Physique competitor Kelsey DeCamillis stepped on stage for the first time at the 2016 Popeye’s Fall Classic. Following is a brief recap of her contest experience.
Best advice for someone prepping for a first show?
Make sure you hire a great coach! Do your research because I think health and wellness come first above all else. It is imperative to find a knowledgeable and supportive coach who has your back 100%. I’m so grateful to have an excellent coach guiding me with his expertise – Darren Toma of Custom Built Training. His wife Lara has been an incredible support as well with posing and stage presence.
Be sure to keep supportive friends and family close by and surround yourself with good vibes only. Expect many obstacles and be able to critically think and problem solve as issues come up. Be sure to have a post-show plan in place as well. Reach out to fellow competitors and talk to athletes who have been through it before.
With knowing that you’re pushing your body and mind to the max, there will be some days that will feel great and other days may not. There is a huge psychological component to this and being mentally prepared is key. The accomplishment in the end is all worth it, so keep grinding and push yourself to the limit. Always be kind to yourself and no matter what, enjoy the process and have fun!
What were you feeling and thinking the first time you hit the stage? Any feelings of nervousness?
I definitely experienced some anxious feelings but also was very excited! Taking some deep breaths beforehand helped calm me down and as I walked out to the stage, I kept reminding myself to hit the poses and transitions right, just like in practice, and keep smiling of course! As soon as I got out there and started posing, it felt great and the nerves went away. The whole day and experience was amazing. I can’t wait to do it again.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
I don’t think so. It definitely crossed my mind that I need to be in a different job if I do another contest prep, however it wasn’t feasible to make a job change during prep. The way things were set up with where I was working at the time, and also the immense amount of commuting I was doing just made everything extra challenging and exhausting. I was so determined though it didn’t matter and I just did everything I could to execute the prep as best I could. I really feel like I did the best that I could.
What do you feel you need to focus on for your next show?
I would like to work more on perfecting my posing, routine, and stage presence. For physique goals, I would like to see my upper body better balanced with my lower body and also to improve on overall conditioning. I want to also put a lot more effort into recovery from training sessions.
Biggest challenge of the entire process?
Commuting three plus hours a day on transit, dealing with daily commentary from people at work and people on transit, and most days were 18-20 hours long. Pushing through sleep deprivation and exhaustion was really difficult and concerning as I knew stress levels needed to be kept low as well as keeping on top of recovery. It was incredibly tough getting everywhere I needed to be with the way things were set up but there was no other way around it and I was so determined to do my absolute best for my first show.
Where can we see more of you or follow you?
See our Kelsey photo montage on YouTube
Read another feature with Kelsey
Originally published May 2017