Success at Fitness Competitions after Baby - Ivana Chapman

Success at Fitness Competitions after Baby

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blonde fitness woman on stage in red bikini

So happy to be back on stage 9 months after having my baby.

It’s been just over a week since I stepped on the stage at the Ontario Physique Association (OPA) Toronto Championships. The spray-on stage tan has pretty much faded away (apart from my suspiciously brown feet!) and I finally managed to unpack my competition bag and get organized again. Now it’s time to recap the show and keep moving forward.

Back in Action

I hadn’t been on stage since the Inside Fitness Model Search in July 2013. Since that time I spawned a beautiful little creature my husband and I affectionately call Baby Kai. Our son is nearly ten months old and it’s amazing how quickly the time has gone by. Physique-wise, I think I would have been ready to step on stage in December, but there weren’t any competitions that month.

Also, being a mom has meant an increase in daily duties (diaper changes, nursing, preparing food, nibbling on my son’s belly) that vastly decrease my spare time. I’ve been working out regularly since just over 3 weeks after Kai’s birth, but didn’t make the time to practice posing, order a bikini, and all the other random things that go into contest preparation.

Now was the time.

Challenges

As the mom of an infant who wakes up regularly and feeds voraciously, I don’t usually get the sleep that I need. I have to do my workouts in the morning or afternoon because if I leave it until the evening I probably won’t have the energy to work out as hard as I need to. Because I’m nursing, I can’t use any stimulants, pre-workout supplements, or much caffeine to get me through those tired times. A couple of cups of tea is the most I’ll have in a day. I also have to avoid a lot of herbal supplements and some teas.

I have to be careful with what I eat and drink anyway, because I suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and messing around with my diet too much can have adverse consequences. I went a little heavy on the veggies and found myself bloated and uncomfortable in the last few days leading up to the competition. I didn’t want to dehydrate myself for the show, as most competitors do, because I didn’t want to do anything to effect my milk supply. The other challenge with nursing while competing is something I didn’t expect. Since I was away from my baby for several hours, my breasts decided to do their own thing. The right one started to grow bigger and I sat backstage furiously trying to pump it out before my category was called.

Not exactly a typical competitor experience!

The Results

I was happy with the physique and presentation that I brought to the stage. It was a slightly “softer” look than I’ve had before, but I’m competing in the Bikini class so that’s not always a bad thing. The time spent practising my posing really paid off. I felt confident strutting my stuff on stage and didn’t feel nervous as I got ready to go on. I got some great coaching with posing in the weeks leading up to the show and I practised my posing almost daily on my own. There’s still plenty of work to be done with my presentation, but at this stage it was a success.

I won the Bikini Masters (35+) category and took 5th place in Bikini Tall, which qualifies me to step up to the next level – Provincials! – in both categories. Not a bad start for this new mama!

This Girl is on Fire!

Every single workout since my show has been amazing. I’ve pushed myself harder, grunted louder, and felt more muscle burn than I have in a while. After looking at the video and photos from the show, I know what I want to do to improve for the next time.

It was great to be on stage again, but it was even better to be backstage with so many amazing fitness people. What I love most about fitness competitions is the great people that I get to meet and spend time with.

The Wrap-up

I consider the competition a tremendous success. Yes, it’s nice to have won one of my categories, but the main reason that I’m satisfied is that I brought the best performance that I could on the day. There are plenty of things I’ll do differently next time and a lot more to work on in the months ahead.

Oh, did I mention that the next show is two and a half weeks away?

OPA Naturals in Cobourg on April 18…hope to see many of my fitness family there!

Ivana Chapman 

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Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman BSc BA CSCS is a Canadian fitness and nutrition coach, happy wife, and mom to an energetic 6-year-old boy. She is a writer, published fitness model, speaker, 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, former World Cup Karate Champion, one-time marathoner, and CBBF National level Natural Bikini competitor. She loves weight training and chocolate, not always in that order of preference.
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