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Competition prep can be hard for a female athlete because the changes to the body are so incrementally small.  It is hard to remain focused and motivated when each day is composed of 16-18 hours awake hoping to see even a small bit of progress.  You need something – anything - to keep you going. 

But no worries. There are many ways to tell that you’re getting close to your competition weight. Things that tell you that all the deprivation is actually working. That your body really is changing.  And none of them require stepping on that cold unforgiving scale.

Here are just a few:

Butt Dents

If the song “Baby Got Back” was written about you, seeing indentations on the sides of the buttocks tells you you’re on the right track.

On the flip side, you know when you’re back to your post-competition body when your butt “pops” back into Bootylicious mode. 

Boob Scales

Breasts are made of fat so they quickly deflate when fat goes down which makes the “boob scale” a great measure of progress. Here’s how it work: If you can hold a pencil under each boob and bounce up and down without it falling, you are reaching your goal. If you can hold a magic marker under them, you’ve hit the mark!

Unfortunately, this is a double-edged sword. The flatter your boobs, the less of a girl you feel. Thank goodness for padded bras – and plastic surgery!

Bye Bye Bleed

The normal body fat for a non-athletic female is between 22-28 percent. But with intense training and dieting, when you reach a body fat of less than 12 percent, there goes your period. No period. No problem. You’re not pregnant; you’re competing!

Now don’t crumble on the bathroom floor in tears if your period comes after 2 months of dieting (like I’ve done in the past). Just keep plugging away and soon it will be long gone.

Man Veins

You don’t need a pump to see the veins on your forearms. They trail down your arm ripe and plump at all times- no gym required. They remind you of the freeway map of Florida. They are a phlebotomist’s dream and a vampire’s ecstasy.

Clown Pants

At first your pants swoosh around your thinning thighs. The material swims around your legs with every step. The pants fit – but barely. But as your size decreases, the more the pants start to balloon and your hips can no longer keep them up. Suddenly you’re wearing “Clown Pants”. Your pants hang low like a hip-hop wannabe.

This is not the time to be cheap. Don’t go to Walmart in search for suspenders to keep your pants up. It’s futile. Nobody wears suspenders anymore. Time to get another wardrobe for your diminishing size - or learn to love stretchy pants.

Skeleton Face

Your cheeks are sunken. Your face is drawn. Acquaintances believe you’re under medical treatment for a chronic condition. Yay. You’re ready for the stage!

Yes, the stage is calling. And it’ll be here before you expect it. So smile and enjoy the experience. Every torturous minute of it!

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