Ah, my first fiction post! Easy way to bikini? For the greater percentage of the female population, just the thought of bikini season sends us off in a mad dash to a gym, fitness studio, or other type of what we probably consider 'seasonal' torture chamber. If you happen to be among those that feel some work is needed before baring down to the roughly 1 oz. of material that most bikini's seem to be made of, you've most likely already sneered at the title of this post. FYI - photo above is of Carolyn Hartz, age 70! Find her story here: http://www.amazingoasis.org/2017/06/this-is-how-70-year-old-woman-who-went-sugar-free-28-years-ago-looks-like-today.html
This all started with a comment from an acquaintance at the gym. I noticed he had a kick-ass leg and glute routine and approached him about it; we hit it off as gym friends and began sharing movement tips. He got excited for me when he found out I was working towards competing. We had a nice little go of this back-and-forth exchange until I competed and he asked how I did (a 1st place and 2 seconds, to catch you up if you're new here). I was bummed that it didn't even bring a smile to his face (as in "I'm so happy for you, my friend!") but when his vacant look was followed by "Don't you think it's easier to compete at your age?", I was speechless. I know he meant easier as less competition in my age group, fewer on stage to compete against, but let's just back up a moment and consider this.
I am a figure competitor and there will be several categories I can register to compete in: Open Figure (all ages and heights against each other), age divisions such as over 30, over 40, over 50, etc. Since I am over fifty, I can enter all of these (then you are grouped with others by height divisions). A competitor needs a current NPC or IFBB card, an annual expense. If the show is away from home, hotel, airfare, transportation and other related expenses can get pricey so dropping that amount of coin to compete in just one category may seem like not enough bang for the buck. I am prepping for Nationals which will be held in Philly July 18- 21 so I will have far greater expenses than a local show and the registration fees are almost 3X higher as well! So, as much as I really don't want to compete with younger women, I feel like I should enter more than one competition category to get more for my investment. This is also where things get dicey over 'EASY'.
These are the things that get easier with age: bad eating habits, poor lifestyle choices, laziness, forgetfulness, weakness, people coddling you and not expecting as much physically, and of course - time is a thief and starts to take your looks. Consider a female after menopause and when past it far enough, testosterone levels can drop to zero (mine have...) in addition to other hormonal changes - the most notable being the resultant lack of muscle tonus AND weight gain - none of which makes training hard to grow and keep muscle while leaning out any easier; in fact, it's damn tough. Big part of why so many competitors turn to drugs from HGH to an array of steroids (I do use micronized creatine but nothing more). Basically all this means is that it is NOT easier to compete at my age. I feel like I am working 100X harder than a younger person to earn my place on stage.
I also think back to when I was in attendance at a competition just to observe and see if this was really something I wanted to do. Seated in the row directly in front of me were two twenty-something muscle-heads apparently there for the same reasons as me based on their critique of every competitor that came on stage - pretty much doing what everyone else there was doing. However, the comments they made to each other when the over 50 Figure competitors came on stage mortified me: one said to the other "Oh girl! You should have hung that bikini up 20 years ago at least!" Yikes! What a rude comment! I couldn't stop thinking about what the audience would be saying/thinking/feeling and until that point, it hadn't really entered my mind. I figured if I got to a place where I felt good enough about myself and what I accomplished through training, it would just be me in my zone trying to impress the judges. Now I was considering the peanut gallery and really? This is not a good thing because you don't need to impress them or worry for a moment about their judgments. They don't matter.
I think also of clothing shopping: it's spring and summer is right around the corner. Lots of moms taking their daughters shopping and you can hear their hushed conversations in the dressing room when trying on swimsuits. The way a young woman sets about describing her body and its shape can be truly heartbreaking, particularly when considering that this is a big part of how she values herself. I hear too much of "I need to go on a diet" or "I hate my thighs, they're so big" or "Nothing fits, everything makes me look fat, I look ugly in all these." Then I see her leave the dressing room and she is a very pretty young lady and I wonder where this fat and ugliness she was so adamant about is. Even the young and beautiful don't find it easy to bikini.
Not being easy doesn't mean it's impossible. Truth is, that's what's got me in this game. I need a challenge, I love a challenge and it keeps me fierce. Besides, what exactly looks EASY in any of this?!
I try to live by the mantra "It's only as hard as you let it be." I hope you will click on the link above to read Carolyn's story - what beautiful inspiration! She is right-on with her attitude towards health and fitness. She sums it up like this: “Don’t listen to the naysayers, be your own person. Attitude is your most important asset. Life is not perfect, accept this and grab it with both hands.”