On May, 11, 2013, I will be competing in my first Women’s Physique competition. As you are aware, if you have been reading my blog, I am not new to competitions at all, but this division is new to the world of Bodybuilding and new to me.
The physical criteria is different between all the divisions, although to the untrained eye, many can look quite similar. The main difference for me was the posing. In Figure there are “quarter turns” and then “model poses”, I had those down, and they were easy. Physique requires similar “quarter turns” although these are performed with every part of your body flexed (unlike Figure) and are slightly more exaggerated to showcase the added muscle the competitors have. In addition, there are “bodybuilding mandatory poses” that differ in that the hands are left open and not clenched into fists, so the end result is a much more fluid and feminine look. The competitor must have one foot in the “toes pointed, heel off the ground” position in each of these poses. Again, this creates a softer look when comparing it to a Bodybuilder.
Last, Physique requires a “Posing routine” set to custom mixed music that each competitor will select, and create.
Many of the women who moved into this new division came from Bodybuilding backgrounds, so they have an advantage in that they already knew the mandatory poses and had performed a posing routine at the evening finals before.
I first wanted to move to Physique because I tended to carry more muscle than Figure competitors, and did not like the new “softer” (higher bodyfat) look that the division moved to. I like to be very lean and I feel I look best leaner than most people like to be.
My last competition was May of 2012, I decided to take a year off so my family could enjoy a summer without me being on a strict diet, and so I could concentrate on adding some additional muscle to my frame. The adding muscle part proved to be harder than I had imagined. A natural athlete cannot add as much muscle mass as one who takes androgenic drugs, but my decision is to remain natural, so I shall always be a bit behind the curve in that department, and I am perfectly happy that way.
I quickly realized that proper posing was a vital component to learn and started posing with Kristy Enos every other week. We concentrated only on the posing, not the routine. She was a fantastic teacher and I would not be where I am today without her.
The mandatory poses are what the competitors are judged on, the posing routine is not what will decide the placement, and it’s more of a treat for the audience to see the beautiful bodies move to music. So I didn’t worry too much about the routine at the start.
Once I had the posing down, and was no longer working with Kristy, I launched into it. I quickly learned this was not something I could do on my own. Why? I am a great dancer, I love dancing, why couldn’t I do it on my own?
Because it’s basically bodybuilding poses set to music. I just learned the darn poses; they aren’t second nature to me like dancing to music I love, moving my body the way it feels good. The routine had to be purposeful, choreographed and show the muscle groups that I have worked hard to build.
I knew it didn’t matter to the judges what I did, or how I looked, but I think it comes down to personal ethics. I want to do my best, even if it doesn’t count. It’s what you do when no one is looking that proves the kind of person you are, do you help someone and perhaps don’t take credit? Do you do a kind deed without thought of repayment? Or do you only do what needs to be done just to ensure you get ahead in life?
I decided I needed to hire a professional, someone who could choreograph a routine for me, someone who had a lot of experience. I had some fairly specific criteria: 1) They had to have been in Bodybuilding a long time (experience); 2) They had to actually offer this as a regular business, I didn’t just want some competitor to throw something together and say they choreographed a routine for me; 3) I had to like their personality.
#3 is interesting, how would I determine that? Well I like a fun loving, energetic and positive person. I can tell from Facebook and pictures what kind of person they are. A whiner or a Prima Donna? I have no room in my life for that.
I found my gal and I contacted her.
IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Michelle Brent
Michelle has been a bodybuilder for 20 years. She certainly fits #1! And I saw her deliver other routines, she fit #2. And #3? Well if she still lived on the West Coast we would tear up the town together! (She is from Monterey, California)
Michelle and I connected on Facebook and we chatted a bit. I explained that I was a newbie so I needed something basic. I also expressed that music was important to me, I didn’t like all the painfully slow songs that so many competitors used. She said she could design a routine that would be suitable for a less experienced competitor like me.
I finally found some music I thought might work, something that made me want to move yet could possibly work with bodybuilding poses and I sent it to Michelle for her advice. She liked it and said go for it! She then recommended a fellow who could mix the music, JSinn of Masterminds Productions and once he finished my music, she would choreograph my routine.
All of this requires a lot of trust. I am a very trusting person. I will always trust you until you give me a reason not to, I have rarely been disappointed.
I paid Michelle’s fee through her PayPal account for her other business Michelle’s Magic Morsels (I haven’t had the pleasure of trying these yet, but they are cookies made with whey protein and egg whites!); and a couple weeks later she then emailed a video of herself performing the routine.
David saw it and remarked “Damn she looks like she is having fun!” and she does, that’s what makes it all so special. It’s about the enjoyment of it all, the experience. She said I could contact her with any questions, gave me some tips and encouragement and then rest was up to me.
She and I chat once in a while; she checks in and asks how I am doing. I go to the gym and practice every Friday afternoon after training, and on Saturday and Sunday for about 45 minutes to an hour. I get a lot of smiles, and questions, men walk by and waive or give me a thumbs up, people stand at the door and watch. They are very curious as it’s not every day you see something like this, Bodybuilding for women is becoming a dying art, and Physique is in its infancy, so there are not too many of us! It’s important to feel comfortable performing in front of strangers so doing this with an audience is a plus no matter how uncomfortable it may seem at first.
I have changed a couple things; just slight placement of my hands or arm movements, the beauty of this is it changes according to each person’s personality.
You can hear my music that JSinn mixed, it is the pink triangle on the right side of the main blog page, under the woman snapping the whip, (it has a watermark sound to protect the mix). I cannot show you the routine as I haven't performed it yet! You have to wait for the competition.
Could I have done this without spending the money on a routine? Probably. Would I have felt comfortable and excited about it? No. I am glad I did it, I feel great heading into this! As you can see by these pictures, taken 8 weeks out, my physique is on point, I look good. My posing is fine, I know the required moves. It's now just more practice on the routine and I have plenty of time.
I am having fun!
A lot of it this time around. I think I have the diet down so it's not rough for me, (I am sure I will go through my small meltdowns here and there though); I no longer have those painful 5 inch heels required for Figure (I sent them to my friend Sakura); I love how my physique has changed, it looks different, more muscular and healthy; I get to train as hard and lift as heavy as I want; and I am enjoying my posing and dancing!
Remember: Girls Just Want To Have Fun?
One word of advice is that you should not wait till the last few weeks. I started posing with Kristy about 9 months before my competition, and I got my routine 4 months ahead. Give yourself time, stress causes your body to produce cortisol!
Contact Michelle if you are interested. You can reach her via Facebook or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org