Fitness and Nutrition Prep Before a Competition, FemEvolve Magazine

Is it worth it? This is the top question I’ve received during my prep journey to compete for Miss World Canada 2018.

Upon deciding to compete for Miss World Canada, I knew I was going to go through prep. What is prep? It is a lifestyle change and commitment. Prep is meal prepping by counting your macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats) and weighing them, along with daily workout plans. Prep not only challenges the individual physically but mentally as well.

This was not my first time doing prep. I first started in 2017 when I was competing for another National pageant. The reason why I decided to do prep was I was already working out every day but I was disappointed in my progress, the results were just not showing. It was very frustrating, as I don’t have a body that naturally maintains a lean physique, nor does my body allow me to indulge in those sugary cravings without having repercussions (ie: growing those love handles). I was working out 2 hours a day, trying to watch what I eat and hardly losing inches. I hit a roadblock, known to some as a plateau. At this point, I felt I needed some guidance. I did some research and came across Grace and Andrew Bukowsky from The Fitlife 24/7. The Fitlife 24/7 are committed to providing you with the complete fitness experience, using proper tools and education for a stronger, better you with customized nutrition/supplement and training plans. This was exactly what I was looking for. The reason why I wanted a coach was simple, even though I know the basics about food and “healthy eating” I didn’t know how to count my macros and I had no idea where to even begin with meal prep. Another reason is because in today’s society there are so many “crash diets” that ruin the body by restricting the body of specific food groups. I wanted to make sure I did this journey in a healthy matter. Last year, I did 9 weeks of prep and I saw amazing progress and I could not believe the results of my physical appearance.

Let’s fast-forward one year to today. I started my prep for Miss World Canada on May 4, 2018. This prep was going to be much different from the last and one of the most challenging. For starters, I was weighting the heaviest I have ever been in my life at 132 lbs (for the longest time I always maintained a weight of 120 lbs). This was a shocker for me but looking back I realized that I begun to form an unhealthy relationship with food. I had the mentality that since I knew I was going to do prep I started to indulged in more than I should have and I fell victim to late night snacking. One thing I should mention is I LOVE FOOD, I seem to always be hungry so I knew this was going to be a challenge! I also had to realize that as we grow older (as an adult) your metabolism starts changing and would not be that of a teenager (sucks I know). Even though I knew what I was getting myself into this time around I did not prepare myself for the obstacles I would encounter.

I remember the first week of prep was the hardest. Most of my diet consisted of chicken, beans, asparagus, cauliflower, yams, peppers, brown rice and peanut butter (my favorite) but absolutely no sugar and this time dairy was eliminated for this prep. I remember telling my mom that even though I was hungry I had to force myself to eat my vegetables. This fact scared me because it made me realize just how much my body was now depending on the sugar, fat, and salt that was contained in the junk food I ate. I remember promising myself that I never wanted to feel that way again, a promise I still strongly stand by. Here I was trying to fuel my body with GOOD foods and WHOLE foods and it was being stubborn. The second biggest obstacle was my weight and measurements. For whatever reason this time around my body was holding onto dear life to whatever water weight and fat it had (maybe it thought I was going into hibernation?). This was frustrating because compared to my first prep I saw a difference within the first 2 weeks and was already allowed a cheat meal (high carb) meal because I was dropping weight too quickly. This prep was also the first time I tackled the dreaded fasted cardio.

The last 5 weeks of training consisted of changing my early morning workouts to 45 minutes of fasted cardio on the Stairmaster then back up to university for school and studying, then back to the gym in the evening for an hour of weights . Coupled all this with a part time job (at a restaurant I may add), volunteering, attending events as Miss British Columbia World 2018, organizing for the pageant, fundraising, and taking an intense university summer course, it was safe to say I had my hands full. I finally had an appreciation for the term “blood sweat and tears”. There were days I wanted to quit, there were days I felt like breaking down (and did break down), but then I saw already how far I’ve come and I knew I could push through. As my dad would always say to me “mind over matter”.

This prep has taught me so much more about myself mentally and physically than I could ever ask, it’s pushed me to the extremes and has allowed me to become stronger ever day. Not only have I grown so much as an individual but also I’ve met so many incredible people along the way and all because I chose to change my lifestyle for the better. I could not have done this journey without my coaches Andrew and Grace from the Fitlife 24/7 and all my teammates. My Popeye’s Coquitlam family (sports supplement store) who I am honored to be a brand ambassador for, and of course all my friends and family. All because I chose to change my lifestyle I’ve been able to meet so many inspiring people who share the same passion as me and continue to be my motivation.

Everyone starts somewhere in their fitness journey, the first step is always the hardest (believe me I know). There is no magic pill, just dedication, hard work, and commitment. It’s not easy, but in the end it’s so worth it because as soon as you start to see progress, it fuels you to go bigger and better than before. We live in a world where we want high speed and fast results. That’s why it’s so hard to stay committed to a fitness journey; we expect results over night but don’t realize it takes time. Just like the saying “good thing comes to those who wait”. It takes 21 days to make a habit, which habit will you choose?

This prep has also given me an appreciation to ditching the scale. How? When I first started my prep a year ago I was 120 lbs and when the competition started I weighed 110 lbs. For this year’s prep I started at 132 lbs and as of today, 1 week out from the pageant, I weigh 117 lbs., close to the weight I started out a year ago. The difference is now my measurements at my current weight (117 lbs) are the same as they were last year when I weighed only 110lbs. The scale is just a number, it does not measure your success or how you feel about your body. Do not let a number dictate your happiness with your body, muscle does weigh more than fat.

I also get asked a lot why I choose to do prep. The answer is simple; I want to know that when I step on stage I have given it my all; nothing held back, no regrets. I love a challenge and will always strive to be the best version of myself I can be and this journey allows me to do just that.

My fitness journey may be on the extreme but what it has taught me is even after the pageant I will continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Not because I have to but because I want to. I know what it feels like to fuel my body with the foods it needs and I want to feed it with whole foods that will make it stronger and energized. To anyone on the edge of wanting to try something new, I encourage you to go for it. As I mentioned, it wont be easy, but there will be so many people who will be supporting you and keeping you going and in a few months from now you can look back and say, “I did it”.

So is it worth it?

I’ll let you be the judge of that.


Miss British Columbia World 2018

Natasha Smith

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