I’ve been a fitness enthusiast ever since at a mature age of fourteen I read my first bodybuilding magazine and fell in love with the looks of the fitness competitors. Mind you, there wasn’t any figure or bikini back then. The muscular but feminine physiques of fitness competitors combined with phenomenal athletic performances of the fitness routine enthralled me. I instantly knew I wanted to be a fitness competitor myself one day.
I trained many years thinking about entering fitness comp one day. I lifted hard, ate “clean”, trained ballet, show dance, and gymnastics, stretched every night. Then my health troubles started. First I got diagnosed with hypothyroidism. My metabolism went completely off the rail with weight gain, I lost half of my hair, my period stopped, all I did was sleep… At twenty-something, I really started to get sick. My asthma was acting up and the first signs of my immunodeficiency were showing as I would get common colds every 5-8 weeks, completely messing up my training and recovery. And due med school and the fact I had to work nearly full time to fund my studies and living, there simply wasn’t time to pursue my dream.
It has still lived there in the back of my mind all these years. The tiny speckle of hope that one day I would step on the stage…
Like millions of other bodybuilding fans alike, I’ve been following the Olympia weekend with great interest. I just finished watching Latorya Watts crowned Figure Olympia – she was absolutely magnificent! I’m a huge fan of Nicole Wilkins, but Latorya looked better today. Nicole is the sweetest person ever – one of the highlights of my fitness life was when I got to meet and train with her a couple of years back when she was visiting Finland :).
I admit I’m scared to say out loud or write it down for others to see that I want to be a figure competitor. Back in the early days, it was something so weird that everyone thought I was mad. Why would a girl want to get “big and bulky” (yeah right) and ripped and strut on stage with high heels? Today, bikini fitness is getting really popular in Finland, even in the mainstream media. The “fitness hype” has actually reached such a saturation point it’s become nearly mundane. Every twenty-something girl who has lifted weights for two months is suddenly “a fitness athlete”. Blah.
So why do I still dream of competing in figure? There are, after all, many good reasons for me not to. With my health issues, dieting down into low bodyfat isn’t necessarily the wisest choice there is. A competition diet may, and very likely will, mess up my hormonal balance completely and can also worsen my immunodeficiency. It costs money – a lot more than competing in powerlifting. You need a good coach to take care of your diet, posing lessons, the suit and accessories cost money, etc.
But there are also many reasons why I should pursue my dream in competing. Even once. Fitness has been my first and biggest love in sports ever. Period. After more then 17 years I’m still in love with lifting weights and admire figure physiques. There’s no other sport that can boast the same with my normally very short attention span. It’s also a sport where you’re never ready. You can always develop a better physique; toned thighs and strong glutes, wide back and round shoulders. More muscle will also mean more kilos lifted as a powerlifter. Well rounded hypertrophy and strength training also prevents injuries compared to just training the “big 3” lifts year round.
Now there’s a new breed of women emerging. Dual athletes who compete in both bikini or figure and powerlifting aren’t such rare anymore. They have showed it can be done. And also done healthily, without messing up your body, without deprivation. Thanks to Layne Norton I learned about women like Laurin Conlin and Katie Anne Rutherford.
Maybe my dream isn’t completely impossible? I know it takes time and I first need to get to know my body again, get my adrenal issues under control and train consistently. But I’ll never say never. I met Layne this summer and he inspired me to follow my dream and not care what anyone else says. So maybe, maybe…
Dare to dream and never quit,