Photo by the author
VICE: You look amazing! How long did it take to get this way?
Female bodybuilder: 12 weeks of heavy training. What did you have to do?
A lot. In that photo, I am completely dehydrated and malnourished. You can't eat or drink for forty hours before competing. In the weeks leading up to the competition, I had to get up at 5 am, eat chicken, vegetables, oats and a protein shake, and then work out. Then every three hours, eat 50 grams of chicken and 100 grams of vegetables. Amazing. I'll bet your family is proud!
I sacrificed absolutely everything in my life to become the person in that picture. I alienated myself from everyone, drove my own business into the ground, and a new relationship I had started really suffered. At least you had the support of your trainer.
My trainer used to make me cry all the time. He'd put on some seriously heavy weights for a leg press, and tell me to do 100 reps. I was in so much pain, but he didn't care, he just made me do it. But then you won! You were the champ. Your obsession fully paid off. What did you do afterwards?
Well, I let myself eat and drink water and it was really uncomfortable; I looked all puffy. I'm still recovering, and the competition was six weeks ago, I'm almost back to normal. But now I look at myself in the mirror, and I think I'm fat. How big are you now?
5'1", 52 kilos. This doesn't sound healthy at all.
It's not. Bodybuilding isn't about health or fitness. Bodybuilding is about what you look like, not your well-being or happiness. It's really hard on your kidneys from all the protein you have to eat. I greatly compromised my health for that competition, and I still haven't fully recovered now. Was it worth it?