A Magical Weekend in Teaneck New Jersey

The first weekend in July of 2013 was one of the most meaningful and thrilling weekends I have ever experienced, and strangely, I had a gut feeling that the events of that weekend would turn out that way. I was returning to an NPC (National Physique Committee) Pro-Qualifying event at which I had competed for three consecutive prior years, and I was bound and determined to bring my best physique ever to that show for my fourth run. It was no easy task, since I was spending 4 to 5 hours daily at the gym, enduring double training sessions, double cardio, and struggling to fit in TEN mini-meals throughout each day to fuel my body. To top it off, I had been dumped by my boyfriend three months prior, and he was still living in my house with me, which added more strain on my contest prep.

Nevertheless, when I arrived at the host hotel in Teaneck, NJ, I just felt different, as if I had already won an IFBB Pro Card, and I was oddly relaxed. Even my friends noticed that I seemed different, and they became excited at the prospect of me most likely going Pro at the NPC Team Universe event that weekend. I also made a last minute change with my posing suit, simply because the tangerine hue of a new suit which had been custom made for me resonated more than the pale blue suit I had originally planned to wear. As soon as I tried on the orange suit, I could see that it fit me better, and somehow imparted a glow which popped against my competition spray tan.

Normally I would feel a bit jittery right before stepping onstage at any show, but on Friday, July 5th, 2013, I felt completely calm as I glided onto the stage. It was as if I was dancing onstage, rather than hitting mandatory poses for the judges. When I got first callout, was placed in the center of the lineup and remained there, I just knew that I would indeed earn my Pro Card at this event. The first time I stepped on that stage, I was in the 40+ age group, height class B, and I nailed that class. Then I returned to the stage moments later for the 35+ age group, height class B, and once again got first callout and remained in the center of that lineup. By the time I walked onstage for Open Bikini height class D, I was already floating with joy, but I got yet another treat by making first callout.

Once prejudging was over, I knew I had to remain on task with my food intake and also get lots of rest, because although I believed I had locked in a first place finish, I wouldn’t know until the next day, when we would all return onstage for finals. I spent part of the late afternoon and evening hanging out with my good friends, and made sure to avoid contact with anyone (particularly my ex-boyfriend) who might distract or upset me. My performance onstage that day was the culmination of five years in the competitive bodybuilding world, defined by extreme sacrifices and hard work. I wasn’t about to mess this up!

The next day, July 6th, the 40+ bikini competitors hit their individual routines, and when height class B was up, I heard the MC announce the 5th place winner (not me), then the 4th place winner (not me), the 3rd place winner (not me), and then quickly announce the 2nd place winner, followed by my name as the 1st place finisher. I had FINALLY WON MY PRO CARD!

The battle for the Mater’s Bikini 40+ Overall Title at NPC Team Universe, July 6th, 2013

All I needed was one first place finish in any of the three classes in which I was competing in order to become an IFBB Pro, so when I won first place in 40+ B, my heart burst with gratitude, because I had officially attained IFBB Pro status. When I was called back out for the Overall title for 40+, I didn’t know whether I would win that title as well, so when I did in fact win the Overall title, it was icing on the cake. I also ended up winning First Place in 35+ class B, and because I was already awarded Pro Status when I swept the 40+ Bikini Class, IFBB Pro Status was awarded to the 2nd place finisher in our lineup. Finally, I won 4th place in Open Bikini height class D, which was an incredible feat for me at 3 days shy of my 47th birthday.

That weekend remains one of my proudest snippets of time.

Onstage and in the Wings

With the amazing Liz Fitchner at Team Universe, July 2013

With the amazing Liz Fitchner at Team Universe, July 2013


People often ask me what it is like to be up on stage, very scantily clad and fully cognizant of the fact that I am being scrutinized by a panel of judges. There is so much about competing that is appealing, fascinating and inspiring, but there are also many strange and frustrating elements which competitors deal with which can challenge their determination in the sport.

The thrill of strutting out onstage and showing off a hard-earned physique is incredibly empowering, especially when a competitor gets first call-out. The obvious physical transformation is invariably accompanied by an emotional and spiritual overhaul. The audience sees the best of this since they are attending a show. But the backstage world which they don’t see is incredibly colorful and revealing.

Before the competition, many competitors look like hoodlums, bums or like they just crawled out of bed, clad in baggy, dark clothing. The dark skin hues which competitors must sport are more reminiscent of mahogany furniture than human skin. Food coolers are packed with chicken, nut butter, rice cakes, and possibly booze for the celebration afterwards. Every show starts out with a mad scramble after the morning meeting for a prime spot backstage to prep. The ladies cluster around the few full-length mirrors that have been placed around the perimeter of the room. The men cluster around the weights.

It can be maddening and stressful to be in the company of competitors who are so carb-depleted that they are cranky, forgetful and unable to focus on basic streams of conversation. Some are so weak and dehydrated that they are on the verge of passing out. A competitor may have a meltdown because his music cd was misplaced. The overpowering odor of spray tanner admixed with the telltale gaseous emissions of very high protein diets is commonplace. Some abdominals are grossly distended by creatine bloat. A competitor may be freaking out because of a broken suit strap, or makeup being spilled onto a suit, now ruining it…with no backup suit on hand. There are meltdowns with makeup and hair. There are lost earrings and shoes. The fear of water exposure is at an all-time high.

Then once everyone is prepped, there is the interminable wait. When a division and class are announced, there is a mad scramble to get in line. Individuals who bring Bikini Bite suddenly become the most popular people backstage.
Then suddenly a competitor is onstage. Somehow all the stress from being backstage, from dieting and training for months all melts away as that person now has a chance to do turns and show off a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication. Those few moments make it all worthwhile.

Team Bombshell Poster From NPC Team Universe

Congratulations to Team Bombshell four NEW Masters Bikini Athletes who earned their IFBB Pro Cards at the 2013 NPC Team Universe! From (Left To Right);
Stacey Naito from California (Over 40 Overall Champion, also took 1st place in Over 35 B Class), Lindsay Oxford from Texas (2nd place Team Bombshell New IFBB Bikini Pros!Over 35 B Class), Maria Chase (Over 35 C Class Champion) and Amira Lamb from NYC (Over 35 A Class Champion)

http://www.bombshellfitness.com