Baptism By Fire

The theme of my first competition could be neatly summed up as “Baptism By Fire.”

I had NO IDEA what the heck I was doing.

I think the worst piece of advice I got was, ‘Trust the process…” simply because I had no idea what the process was!

Google is a double edged sword…tons of information, but who and what do you trust? There were many late light conversations between Google and myself.

DLH – “How to diet for a first time figure competitor who has a muffin top
*crosses fingers*

Google – “Did you mean to say ‘How to figure out diet muffins for a competition?

DLH – “NO! That is NOT helpful. How do I find abs?! I need help!!“…thinking…”Ah, yes…let’s try ‘Figure Competitor Diets

Google – Pictures of lithe women in bedazzle suits…aka…no relevant data for Donloree…

DLH – *eyes bugging out* “Yes, I understand that is what I WANT to look like, but HOW do I do it??!?

Google – *no response…blank stare…fathomless blinking…*

In November of 2009, I decided to compete in an all natural Figure Competition; but that was all I knew. HOW was a whole different story.

All I saw in front of me was a deep, dark, black hole with a skimpy, bedazzled bikini at the end. So I did my absolute best, but I lost copious hours of sleep panicking and obsessing and ended up not nearly in the condition that I had hoped.

I met the goal of being confident and fully loving myself on the day of the event, which is a HUGE accomplish for a woman that used to be in Obese Class One. Unfortunately, the goal of being competitive was not met. I got gold for the journey of self discovery, but placed last in my class.


I tell you all this because perhaps you are thinking of competing but you have no idea where to start. All you see is a black, bottomless hole and you don’t have a flashlight.

There is no way I have all the answers, but I want to share what I know or help you find the answers to your questions!

If I don’t know the answer, I will ask my fabulous Bikini or Bust group and the hundreds of competitors on Twitter. I will put up answers to questions throughout the upcoming weeks.

Leave a comment on this post or email me at dl at with your questions. If you have 100 questions, that is more than ok!

So…what do you want to know about:

  • Competing
  • Training for a competition
  • Dieting
  • Balancing life and training
  • Finding a skimpy bedazzled suit
  • How to prepare mentally
  • When to tell others what you’re doing
  • Finding a trainer
  • Anything to do with training for a competition

There is no need for more than one of us to be baptized by fire; let’s do this thing together.

I’m aiming to have the theme of my competition this fall be, “DL Takes The Cake!“.

What is your theme going to be?

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  1. Francesca Campisi says

    I need HELP! Last year I tried to put on muscle on my 130lb frame and I couldn’t control my food and I didn’t know everything about bodybuilding eating. Thus I put on muscle but loads of fat, and I literally went crazy because I wasn’t used to being big like that. Now I am working on getting back to a leaner body, I researched figure competitions and have found help, I do a meal prep every Sunday to help me through the week but I still need help. Structuring meal plans and workouts especially cardio ( which is hard to even though I used to run marathons), maybe find a trainer who has in tin mind my best interests, and how to get myself to a mental state of mind where i know I can do this. If you can give some help it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for an amazing blog I follow it every day.


    • bikiniorbust says

      Ooh, that is a good one. Let me pick my nutritionist’s brain on this one! 🙂 He is FREAKISHLY smart. A good place to start right away would be his book – The Diet Doc’s Guide to Permanent Weight Loss. HIs name is Joe Klemczewski.

      • I’ve read that book… don’t you think the calorie allowances (based on HEIGHT!) are extremely low? I’m 5’3″ and they suggest I eat close to anorexic levels of food.

        • bikiniorbust says

          I think it is a good starting point. Some people have low metabolic rates and some have super high. I suffer from a low metabolism, so I need less food in my life (much to my chagrin). You have to start somewhere and then figure it out. I am my very own science experiment and finding what works as I go. Some of the Bikini or Bust women eat TWICE as much as me, it totally depends on your genetics, met rate, and the way the wind is blowing that day. 🙂 Thus the spreadsheets and other ridiculousness in my life. 🙂

  2. Tiffany Miller says

    I wouldn’t mind advice on how to prepare mentally! I have the help of a trainer than lives in Southern Ontario and I live in Northern Ontario. He’s great, but…he’s a guy and not someone I feel comfortable sharing my femmy neurosis with. He’s great for the important questions, but when it comes to the emotional stuff I’d rather stick with the gal pals.

    Donloree you are amazing. I have no idea how you press 5 plates, 3 absolutely slaughtered me this week. You are my hero.

    • bikiniorbust says

      Thank you. But just so you know there is tons of ‘hero’ in you too! Who else is doing what you are doing?! Exactly. The mental and inside stuff is, in my opinion, where the heavy training really takes place. Let me muse about this one….and ask the fabulous Bikini Or Bust women (they are amazing).

  3. I know I am going to compete in October this year but I have no idea what that really means or fully what I am getting mysself into. I have a trainer that sends me my workouts and I have another guy help me with my nutrition but I no nothing else…I feel like I am walking into a dark closet to look for something to wear but there are no clothes in there….I fell so lost.

    Any and all info you can provide will help me one way or another.

  4. Tiffany Miller says

    Dawn, I’m with you! Competing next October and I’m excited, scared, hungry for information, training hard, but also wondering if my body will catch up with my enthusiasm! I’m hoping to hell that I don’t embarrass myself by being the girl who shows up and has no idea what the heck she is doing!

    • bikiniorbust says

      See we need to make sure we DON’T feel that way. Show day is supposed to be about confidence and the world seeing who you are in all your glory; inside and out! 🙂 We’ll get this information. I am on it!!

  5. This post is a great idea!


  6. OOooooh.. thanks for the offer to ask questions!

    1. did you coach/ trainer ever go over the big picture plan with you? did he/ she ever go over your progress pics with you?

    2. how do you keep from throwing up before walking on stage?

    3. when your body changes back to looking softer and less lean how do you keep from freaking out?

  7. Hey i’m entering my first competition in May and just came across this post. I’m hoping you come across this message soon maybe if you knew of a good site to look at the poses for figure and bikini? It would help a ton.

    • Poses are pretty similar across the board, but there are nuances and differences from federation to federation. I compete with the INBF – here is a link to the poses: The female fitness model is the bikini category. What federation are you competing with? If they have a posing camp, I would suggest seeing if they have a posing camp or if someone in your area does posing classes as it is very helpful. Start practicing your poses now. 🙂 You’re on stage longer than you think so you’re going to want to be able to hold them for a long time. 😀

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