What it’s like to lose at a bodybuilding competition…


Imagine for a moment that you’re back in school and you’ve been assigned a persuasive paper. You spend life-hours working on this paper. You write with conviction and passion. Once completed you turn that paper in with all the enthusiasm as Ralphie from “A Christmas Story” when he turns in his Christmas theme to his teacher. You get that paper back expecting to see a grade of 110 with 20 exclamation points behind it only to see a failing grade and your Pulitzer Prize worthy masterpiece covered in red pen marks. You feel like someone just punched you in the gut. You read the comments about how you didn’t state your position on the subject strong enough, your argument was weak and so on and so forth. WTF!!! After the initial shock wears off that’s when anger sets in. You start to think this teacher just doesn’t know good writing when he/she sees it. What about all my hard work? Doesn’t that count for something? You want to throw the paper and your hands in the air and say “Seriously?! what do you want from me?”

Some of you reading this may have NEVER received a bad grade on a paper you wrote. My sister is probably one of those people. I guess I should pose the question, have you ever put 125% into something, poured your heart and soul into it only to get back NGE!!!!! (not good enough) Nah, probably not, right? I believe EVERYONE has experienced this at one point or another. As bodybuilders we put so much into prepping for a contest. When you see our progress pictures, none of us got that way by accident. We didn’t stroll into the gym one day, swing some dumbbells around, then drank a few protein shakes and woke up the next morning ripped! We work our butts off…LITERALLY! We also train our minds as much, if not more, than we train our bodies.

Not placing at my last 3 competitions gave me a taste of what I was made of. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed to tell everyone that I didn’t place because the people in this world that are the most successful and respected are the first to tell you about all of their failures before their success. There’s a new Eminem song on the soundtrack of the movie “Phenomenal”. One of the lines from the song says “are you prepared to get back half of what you put in?” That one line really resonated with me. I’m not an arrogant person, but the one thing I am arrogant about is my work ethic. (and maybe my hair, I love my blond hair). I am completely prepared to get back only half of what I put in. I am willing to work as hard and as long as I have to in order to get where or what I want. If you even so much as dream about out working me, you’d better wake up and apologize. NO ONE is going to out work me. My father taught me my work ethic. He left this world too soon but he did teach his daughter that no one owed me anything and that anything worth having required hard work.



This was a late night ab check since my abs decided not to show up for the competition. Thanks…thanks a lot abs. Abs are phantom muscles, they’ll be there one minute and gone the next. That’s why we always take pictures of them. It’s sort of like seeing that majestic 14 point buck casually walking around. You see it and think “whoa! did I just see that?!”





I competed last Saturday and did not get a top ten placing. I hadn’t stepped on a stage since November of last year. I just wanted to get my feet wet again, step out of my comfort zone and improve my stage presence and I did just that. Do I honestly feel like I lost or failed at Saturday’s competition? Of course not! We bloggers use certain titles just to attract readers. I love competing. I love the struggle. I love wearing my sparkly shoes. I love meeting new people. I’ve made some great friends at my competitions. In the pictures below I was able to reunite with these two beautiful ladies I met at past competitions. But most of all, I love the challenge.

Competing has pushed me beyond what I ever thought was possible for me and has taught me so much.


Not placing at a competition can feel like a punch in the gut or a slap in the face. At the very least it can take the wind out of your sails temporarily. No one wants to walk away from a competition empty-handed. But your perspective is your reality. You cannot allow your placing to define you or affect your happiness with yourself. You CANNOT be afraid of failure. Confidence is thinking “I really hope they like me, but if they don’t, I’ll be just fine”. And I am just fine. I am happy. I haven’t cried, sulked or felt sorry for myself. What was more traumatic for me came after my competition. I got to my sister and brother-in-law’s house and walking through their front yard in the dark, I walked right into a spider web and the spider got caught in my hair and I had to fling it out with my hand…I almost died.

In a way, I am happy that I didn’t place because it sort of feels like someone hit the reset button on my drive and determination. I’ve got a lot fight left in me. I read an article about competing before I ever competed. It said to never take a placing personally, because at the end of the day you just might not have been exactly what those judges were looking for on that particular day. End of story.

One of my English professors in college told me, in regards to writing a paper, it is NEVER finished, never complete. There’s always room for improvement. (maybe he was just saying that because my essay I turned in was complete crap, idk) It’s the same way with bodybuilding. That’s why it’s called body building, not body built. So, you know, I’m gonna keep watching my Michael Jordan motivational videos on YouTube and be like the Lowes commercial and NEVER STOP IMPROVING!

photo 1







And this is just to show you that not all of my life revolves around working out and bodybuilding. Earlier that day before I went to my check-in I took my daughter to my sister’s school to get her hair done.

Think.Do.Be.crazy, healthy and happy!

Leanna JB 😉










General Contact


About the Author:

I'm Leanna Jensen. I'm a NPC Bikini Competitor, Personal trainer, fitness writer and mother of two. I am on a mission to help and serve others by sharing my knowledge of all things health and fitness.

Leave A Comment