Friday, 22 May 2015

Her Abs: Countdown to St Louis

Something I have wanted to do for a while is follow a female bodybuilder from the very start of her weeks and weeks of contest preparations right up to the moment she steps onto the stage. The idea would be to observe her changing body, to watch the muscle emerge as gradually her body fat percentage drops, until all the hard work and self-denial pays off and the finished living sculpture is revealed.

You can. of course, get this sort of thing in real time by following your favourite women via social media as the countdown to their next show progresses, but what I'm envisaging is all the pics placed one after the other in chronological order.

So today's post is a sort of draft of what that might be like. We'll follow - retrospectively - not one but two of the Hot and Hard 100 top 25, Dani Reardon and Loana Muttoni in their final preparations for the St. Louis Pro at the start of April.

The dates are the dates the pictures were posted, but from reading the comments (in italics below the images), there is no reason to believe that they weren't taken and posted on exactly the same days. We begin with Dani, three weeks out.

15th March
Dani: My current view.

17th March
Loana: Good night.
As I was doing cardio this morning I was thinking about how enjoyable it was. Crazy I know but instead of whining and complaining about what I need to do, I embraced it and enjoyed it because I know with every step, with every day, with every rep, I'm a little bit better than I was and a little bit closer to my goals.

22nd March
Good morning abs.

What strikes me most about this first set of pics is, in Dani's case, how much definition her abs already have and, as far as Loana's concerned, how much of her trademark freaky vascularity we can already see. Of course, neither of them started preparing for this show three weeks before it, but I kind of imagined the definition and the veins would only start to really emerge later. Also striking is Dani's positivity - and she will remain so at all times. I had expected there would be more of what she calls "whining" during the final weeks, but in fact neither Dani nor Loana ever seem less than 100% committed to or less than 100% happy with their preparations.

26th March
Good morning. Skin like a gum... Love it!
Nothin' to it but to do it!

27th March
This is the moment when you feel pleased with the hard work we have done! Thanks to all that are with me. See what I mean? At this point Loana even posts a clip of herself doing some hanging leg raises. She looks kind of tired (though that may be simply because she hasn't had any tan applied yet, so she's much paler than we're used to seeing her). But she's also very focused and in total control of the movement.

29th March: 7 days out
No carbs, depletion has started.

Loana looks rock hard, like she's skin and muscle and nothing else. And again, because she looks like this at the beginning of the week before the contest (and not, for example, a couple of days before it), this is surprising to me.

And the next day Dani is surprised by the state of her own body!

30th March
I am officially pumped for this weekend. I don't think I've ever seen these before! I can't wait to see what the rest of this week brings. Only days left until showtime!

31st March
I can't put into words how excited I am to have received my suit today! CJ has yet to let me down my whole competition career. She amazes me again with another beautiful suit! Proud to say I'm back in red. This may be my favorite suit to date!!!

The suit's arrival marks the beginning of the end of the preparation and the fact that the moment of truth is at hand. But I detect more than just the excitement here. Dani, and as we will see Loana do pretty much the same thing in a bit, seems to treats her suit with a kind of reverence. Carefully laid out against a dark background, it's precious, the tool (or at least one of the tools) she'll use to show off all that hard work.

1st April
Last training session before the show! I feel great right now. Which is weird considering I don't even know what carbs are anymore. I'm tired and hungry but not phased by it. Going to kill this sesh.

2nd April
And the process begins...

And I thought Loana had looked hard and freaky at the start of the week!

4th April
All set for tomorrow!! Number 35.

And finally, it's April 5th: 0 days out

All smiles on stage, and all smiles backstage...
5th place.
And the verdict is... 3rd place!!! Points towards the Olympia, and new friends! Although I didn't punch my ticket yet, I am on my way. Three weeks ago I almost pulled the plug on this show. I was very unsure until about... Yesterday!

Well, I did not get that from her comments on the posts - was she writing all those positive things (did she have to write them?) just to convince herself to keep going?

I am very happy and grateful for the placing I was awarded and I am glad I pushed through and made it! This was not my show to win, but there is one out there for me. And when that day comes, it will be sweet. And I won't want it to happen any other way. So now I head back to Orlando with new friends and new lessons learned. Today was a good day. Now, time to finally sleep.

So there, sort of, are two competitors' stories.

Like I said, today's post has been a kind of trial run for a possible (and possibly epic) future post, so comments and suggestions on this are particularly welcome.

Galleries of Dani and Loana and all the other St. Louis Pro competitors are here.


The answer to Sunday's quiz: Katie Sauter, Candrea Judd-Adams and Jehina Malik were the three who did not place. The correct order for the other five is: Fabiola Boulanger (6th), Jessica Gaines (7th), Marcie Simmons (8th), Margarita Charaim (10th), and Tracy Hess (15th).

Did you agree with the judges?

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