I’ll be the first to say, if you would have asked me a year ago, there was NOT A SINGLE CHANCE I would be caught dead on a stage in front of a bunch of people in a teeny weeny bikini, with that ridiculous spray tan. It’s funny what a year can change, however, and last month I did just that. I have had friends who have done these sorts of things before and always been fascinated by the process, and finally, a good friend/neighbor convinced me that I should do Camie Cragg’s “Project C” with her, to switch up my fitness routine.
Backtrack 11 years to 2006, and I was struggling HARD with my weight. When I started medical school, I was tipping the scale at over 200 lbs on a 5’5 frame, and I truly had no clue how to take good care of myself. Early in high school, I had been thin and active in swimming and cheerleading, but as college came around, activity levels plummeted and the pounds stacked on. I had somewhat of an awakening in my third year of medical school and started running and eating better, and lost a lot of the weight. Add on a few yo-yo diets here and there through residency and I continued to constantly struggle. After Juliette was born I got to within 10 lbs of pre-pregnancy weight (did I mention I gained 40+lbs during pregnancy??) but couldn’t quite get into the shape I wanted. And it got even harder after I stopped breastfeeding.
So that’s where this whole bikini competition thing came in. I knew I wanted to get into the best shape of my life and wanted to do it in a healthy way, especially before I had another baby. And what better motivation is there than forcing yourself to commit to this goal than signing up for said bikini competition?
I entered this process with a “posse” of three other friends- we had daily texts to check in on how the others were doing, complain about how someone brought in donuts, cake, etc to work and how we were pretending our chicken and brown rice was a piece of pizza we could smell wafting from the lunch room. At the end of those three months, I had a new large group of women who were amazing, supportive, and have become great motivation to keep going.
“But it’s so unhealthy, don’t you starve yourself?” Heck no! With Camie’s program you actually end up eating A LOT- 5 meals a day, and she helped lay out exactly what ratios of which foods you should be eating based on your weight and goals. You could pay a weekly fee to have your meals prepped for you through Gym Rat Foods, or you could prep on your own for the week- but that was truly the key to success- being prepped for the week so you could grab your food and go- because when you’re psycho-glycemic it’s easy to cave and eat a cookie…. or 15. Was it always the most delicious food ever? Nope. But I’ll tell you, once I ate it I felt satisfied and was rarely ever very hungry if I kept up eating every 3 hours. Does that make me want dessert or pizza less? No, but again, looking at that tiny bikini does help keep you focused! And, up until the last month, we had 1 indulgence meal a week, so that really does help get you through some of the cravings as well. It’s an epic mind battle.
I would be lying if I didn’t say the exercise portion of this is intense. You start off with double days and nearing the end are working out 2-3 times a day. For me, with my work schedule, that usually meant getting up at 4 am, to be to the gym to “HITT MITTS with Yo”, another trainer with CCF who does 30 minute interval training, from 430-5, then the regular project C class from 5-6 am, and then in the evening either another 20-30 minute interval workout or a 20 minute sprint on the treadmill. Saturday would typically consist of a whole body workout from 7-8 and boxing/intervals from 830-930, then “posing practice”- because yes, that’s a thing you have to practice, and omg it’s waaaay more difficult than it sounds, from 9:30-1030. Sundays were lighter, usually a hike/sprint or 30 min interval workout, with Yoga to stretch it out. This sounds like a special kind of crazy to a lot of people, but honestly, I had more energy every day with this routine than when I was sleeping until 6 and working the same schedule because I was eating so clean and working so hard.
The final 2 weeks before the show is no joke, and you do become much more limited in your diet- whereas a few weeks before we had things like steel cut oatmeal with honey, almonds, and strawberries, or a Thai rice bowl on our menu, we cut down to a lot of chicken, white fish, asparagus and sweet potatoes. But the changes that happen in your body throughout this process are incredible- I lost 24 lbs and 20 inches over the course of the 3 months, and some of the women lost up to 35 lbs and 30+ inches.
I had SO much fun on show day- I went in with no expectations and just enjoyed how I felt. Now that it’s all said and done the real challenge begins! Keeping the healthy lifestyle going with balance!
Disclaimer- I am NOT being paid or reimbursed in any way to talk about my experience at Camie Cragg Fitness with Project C. This is my honest review and experience.