Asked and Answered by IFBB Pro Bikini Jacquelyn Geringer
Has bikini changed for the good or simply something else since you’ve been active in the bikini scene?
This is a very touchy subject and one can easily become biased in an opinion, so I will try my best to look at the sport as a whole and not just speak from my own personal experience!
I recently earned my IFBB Bikini Pro card at Team Universe 2016 but spent the majority of my time competing at the national level, a long 3 years… (Oh geez right!) But 3 years isn’t so bad – I needed the time to grow physically but more importantly, to grow as an athlete! It sounds like a long time because in the present day some girls will do a few national level shows or less and then turn pro. And if it doesn’t happen so quickly then I’m willing to bet that most of those those other girls just quit the sport. That wasn’t the case for me…and looking back, I am glad that it wasn’t because at that time I wasn’t ready to take on that Pro title! Having that Pro title has different meanings to each individual, just like success to one person isn’t the same to another! (I’ll share in a separate post what I believe a Pro title should mean and why it’s so important to carry it responsibly).
I remember when I first got interested in this fitness and bodybuilding scene that there were no set standards for the bikini competitors – no focus on certain body parts, no hair/makeup requirements, no posing practice, and no suit requirements. Your suit could be literally off the rack from some store in the mall, yes I said off the rack from the mall! Imagine that ladies, and how much money we would save if we could just buy our bikini’s from the mall!
This was only in 2009, and now not even a decade later, this sport is saturated with bikini teams, suits that cost hundreds of dollars, tanning, hair, makeup, posing routines, having a coach for diet/posing/training, team affiliations, showcasing physiques with tiny waists and a BIG, BIG, BOOTY (but not BIG LEGS…lol)! And oh boy, the list goes on…
Standards for bikini competitors are evolving from year to year. In the beginning I don’t believe the NPC really knew what they were looking for – was it toned, lean, soft, no muscle tone, muscles but no striations, shoulder caps, no shoulder caps, abs, no abs? For athletes, there was a lot of confusion, but now it seems that they are really firm on making sure that you have strong glute development with a clear separation between the upper hamstring and lower glutes; an elongated, streamlined, toned physique, and a tapered waist are also major components to a prize-winning package. Additionally, how you present your physique, making sure that you know your angles on stage when you’re posing, these things all play into the current look of a winning bikini physique.
You might often hear, that when they brought bikini into the sport of bodybuilding it was to bring a more “attainable” look. What does that even mean? I personally feel that by saying bikini is an attainable look was, and still is, a misconception. Stating that this category is an attainable look gives “athletes” (a term in which I use loosely) an excuse to maybe not diet as hard or to not actually lift heavy weight (which is something needed to “body” “build”). Instead they maybe replace it with hours of cardio, plyo’s for days, and lifting no more than 10 lbs, which is totally ridiculous! Don’t get me twisted, I do perform plyo’s in my workout routine, I do my share of cardio, and there are times where I only lift 10 lbs. But I am motivated by our icons of this sport like Tom Plates, Ronnie Colman, Charles Glass, Frank Zane, Arnold Schwarzenegger… and most days, I push heavy-ass weight!
Now that Bikini is an “attainable” look I believe it has been opened up to the mainstream, which means more women are interested in competing in the sport. They do it maybe for not the right reasons or for true passion of the sport, because now “athletes” feel like it might not be so hard to prep for a show or get on stage…because if it is just an attainable look they need to achieve and “Oh, plus my next door neighbor is doing it,” why not?!
In my eyes, it is no longer is a sport just for the elite; but, rather, a sport for social media and posting about your new fitness journey. I am not sure if the new generation of “athletes” know why they are taking on this lifestyle or their own purpose for competing. This is a topic for a whole different blog, so I won’t elaborate on the subject just yet…lol
From my experience as an athlete of this sport, I’ve attended workshops, listened to head judges and got some great feedback from judges; they want to see you grow into that elite athlete that they are comparing you too. So who are the elite athletes? well, duh… Mr. and Ms. Olympia! (If you don’t know this then you really don’t belong in this sport…lol)
So has the sport changed? Yes. Has the sport changed for the good? Can’t really say yes or no, but good because it has brought fitness into many people’s lives, many companies have profited from this fitness explosion, and it has opened many doors for job opportunities for athletes of all ages. I do feel like hard work has been watered down a little, for some, and the wish list doesn’t match the hustle that these athlete’s put out.
Please don’t take my view’s personally, there is NEVER an ALWAYS; I am speaking from what I have experienced myself and what I have observed over the years. I work my ass off for the physique I have built and will continue to set new goals and work on improving my physique on a daily basis!
My advice to you is: “Do not let this sport control you; you need to control this sport.” So take it day by day, focus on your path and not the paths that surround you; in time you will achieve what you desire, but the work needs to be in that equation!
I am IFBB Bikini Pro Jacquelyn Geringer and this is my Sexy-Strong Blog. If you would like to contact me, please feel free to email me @firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t forget to use my special promo code “vixen” for your 25% discount on any purchase at www.sexy-strong.com.
“Always to inspire, Never to Impress.”