Before 1980, bodybuilding was seen as a purely masculine activity and no one thought that women could compete with a beach body.
No one could imagine a woman looking so muscular- they were supposed to be gracious models and nothing else.
But who is setting these standards? Who said that women cannot compete in a bodybuilding contest?
Bikini Fitness and the Olympia arena
Things started to change when women first entered the Olympia arena, showing more and more interest in this kind of activity.
From that moment on, they were determined to show the world that female bodybuilders are nothing short of beauty queens.
The only exception is that they can now do it on their own terms. The Olympia weekend shuttered all stereotypes, introducing a new generation of stronger, more determined, beautiful and graceful women.
Indeed, they all are stunning and incredibly focused individuals, doing what they love most in style.
They can compete in one of the following categories: bodybuilding, female fitness, female figure, and bikini fitness.
Today we are concentrating on the latter, which is the most accessible, dictating the goals women pursue while training for the perfect beach body.
Bikini fitness: the new hot buzz. What’s it all about?
Nowadays, the beach body is a professional affair. Recognized by the IFBB as an independent category within the competition in 2010, Bikini Olympia has since offered a lot of models to look up to, the kind of gorgeous women you see on the covers of fitness magazines.
But don’t let yourself be fooled: there’s plenty of hard work behind those perfect poses and shining smiles.
The bikini division is dedicated to those with the least muscle mass of all the categories. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the easiest look to go for.
In fact, it’s one of the hardest to attain.
As Emma Howie, a bikini fitness athlete from the UK, tells us, staying in that intermediate stage of not being too soft and not being too lean is one of the toughest challenges a female athlete may ever face.
Competing in such a category involves a very precise level of knowledge and mastery of your own body and its capacities, as you must go from skinny to fit in a matter of weeks and completely nail it.
Judges appreciate a balanced, proportionally and symmetrically developed, complete physique. And as we already know, this kind of balance is the hardest to maintain.
Another thing that’s worth mentioning: competitors should have a shape to their muscle but not the separation, definition, very low body fat level, dryness or density that are seen at body fitness competitions.
Therefore, it’s pretty hard to know when you peaked and when it’s time to stop training, changing the focus to maintaining the look you’ve already obtained.
Mental focus, challenges, and lessons for all women
Given that it’s a year-round affair, this endeavor can become extremely stressful and mentally challenging.
Training can last anywhere from six months to a full year.
This “building” phase includes strength training to build up muscle groups that need more time and practice to develop.
Sticking to strict nutrition plans and sleeping schedules is a core part of this stage. In fact, in the weeks prior to the competition, the diet becomes so restrictive that it takes a lot of will power not to give up.
Taylor Chapman, personal trainer, and bikini fitness competitor admits that the ideal body she trains so hard for in the pre-contest period can only be maintained for a few days.
The day the competition was held, she displayed a well-defined body with only 12% of body fat. But keeping it in that exact form and shape is virtually impossible during the rest of the year.
Why? Simply because you can’t stick to such a restrictive diet and a full workout program all the time.
She confesses that people often guess that she is done with competitions whenever they see her “regular”, day-to-day body. Which is pretty tough, to be honest.
Having people think that you always need to look sharp and perfectly proportioned if you are competing in bikini fitness contests can be utterly demoralizing.
But this should be food for thought for all women out there fantasizing about getting that perfect beach body.
While health and well-being must always be a priority, this kind of look isn’t something to strive for all year long, so don’t sweat it.
Once you get this mindset, it becomes easier to focus on short term goals knowing that they are just that- tough routines you only need to subject yourself to for a couple of months.
What to aim for while trying to get the perfect beach body
You may feel better and more motivated knowing that all that hard work needs to happen over a very specific period of time in order to get in a shape that you will only display for a week or two.
There’s no need to be so hard on yourself the rest of the time. Once you get that out of the way, it’s time to think about a strategy, right?
We’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of tips and tricks for training during your own “pre-contest” period.
Cardio will become your best friend. There’s no way you can skip this part.
Elliptical, treadmill, tennis, Zumba, power walking- anything. Just keep on moving. Moreover, you will have fewer days off.
The cardio training must be done on a daily basis and as we all know, nowadays everybody has a very busy and stressful schedule.
And when it comes to training and there is no more energy, you can try Blood and Guts, a pre-workout that helps you give 100% on the treadmill.
In order to stay in shape, you will need to increase your non-exercise physical activity.
This means keeping yourself busy at all times, choosing the stairs over the elevator, spending your afternoons or evenings walking around the town instead of laying on the couch and so on.
Building a routine
Build your routine around the muscle groups that need more definition. We recommend taking a look at our post about workouts and when should you schedule them.
Glutes will be the highlight of any beach body, so focus on them during leg day. Squats, deadlifts, squat jumps, hip thrusts, and glute bridges are very effective.
Just remember to keep clenching your glutes on top of your mind while performing each exercise.
Abs are another priority. Crunches, planks (side or crawl outs), bicycle crunches, push-ups or cross mountain climbers are a good idea.
Besides that, you can always sign up for a Pilates class or Fitball classes. They’re fun and challenging and you won’t even feel the time passing!
Push and pull. Don’t neglect your arms and your upper back. Bent-over dumbbell rows, lat pulldowns and exercising at a rowing machine are all very useful techniques for muscle strength and definition.
If you’re going for a well-toned look, remember not to go over the top and vary the routines.
You will also need to be mindful of your posture, so you may also need to incorporate exercises that focus on that specific goal. After all, they may be the ones you’ll benefit the most from.
As for the leaning out phase, high-intensity interval training may be a good option to consider. It’s a more time-effective solution, comparing it to traditional cardio.
Dieting is also very important for obtaining a perfect beach body
Finally, drink lots of water and cut your calorie intake down to 1100-1200 calories per day.
In order to get that much-desired beach body, your diet must contain lots of proteins but not that many calories.
For that, the solution is Whey Protein Shadowhey ISOLATE which contains zero sugar, low calories and 84% pure protein.
If you condition your body to take in that much water, not only are you properly hydrating for your workouts, making sure that hard training won’t take a toll on your tissues, but you also prepare it to expel the same amount of liquid.
This emphasizes a more visible muscle definition.
The calorie restriction may well be the hardest part of them all. No cheat days, lots of protein shakes and considerably less of those tasty meals.
But remember what we talked about earlier: it’s just for a brief moment. It’s nothing that you have to do during the entire year.
Obviously, it’s good to pay attention to your diet all year round, this way it will come way more natural to stick to such a drastic, yet short-lived plan.
Now you are ready to nail that beach body look and wear your favorite swimsuit graciously, just like the fitness pros walking on the podium at international competitions.