The Truth About Stepping On Stage

After having two kids and turning 35, I decided to do my first bikini competition. I competed in an OCB Show on August 19th, and took 5th place in novice bikini and in open bikini. That being said, I have only competed once (more competitions to come in the near future with OCB), but I have personally been in the fitness industry for almost 10 years. My husband and I own a gym, and our gym preps men and women for the stage. As a result of this, I have seen A LOT of shit that not only shocked me but opened my eyes to what it REALLY takes to step on stage and WIN. Here I am going to shed some truth and drop some knowledge on you all about the competition world. Some people will be really mad about this, others will high five me and say thank you for FINALLY being honest. I am not writing this to be loved or hated. I am writing this to those men and women out there who look up to fitness competitors and who may not know the whole truth.

First off, steroid use is RAMPANT in the competition world. No one talks about it, but it is. I can name several (I won’t) names of people who I personally have followed on IG and looked up to myself as a top notch bikini athlete, only to find out about their use of common drugs like Anavar and Clen. These athletes claim their perfectly toned and proportioned bodies and amazing physiques are from hard work in the gym and in the kitchen… ummmm… WRONG! Do they work hard? Sure. They absolutely do. BUT they also take performance enhancing ILLEGAL drugs to help them look the way that they do. Let me also say this: what you do with your body is your business and yours alone. If you want to take steroids, by all means, go for it. But don’t pretend like you don’t and give others false hope that they can achieve your body in a short amount of time without taking some kind of performance enhancer. Moving on…

Secondly, depending on the organization you choose to compete in, politics plays a MAJOR role. “Sponsored athletes” often times win because well, they’re sponsored and companies are paying big bucks for them to compete. Additionally, if I’m some random girl from Wisconsin who decided to prep and pose with a small unknown company and unknown coaches, chances are, I will be overlooked by someone who preps with a well known prep company (We will call it Globogym- just like in “Dodgeball”). It just so happens that girls who prep and compete with Globogym know judges or their coaches know judges and… surprise surprise these girls win! That means other more qualified competitors do not win. Sorry guys, but it’s the truth. Again, we ALL know it who work in the fitness industry, it just doesn’t get talked about. I’m keeping it real, what can I say?

Thirdly, I get asked a lot why I chose to compete in OCB shows. Well, I’m not going to compete in NPC for the two reasons above. I DON’T do steroids. I’ve never taken anything in my life along those lines and I’ve never taken diuretics or anything of that nature either. AND I do not intend to. The only thing I take every day is a multi-vitamin. OCB polygraphs each competitor and the winner has to give a urine sample. WHY you ask? Because as mentioned before, drug use in the competition world is so prevalent! During my polygraph I was asked about testosterone supplement use, fat burners, insulin,  and HGH use for the LAST 7 YEARS! I was also asked if I intended to cheat during my competition because OCB prides itself on being a drug free organization. I was seriously shocked that I was asked about the last 7 years of my life. Obviously I passed and was able to compete because I am proud to say that I am all natural, but several other competitors sadly did not.

The competition world is a cut-throat, hit a bitch with your stripper heel kind of world. It is every man for himself out there and that is a sad fact. That is another reason why I chose to compete with OCB because there is a sense of camaraderie among natural athletes. We have all worked our asses off to step on that stage WITHOUT performance enhancing drugs. I had so much fun at my first show; everyone was cheering everyone else on. It was awesome and the judges were amazing. I had the chance to talk to all 5 of them after my show and get their feedback and they were extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and down to Earth which was a pleasant surprise. One of the judges even commented on my IG post about taking 5th and deciding to compete in figure next time around. Do you think that would have happened in an NPC Show? Hell no. I’m just a small town girl from CA who doesn’t prep with Globogym. But you know what? That’s ok because I am who I am: a drug free, too hard for bikini, should have competed in figure, 35 year-old mom of 2.

Lastly, if you are considering competing, you MUST REALIZE that this is an EXTREME SPORT. Competition prep literally consumes your life. If I was sick, I was at the gym, vacations… nope, can’t interfere with my gym time and my eating plan, eating out at restaurants, forget it! Alcohol, hell no! If you are serious about competing then it takes some serious work. There are no days off and no breaks, especially as it gets closer to show time. That being said, I have also never been so sick in my life. I felt like every other week I was coming down with some kind of cold or bug. Our bodies are not meant to be so depleted and run down, and there is such a thing as too much of a good thing… meaning, too much exercise can leave your immune system in a very weakened state. I competed a month ago and my body is still trying to play catch up and my hormones are still trying to get back to normal. As females, we are not meant to walk around that lean. It does a number on our bodies and on our hormones, so please know the risks before you step on stage!

I will close with this… The first question people ask me after knowing I’ve competed is “When is your next show?” So, to answer this question, I am taking some time off through the end of the year to enjoy some normalcy with my family. I will be competing again in OCB Figure here in Phoenix in February of 2019… and you’d better believe I am coming for my pro card. Until then, however, you can find me working my ass off in the gym trying to grow baby grow WITHOUT taking drugs.

Side note: I have NOTHING against NPC or Globogym 😉 . I was simply using them as examples. Please don’t send me hate mail or messages for it, but if you do, I won’t respond. I will be sure to let my husband do that for me and if you know Ryan, you know he’s a bit controversial and loves a good debate 🙂

Written By Rochelle Sonberg (@rdsonberg)

Unique Performance Owner