In the Fall of 2011, I attended bodybuilding competitions in Central Texas in order to document the athletes as well as show a behind-the-scenes look at their preparations. My goal was to learn what type of mental and physical preparation it took in order to compete in the world of female bodybuilding. The competitors photographed in this essay are amateurs, meaning that they were competing to earn a spot on the pro tour and ultimately compete for prize money. The actual competition is a series of one minute stage appearances in which the women must pose in front of a panel of judges. The athletes are scored on how well they pose, their musculature, and their overall appearance.
This brief moment on stage is proceded by months of work outs, dieting, and preparation of routines much the same way that Olympians train for years to have a chance to compete only once every four years.
Most people have seen images from the covers of muscle magazines and are therefore visually acquainted with bodybuilding but the moments before and after those pictures are made show a more familiar side to the athletes, one that viewers outside the fitness world can relate to. Seeing the athletes rehearse, pump up, make last minute adjustments to their outfits, and work out their nerves, these bodybuilders seem like anyone else who has to perform under the spotlight.