Courtnee Anderson – I began competing in pageants in 2010. Since then I have competed internationally twice, and recently competed in the bikini division for body building. Going into my first pageant, Miss British Columbia, my intention was to meet new friends. I ended up winning a title, and went on to compete nationally. The national pageant I was to go to was Miss Earth Canada. It was the first pageant in which I faced the swimwear round. I was 21 at the time, and had ZERO pageant experience. I was a bit insecure and I wish I had someone to give me tips on “what not to do”. I was new to the pageant world so I didn’t have the connections or knowledge that I have now. Over the past 6 years I have definitely learned “what not to do”. Your body is a temple and should be treated as such, I cannot stress that enough.
Fitness has long been a passion of mine. I grew up playing ladies fast pitch, was a gymnast, figure skater, horseback rider, and I kick boxed. I am no personal trainer but I have prepared for enough competitions that I know what to not do. I hope someone reading this story will learn from my experiences. I wish someone reached out to my 21 year old self at the time and relayed this information to me as it would have saved me from a lot of trouble down the road. The following things I mention are not talked about much in the pageant world, and I have personally struggled through all of these things, so I am hoping by addressing them; it will shed some light on the subject.
Give yourself enough time to prepare. Don’t crash diet, don’t cut out specific things (carbs and fats are the most common I have seen), and don’t stop eating all together. Carbs and fats are not the enemy; your body needs them to keep functioning. Cutting them out will only cause long term negative effects to your health. Give yourself as much time as you can to prepare. For Miss Earth Canada I prepared for 11 weeks, and it was not enough time. My preps now are 16-20 weeks, or even longer. Slow and steady wins the race, and fitness is a lifestyle! I overheard a contestant at a pageant talking about missing meals, and that she hadn’t eaten in three days. Don’t ever do this, just don’t. It will be a recipe for disaster both short term and long term. Your body needs food to sustain life, again treat it like a temple, or your most prized possession.
If you are going to hire a trainer to help you, hire someone you trust, who is educated, and has YOUR best interests at heart. When looking for a trainer, check their credentials, and ask for a client list so you can speak with the clients directly to get their experiences with the trainer. If you are on Instagram, it seems like every fitness person related account is an “online trainer”. Don’t just pick someone because they are “cheaper” or “claim to breed winners”. Pick someone who is going to put your health first, and will not put you through drastic dieting tactics or make you do 80 mins of steady state cardio per day. You want a trainer who understands that pageant bikini isn’t the same as body building lean, and that a slow prep is the best prep. I would also recommend choosing someone who has not only their training certification but nutrition certification as well. If they don’t it would be best to also speak with a nutritionist to get some guidance. Do exercises you enjoy, if you like yoga, do yoga, or if you like group classes, focus on that. As long as you are getting out and doing something you enjoy that is what will keep you motivated.
Plan for post-pageant. This is probably one of the single most important things you can do. Have a set plan in place for the weeks and months following. It is easy to get off track after the show because you have no “set goal” in place. Make daily and weekly goals to keep yourself on track. For example, workout five days this week, get 8 hours of sleep per day, get outside 2x every week for 1 month to exercise. Just because the pageant weekend is over, it doesn’t mean you should let your hard work go down the drain. Make workout dates with your friends, and find balance in your life. It is easy to get so wrapped up in your preparations, and spend every night at the gym to get in your daily workout, but don’t forget to spend time with your family and friends. You can even get them involved, go for walks with your mom, or take that spin class you’ve always wanted to with your best friend.
Most importantly have fun! Enjoy the process to stage, I guarantee you will learn something new about yourself in the process. I find I enjoy my preps a lot more when they are balanced, not rushed, I am well fed, and not over doing it. Don’t be so critical of yourself; embrace your body and its shape. Not everyone is built the same; everyone is going to look different come pageant weekend. Some girls are bustier, some girls have more booty, some are more muscular, and some are not. Embrace the body you have and work the pageant stage. Confidence is key! Smile, smile, smile, and practice your walks so that come pageant weekend, you feel like the best version of yourself on stage. Nobody is perfect and that is what I love about pageants, they really bring together girls from all walks of life, of all different shapes and sizes, and everyone has different goals. Don’t try to be anyone but yourself.
Courtnee Anderson BA Heath Sciences and Criminology MA Candidate
If you wish to follow my journey, add me on Instagram, @MissCourtneeA