I always email the head judge of my competitions to ask for feedback, I want to know how I can improve. I even ask when I come in 1st place as we all have room for improvement. This last competition I was particularly interested since I came in 1st in masters 50+ but 7thin open, it didn’t make sense to me.
The head judge emailed me back and suggested that I bring up the size of my calves. In October she told me the same thing, but also suggested I add size to my quads, I was thrilled that she didn’t mention the quads this time, they are bigger and it shows.
When I asked her if I would be more successful in Women’s Physique, I was stunned by the answer I got back. Here is a portion of what she said:
“You are too hard, striated and separated for both figure and physique.
You have the size to transition into women's physique if you wanted. If you want to stay in figure then you need to soften the look and bring your muscle size down some. The new criteria for either division is a softer look. No striation and no hard/deep separation. The difference in the figure and woman's physique is size. Physique competitors can have more muscle but must maintain a softer feminine look. It is not woman's bodybuilding.”
After I recovered from being stunned I jumped up and did the happy dance. I am too hard!! Too striated!! Too separated!!
For those of you who may be unsure of what this means let me explain:
Striated means when the subcutaneous fat is so thin, you can see the lines or striations in the muscle under the skin.
Separated means when there is clear separation between muscles, there is a distinct separation between the biceps and the triceps, they aren’t flowing together but you can clearly see they are different muscles due to the degree of development. Each muscle stands out on its own.
Hard means the muscles are full of glycogen and pressing against the skin, causing the skin to look like it is pulled tight over the muscles. Its also a sign of limiting water- so I had cut water so much I looked tight and dry. My bodyfat was too low....
Who wouldn’t want to look like this??? (I know, many women do not)
These are all looks that I love, I have worked so hard to look like this, and I am thrilled. These are looks typically reserved for Bodybuilders, but I am not big enough to be a Bodybuilder, I don’t have the size of a Bodybuilder. I guess I am a “mini Bodybuilder”!
What really shocked me was that she felt I was still too hard for Women’s Physique too.
What this means is I need to carry more bodyfat in the show, and not have such muscle definition. That is of course, if I am interested in placing, so I need to make that decision don’t I?
I love the lean, hard look, absolutely love it. I have also busted my butt to get the striated and separated look, I like my look. And since I train this way for me, and not for competitions I might choose not to change, I haven’t decided. I actually toyed with the idea of just starting a diet for three or four weeks and entering a show at about 4 pounds heavier than this last one and seeing what happens. I would certainly be softer wouldn’t I?
Don’t forget that I purposely decided to come in “softer” this time, from my competition in October and I did, I was about 2% higher in bodyfat, and although I changed, the Figure "look" and judging criteria also changed, I just didn’t change enough…or the "look" and criteria changed too much - you decide.
The critique was very easy for me to accept, it would have been more difficult if she were to have said that perhaps my shoulders were not developed enough, or my glutes were too flat, or my quads too thin, but what I received was the exact opposite, I have achieved what I set out and even more than I could have imagined. I have accomplished what many are never able to.
If I do decide to come in softer, it means a much more relaxed diet, not as much cardio, and my lifting would need to be curtailed a bit. It sure would make prep a lot easier wouldn’t it?
I guess this shows that my training with Roy is exactly right- he got me where I wanted to be, so if you are looking for a trainer who can help get you "too hard, striated and separated", he's the guy (just don't try to even take my times, I won't let you); and my diet, well I have it all dialed in don’t I?
For now, I am eating and training just as I always have and when I do decide on the next competition, I will have hopefully made up my mind about how I want to look when I step on stage.: shredded or soft. I can show up however I feel I want to. What do you all think?