Bikini Competition Prep: Peak Week & Show Day

What a whirlwind! The only thing I can really equate my bikini competition experience to is planning a wedding! You work so hard getting everything ready for a few moments on one, single day. It’s over in a flash…and then what? I’ve learned so much about the prep process and can’t wait to share some of those things with you in this recap blog! Plus, you’ll hear about whether or not I plan on doing this again down the road if you read to the end… ;) 


Peak Week is the week leading up to the competition and can potentially be a make it or break it situation depending on who you ask. Why is peak week such a big deal to [some] people? So, SOME coaches and athletes will do all kinds of crazy carb, water & sodium manipulations the week leading up to their show. I’ve seen some CRAZY things out there on IG and other blogs – for example, people cutting out water for DAYS completely, not allowing themselves any sodium, only to cause their body to blow up later… and many other scary and, what I consider to be, harmful tactics. 

Going into this show I promised myself I was going to a follow a balanced diet and not take myself too seriously for this first round. This mindset helped me so much! Going into peak week, I didn’t manipulate a WHOLE lot aside from doing my high carb and low carb days a bit differently. Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday I did lower carb days and slowly increased leading into Thursday & Friday. 

I really didn’t know how my body would react so I decided to keep things pretty simple for the most part. I drank over a gallon of water this week and cut down my water intake Friday around noon, only taking small sips throughout the day when needed. My water retention went way down (I tend to hold onto a lot of water) and felt amazing come Saturday morning!

I took the day off on Friday and packed everything up to make the drive to Vancouver, B.C. where the show was held. I did prep some food - egg whites, rice cakes, unsalted natural pb, grilled chicken & asparagus to eat for the next day. Let’s just say I was SO over chicken and asparagus after this show was over!

Mentally, peak week was for sure the toughest for me because I was trying to push through my last few workouts and knew I had no wiggle room for error! I went to the gym a few times to do posing practice in the evenings and wish I had started that consistently WAY earlier like everyone had stressed…WHY DON’T I LISTEN?! I had my routine down, but my muscles were not used to posing so it only made me even sorer. BCAA’s to the rescue!! 

Early Friday evening we arrived to the host hotel…from this point on everything was CHAOS that day! We had hit traffic and were late for my polygraph test, which then made me late to everything else. Yep, I had to have a polygraph test! Because this is an all-natural show, they test the athletes to make sure nobody is cheating with steroids or prescription diuretics. I actually wasn’t nervous at all… I mean, I had nothing to hide obviously (nobody juicing over here!) and the process was smooth. 

After my test I had to drive all the way back into downtown Vancouver to get my spray tan. I opted to not use the show tan sponsors because they were $$$... like, $130 US for a tan!! Too much for me, this show was already starting to add up. 

So, I had shopped around some local airbrush technicians and found one at this cute little salon, called Luxe, for about $45 US. I was a bit nervous because you need to be as DARK as possible since the stage lights wash you out and they didn’t have experience with show tans. I stripped down totally naked (yep, no undies…didn’t want a line!!) and she did two coats of their very darkest solution. It was sticky and a bit wet for the rest of the night and was worried it was going to smudge off. She told me to a take a shower and rinse in the morning, although when I woke up I was no longer sticky and it looks SO great – very even and a nice color! 

I opted to skip the shower because I didn’t want to lose any color and {VERY IMPORTANT} I brought my own sheets to the hotel to sleep in AND my own towels to use so I didn’t get spray tan on the hotel’s stuff. They will charge you hundreds of dollars if you ruin their linens!! I used Pro Tan top coat the day of to make sure I was looking my best…keep reading for more on that!

Friday evening we had our athletes meeting at 5:30 where we got a rundown of the show day itinerary and we took a tour of the facility so we knew exactly where to go the next day. The judges were there, went over expectations and we had the opportunity to ask questions. This alleviated SO much stress because most of my nerves were coming from not knowing what to expect.

After the meeting Andrew and I went out to dinner – I had fish and veggies + a bit of water. How exciting, right?! Back the hotel we went to rest and decided to watch Miss Congeniality because it was the closest thing that would get me pumped up for being on stage...naturally!! haha And, well, I just love that movie. Sandra is my girl.


In a weird way it felt like my wedding morning except there was a tiny bikini swapped out for a pretty white dress… and my husband was already my husband and he woke up next to me. ;) The pre-judging was at Noon and we needed to be at the event center by 11am, so I got up a bit before 8 to make sure I had plenty of time to get ready and relax. What I love about this INBF show is they are smaller than many and the show started a lot later, allowing us athletes to actually sleep a bit and avoid a 4am wakeup call!

Here’s what my morning looked like: Coffee (whew!), rice cakes, egg whites for breakfast. I then headed to the bathroom and applied two top coats of Pro Tan bikini bronze with a little round mitt that was included. I bought this on amazon and it was so easy to apply! I just buffed it on (like waxing a car) a little bit at a time and loved how it dried evenly and wasn’t sticky. 

This stuff WASHES OFF so don’t wash your hands, splash your body or get anything wet after you put it on! It looked really great and I was digging my dark tan. The show tan sponsors even commented on it and said the color looked really amazing. I think I might have even convinced them to switch products! ;) 

After I applied my tan, I did my own makeup and curled my hair. I opted to do this myself instead of hiring someone because I love doing my own hair and makeup – it’s not really something that stresses me out and actually find it quite relaxing!

I packed my day bag (rolling suitcase) for the venue with a whole load of stuff – lots of “emergency” items like safety pins, tide pen and the like for every scenario that could come up. Better safe than sorry!

Pre-judging was a hurry up and wait situation. I basically waited around for a couple of hours until I got the 20 minute warning for my category – Bikini Open Tall. At that point, I went into the weight room, got a little upper body pump going and got lined up behind stage. I was set up as the first person to walk out…talk about nerve wracking!!

