Local bodybuilder Renee Hofkin placed third at the National Physique Committee All-South competition Nov. 5 in St. Augustine.
Hofkin, a Hinesville resident, competed in the masters over 30 category, earning the third-place trophy and her second qualifying bid to compete at the national level.
But Hofkin said it was a lesson she learned when she competed in Charleston last month that she thinks helped her at the St. Augustine show and will help pave the way to future successes in her bodybuilding car=er.
Hofkin already has earned two second-place trophies from her first two meets earlier this year in Savannah and Atlanta. On Oct. 25, she traveled to Charleston for a competition where she said she saw some of the top physiques to date.
“Those were the best over-35 bodies I’ve ever seen in my life,” she said, recalling the Charleston meet. “The competition in Charleston was heavier, in my opinion, than in Atlanta. I was more intimidated by Atlanta … but then I got to Charleston and it was like ‘Whoa!”
Hofkin said she thought she would place fifth at Charleston, “but the girl they gave fifth to had a little bit more stage presence. She had me beat there, so I walked away from that competition knowing what I had to work on. I even asked a judge what I needed to do. They asked me who my posing coach was and I told them I don’t have one. They told me I needed to get a posing coach and they volunteered their services.”
She said she left the Charleston competition disappointed but with a better understanding of how she needed to prepare for future meets. And as luck would have it, there was a fitness professional at the competition who recognized Hofkin and is stationed at Fort Stewart. She offered to help Hofkin, and they met twice to work on her poses.
“It needs to be a part of my weekly regiment,” Hofkin said. “Every week that I work out, I need to set aside some time and work on posing and walking.”
Hofkin said she even changed the shoes she wears on stage based on advice she was given and tried a new posing suit.
With new determination, she headed to St. Augustine, where she learned another lesson.
“There are two different schools of thought,” Hofkin said. “Some people deplete (carbohydrates) before competition and some people carb load. And I slimmed off my carbs on Wednesday, which is what we normally do, and then went to no carbs Thursday and Friday.”
But when she woke up Saturday morning ,she said her abs weren’t as striated as she hoped.
“I knew I looked good, but there is a difference between looking good and being dead on,” she said.
She still placed third, and later that evening decided to splurge on her dinner by adding a few more carbohydrates than she normally would eat. She woke up Sunday morning and her abdomen was in perfect form.
“I think I could have placed second if my abs were there,” she said, adding that she will remember to switch her diet before her next competition.
Although she already qualified to compete at the national meet in Miami next week, she said she plans to rest through the holidays and get ready for next year.
“There is a national competition in Charleston in May, so right now I think the goal is to rest through the holidays … then on Jan. 1, kick in. I’ll compete in March to qualify, because you have to qualify every year, then I’ll go in May,” Hofkin said. “My long-term plan is to be pro by the time I’m 45.”