The week leading into the show? Well, it’s hard to recollect. Literally. My diet became a true experiment as Johanna had me drinking lots of water early in the week, eating moderate carbs, and little salt. As the week went by I ended up with no vegetables, less water, no salt, and that’s it! Lots of chicken, turkey, and rice cakes!
On Wednesday I woke up early, did my fasted cardio on the bike, lifted, went to work, and then that night, after working late, then going to get my arms waxed (I know…) I got home around 9:30pm, and hadn’t eaten in hours. I was physically and mentally exhausted. I asked Rasmus to measure out 200g of egg whites, and I cooked them. When I sat down to eat I started dry-heaving and ran to the bathroom. I couldn’t even hold food down. I sat on the floor and tried to distance myself from my own discomfort, I acknowledged it, let my body feel better, and let my mind re-calibrate. Then I came out and finished the eggs.
The next day I went to London, alone because Rasmus had to work. I limped with my broken foot and suitcase up and down SO many stairs (my plane had a tarmac exit… then at Gatwick I had to climb stairs). I stopped for pre-made turkey and bagged almonds in the airport, then took the train to Victoria station, and a bus to my mom’s hotel in Mayfair! I was so stressed out and exhausted, that I ate a few too many almonds on the train ride
When I arrived at the beautiful hotel I felt bad because I literally looked like a mess and I was embarrassed that they might not think I was staying there! When I got to my mom’s room she was still out (she was giving a lecture on feminist literary theory with a focus on women as objects in literature at the University of London (I think this is so interesting and complex in combination with my bikini competition…)), and I just laid on the floor of the room. I angrily took off my jacket, shoe and boot, and laid on the ground. I was distraught. I did a little meditation practice and got my act together. I made myself a coffee, took a shower and shaved my legs. (I had my fancy tan coming up the next day.)
My mom walked in a few moments later and it was so great to see her! It’d been a few months. She said, “OH MY GOD YOU’RE SO SKINNY! Oh Brooke, look at you you’re skin and bones… and muscle, of course. Look at your little face. But, beautiful, you’re so beautiful.” It was so good to see her. We sat down and giggled. Then I got serious and quite raw. I’d had such a rough day, and being in the midst of writing my novel, I couldn’t help but divulge to her things I’d realized about myself, my past, my childhood, and all the traumas that I’ve really come to realize and that I’ve been able to let go of over these last 20 weeks.
It was a moment to remember.
A lot of artist’s find their inspiration in hallucinogenic drugs, all kinds of partying, solitude, and other sources; I’ve found mine in extreme exercise and dieting. I think this was one of those days/moments. I was so roughed up by the day, so exhausted, and so depleted that I was truly myself, and raw.
That night we went out to dinner with my mom’s best friend from college, Beatriz, who also introduced me to Norway (!) and my aunt Jackie (she’s my sister’s mother in law) who has become one of my closest family members over the last ten years. It was so amazing to have them there. I wasn’t raised with a big family, but I’ve become who I am today thanks to the strong women around me (and my wonderful husband & father of course), so I was thrilled that they flew to London all the way from New Jersey, Zurich, and San Francisco just to be with me!! We had dinner at a restaurant in London called Kai, that Beatriz’s daughter Ingrid (who’s studying in London) recommended us to! While they all enjoyed full courses at this Michelin star restaurant, I had to beg for them to make me steamed asparagus and plain chicken! They did 🙂 It was delicious. Also, they had sat us in a private room in the downstairs section that had a gold table, and a ceiling made of flowers! It was magnificent!!! (I was too tired and frustrated to take photos :/)
Being surrounded by their laughter, support, stories from their lives, and just atmosphere made me so happy. I actually think this was one of the best weekends of my life (but hold on, we’re just at Thursday!). We were all staying at the same hotel, the Cavendish, so we shared a taxi ride back – of course, more laughter ensued. Back at the hotel we said our goodbyes, and we agreed to meet for breakfast!
My mom and I were sharing a room, which was SO much fun! Just like the old days! I said, “Mom, I need you to help me send my check in video to Johanna. But, um, don’t mind me just wearing this thong :/” She cringed and cooly replied “Of course, that’s what I figured, what do I do, just record?” I put on my check in outfit and said, “Ok go. I slowly smiled, flexed my quads, showed off my glutes, extended my arms overhead, spread my lats, struck another side pose, flipped my hair, flashed a smile, and said, “ok, that’s all. thanks :)” It was awkward for a moment and then I said “Do you want to see more? Like my walk?” My mom said “Ok! Yeah sure.” I strutted through the room, and she said “Wow Brooke, you look great. How’s your foot? Ok, isn’t that enough, with the shoes and all?” It was so fun, but made me realized I was majorly behind the 8 ball for having not been able to practice posing or walking for 5 weeks! Or do it in my stage shoes! Then, I sat down and I thanked her for bringing me my glittery shoes, I hadn’t been able to find any in Oslo…
We went to sleep chatting about the next day, and how excited we were to sleep in. Before I knew it, it was 6am and I was wide awake. I had a message from Johanna telling me what to eat, and telling me the shower at her hotel was broken. We discussed the shaving situation, and I learned that my entire body needed to be hairless. I sat in the bathroom playing on my phone for a few hours, then tried sleeping more, and finally at 10 when my mom woke up I said, “Mom! Are you up? I need you to shave my back!” She said, “What? Brooke? Are you sure? You don’t even have any hair on your back. Ok, fine, let me wake up a little.” I was so excited about the day to come that I couldn’t wait any longer. She got right to it, and within 20 minutes every last tiny white hair was clean shaven off my body! Talk about mother daughter bonding!