I was so nervous because I had no idea what to expect. I actually don’t usually get stage fright. I love public speaking and don’t mind being in front of a crowd…but this was different! I was about to walk out and be judged on my physique… SLIGHTLY different situation!

We walked out in a line and the second the stage lights hit me I busted out my big smile and suddenly felt a wave of confidence over me. First up were our T-walks so one by one, we did our individual posing routines for the judges and then got back in line until each one of us had come out. From there, the head judge asked us to come forward for the comparison round…the scary part! 

He kept having us do quarter turns and would ask us to switch spots so he could compare people next to one another. I was already on the end and was hoping he’d switch me closer to the middle, which is typically a good sign. Sure enough, I switched spots…and right when I thought I was in a good place, he switched me back to the end! I was so upset! By the time the head judge was done with us we were dripping sweat from the hot lights and flexing. Streaks of wet spray tan were dripping down my back…it was so gross!

I finished pre-judging really bummed out and thinking I had gotten last place. Typically, by the end of pre-judging they pretty much know what place everyone received but they don’t reveal the winners until the night show. The few hours in between pre-judging and the night show I was cranky AS HELL. Lol Can’t lie! I thought I had done poorly, was HANGRY and so freaking thirsty. I just wanted my beer but had to be good until the night show was over. 

We went to lunch – I had steak and veggies – bought some donuts to have the second the show was over and I took a little nap in the car. I think that was the best thing for me.  

We headed back to the venue at 4:30 since the night show started at 5 and I got to do it all over again. At this point I was so over it. But, I started to perk up a bit before we went back on stage. I realized that this was the FUN part and remembered Andrew was going to live stream my evening performance on my Facebook and my friends would be watching. I got really pumped all of the sudden!

Back on the stage we went and this time it was much shorter than the first. I felt a buzz of energy and got so excited I kind of biffed my t-walk routine because my mind started to wander. Oops! Oh well, at least I nailed it the first time. We went back into the comparison round and this time, the head judge didn’t move me anywhere. I was stuck on the end thinking I got 5th or 6th place (of 6 competitors.) 
My goal going into this was just getting BETTER than last place. That’s all!

He started calling out placements and named off 5th place. Only top 5 were recognized, which sucks because that means one person would have to walk off with nothing. 5th place…was not me. Did that mean I got 6th?? Damn! 

I think I stopped breathing for a second as he said, “4th place…”

That second lasted forEVER!

…”4th place goes to Vanessa Christopher!” 

WOOOOO!! I was so excited! Even better than I had hoped. I proudly stepped up the front line to claim my top 5 spot. We took our pictures together and did a little curtsy waive before I headed off stage. I was so happy!

First thing when I got off stage. Sweats, wine and donuts! 

I met up with Andrew outside and we headed out for a night on the town. The plan was to head back to the hotel room to shower off that spray tan and grab a tasty burger and beer at Steamworks Brewery. We didn’t get that far though because we drove by several breweries on the way to the hotel and I just HAD to stop. Ya, I totally wore my medal into the tasting room. Whatever, judge me if you want…. ;) 
I have to say, that burger I had later was the BEST ever! I even got cheese on it! :O It was worth the wait.

 The top 5 in Bikini Open Tall

The top 5 in Bikini Open Tall


The top two questions I’ve been getting since my show ended…Was it worth it? Are you doing another show? 

"Was it worth it?"

Absolutely. I’m so proud of myself for being so diligent for over 3 months. I was told that shows are not designed for people who train at home. Here’s the thing, as a Beachbody coach I SWEAR by the programs they put out and have 100% confidence that they not only work, but work well. 
I was determined to stick with the new Hammer & Chisel program and use that as my workout & nutrition baseline for prep. I’m SO glad I did because after 3 rounds, I loved the results I saw! I think I proved the doubters wrong. ;) 

Was I in the best shape of my life? Yes. Could I have been better? Totally! But considering I went to Vegas, a Bahama cruise with friends, California & a wedding during my 12 week prep, I think my balance was on point and still got great results.

Prep is NOT easy. You have to be willing to mostly give up on certain indulgences – not drinking beer was so hard for me because [without sounding like an alcoholic] that’s what my hubby and I like to do for fun. Visiting breweries and trying new beers is a hobby for us!

That aside, I felt so confident about myself and healthy! So, cutting out those things can really make a difference and honestly, nutrition is what gives you those abs…working out isn’t everything!

“So…are you going to do it again?”

 My Hammer & Chisel transformation! 3 rounds to be exact :) 

My Hammer & Chisel transformation! 3 rounds to be exact :) 

Oh, most definitely. ;) Competing was a great way to get me motivated, stay on track, feel my best and be competitive! I want to take the off season into the fall and spend some time building the proper muscle. I knew I didn’t build my glutes and hamstrings enough and sure enough, the feedback I got from the judges was just that. Build up my glutes, hammys and come in a bit leaner next time! Just what I had suspected  The head judge also said I have great potential and a beautiful smile. I’ll take it!

I’m shooting to hopefully come back and do the INBF West Coast Naturals again next spring, and I’ll be aiming to WIN the thing, as well as a larger show in the Seattle area. All I know is, next time I compete I won’t be messing around. I’ll be in it to beat myself from this year and plan on coming back better than ever!

Huge thanks to everyone for supporting me throughout this journey. It’s been a blast and very challenging – I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support! It makes me so happy when I hear from those who have been following my journey so please don’t hesitate to reach out! 


If you have particular questions about the home workout program I was following, have some questions or want to pick my brain about my experience don’t hesitate to submit an email to me in the form below. I’d love to hear from you!


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