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. I could barely even eat them, I felt sick!
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 in combination with my bikini competition!…)). 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 and talked.
It was a moment to remember.
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!!!
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!
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. 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 got ready and put on the sticky foot soles. Within seconds I was tan!
In the drying area 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!!!!! <3