A former bikini fitness competitor is detailing the extraordinary , and even revealing a few not-so-glamorous behind-the-scenes secrets
Cosette Jarrett, 23, only competed once, but the Salt Lake City resident has a lot of insight to share – including why the women pee in cups on the big day, where some are willing to stick carpet glue, and why they’ll shell out up to $1,000 for a custom swimsuit
‘As a former bikini fitness competitor, I feel inclined to share the hilariously strange bodybuilding practices I took part in to earn a small statue, which sits awkwardly on my desk at home,’ she told Mashable.
Getting super fit: Cosette Jarrett participated in a bikini fitness competition (pictured), not long after she graduated from college
Once is enough: The 23-year-old, who is pictured recently, said she just did it for fun, but decided not to stick with it because it was expensive and took a toll on her self-esteem
Cosette, who now works as a tech and lifestyle writer, wasn’t looking to turn her competition experience into a fitness career like many of the women she met, which means she offers a unique outsider perspective.
‘For me, it was just something fun to try, but my main focus in life remained on my career,’ she told Daily Mail Online. ‘I stopped after my first show. The process was really expensive and took a pretty big toll on my self-esteem.’
She first decided to try competing after graduating college, at the urging of a friend who became her first trainer.
After a few months, she switched to a more well-known coach to up her chances of winning – but said that both gave her meal plans, as well as the tools she needed to start lifting and focusing on the fitness element.
Just trying it: The Salt Lake City resident (far left) said that the women were all nice, but that they took it a lot more seriously than she did
Getting ready: o sculpt her physique, Cosette (center) spent two hours a day at the gym, six days a week
‘I spent about two hours at the gym six days a week,’ she said, adding that she would do 30 minutes to an hour of cardio a day, as well as weight lifting. ‘Each muscle group had at least one designated day of the week.
‘I trained shoulders twice weekly, legs twice weekly, and biceps and triceps and back once a week. Ab workouts and back extensions for my lower back were trained six days a week.’
This schedule went on for about eight months, with the last two leading up to competition being the most intense. But despite long hours at the gym, she wasn’t looking to get totally buff.
‘Bikini competitors seek a softer overall aesthetic and the ultimate hourglass figure,’ she explained on Mashable. ‘Judges look for sculpted shoulders, small and toned waists, large and muscular glutes, and strong, defined legs.’
Diet played a major role in training her body, too. She’d have six meals a day, but they were made up of small portion sizes and ‘zero calorie foods’ – most of which, like those by Walden Farms, tasted ‘funky’ and gave her stomach aches.
Limited menu: Her diet was limited to vegetables and zero calorie foods, which she said tasted funky
Progress: Cosette was already in great shape, but made progress between January (left) and May (right); her competition was in June
‘Veggies are the one item coaches will allow their clients to eat on end. My competitor friends and I would eat bags of veggies at a time to stay full between meals,’ she added.
Even with such limited food intake, she and other women in the competition took water tablets to shed their extra water weight in the days before a competition. The tablets flush out excess water, literally dehydrating the women to make then look a few pounds slimmer.
Cosette said the pills made her feel ‘a bit loopy’, and her restricted diet made feeling ‘hangry’ a very real thing.
‘I’m very glad I didn’t have a boyfriend through training. My mood swings were pretty crazy,’ she told Daily Mail Online.
At the time, she was dating casually, and had to tell the men she saw about her training so she could choose the restaurants based on her dietary restrictions.
‘Guys who I went out with thought it was interesting and wanted to know more about it. They didn’t seem to be bugged by any of it,’ she added.
Getting dark: For the competition, she got four layers of spray-tan at about $100 each; the bronze highlighted her sculpted muscles
Making money: Many of the other women, she said, were looking to turn their competition wins into a fitness career
With her body in incredible shape as the competition grew near, it was time to tan. Cosette got four layers of spray-tan at about $100 a pop, having to wait four hours in between each round so the color could set. The other women all got spray-tans, too, since the bronze hue played up their muscles.
That tan, though, meant they needed to be careful about moisture, which can make the color look streaky. Streaks literally anywhere could be problematic, since their bikinis don’t hide much.
That’s why, during the day of competition, the women peed into cups to prevent anything from messing up their tan on their behinds or upper thighs.
‘To avoid ruining your spray tan, most coaches recommend that you pee in a cup then dump it into the toilet each time you use the bathroom the day of your show. As bad as it sounds, it’s even worse,’ Cosette told Mashable.
‘The metal sanitary boxes, garbage cans, and stall floors in every ladies’ restroom at the show’s venue were filled with used plastic cups and we all knew where those cups had been.’
As for those bikinis, these ladies weren’t buying them off the rack. They were encouraged to spend $350 to $1,000 on a custom one, which could be designed to highlight their figures perfectly.
Pricey: She also couldn’t wear off-the-rack bikinis, like these; the competitors all had theirs customs-made
‘A good bikini is usually custom fit,’ Cosette told Daily Mail Online. ‘My coaches stressed the importance of ordering my bikini from a trusted Utah suit maker because she knew what the judges would be looking for.
‘The judges factor in every detail of your appearance as they decide on your placement, so your suit must look like a quality suit that meets the National Physique Committee or National Gym Association standards if you want to place.’
Then, the suits were literally glued – using Bikini Bite, carpet glue, or other adhesives – to the body so they stayed in place and didn’t reveal anything accidentally.
Finally, the women were oiled up with cooking oil – not tanning oil or coconut oil – to get that telltale sheen.
And after all that, Cosette said she just walked away with a small statute, deciding she was done with the competition circuit. Many of the women, though, come back for more.
‘The intense focus of the other girls was super interesting to me,’ she said. ‘Many of them had been competing for a long time and had plans to build a career in the fitness industry. Most of the other girls were more focused on the competition and more willing to take the time for the necessary practices.’