Same Situation, Different Experiences

Relatively speaking, I am a bodybuilding newbie.

I have only been doing this for a few years and only have one competition under my belt. Over time competitors just seem to get better. More experience, muscle, support, confidence, and self awareness just leads to more greatness.

Like anything in life, there are ups and downs with competing. Some fabulous things and some very un-fabulous things.

Just ask Kari!

This is my sixth Figure competition season, and after ten shows in that time period, I’ve had quite a few interesting experiences. Although every show has some of the same qualities, each one is an entirely different and unique experience.

There has been one undeniably thrilling high point and one utterly disappointing and crushing low point. Everything else falls somewhere in between.

By far the most wonderful experience was at the 2008 Contra Costa show in California. It was three weeks after a very disappointing 8th place finish at the Emerald Cup in Seattle, and I went into the show with the intention of just having fun. My trainer completely revamped my diet for those three weeks, and I brought a significantly different physique to the stage. Imagine my surprise when I not only won my class, but also the Overall title! (By the way, in case you’re wondering how to get the sword home on an airplane, wrapping it in cardboard and a roll of duct tape, and then checking it as a piece of luggage works great!)

Gorgeous! That sword deserves a whole roll of duct tape. Wowsa!

The experience on the opposite end of the spectrum happened most recently. I arrived at the Team Universe show this past July fully prepared to take my class by storm! Coming off of successful placings last year at the Arnold and the Lehigh shows, I was confident and happy with my physique. Imagine my surprise (and extreme disappointment) when I stood on the stage sideline and listened to callout after callout after callout before I heard, “Ok, the rest of you [line up].” I can’t even explain how difficult and heartbreaking it was to stand there with a fake smile plastered on my face and watch my year of hard work slip right down the drain. I couldn’t even make it off stage before the tears started to stream down my face. I’m forever grateful to my friend, Ila, and my boyfriend, Jerry, who both gave me big hugs backstage. I realize that only through challenges do we grow stronger, and my placing at the show does not define whether or not I’ve won.

Sometimes the experience has less to do with the show than with who you meet at the show. At the Pittsburgh show in 2009, I met my boyfriend, Jerry. Since I knew my conditioning was off and I wouldn’t end up placing well, I was focused on enjoying time with my friends that weekend. I didn’t anticipate falling for a [super cute] bodybuilder at the show! This was definitely a high point!

High point indeed!

It seems like there’s a tanning issue at every show! Last year at the Lehigh show was by far the most challenging, though. I’d brought the wrong tanning products for my boyfriend, so I ended up giving him all of my tanning supplies and applying two coats of a one-coat only product for myself. By the time I got on stage, the tan had streaked and was completely uneven, especially on my legs. Luckily, it didn’t affect my placing, but it definitely made for an interesting dilemma the day before the show!

Some of the best experiences I’ve had at shows have been when my family and loved ones have been there with me. I love competing and the entire experience that goes along with preparing for a show, but the most rewarding aspect is knowing that I the full support of people who love me.

What a fabulous team!

What are some high points and low points you’ve experienced at competitions?

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  1. Great post, Kari!!! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you!!!


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