If you want to see how mentally strained you can get in a matter of weeks through intense training and a strict diet, throw yourself into show prep. You'll see what I mean.
There is no possible way that anyone can walk around and say that they have mastered their diet. No way. That would be like someone saying they have mastered their brain, their willpower, their struggles, their strength. These are all things that we cannot win at. We can't beat ourselves; we as individuals are only able to compete against the person who stares directly back at you in the mirror. It's the toughest competition that one can possibly face.
Everyone has their own struggles when it comes to prep, whether they struggle most with their diet (I would say most), their training the ups and downs being an emotional wreck, or perhaps all of the above. From what I have learned in the three preps that I have done, they've all been different.
My first show that I did back in November of last year, I was completely focused on the end goal - being on stage for the first time and feeling like I brought my best. I didn't struggle with my diet one bit with that prep, but I sure as heck did struggle with my training. It was hard for me to lift even the slightest things at the end, and the idea walking up the stairs to my bed at the end of the night was less than appealing. But I was mentally strong, having a blast, and loved every second of it.
When I went into my prep for BCs, the entire time I felt like I needed to be better. Better than I was at Sandra Wickham. Better than I was physically, mentally and emotionally. But truthfully, BCs completely broke me... I struggled more than I could ever imagine to try and knock the weight off by training harder than I've ever trained in my life, and to know how unhealthy it is to sit on the counter with a jar of peanut butter indulging in spoon after spoon of that little bear spread. I was a hot mess, let's just say that. I knocked the weight off in the end, but it took a restrictive diet and some keto brain to get there.
I remember at one point while I was driving down to BCs that I thought to myself, why am I doing this? I would spend countless hours searching #bcs2015 on instagram and check out my competition. I was terrified of who I was going to step on stage with simply because I knew I was natural, and many of the women I was up against were on a decent amount of gear. I felt the same way when I walked into the athlete's meeting; these girls were scary.
To be honest, I should have expected that the girls would be as loaded as they were. In my defence, I had only been going to the gym for a couple of years and prior to that I was a little cardio bunny with noodle arms and no ass. I had to remind myself of how far I have come since I started going to the gym, and why I was stepping on stage competing against the best in BC. I wasn't going there to win.
Taking a look back at how things were rolling in my life through my prep to the BC Championships, every day was a comparison. Every single time I looked at the mirror I thought, needs to be better. My waist isn't small enough; need to lose another 1/2" there. I can still see my cellulite. My arms look too big.
It's a real thing. I can't tell you how many people struggle with it either, and it's something that I'll admit to struggling with even today. It's certainly not as bad as what it was leading up to BCs. But I still have my moments.
The biggest difference between my prep to BCs and my current prep (did I just drop the ball...), is that I honestly do not care about comparing my body to what it was in my last two shows. The fact that I have been able to stay this lean and still manage to find flexibility in my diet here and there is remarkable. I never would have thought it would be possible coming out of the most strict diet of my existence and not blowing up like a balloon. Then again, I'm not stupid with my diet. I eat very clean for the most part, but sometimes I'll admit that I go pretty hard on Menchies :).
Am I doing anything different with my training? No
Is my diet any different? Not really, I still eat fairly clean for the most part. I know my limits
Am I happier? On so many levels yes, but I certainly have my days (give a girl a break)
So... What is it then?
I decided to join one of my best friends on her journey to the stage for the first time. That's why it's been easier. Every day we can rely on one another to get pumped about 45 minutes of fasted cardio, how excited we are to indulge in meal number 4, how sore our hamstrings are because leg day literally kicked our butts, how emotional we are because well we're girls, how much boys SUCK (we don't have time for that), how much fun we're going to have going hard on treats after the show, and sharing exciting new meal ideas. She has been the best companion throughout this process and I honestly can't thank her enough for all that she has done for me as a friend. At the end of the day, I am so freaking grateful.
On that note, why the heck didn't I 'release' to the world of social media that I had been on this hush-hush fitness journey?
The thing behind doing bikini competitions is that there is so much reliance on social media for competitors to receive some form of recognition for their hard work. The other day I scrolled through my Instagram page and was pretty shocked at how many 'transformation' pictures I had up prepping for BCs. My mindset for that show was definitely not the healthiest. I used my Instagram page as a form of reassurance, which is so so so beyond wrong! I lacked a lot of confidence, clearly.
That's why I kept this under wraps. I definitely told a few people I may have been training, usually only because they'd offer me a bite of cake and I accidentally slipped out the whole "sorry I can't, I might be training for a... shit". Whoops. Most of all, because this was such a split decision, I have loved the fact that I didn't stand on a mountain and shout it out to the world. This one is just for fun, it's for the benefit of having a good time during prep, for the benefit of one of my best friends, for support, and mostly to show that I am still in love with this sport.
In love is a big term.
Yeah, it might be. But how freaking cool is it to watch weight fall off of you and see your body change? And in off season, watch your booty go from 0-100 real quick?
Oh baby get it in ya, it's real life.
So while I lay in bed staring at the array of treats that await for Saturday night, I wish all of those competitors stepping on stage for the first, second, or 10th time tomorrow at the Knight of Champions the very best of luck.
See you on stage.
Providing you with the knowledge that I encounter on a daily basis through my fitness lifestyle.