Seems every contest prep something happens and I panic.
Well, right on schedule at 3.5 weeks to my competition. I am Paniced!!!
I have every reason to be. And even though I know I can pull this together, I’m still a little freaked out. On Sunday I was happily at the gym, pushing through an amazing leg work… or at least the first 25 minutes of one. Pushed myself, and was about to boast about finally doing more than body weight squats without the help of the smith machine when all of a sudden I had awful pain in my chest, on my right side. Like hurt to breath ouch pain… I walked around for a bit, attempted to stretch and it did’nt go away. A friend later filled me in that its likely my lat, which I did’nt realize hurt until he said something. But then all of a sudden not only did my right side chest, and side hurt but also my right upper back. OK… Stay somewhat calm, give it a couple of days and see how it goes. Except that’s not really what I did. I proceeded to sulk, give up and then ate at my moms for dinner (not MY food – her yummy food!). Pain stuck around Monday so no workout. Monday evening sat around in the lounge chair outside. Just before bed I felt terrible, thought I was getting sick and realized by last night that its hay fever. Full blown god awful allergy hay fever so that I can’t breath, my eyes are watering, my nose is clogged and I have this awful dry cough which is not doing much for my sore chest / back. Barely slept last night, Did manage to go to the gym this morning. However outside of majorly air conditioned spaces I am basically non-functional. To top it off, I’ve been taking naproxen for my back and allergy meds and I look like a blimp. Could also be that its just about that lovely time of the month or as I heard it referred to on the radio this morning “shark week” UGH. Either way, paniced to an extreme.
I’ve looked into opting out, researched things I do not believe in like “juice cleanses” and basically been looking for a quick fix, all while eating tilapia every 2 hours, and drinking even more water than normal in an attempt to lose the bloat.
So there’s the truth. Prep Blows! I want wine. And a cheese burger. But instead I’m going to eat this tilapia and keep my fingers and toes crossed!
When I was in my teens I belonged to a youth group. I was aptly nicknamed “gimpy” after participating in the “Olympics” weekend. That weekend I managed to accumulate more bruises than most people get in a week. I also may have tripped over my own two feet more than once.
Just once I would like to go through a prep period without a sickness or an injury!
My original show I wanted to do was in November 2012. I started prepping for it the spring before. And… then I was diagnosed, had surgery and had to take a month out of the gym.
Spring Bash 2013 about 3 weeks out I got the flu. Not like a mild cold, like a downright nasty, cannot move, nothing tastes good (especially not healthy stuff) type flu.
Showdown 2013 My ex left and came back about 5 times in the 3 months leading up to it, and I managed to pull a muscle in my leg rather badly about 2 weeks out.
Yesterday morning at the gym, just as I was about to celebrate my ability to squat more than my bodyweight without the help of the smith machine… BAM! Pain. Originally I thought I had torn something in my chest, as that is where I am feeling it the most. However, a friend and fellow B-Builder pointed out its likely my lat, as that’s where the pressure of the Barbell sits during squats… I can barely move, hurts to breath, and dearie me, I don’t care if snot runs down my face you cannot pay me enough to blow my nose ever again.
I am just under 4 weeks from my show, just under 3 weeks from the relay for life.
Right now my plan is to take it easy for a couple of days and see how I feel and if it heals. I tried doing cardio this morning at the gym, it hurt so bad it actually made me sick to my stomach… AHHHHHH
If anyone knows of some magic cure or fix for this one, please share!
The English Dictionary defines a “plan” as: A scheme, program or method worked out beforehand for the accomplishment of an objective.
This competition preparation I set out to develop a very detailed and comprehensive plan for the accomplishment of my goals for UFE Showdown on June 21. I determined my goal weight, goal measurements, diet, and review and re-evaluate dates as well as my diet, workout schedule and days. I planned my cheat or re-feed days as well as put together a spreadsheet to track all of this.
The best laid plans have hiccups along the way. I have also attempted to track, what they were, when they happened and taken notes about any particular things that I believe may have triggered those things. No plan is perfect, but by tracking both success and failure it will be easier and more successful the next time around. It also makes it easier when you find something early on in the plan to re-evaluate and adjust. The “plan” includes a budget with costs and expenses, estimated where unknown and then updated as found out to track how much competing costs as well as to mitigate what I will spend on my competition.
In other words I have a project plan to get to the stage. Anyone who knows what I am good at will know that this is exactly how I function at work as well. If you are managing multiple projects with multiple timelines and different resources you need to have these “plans” in order to keep track of everything that is going on in each one. (Yes, I have one of these for the household, kids, and other “projects” I work on in my personal life, though not always as comprehensive as this one is…)
Things like my competition registration, monthly gym expenses, and tanning were known and have not wavered. I put a budgeted max amount to spend on photography this time, as I have not had the “professional” photography done at a show yet, and selected a set of backstage photos from the UFE photographer Healthy Vision. I would have liked to get photography done after the show as well or on the same weekend but it was out of the budget, however I did overestimate the back stage photos and so have money to re-allocate. While planning to compete at the Spring Bash which I was unable to do back in April I had created another new suit, very in-expensively. I also still have two suits from my last two competition from 2013. However who wants pictures in the same suit. So I am still on the fence about whether to order new / used suits, or to use the suits I have (Or order one new suit and use one of the suits I have). Either way I do have money allocated for at least 1 new suit.
