” is misleading, because it turns out that the girls in all of the categories have to wear bikinis. Plus see-through high heels.
The weirdest part of the whole thing is that people generally compete at their weakest. You spend all this time building muscle, but then to show it off you have to melt all your fat off and suck the extra water out of your body so you can see the muscle. Whenever I remember this part, I have to re-think why I’m doing this. It just doesn’t make sense to me to get in insanely good shape just to put your body through all that. But I really do want to try something new and different, and get out of my comfort zone. For those of you who know how often I run around in bikinis and see-through high heels, you’ll understand how far in/out of my comfort zone this is.
This may all be common knowledge to you, I have no idea. I just know that I didn’t know about any of this before I started down this road. Other than having to be on stage in a bikini, the other part that I foresee not liking is how subjective it could get. I’m used to sports like basketball and cross-country, where there’s a very clear measure of who wins. Supposedly the categories beyond bikini have more defined criteria for doing well, but I don’t know much about that yet. Right now I just need to focus on looking like an awesome girl on the beach that is maybe a track athlete.
Speaking of maybe being a track athlete, I do have a tiny bit of running news. I’ve started doing 2-5 minute treadmill warm-ups, which is not exciting, but the way I’m running is. After a lifetime of running with my right foot out at a 30 degree angle, I’m finally running with both my toes pointed forward. I could go on about how pumped I am about this, but based on the responses I received in my focus groups, general enthusiasm about this from other people is extremely low. I just like the fact that I’m improving my running by doing non-running things (something that pretty much anyone ever could tell you, but I have to learn by doing, so I’m just figuring it out now). Hopefully you can muster up more enthusiasm about this fact than anyone I’ve talked to so far.
Keep reading for more bodybuilding insights and extremely minor running victories. I’m sure there will be way more in the near future.