Then read on...
Maybe you’ve seen a bunch of photos on Instagram or Facebook of beautiful bikini clad women strutting their stuff on stage.
Maybe you’ve seen the highlight reel of someone (including myself) prepping for a fitness competition.
Maybe you’ve seen a snippet of a food log or calorie and macronutrient breakdown of someone in their peak week.
Possibly you’ve even read about a few emotional battles and triumphs in the weeks leading into the stage.
And maybe you’ve thought you could do it too…
Maybe you’ve thought competing was a way to set a goal and get yourself in shape, to look like one of those beautifully bikini clad women whose confidence on stage shone out of them like beams of light.
I wanted to write this blog post to talk about the truth behind competing. I’m not just talking about the stomach bloating, missing periods, constipation (or the opposite). I’m not talking about the daily ab checks or double cardio sessions. I’m not talking about the 1.5-hour gym sessions 7 days per week. Nor the social recluse.
I’m going to talk about the mental struggle.
The one you don’t read about on Instagram. The kind you don’t see in the photos. Maybe the truth behind the shining confidence on stage.
I’m going to share my heart. Be kind. And if you have ever considered competing please read on!
First off I want to make clear, I LOVE competing! It is an extension of my life, the life I live and breathe on a daily basis. Without exception. Health and fitness is always at the forefront of my mind. I have learnt so many things, I have met so many wonderful people and I will continue to compete well into my future. Without doubt.
Throughout my first few competitions and especially my first comp prep I was the definition of mental anxiety and body dysmorphia all hidden and manifested into a walking contradiction.
I told people and posted photos about how “health” and fitness could help achieve your goals. I constantly spoke about how healthy and happy I was. Maybe these lies I spoke were because I needed them. Possibly I needed to believe them to get me through the gruelling hours I spent in the gym, or to justify the times I snapped at my family for no good reason. For the times I sniffed other peoples food which I craved so deeply. To get through the dreams about food or failure and embarrassment I was having or to justify my lack of sex drive. I spoke these lies instead of sharing my struggles which was leading me down a narrow path of self hate.
I was a ticking time bomb. Ready to explode.
At a tiny 54kg and 8 % bodyfat, to me I was fat. I wasn’t ready. Holding too much fluid. Still see my cellulite. Why is my left arm vascular and not my right. Where are my bottom two abs. Daily self talk like, I wasn’t worthy.
The day of my first competition I had made myself sick from fear of failure. What if my ass jiggled in front of all my friends. What if I disappointed my family?
I was my most miserable. There is no other way to explain the emotion.
I havnt even began talking about post comp and the mind fuck (excuse my French) that comes along with that. Imagine gaining up to 10kg back over a matter of weeks. Figure losing your abdominal definition and vascularity over night. Imagine waking up looking 6 months pregnant because you just downed a burger which you hadn’t even sniffed for 6 months straight. Imagine not fitting into your pants anymore, or not being confident enough to wear crop tops in public? And those shorts you wore the day before comp… well they cant even be lifted up past your calves.
All in a days work!
So what changed between then and now that makes it so much easier now?
Not a lot really…
Each prep has emotionally become a little easier while self expectations are increasingly getting higher. Each post competition reverse has become slightly more successful. But im not going to lie again, after all that’s what this post is all about. In my last prep I still struggled with a few binge eating episodes, post comp I struggled with this too! Weight gain is super hard at any point.
Honestly, the one main thing that has changed. How I can deal with all of this (which still happens) so much better now.
If you don’t have it. Don’t compete. Because I promise you it will only hasten these emotions. Highten your anxiety. Esculate relationship tension.
Along with that I no longer look at life as PREP SEASON vs OFF SEASON. I follow my diet and training regime 365 days per year. Rain, hail or shine. Birthdays, Christmas, Easter. No excuse.
Do I eat out. Yes.
Do I eat junk food. Not really.
These are limited and monitored.
I don’t drink. Ever.
I don’t eat dinner with my family 99% of the time.
I don’t stay up late watching episodes of Gossip Girl. Mostly.
So before you jump on this bandwagon of what APPEARS to be the perfect way to reach your goal. THINK…
Is this really for you?
Are you ready for this life?