The original diet was carefully planned taking into account what I was eating on a “normal” daily basis, what I know about how my body reacts to certain foods, and realizing where my plateau’s have hit in the past. For the first 3 weeks I was eating around 1600 calories, which included about 150 grams of carbs (veggies, oats, and sweet potatoes) and very little sugar. At 7-8 Weeks out I re-evaluated this and dropped to about 1400 calories, decreased my carbs and decreased my fats while upping my lean protein intake.
I honestly weighed myself (something that I never do) at the beginning of my 12 weeks. On April 1 I weighed in at 143.7 lbs. Not much really when you figure I am 5’8” and very active. My last show after peak week I weighed in the day of the show at roughly 134lbs. So for this show I decided on a goal “weight” of 130lbs before peak week. In order to achieve this I worked out that I would need to lose 1.41 lbs per week every week between April 1 and June 17. I then weighed myself once a week at the same time on the same day every week. In the first 4 weeks my average weight loss was 1.7lbs. I figured out that if this trend continued I would weigh 125 lbs by the time of my show. Being a huge hater of cardio, I was determined to do as little of it for this show as was possible. For the first few weeks my cardio consisted of changing my weights from 3 sets 6-8 reps with 45-60 second rests to circuits of 3 exercises one of which was usually a core “thing” and upping reps to 8-10 I was also doing about 20 minutes on the treadmill after every workout fasted speed walking at max incline. When I realized that I was losing quicker than plan I decided to change the cardio portion and experiment with the circuits and combined a 4th exercise into every circuit done. For 60 seconds of my circuit I now skip rope. Essentially over a 60 minute workout I accomplish between 15 and 20 minutes of 60 second bursts of cardio, I also enjoy this much better than walking on a treadmill, my results stayed pretty much consistent (which I found interesting). As of this morning my weight loss is at 136.7 while the original goal weight was at 136.8 meaning that I am no longer ahead of my plan, I am meeting it.
Not time to re-evaluate “yet”. Sunday being mother’s day and knowing I was ahead of plan I allowed myself not just a “re-feed” meal, I honestly, took the day off. Had an amazing day with my children, my other half, and my mom and sister. I ate off plan, did not work out and enjoyed my family and garden. This turned out to be the best mother’s day I have ever had in my entire 15 years of being a mom. No regrets there. I will not know if this de-railed my “plan” and progress and will not until next week’s weigh in so I am not changing what is working until then. I could be retaining water, have not slept well the last couple of nights, or I may just shed my cheat day within the next couple and then some. It does however put a small crimp in my plans for a birthday cheat this weekend. THAT is still to be determined. But since I have no real plans, c’est la vie.
So there’s the update… this would be “my hottest body ever” project plan.
No Carb Brain
Competition prep means functioning on less carbohydrates than is normal, even for somebody that eats less carbohydrates than the average person normally. Normally I would caution to balance the lower carbohydrate intake with a higher healthy fat intake. However during contest preparation not only do you limit the amount and types of carbohydrates you also start lowering fats, yes even most good ones.
This results in a bit of “scatter brain”
The only thing I can aptly relate this too is a non-pregnancy version of Baby Brain.
For any of the mothers out there that have had children, you probably remember the 6-8 months right after your child was born. You were likely getting minimal amounts of REM sleep, waking up every couple of hours, and walking around zombie like. On top of that you had what is known as “baby brain” The ability to completely forget things, be slightly out of it, and otherwise feel and behave not as sharp as usual.
In the case of No-Carb brain, silly me spouted off a week or so ago that I was not suffering from no-carb brain. However as of this week it has apparently caught up to me. When I got home last night I realized I was wearing two different mix-matched earrings. If these were small earrings it might not have been so bad. In my case, one was a small silver hoop the other was about a 6 times larger kind of sparkly hoop. Ahhh… don’t remember that one!
Today. Half way through the afternoon I finally noticed that I had my blouse on inside out – yep! Since this morning.
This leaves me wondering if my lovely co-workers noticed and thought perhaps I was “kookie” or perhaps had a fling in the car on my way into work this morning… and were just too polite to say anything, or if I actually got away un-noticed. Note to self. Better start making silly lists of things to double check in the morning.
- Is my underwear under my clothes?
- Do shoes, earrings, etc. match?
- Keys, wallet, phone?
- Food for the day?
- Do I look like a clown and / or hot mess?
The Good Parts
Some parts of competition prep are amazing.
Watching your body change weekly. I am “fit” most of the time, however as much as I know how strong I am and how good I look compared to the average almost 35 year old mom I also know what I am able to look like. Competition level fitness is not maintainable long term while living like a normal human being. Yes, I could probably stay leaner than I have this last year, which I am going to aim for after my competition. Plus if I qualify I would like to compete at the national competition in November and if not that one, the Halloween Mayhem competition end of October. Right now, I can daily get up, look in the mirror and see the changes that all of this work and dieting is doing to my body.
