Madelin Ghomshe serves as HCP’s Research Coordinator/Resident Bodybuilder. In this role, Madelin coordinates quantitative, qualitative, primary and secondary data, survey design, analysis, reporting and presentation. Madelin works closely with senior leadership and the HCP marketing team to support clients requiring research-related activities and plans. Outside of work, Madelin has become dedicated to weightlifting and exercise. Such devotion inspired her to participate in a female bodybuilding competition this past September. We asked Madelin to describe her experience and here were her responses:

How did you get involved/interested in competitive female bodybuilding?
I have been bodybuilding since August 2014 and have always found it very impressive and interesting. I always just thought of bodybuilding as a hobby and a way to relieve stress. I don’t know exactly what planted the seed in my head, but after years of weight lifting and training, I wanted to challenge myself with a new goal and reached out to a coach to get a basic understanding of what I was about to  get myself into.

Where and when was your most recent competition?
I have only competed once, at a NPC (which stands for the National Physique Committee and is the amateur bodybuilding organization) competition in the bikini division. My show was called the NPC Hurricane Bay Championships on September 22, 2018. Luckily it was in Clearwater, Florida, so I did not have to travel very far for my first competition.

How would describe the training experience for this type of event?
The training is predominantly a mental game and takes immense focus and discipline. When you compete, your body is pushed to an extreme that is not healthy to maintain on a daily basis. The extreme nature of this sport creates the training and dieting to also be very extreme and strict. I trained for a total of four months leading up to the show—I was doing fasted cardio before I commuted to work and then after work I would workout a muscle group and do more cardio.

What was your biggest obstacle in competing in this event?
The two biggest challenges for me were how strict the diet was and people not understanding the level of dedication that is required. Friends would invite me out to dinner or to grab a drink and I would just be going to see them; they all would say “just have a bite” or “ONE drink won’t hurt” which was not true. It was not enjoyable for me to put myself in situations where I am looking at all the food I cannot eat, and it was even more difficult to have people not understand that you cannot give into those cravings. I would say the more time that went into my prep, the more isolated I became—partially because it was hard to relate to people, and partially because I was experiencing a roller coaster of emotions, I did not want to subject everyone to them.

What do you like most about competitive bodybuilding?
I am not a very competitive person, so team sports have not been a great fit for me. This sport is very appealing to me, because while you are physically competing against other people, it is only valid to be hard on yourself and do the best that you can. You cannot control other people’s genetics, determination, and dedication, so it is internally motivating that you have got to be the best that you can be and bring your best package to the show.

Through these competitions, you also meet a lot of wonderful, like-minded individuals. It is humbling to meet so many wonderful people achieving similar goals. Behind the scenes, everyone is very encouraging, supportive, and sweet despite being in the same competition. 

Do you anticipate another competition soon?
I really enjoyed pushing myself and seeing myself accomplish something that takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. I can see myself competing again, but understanding the time, money, and hard work that goes into the final result, I am working on balancing other aspects in my career and personal life before I set a date of a new competition. I also think that the next time I compete, I will enter the figure division rather than bikini.

Did someone/or a specific event inspire you to first start competing in bodybuilding?
Nothing in specific, I just felt like I was at a point in my life where I wanted to challenge myself and focus on me. I never want to be the center of attention, so I felt as if I could really push myself out of my comfort zone by getting into the spotlight, but also by being able to channel something I am passionate about while pursuing my goal.

Do you have any advice for anyone who is interested in pursuing bodybuilding in their spare time?
The best advice I can give is to trust the process and that everyone in this sport had to start somewhere. I find people getting very discouraged not seeing results immediately or feeling as if they are very weak, but chances are that everyone can relate with you. It takes lots of patience and consistency and I started not knowing what I was doing or feeling comfortable in the gym. Bodybuilding is also not for everyone! There are plenty of other forms of exercise that will make you happiest, so also keep that in mind.