Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What Makes Me a Bodybuilder by Janelle Gallo


The physique world of competition has come a long way for women since the Rachel McGlish days. Back then, women had only one category to compete in and that was bodybuilding. Now, in 2010, there are so many opportunities for women to compete in. We now have bodybuilding, fitness, figure, and the newly developed bikini division. So much to chose from! But, how does a women, who wants to enter a physique competition, know which division she wants to pick? Simple. It is the division that she feels she is comfortable in. What do I mean by that? Well, let me tell you from my own experience.
I first started to compete in bodybuilding in 2001. Then there was only bodybuilding and fitness. So, I knew that my dance and gymnastics days were over and I didn't want to revert to that so I chose bodybuilding. Since I been on the stage dancing since I was 5 years old, my first competition was an awesome experience. I loved it! I love the mandatory poses we had to do and performing a routine was great! But that was not why I loved competing in bodybuilding. As the years passed, a new division was formed and that was figure. All of a sudden I saw more women flocking to this division than bodybuilding. The numbers diminished at the Team Universe show, when I first competed in it in 2003 and there was 15 competitors in my class alone. Now, in 2006, when I returned to the stage I found only 8 competitors in my class and figure was looking like 20-30 girls in each division. Still, I stuck to my guns and continued to compete in bodybuilding. I got pressure from a number of people. Friends, family, even strangers at the shows would often give me comments like, "Why don't you switch over to figure?" or "You can't compete with those girls in bodybuilding, figure would be better for you" and even "You are too pretty for bodybuilding, you should be in figure." I would just listen and laugh. Did I contemplate possibly crossing over to figure? Shit, yeah! I started investigating what I would have to do to compete in figure, from what is the look they want to the training that I would have to do. I sought out advice from top fitness and figure coaches. Well, I didn't like the feedback. Comments like "You would have to lose a ton of muscle", or "Stay the hell away from weights and just do cardio," and "You need to cut your protein down and your meals", and further "You would have to compete at 115lbs". It was just not what I wanted to do. I felt like that was something I just COULDN'T do. I love training hard and heavy with the weights and low reps. I hate lighter weights and higher reps. Also, to stop lifting weights horrified me. No way! I like eating 6 meals a day with high protein and carbs. The thought of me going out there on the stage in heels and doing model poses was just not me. Now, I am not knocking on figure girls. I just felt that this was not the type of girl that I am. And now with the new bikini division added, seemed even further away from the girl that I really am. It is great that us women have all these divisions to chose from
So, I ask myself, what makes me a bodybuilder and not a fitness, figure, or bikini girl? Part of it is the look. I love having big, strong muscles. Maybe it's the fact that me being really thin and light just makes me sick. Or the though of not having a big quad sweep in my leg, and having a straight skinny leg where your inner thighs don't touch is unappealing to me on my body. The thought of being ripped, and striated and barely having any fat on my body makes me so happy! Having veins popping out and a v-taper is so cool to me. This is where I belong. The training, the look, the competition, the whole aspect of being in the bodybuilding division. I couldn't be anywhere else. It wouldn't be me. I like having a stocky look rather than a very lean, straight, slightly muscular look. It is my genetics and my calling in this world to be a bodybuilder instead of a figure, fitness, or bikini girl. The point I am trying to make is, that I feel comfortable competing in bodybuilding. I will not cross-over to another division because everyone else is doing it, or it is the most popular, or it is more marketable (so some people say). If it doesn't feel right to compete in a certain division, than my advice is that you probably haven't listened to your calling.
So, in choosing a division that you want to enter in a competion, ask yourself some questions. Do I feel comfortable in this division? Do I have the genetics? Do I enjoy competing in this division? Does the training and diet fit to my personality and the person that I am. Don't push yourself to compete in a division just because your coach, friends, family, or anyone else pushes you to. It has to feel right and you have to be happy where you are. Until next time, have a great week!

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