In my previous blog post, I asked if you had any questions about the INBF Worlds, my prep, off-season, and my plans for future comps (or anything else relevant).
Yes, it’s a lazy way to get a blog post out there. I plead jetlag!
“What does getting a Pro card mean or do?”
Bodybuilders compete as amateurs or as Pros. A Pro was once an amateur but won a certain level of competition (usually a national Final, or the amateur bit of a World level comp). Turning Pro doesn’t mean you can jack in your day job and earn a living wage bodybuilding (we wish!) “Pro” denotes the standard and level at which you compete, not that it’s your profession. Pros compete for prize money, whereas amateurs don’t, but even if a Pro was to win every single comp he or she entered, it would barely be enough to cover the cost of flights and accommodation for competing. There are a few exceptions: in the IFBB, those at the very top of the tree do make a living from competition winnings, product endorsements, sponsorships and putting their name to supplements, clothing, etc. In reality, become Pro for a UK bodybuilder actually means you have less choice of where to compete (because you can only do Pro shows, and – at present – there are very few in Europe). For me, it’s something to aspire to, it shows progress and achievement, enables you to be judged against an ever-higher standard of competition, and is one way of marking ongoing progression through the sport.
“This might be a bit personal, but are you older than a lot of competitors? The reason I ask is that your blog reads a lot different…”
I’m 36 (and a half). And thank you – I think! The blog didn’t start out life as a bodybuilding blog, or even a competing/racing/sporting event blog. It’s just my blog, and bodybuilding is one part of a big life. So, at the moment at least, lots of it is about bodybuilding. It hasn’t always been that way (have a dig back through the archives for triathlon, channel swimming, cycling races and even stuff about the business of writing 😉 ) I’m glad you enjoy reading it at the moment 🙂
“I want to know everything about the comp – what was the backstage atmosphere like, what was the process that you had to go through to prove you were natural? PS some of the guys on your team are ridiculously good looking, phew!”
Ha ha, I have no idea what you could possibly mean about the male competitors on Team UK! Ugly mugs 😉 Some of them proved very popular with the other ladies in my changing room… tee hee. Backstage was a lot larger than any comp I’ve done in the UK, although not necessarily any more well-equipped. There was plenty of space, plug sockets, toilet cubicles and room to pump up, but no mirrors (people brought their own) for example. In my experience, there’s always positives and negatives about every backstage area. I guess it’s because BB comps are held in so many different kinds of venues, from theatres to civic halls. This one was in the auditorium at a big University.
The atmosphere was really friendly 🙂 It’s not always the case, sadly, particularly when it’s a top level comp. It often seems to follow that the higher the stakes, the tenser the atmosphere. I’m really pleased to say that this was not the case at the INBF Worlds (not in my experience, anyway). The atmosphere in the amateur ladies dressing room was… manic, frenetic, highly-strung, often hilarious, and a giggle. Imagine the largest, strangest sleepover you’ve ever been to. It’s like that. Only with bikinis. Beauty treatments, fake tan, talk of junk food, sharing makeup, high emotion, even a bit of singing and booty-shaking. It was all there. I made some new friends (“let’s take a selfie! OK, now tag me on Facebook!”), got some great advice on exactly which chocolate-covered peanut butter-filled pretzels to buy from Trader Joe’s, and enjoyed myself immensely.
To compete in the INBF and WNBF, athletes need to be 7 years drug free (some drug-free Federations are lifetime natural). Athletes are tested by urinology and polygraph. “Drug-free” is assessed against the current WADA (World Anti Doping Authority) banned list. When people think about drugs in sport (particularly bodybuilding) they automatically think of steroids (often used as a blanket term I think!), growth hormone and other exogenous hormones, and “stuff you inject into yourself”. In reality, there’s a great deal more on the banned list, from certain stimulants/”fat burners” to certain diuretics. Fun fact! Caffeine (in certain quantities) was on the prohibited list until 2004.
Well, I have had three goals for the last couple of years in this sport:
compete in America[tick]
win a World title[tick x 2]
– get Pro Status/”Pro card” [ ]
So, 2014 will be the Year of the Pro Card. I will compete with the UKDFBA again here in the UK, with a view either to earning Pro Status here with them (as the winner of my class did at the UKDFBA comp this year), or to go over to the INBF Worlds with their UK team again, win again, and this time earn Pro Status by doing so. Usually, the winner of the overall would be offered Pro Status at the Worlds. It didn’t happen this time, because there weren’t enough people in the class (last year there were 9). So – come on ladies! And I’ll see you there! 😉
That’s enough for now – part 2 coming soon!
I’ll leave you with a couple of photos a mini-shoot I did on the day of the comp. I’m really pleased with them, they’re a great memento of a fantastic experience 😀
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.