The glory and pain of bikini fitness: the story of personal trainer Cätlyn Toomere
MyFitness personal trainer Cätlyn recently made her dream come true and competed in a bikini fitness competition. When did it all start, how did it go and what recommendations can Cätlyn give to those who are interested in this sport?
Where and how did you start your bikini fitness journey?
I became interested in bikini fitness back in 2016, when, in my opinion, fitness was just gaining popularity in Estonia. Immediately after the birth of my first child, I began to take training more seriously and took part in one of the bikini fitness workshops organized by Egle Nabi. There I tried posing for the first time and got a little more information about this sport. Due to various events in my life, I got to compete only now. It was important for me to overcome myself, to realize my dream in spite of all obstacles. Now I already have three children, and I did this also to be an example to them and show that family and children are not at all an obstacle to competition or the fulfilment of other dreams, but rather a motivator. I hope that I can be an example for my children, so that they too someday will work hard for their dreams.
What was the preparation period like? Did everything go according to plan?
It took exactly 1.5 years from a firm decision to participate in competitions to stepping on the stage. Of course, I had been in the gym for many years before, but at that moment the training became more systematic and focused. Before the diet, there was a period of muscle building when I tried to maximize my calorie intake. Along with this, my weight increased by several kilograms. In my case, the diet and prep period lasted 20 weeks, during which I lost about 10 kg. Since this was my first competition, I didn’t know how my body would react to the diet. There were also failures: periods when the weight did not move as planned, and I also got Covid during the prep period. Looking back, I am grateful to myself for starting the diet early because it gave me some room to deal with setbacks.
What was the training structure like?
I split my workouts into four days a week: two days for the upper body and two days for the lower body. That meant that the workouts lasted quite a long time, but for me personally it was unrealistic to go to the gym 5-6 times a week while taking care of my family and working two jobs. During the diet period, I also added cardio, mostly daily morning walks and a few runs a week.
Nutrition: what is its role? Was it easy or hard?
Nutrition is perhaps the most important part of bikini prep. You need to lose weight so that you retain as much muscle mass as possible. For many this is the most difficult part by far, as food inevitably plays a big role in our social lives and relationships. Toward the end of the diet, I also experienced feelings of hunger and fatigue due to the long-term deficiencies. However, I must say that, to my surprise, the diet did not significantly affect my strength performance.
How has your mental health endured and how much has this sport affected your way of thinking?
Competition is not for everyone. This is a very long-term job that requires a lot of discipline and good mental health. Of course, there are days when you want to give up, when the body and spirit are simply tired of long efforts. At these moments, you need to focus on the end result and at the same time clearly consider for yourself whether the daily efforts and sacrifices are worth it.
It is also very important to be aware that stage form is not sustainable or healthy in the long run, and after the competition, you should gradually come off the diet. However, it can be very difficult psychologically to get used to the softer form again. Therefore, it is important to follow the plan even after the competition, so as not to overeat and so that the brain gets used to a new reflection in the mirror.
Did you have to sacrifice something to get on stage?
Naturally, during the competition I didn’t spend as much time with my family and friends as I would like. Often it was easier to refuse meeting and going out than to create temptations. So I can say that I sacrificed time, sleep and money. For those who don’t already know, competitions are quite an expensive hobby; that should be taken into account from the very beginning, from special bikinis and posing lessons to competition day expenses. Luckily, I have a very supportive family around me who was there every step of the way and didn’t mind if I came to the birthday party with my own food or at some point I preferred exercising over any other activities.
What positively or negatively surprised you?
Today I can say that although I have always had an interest and passion for this sport, I never expected to enjoy competing so much. It is still a huge self-overcoming in every respect, and on the day of the competition I was able to fully enjoy the fruits of this long effort. This very surge of adrenaline and emotions is both positive and negative at the same time, because after the competition you involuntarily feel some sadness and emptiness, wondering what to do next.
How is your post-competition period going?
I decided to definitely continue to compete. The first season was like a test to see how my body would react to a competitive diet and what my stage shape could be. Now it’s time to correct mistakes, and from now on things can only get better. I am happy that I exceeded my expectations and that my last competition of the season was the World Championship in Santa Susanna in Spain. Being on the same stage with the best athletes in the world has definitely motivated me to work even harder next season and hopefully even reach the final.
Surround yourself with people who understand your goals and will support you in difficult times. Explanation also plays an important role at this stage. Bodybuilding is a very specific sport that people who are far from training sometimes may not understand or even approve of. Calmly explain to your loved ones why you started this path and what commitment it requires. It may happen that during this period of life some people remain at a distance, but this, unfortunately, is inevitable. Explain to others and remember yourself that preparation is temporary. Soon you will be able to take part in all social events again and go out to eat with friends.
6 tips for beginners from Cätlyn:
- Consider why you want to compete. If the reason for this is simply a good bikini shape, then, in my opinion, it is not always enough to go all this way.
- Take time to build muscle. The stage isn’t going anywhere.
- Regular training and a healthy diet should be part of your lifestyle even before preparing for a competition – so you will have a better chance of succeeding in this area. Fitness is more of a lifestyle than a short-term project.
- Before the competition, you can set smaller goals, for example, arrange a photo shoot to see how you cope with the prep and maintain the routine.
- Find a trainer who has experience preparing for competitions and who you trust. Besides nutrition and training, there are many different aspects of competition that are almost as important as the ones mentioned above. The stage image and posing are almost more important than the ideal form. Some flaws can be covered up with good pose, but poor stage pose can also ruin a great shape.
- Remember that you are only really competing with yourself. And when you get on stage, no matter where you place, the biggest victory is that you have surpassed yourself and achieved the best shape of your life.
Cätlyn Toomere, personal trainer
As a personal trainer, Cätlyn combines two of her biggest passions – training in the gym and helping people. Cätlyn believes that mindful exercise and proper nutrition can become part of everyone’s lifestyle, which is why she goes out of her way to share her knowledge with her clients. An active lifestyle also plays a very important role in good mental health, but the path to it is not always easy. A motivating trainer will help you!
Both beginners and experienced athletes can train with Cätlyn. A solid plan and consistent work will help make your dream come true – come train with Cätlyn and turn your goals into reality!