We shared a beautiful hotel buffet breakfast at the Cavendish with Beatriz and Jackie, and prepared for the day. They were going out on tours/shopping/visiting friends, and I was dragging my mom to Primark to find glittery earrings. We did that, and had a wonderful morning walking and shopping, but then panic set in – I needed food, and to get to the host hotel for my tan! I frantically bought grilled chicken and water from Selfridge’s and we took a taxi back to the hotel to gather my belongings. I dashed out of the Cavendish and took an Uber to Canary Wharf.
Along the hour long rush hour drive to Canary Wharf I was texting with Rasmus, who’s flight had been delayed 3 times! Finally I arrived at the Marriott West India Quay, and they took my suitcase. I dashed (well, limped with my boot) into the conference area where I saw a big sign “FLAWLESS TANS BY LISA” surely, this was the woman I had sent a paypal payment to months in advance. I checked in, was given a goodie bag, and led to the womens tanning room. I was greeted by a woman in all black standing in a room of black human sized standing pods. In a thick British accent to told me to get undressed and put my things in one of the baskets “Hey sweethawt, go ‘head ‘n put ya things over there. Then come stan’ in a boof’ and I’ll get ya sorted!” I was the only one in there, and so I stripped down and put on the sticky foot soles. Within seconds she had me standing in all kinds of positions and I was tan, I specifically remember “bend over and stick out your bum!” I was then shuffled over to a small floor fan, where I dried. More women started coming in. I kind of wanted to look at them to see their musculature, etc., but I felt like a weirdo. The sprayer woman took me back in the pod for a second coat. Upon my second drying I found myself literally bumping elbows, naked, with two others! I realized there was no point in being uncomfortable and I just stood there turning every so often thinking “Whatever.”
Finally, after standing there for so long I started chatting with one of the girls next to me (PS she ended up winning her pro card in fitness the next day!) we took a photo with the tanning company sign, got dressed, and exchanged phone numbers. Her name was Eva, my first WBFF UK 2017 friend! I was so excited to be there.
I ran up to my new room at the Marriott and was so excited. They had such nice fluffy and clean sheets, everything taken care of! I ordered plain grilled chicken from room service and Johanna came to meet me. We got all prepped and headed to the athletes meeting!
At the athletes meeting we mingle over coffee, then checked-in/filled out bio forms, paid for stage photos, and met more people. Johanna and I sat in the from row, and met many other of our fellow bikini and fitness girls! She looked at me and said, “The judging unofficially starts now. Smile and mingle.”
The athletes meeting ended up being AMAZING! Paul Dillett gave a speech worthy of a preacher. He told us about tales of his days in pure body building where the shows were bigger, harder, sweatier, and you only got one chance. He told us about why he wants designs of suits a certain way, why he wants everything the way it is – from years of experience. I loved when he said, “Tomorrow is a show. It’s a performance, and you’re the performers. Most days, you look crazy, you’re dieting, you’re sweating, your clothes are worn out, your skin is pale, you’re tired, your hair is a mess, your clothes don’t match – that’s us. That’s bodybuilding. You aren’t the girls prancing around the gym in matching outfits, no.” He went on to elaborate on the topic of bodybuilding and how it gets a bad reputation, and I agree. For years I wanted to compete in bikini but I was intimidated and didn’t know how to “get in” despite meeting other competitors (finally, when the stars aligned with the timing in my life and having Johanna, I was able to!). I was always embarrassed to say “body building” but with the WBFF it’s different, it’s glamorous and fashion oriented. The girls here are sports models, not the steroid fueled stereotype. I was so inspired after this talk and was so excited about the show. Then Nate of Team Domin8 who would be the host, gave us a chat about posing, if you fall, if you make a mistake, and he basically calmed our nerves! Then Shaun Stafford came up and gave us more pep talks, more instructions, and it was just really cool.
After the meeting Rasmus was just arriving at the hotel. I felt SO lean and pretty and I wanted him to be surprised to see me! He was! He settled into the room and we met up for dinner. The pre-show body fueler? Steak, potatoes, and….. WINE?! I hadn’t had a sip of wine since Easter 2017! We found a steak restaurant right next to the hotel and there we went… 8oz of sirloin, unsalted fries, and red wine…. yikes. I was SO hungry but felt so guilty! I went to bed full….. and tan. TBC!
UP NEXT?! SHOW DAY!!!!! ❤