by Contributing Author and Figure/Bikini Coach Tiffany Benson
Personally, I know plenty of women who “think” of how wonderful it would be to try a figure or bikini competition. After some more mature muscle is added to your frame, you may even decide to crossover and compete female bodybuilding. It is all very exciting…I, personally did compete in 2 bodybuilding competitions back when I was in the Army, when I was still on the smaller side. I, really enjoy the look of figure and prefer to carry the “off-season” weight that I carry, rather than the weight I would carry with even more muscle as a bodybuilder. First-thing’s-first is to find where you feel you would fit in best, and what seems more interesting to you. Female bodybuilders need to carry quite a bit of muscle, so would need to start lifting and work up to lifting heavy, and using the correct macronutrients and macro timing to add on muscle mass. Figure, needs quite a bit of muscle but is more about symmetry when you are on stage in front of the panel of judges. The “leaning out” phase is a bit different with figure vs’ bodybuilding, and during the “peaking week” which is the week leading up to your competition, a bodybuilder will do a little bit more drastic changes to come in with a bit more of a “drier” look than a figure girl. Now bikini, is not as muscular as figure, bikini is softer, and while diet is strict still, it is a bit more relaxed than figure or bodybuilding. The training is different too, as the looks are different. All 3 divisions take a lot of hard work, dedication and commitment to become a competitor.
As a competition prep coach and a lifestyle coach, I get asked pretty often, “do you think I can do it?” And my answer for everyone is “yes!” AS a mother of 3, and one whom did NOT stay in great shape throughout any of my pregnancies, I know firsthand that anyone can work hard and produce incredible results. Yes, becoming a competitor is not easy, but it definitely is worth it and gives one a whole new found respect for the body and dedication it takes to transform, and rearrange your physique. The thing I like to tell most women is to train and diet and prep like you are going to compete. Either way, in the end you have won a competition. You have proven many things to yourself. Never doubt or short change yourself. Become an athlete within yourself first! And best of luck to you, as you will overcome many fears and obstacles. The saying “nothing tastes as good, as looking good feels,” is so true and right on. Impress your own self! You can do it…and I believe in you!
Much love, peace, happiness and health. Tiffany Benson~NGA and IFPA professional figure athlete, and mother of 3!