Friday, July 20, 2012
So, when people think about how much work and dedication goes into training for a fitness competition they often assume that being done is bound to be a very pleasant, easy experience. I mean, you spend nearly 4 months of your life completely deprived of all your favorite foods, alcohol and time to spend with your loved ones. You're tired most of the time and the vast majority of your life is now compacted into a small tunnel that is "Comp Prep".. Must be GREAT to finally be done and get your freedom back, right?...ehhhh.... EHHH!!!!! Now, as a person who has valiantly attempted to prove that I am a strong a$$ mo-fckr for the past 4 months it can feel like a real blow when you have to admit you're struggling with something. However, I have always been a pretty raw Im-gonna-be-open-as-possible person so I shall bite the bullet and share the story. The adjustment post-competition was/has been even harder than I expected. I knew it was going to be tough gaining some weight back and weird to have freedom again. When you spend so much time in superhuman mode tho, you expect that you're gonna be able to cheat a little bit and get right back on track super easy. Right? I mean, we're STRONG now. If we weren't strong we could have never made it to the stage to begin with. Talk about the ultimate feeling of power..living your life following the FULL commitment it takes to become as fit as you possibly can be is HARD STUFF. I mean, if it were easy the entire world would be walking around lookin like supermodels. People wouldn't pack healthy lunches every day and then order out pizza once their workbreaks come along. People wouldnt chant at the end of every weekend "Ill start again Monday". Ok so yeah, it was tough blah blah we get that. I expected that everything learnt and built through competition would follow me forever and I could finally resist temptations in the snap of a finger now that I learned how. Hmmpph. I guess it didnt exactly work that way. So, competition weeks roll to a close. I post up my three new gigantic trophies in the kitchen proudly. It's freaking time to EAT, mofcka!!! It's been months and I was ready to rage out on some sugar. So, I did just that. Get it out my system for one week. Let's just say I ate so much I felt sick on the regular through the week. Not surprising though.. I did, in fact, deserve this. My body, my brain...deprived of food and sleep for quite some time. It was time for a break, and every competitor deserves a break after such a long process. Well...when it was time to start back over it was much harder than I thought. The thought of eating any sort of protein that wasnt in shake form was (and still is) nauseating me. I dont want to see eggs, fish or chicken pretty much ever again lol. So, it's been two weeks since my binge week has come to a close. Life has been confusing. I'm unsure of what I should eat..I cant tell when Im hungry or Im just having cravings again. I cant tell if Im going to be upset with myself for indulging or if I feel it is acceptable. Trying to find the balance has been much more challenging than prep was. Combating fatigue and hunger and all that fun stuff is tough...but combating your self confidence is even harder. To get SO lean and thin and "perfect" the last few weeks before competition makes you feel on top of the world. You pretty much have the best body you could imagine for yourself and nobody wants to lose that. However, competition body is not sustainable (nor healthy). Try looking at yourself in the mirror only a few short days after you were on stage winning trophies and titles and not be a little horrified at the image looking back. Woof, pillsbury doughboy. Your body is more than ready and willing to hold on to some of that juicy, sugary goodness that you deprived it of for so long and it is expected that you will bloat. For me, it was tough. I cried..sobbed...every day for a week straight. I couldnt go to the bathroom and look in the mirror without crying. I couldnt recognize myself anymore...it was so bad that I started to avoid doing lifts at the gym in the free weight section so I didnt have to see the mirrors. For a few of my workouts I legitimately cried the entire way through. Tears streaming down my face repping out the most weight I had ever done (new records for squats, deadlifts, shoulder press...)..Hating myself for "failing". I didnt even want to look at my trophies anymore because I legitimately felt like I didnt deserve them. I gained weight and decided that nothing I did to win my competition that last week up on stage mattered. It took me a long time and a lot of conversations with some very supportive people I had in my life to finally start to change my perspective on the situation. A friend of mine who has competed in the past offered me an invaluable piece of advice. She told me to look back at photos I took 4-5 weeks before the competition and remember how PROUD I was of those pictures that day and how GREAT I thought I looked. It was true, 5 weeks out I remember feeling like I looked fantastic. So, I sifted through and was shocked to find the body from 5 weeks pre-show was also the same body I am currently sporting. It helped a lot to put things in perspective and allowed me to start accepting my "new look".. Alas, the journey post prep has not been easy. It's been much harder than I ever expected.