post bikini competitions


When people ask me how I got started in fitness, my story usually starts with signing up for my first bikini competition. I’ll spare you the details because 1.) It is not my point of this post and 2.) 90% of you probably know me because one of my competitions (which is the point of the blog post). I want to talk about post bikini competition. 

Recently I have noticed a lot of competitors posting about the realities of competing, post bikini competition blues, dieting struggles etc etc. and I am glad that transparency is trending in this industry of photoshop and tans so dark you wouldn’t see a flaw if I wrote the word on my leg. In black Sharpie.

The last time I stepped on stage was the end of 2011. Last year I made various appearances at fitness expos and told myself (and everyone who asked) I was “taking some time off” from a year with nearly 10 competitions and some major lessons learned from ‘dieting’ for so long (check out what I mean by that here). And now it is 2013 and I haven’t competed in 2 years? That is longer then the time I actually spent competing. YIKES.

Competing opened up a world of opportunities for me in fitness modeling, becoming a trainer and switching careers, and now starting my own business and signing as a model/actor with an agency in LA (that makes you official if you didn’t know…and that is sarcasm if you didn’t know that also). I do not feel compelled to compete nor do I miss it because I have found sources of adrenaline, challenge and discipline in my everyday life and fitness adventures.

But I am human, and a girl, so there is that little insecure voice in my head that reminds me that I am just not in that shape anymore, and I am just not disciplined enough, or lean enough or brave enough to get back on stage. Every time I go to an expo I get asked, “When are you competing again?”. Every photo shoot I book or audition I go out for I slip into a hypercritical judge of myself (worse than any I encountered while competing) comparing my legs or abs or ‘leanness’ to what I looked like 2 years ago on stage. I’m not perfect.

I haven’t stepped on a scale more than 5 times in the last year, partly because I feel good about my look, but maybe a little because I was afraid to see a number that was higher then before. I feared the comparison hangover that would ensue if some little number gave my inner critic ammo. I talk about eating healthy, not restrictive; training in a fun, adventurous way, not doing endless cardio; and having balance instead of putting so much focus on aesthetics (even if your show is 4 weeks out). Now I am not saying I don’t walk my talk, because I do, and it took me a long time to learn that you should have one foot in fitness and one in fun. What’s the point of having abs if you never go to the beach with friends to enjoy them? But part of me has always wondered, could you compete again or are you in denial about how much your body has changed?

Enter today.  

With a photo-shoot tomorrow I started slipping into my comparison cave and criticizing myself for how I will look tomorrow in a bikini and that I will look bigger than my old pictures and blah blah BLAH. So I decided to dig out (and I mean dig, I didn’t even know where my old competition suits were) the famous bikinis and try it on and compare it to my post bikini competition photos to prove to myself, once and for all, that this ‘fitness lifestyle’ and ‘balanced eating’ really does work, and you don’t have to be water depleted, carb depleted, tanned and starved to have that physique. It’s been two years- two years sans tupperware and measuring carbs, and two years without prescribed cardio and two years since even looking at one of these suits:

courtney prather bikini competitorcourtney prather bikini competitors



This was a big step for me, and I thought I would share. Don’t get a comparison hangover from looking at other people’s photos, magazines or your own. Just because you don’t want to step on stage doesn’t mean you can’t have a body worthy of being on stage. So, let me say this now: I don’t plan to compete again. I am not saying I never will, I’m just saying I am happy doing what I love and helping others reach there goals right now. Besides, I would rather look like the left-side picture everyday then the competition photo for 12 hours and gain 10 lbs the next day from rebounding (just saying).

Be proud of where you are, appreciative of where you were, but focused on where you are going. You are harder on yourself then everyone else, so give yourself a break and a ‘reality check’ if needed and keep doing your thing.