So you wanna be a bodybuilder, part 5: Peak week! Too much water and Drag Queen makeup

Just a few days to go now! I’m feeling pretty good: not too tired or hungry and generally positive about the whole thing. But that’s not what you really want to read about, is it? So here’s some dirt.

The last week or so is when I’ve really honed the posing aspect of this competition, which most competitors and trainers will tell you is one of the absolute most important part of your preparations. You can have a fabulous body, but if you don’t know how to pose the way the judges expect in order to show off your tone and proportion, your hot bod barely matters. Now, anyone who knows me knows I like having my picture taken – I’m pretty photogenic and I have my own “Ashleigh” poses down pretty well. I’m a bit of a ham that way. But these poses, my friends, are very different, and very difficult.

They’re called quarter turns, and it’s basically four poses: front on, left side forward, from the back, and right side forward.  For the front and back poses, your aim is to showcase your “v taper”, ideally wide shoulders and a narrow waist. Luckily for me, years of pull-ups and some decent genetics (thanks, Mom!) have given me a pretty decent v taper, so this part isn’t so bad. The side poses are meant to show off your toned legs and butt, small waist, and again the wider shoulders, but from the side. For the side pose, picture this: You’re in a tiny, scratchy bikini and high heels. You’re on a brightly lit stage in front of probably hundreds of people who are there just to stare at and judge your body. Now, remember: hike your hip up; flex your glutes; suck in your gut, while simultaneously twisting it towards the audience; lift your chest up; flare your lat while letting your arm hang in a relaxed manner at your side; breathe; oh, and smile like this is the most fun you’ve ever had. Starting to get the picture? The real pros make this look effortless, but it is not. My smile on that day, hopefully a convincing one, will actually be a rictus of pain and discomfort and disbelief that I found myself in this ridiculous situation. So that’s posing!

This week, my workouts taper off around Wednesday, and I’m excited to have a few days free of the gym. The biggest project over the next couple days is water consumption: the goal is to drink as much water as possible so your body gets used to flushing it all out, and when you stop drinking water the day of the competition you will continue to flush, allowing your body to become dehydrated and thus look tighter – less water between your skin and your muscles. Weird, I know. In the meantime, I’m drinking up to 7 litres of water a day. Go buy a litre water bottle and then contemplate drinking 7 of them today. If you need me, I’ll be within five seconds of a bathroom at all times.

But there is a fun part this week: Hair and makeup. Anyone who enjoys getting pampered and experimenting with beauty will love this part, because when (other than maybe Halloween) do you get a chance to put on completely over the top, Drag Queen-esque stage makeup? Stage performers will tell you that the makeup required for those harsh lights has to be, well, not subtle, and I am so excited to get completely made up. My appointment, sadly, is at 5:30 am the day of the show (my least cute time of day) so I will have great before/after pictures to share with you.

I’ll have a post next week telling you all about the competition, but I can’t sign off on today’s thoughts without talking about my cheat meals again. For your amusement, here is a shot of the junk in my trunk:

This literal junk in my trunk, soon to become the metaphorical junk in my trunk.

This literal junk in my trunk, soon to become the metaphorical junk in my trunk.

Yes, as I mentioned, I’ve been hiding treats in the trunk of my car because I have such impulse control issues that if I left them in my house, I’d eat them. Laugh all you want, but this has worked for me! Now, I don’t plan to binge on junk food until my hard-earned abs are once again invisible and replaced by a soft layer of regret, self-loathing, and stomach bloat. I do, however, plan to enjoy a selection of treats that I have been thinking of over the past few months and that I know I will truly enjoy. I will not binge on pizza and chips because frankly I don’t care about pizza and chips (sorry). But I will kill some chocolate peanut butter pretzels and some chocolate chip pancakes because those fill me with both calories and joy. I will take these treats out of my trunk one by one, and do my best to enjoy them sensibly along with my protein filled, well portioned regular meals. See how reasonable I am?

Except, of course, for the 24-hour period directly after the competition, where I plan to go fully ape-shit and eat as much fatty, sugary deliciousness as I can without dying. How much damage can you do in 24 hours, right? Famous last words…

Next time I write this post, it will be after the competition, but don’t worry – I will have plenty more for you, including what it’s like backstage at these things; what its like ON stage at these things; pictures of my ridiculous tan; and perhaps some post-show binge-eating shots. Wish me luck!

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