Beyond The Prep Podcast

026: Backstage to Beachside: Demystifying the Bodybuilder's Post-Show Process with Caroline Johnson

November 13, 2023 Sherrie Kapach
Beyond The Prep Podcast
026: Backstage to Beachside: Demystifying the Bodybuilder's Post-Show Process with Caroline Johnson
Show Notes Transcript

“Enjoy the process. Enjoy yourself improving.” —Caroline Johnson

Unlocking the secrets to bodybuilding success isn't just about what happens on the stage; it's about what goes on behind the scenes. The post-show routine is where gains turn into victories, where muscles meet their moment, and where the true bodybuilding champions emerge.  From replenishing nutrients to relishing well-earned indulgences, it's the journey from prep to party that defines true bodybuilding excellence.

Caroline Johnson started bodybuilding after injuring her knee and found that she enjoyed training and competing. She has been competing for many years now and has enjoyed exploring different categories like bikini and figure. Her passion for the sport is clear as she continues training and pursuing new goals.

Hit play and join the conversation as Caroline shares her experiences choosing expensive custom bikinis and competing in multiple shows in one year. She also opens up about transitioning between divisions due to muscle growth and offers advice for newcomers. Sherrie and Caroline also talk about the importance of being mindful yet giving time for relaxation, enjoying cheat meals, and slowly reversing diet post-show. 

Connect with Sherrie: 





Episode Highlights:

01:25 The Struggle of Finding the Right Bikini

05:38 Posing Challenges in Figure Competition 

09:17 From Prep to Post-Show Recovery

12:53 The Role of Self-Care in the Fitness Journey

Sherrie Kapach: Welcome to Beyond The Prep, I am your host, Sherrie Kapach. My guest today is Caroline Johnson. I'd like to welcome you here today, you just finished competing at the TNT. I'm gonna start out by asking, how did you get into this sport?

Caroline Johnson: I injured my knee after doing two (inaudible) in a 10k one summer, and so I was in physio for three months. And I had no improvement so a friend suggested that I start working with a trainer that he knew of. And then after a couple of weeks of training with her, everything was good. It was like I wasn't even injured. I just kept on training with her and setting new goals. And then after training for about two years, we decided to try a competition.

Sherrie Kapach: And you know anything about the sport at that time?

Caroline Johnson: I had gone to two competitions with our friends, and I knew about the process, the diets and all the training that went with it. So I kind of had an experience that way.

Sherrie Kapach: So when you decided you were going into it, what was the hardest part of going through the whole dynamics to get yourself on stage?

Caroline Johnson: Probably trying to figure out what bikini I was gonna wear.

Sherrie Kapach: There's a lot out there, a lot of choices, a lot of options, a huge price range too.

Caroline Johnson: So I got my custom made because I was so excited. So I just got gems, crystals in the straps. So it ended up costing me like $2,000 for my first and I was like, oh, no, I can't back out now.

Sherrie Kapach: Absolutely. Wow. Incredible. And you can use it again. It's not a one time outfit, that's for sure.

Caroline Johnson: Every single competition, I've gotten a new bikini. Because every time, my body changes. I don't want my pictures to be the same. When I'm 80, I'll be in a nursing home and I'll have them all framed on the wall.

Sherrie Kapach: This is me. That's awesome. That's great. So as you get new ones, what do you do with the other ones? Do you always have a backup in case something happens?

Caroline Johnson: The first one,I didn't have a backup. But the second one, I had one. So for each competition, I do except for this one. I did figure so I didn't have a backup. So it was starting over. I'm like, this one better not fail. Or I also have to change categories and do bikinis.

Sherrie Kapach: Or find someone close to you. Like, do you ever spare?

Caroline Johnson: In 2019, I went crazy. And I did three competitions that year.

Sherrie Kapach: Oh wow. What was that?

Caroline Johnson: April 1, in July, and then one in October. I was in prep the whole year almost. I got to my leanness by the third one. But by the time I get my third bikini, I'm like, I can't afford another bikini. So I bought one, tried it on and thought it would fit perfectly. But it didn't. I ended up having a ticket to the lady that makes my Bikini to alter it for me. I'm always going to ain't never going to buy one from somebody else.

Sherrie Kapach: Did you find what doing these three, and you had two that were closer together,and then you had that span? That longer timeframe. Your third one. Was it easier to do them when they were closer together rather than farther apart?

Caroline Johnson: I liked it because I was leaner. I didn't have the huge, huge bulkiness of it. I lost a lot of my muscle mass by the third one, so I didn't have any muscle because there wasn't enough food in me to.

Sherrie Kapach: Yeah, yeah, that's interesting. And so transitioning, because you went from bikini to figure, what does that entail?

Caroline Johnson: I don't like figures. It was my choice to do figure. I don't like the style of the bikini. I don't like the look of the traps. But for some reason for this prep, my shoulders, my arms, my back just kept growing. I didn't even lift those heavy weights. I don't think that I went higher than 40 pounds. I was trying to push up to like 600 pounds, and they were growing, and my glutes aren't growing. So my body decided that it wanted to do figure. My trainer suggested either I do figure for July, or I just keep on training until October. But I was already in prep since January. I was hoping to do the May competition, but my work went on strike so I kind of pushed my competition time a little bit further away.

