It is mid-October and our wedding(s) and related celebrations are now over. That being the case I am now turning my full attention to my first bikini competition which is only seven days from now. And believe me, my full attention is required. Eating all manner of low fat, zero carb, high protein concoctions means that even making a cup of coffee (no milk allowed, of course) requires my full attention. With seven days to run, this is what I have on the agenda for the run into competition day:
1. Four hard-core training sessions with my coach in Dubai. As well as the brutal session, it's a two hour round trip in the car. So each session is a half day event but it is well worth it. As well as training me my coach supports and motivates me; gives me competition pointers and guidance with my diet. This close to competition day, this depleted on "normal" food and this nervous, the motivation and guidance that my coach brings really is invaluable.
2. A posing session with a champion bikini model. This will be my second session with the posing coach. She is a hard task-master but she knows what it takes to ensure that I am right on point, to use the nomenclature of the industry. Since these are group sessions it also gives me a chance to check out my competition. And believe me there are some women with amazing bodies in this, so the competition is going to be seriously stiff. As I practiced I realised that I have never in my life been in one room with so many extremely confident women. You could almost smell the confidence and energy exuding from these buffed-babes. They all look amazing. And they know it.
3. Four zero carb days. Yes, just like it says on the tin, these are days where I consume nothing other than trace amounts of carbohydrates. The thing I never realised about ultra low carb days is that they also make you feel super thirsty. We get so much water when we eat carbs and when you cut them out you feel about as dry as the desert I live in.
4. My first ever spray-tan. I am not entirely sure what this will hold but it will be a new experience. On stage you want to stand out and so everything has to be right out there. Almost animated. So a spray-tan to bronze you up and set off the blingy bikini is a required accessory.
5. Waxing - to within an inch of my life. Ouch! Enough said.
6. Full set of gel nails plus pedicure and eyebrow tint. Looking immac, from tip to toe, is an essential part of bikini modelling.
7. Shoe shopping with Matt. I'm hunting out a set of gold high-heeled sandals. So today I am heading straight to the Level Shoe District in the Dubai Mall. This place is a veritable high end super-market of shoes. I'll be heading straight to Gina and Giuseppe Zanotti. Both do some seriously glamorous sandals of the type that I need.
8. On the days that I am not training with my coach I will train in my regular gym for an hour and a half each day. This training regime, combined with the diet means I will also need to sleep for an hour during the day. Extra sleep is utterly necessary at this stage of proceedings, for recovery and to deal with the absence of calories.
9. I will have my hair done on Tuesday at Toni & Guy and again on Friday morning at my local blow bar to complete my look.
10. Finally, teeth whitening with the amazing Crest whitening strips will finish things off and ensure that I am as immac as I can be for 6pm next Friday. To walk out on stage, wearing next to nothing, in front of a thousand complete strangers, all of whom are judging how I look. Oh, and let's not forget the actual judges, who will actually be judging every minute aspect of how I look.
The sense of achievement I know I will have when I walk off that stage will be amazing. twelve weeks of blood, sweat and tears will culminate that moment. Another string - albeit an unconventional one - will be added to my bow. But when it is done no one will be able to take that experience; knowing what it takes and actually doing it; away from me. Wish me luck.