BNBF Britain Final part 1 – show report
This is part 1 – part 2 is here.
Hello! One week on from the BNBF Britain – the British Natural Bodybuilding Federation’s national Final – and I think I’m ready to tackle my show report!
Where to start… When I first discussed the idea of doing a bodybuilding show (actually, I initially started prepping for Figure), I honestly thought I’d do one. One show, just for the experience. I was more interested in the prep than the show – or so I thought. I didn’t think I’d place, I didn’t think I’d qualify for anything. In fact I had absolutely no idea how it all worked. I just picked a competition date and worked towards it, to see how far I could take my physique and to learn as much as I could about nutrition, training and body composition.
Then I won, and qualified for the Finals. All of a sudden things were moving quickly, and I went with it. Instead of one show, I had several to prep for. Instead of one block of dieting, there was more. It was exciting, nerve-wracking and totally outside my comfort zone. And it was all a big shock. A big, surprising, bolt-from-the-blue shock.
Second place in the British Finals, and I can tell you all it’s still a big old shock. It most definitely hasn’t sunk in yet, and I doubt it will until after the season is over and I have been able to relax into an off-season routine and mull it all over in my tired little mind.
OK, onto the Final. That’s what you’re here for.
My win at the NPA regional qualifier the week before had told me that I was in good shape, that my posing was OK, and that my routine went down well. However, contrary to some people’s opinions, it had certainly not filled me with confidence. I went into the BNBF Final feeling confident that I’d done everything I could (my peak week had gone well, and I felt as if I was in the best shape I’d been so far). That doesn’t mean I was confident of winning. Far from it. I wasn’t even confident of placing, and why would I have been? Yes, I’d won my BNBF and NPA qualifiers. So had at least one other woman in my class at the Final. Every woman there had either won her qualifier, or done well enough to be invited to the Final. It was a level playing field, if that. I knew that all the other women had something over me: condition, size, experience, routine, shape, posing ability, stage presence.
The quality of competitors was incredibly high (as you’d expect from a Final). Everyone had prepped, trained and dieted hard all season. Some of the women had years and years of competitive bodybuilding under their
belt bikini and I think I’m right in saying I was the least experienced one in our class.
However, none of that mattered to me, because I was about to step onstage at the British Finals! No matter what happened, I was already a British Finalist and that meant the world to me. I thought only about getting on stage, posing to the best of my ability, doing my routine (which I love) and enjoying the entire weekend. Anything else would be a bonus. In a class of 7, I’d need to be top 5 to officially place, and I didn’t allow myself to think that would happen. 7th place or 1st place, I was already a British Finalist and that to me was more than enough.
My support team:
I had an amazing amount of support: my Mum and her husband, my Dad and my coach all travelled up to Glasgow to support me, and my husband drove me all the way there (and most of the way back). (THANK YOU ALL YOU ARE AMAZING). I shared a flat with Lucy Oakman, who’d won Figure at the BNBF Welsh qualifier. And there were lots of friends backstage and in the crowd. It was a fantastic atmosphere and I was ready to enjoy the weekend in its entirety. My moments on stage would be just a tiny part of it all and I was excited about the whole experience. I knew I might never be here again and approached this as “that time I was at the British Final”. I mean – how cool! I’ve spent nearly my whole life in sport at some level, but never ever been a national finalist. I was going to soak this up!
(Gosh this is getting long, sorry).
The night before:
Sharing a flat with Lucy, my coach Kat and my husband was a blast. Lucy and I tanned, cooked prep food and taught each other how to pose in each other’s categories. Hats off to Figure competitors in those shoes!
“Yes! I mean no! Er…. it wasn’t me!”
All competitors had to have a polygraph, which was a first for me. The guy who did mine was ex-FBI – with the most amazing soporific voice. He wired me up and strapped bits of polygraph-kit to various bits of me and then asked me a series of questions. Afterwards he told me I’d been very calm. I told him his lovely accent had almost sent me to sleep!
Edited to add: I should have explained – the polygraph (and the urine testing of all winners) is to test for bodybuilding drugs or other ‘enhancements’ – this is natural bodybuilding, and the ‘natural’ aspect is taken extremely seriously.
That night after meal god-knows-what number of the day, I slept on and off, and then it was finally time to get going. At the SECC it was a flurry of hellos to old friends before finding a spot backstage for my bag and settling down for a long day.
Ladies Physique was on last, so I popped into the auditorium to watch the Pro bodybuilders and some of the other classes (I would have watched more, but it was hot in there and my tan was running – you can’t wear deodorant, y’see).
(to be continued once I’ve walked the dog….)
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.