Sherrie Kapach: So will you be transitioning back to bikini?

Caroline Johnson: It all depends, my body decides. The poses seem more relaxed but I feel like even though I had more muscle than I usually do, I didn't have quite enough as the other girls do. But my division that I competed in, the girls in figure also competed in physique. I don't know if I'm comparing my body to more of a physique body because I competed as a novice in figure but they competed in novice figure and physique. And there's no way I could do physique.

Sherrie Kapach: You never know who's on stage. You never know what you're walking into. You go with the best version of yourself and be proud of making it that far.

Caroline Johnson: The girl that won, I think she tried five times before to compete, and she wasn't confident to go through with the competition. And this is her sixth attempt, and she was looking awesome.

Sherrie Kapach: Wow. Just wow, yeah. That's amazing. So how long have you been competing for?

Caroline Johnson: I started out as a master. So I started in my 40's. I don't even know what's after the grandmaster.

Sherrie Kapach: I'm not sure. I feel that every association is different as well. In some shows, grandmasters have 55 plus, and some shows don't. I'm not sure how they do it in that way, but I will have to find out. So what do you wish you knew when you first started? What do you wish you knew then that you know now?

Caroline Johnson: My first coach did a competition before so she was quite knowledgeable. And then my second coach, majority of his clients do competitions, so I feel like they prepared me well. My first competition, I almost backed out because of the spray tan. I was in shock. I think it was Muscle Beach and they had men and women all in the same room. They just had them in separate tents. Bring me down just naked and I'm like, these guys, everybody could see me. All these guys can see me, they're just wearing these socks. I'm like, oh, my god, what am I gonna do? I can't do this. I just thought, well, if I close my eyes, they can't see me. And now, I don't even care who sees me anymore.

Sherrie Kapach: If you were shy and self-conscious and you walked around, I can totally relate. I walked around the corner. Ours was just women in tents. And for those people that are starting out, let them know that you're walking into that tan and there are tents of naked ladies there. Because I was just like, oh, my gosh. Because I wasn't prepared for that time there. Well, my first one.

Caroline Johnson: Things to help you use the washroom, I didn't know about that. I had to fix up my tan the next day.

Sherrie Kapach: That's good learning for anyone that's even considering the splash prospect of it and everything like that.

Caroline Johnson: A full length mirror and then everyone's trying to use my mirror.

Sherrie Kapach: I've seen a couple people bring mirrors and I thought that, with me not knowing when I first started, I didn't know. But brilliant, you make great use of it.

Caroline Johnson: Bring a mirror, chair, a mat that I can lay on. Because usually, there's not much going on backstage. And maybe to enjoy the process. I thought, well, I'm not lean enough. I'm not getting enough muscle here and there. But then just to enjoy yourself improving.

Sherrie Kapach: That's great advice because it's a lot of work. And it's a lot of hard work. And it's a lot of time, a lot of investment. It's a big investment. Just enjoy it and be proud of how far you've come and you've made it on stage. So do you have plans for your next competition?

Caroline Johnson: I'm still gonna continue training. But I'll do one next year, the next year or two. I'm open to any opportunities that come my way. I was looking into maybe doing a triathlon.

Sherrie Kapach: Wow. Explain to me a little bit of the steps you took post show.

Caroline Johnson: You're going downhill, like you're climbing the hill all the way up to the show. And then after you go down, you feel down and kind of blow it. I feel really tired and thirsty. So the next day, I'm just drinking water and sleeping. And if I tell my friends, it's like Cinderella after the ball. And then after that, everything is like the spray tan washes off all the makeup, your pinkies done, and the show's over. And then you have your cheat meal and your app starts to disappear a little bit.

Sherrie Kapach: That's a great example of using it because it's like, now what?

Caroline Johnson: Just look forward to the next one. I tried to do a photoshoot after, just like a private one that's not competition related.

Sherrie Kapach: That's a great idea too, showing yourself and getting those photos.

Caroline Johnson: Do the reverse diet. Just one cheat meal and slowly come back to where you were. Because even just drinking water again, you can put on 10 pounds.

Sherrie Kapach: Are you one that hops on that scale when you get back, or do you just enjoy the process?

Caroline Johnson: Because the numbers stressed me out. I don't go in there unless I have to.

Sherrie Kapach: That's great. Not to focus on that.

Caroline Johnson: Just time to relax.

Sherrie Kapach: Just enjoy it. It's a lot to get up on that stage. So like you say, you're just tired and resting. You put yourself, your body through so much that it's time to rest for a while.

Caroline Johnson: I didn't go back to the gym till yesterday. I was just kind of winded pretty quickly. I'm like, oh, my gosh. I'm not as strong as I remember I was.

Sherrie Kapach: Didn't feel good to get back?

Caroline Johnson: By the second day I'm like, oh, my goodness, I gotta go back to the gym.

Sherrie Kapach: That's wonderful. That was some great advice, and it's a good visual to the Cinderella story, pretty much nails it. You are just glammed right up. And then the next day, it's gone. I want to thank you for joining me and telling your story with this. That was wonderful. So on that note, I'm going to end it here. Good luck in your next competition. And if you do that triathlon, that's a lot. Good luck with that as well. Take care.