When you eat the same stuff day in and day out. There’s not much thinking that has to go into meal prep (at least for yourself) Grocery shopping for just me is a breeze. (Egg whites, spinach, salsa, tilapia, asparagus, brussel sprouts, chicken boobs – and… DONE) OK, I’m a mom, when do I ever get to grocery shop just for myself????
When I have a goal, I see it through. I have set very specific goals for this competition and other than a cheat meal once a week I really haven’t deviated from the plan. So far the only cardio I am doing is 60 second active rests in between weight exercises which I have also been doing as 3-4 exercise circuits and upped my reps from 6-8 to 8-10. I move for 50-60 minutes straight at the gym. If I can do this whole thing through diet and weights without endless bouts of boring cardio I will be thrilled.
The Hard Parts
Mentioned this before. However even though I wear gloves religiously I have calluses that would give my mechanic bf a run. On top of that arthritis in my hands and typing at work all day and they are seriously, cold, and sore all of the time, and not so pretty despite my best efforts at moisturizing and pumice stones
Things not to say during prep
- “Surely, just one bite won’t hurt.”
o You’re right, I could probably have 1 bite of something bad. Except the problem is if I did that every single time somebody said it to me, it would do something bad. 1 bite when you are just on a diet or eating healthy – no biggy. Trying to become fitness model lean… no. Not to mention that I am one of those, that if I succumbed to it once I would likely talk myself into it over and over again. So, no thank you. You eat the treat.
- “But you’re already so thin”
o No, No I am not. I do not want to be “skinny” I want to be fit. In order to show those muscles that I have spent almost every day for 2 ½ years building I am dieting very hard and working very hard to get to a low body fat percentage. Yes in normal every day work clothes I probably do look “thin”. But that’s only because muscles take up less room then fat.
- Please do not invite me to dinner and promise to cook something “healthy”
o I will happily go visiting during prep. But I will either eat before I go, or take my own meal. Please do not be offended when you promise to cook something healthy. Its lovely that you are trying to accommodate my weird goals however you’re version of healthy and what I am likely eating are probably worlds apart.
- Do not apologize for eating stuff I cannot have in front of me.
o This is a choice I made. All by myself for me. My children do not eat tilapia and egg whites the whole time I am prepping for a show. They eat, lasagna, pizza, steak, potatoes etc. Yes, there are times I may have to walk away cause its making me drool to an extreme level however I am not upset that you are eating something I have decided not to.
Yes of course it’s fun when clothes get big. I talk about that on here all the time, shrinking into smaller, cuter clothes is always fun. But having gone from a size 14 to a pretty steady 6 I have now built up if not a decent wardrobe at least a functional one. Problem now is because I am dieting down for the show, even my stretchy workout clothes are too big. Case in point. Size 4 lululemon work out pants that I love, were falling down while trying to jump rope between sets yesterday. UGH. Goodwill / value village trip may be called for this weekend.
I get asked this all the time. Most recently by my friends over at www.transformationpics.com. Also by friends, other competitors and complete strangers. Just because I do body building competitions many people seem to think “winning” is easy. I have not placed top 10 in the two shows I have done. But winning is easy. I win all the time. I win by looking the best I have ever looked. I win by having the guts to get on stage next to the fittest of the fit and looking and feeling great. I win by knowing that the changes I have made in my lifestyle mean that I will be here for my children, their children and seeing as I had Big Kid at 20, likely my great grandchildren. That’s winning! I win and celebrate every time I lift heavier, beat a PB (Personal Best… I’m putting this in cause for a long time I didn’t know what that was and I was too shy to ask 😉
For me, I will not get on stage, unless I look and feel better than I did at my last competition. Every single time you work out, the longer you work out, the harder you work out adds muscle, definition and form to your body. I have two and half years of serious muscle built up now. I cannot wait till show day.
Live and Learn
There are very few that can get on stage and win their first competition. Just having the nerve to put on one of those itsy bitsy suits let along be judged and critiqued on your body is one major accomplishment. There are oodles of people that get discouraged because they did not do as well as they thought they should have and never compete again. I am not one of those. My first show, I learned that even though I had heard it a hundred times, I needed major work on posing. I also learned how a show is run, and I learned that even though I get nervous, I like being on stage.
My second show I realized that while I spent a lot of time on my appearance, there are some things that need to be “perfect”. Hair and makeup seem like a silly thing to spend time on when you’re being judged on your physique. These shows are a bit of a beauty pageant after all. This time, I’m going to spend the money on pro makeup and hair. I also learned that things like you’re suit, should not be “different”… I love my suits, but sometimes you have to go along with the crowd, there’s a reason certain color are popular, because they look better on stage…
Competition are Subjective
You could do one show and place first, and do another and not even make top 10 and do the exact same as you did at the first show and look better. This is a subjective sport. Different judges see and judge different ways. Some of the girls I competed with at my first competition also competed at my second. At the first show they placed top 10, and then did not place at the second show. Most looked far better in my books at the second show. However, it depends who is there, who your competitors are, who bring it that day, who the judges are. Etc. I actually placed better my second show then my first, just not top 10.
So yes, I plan on winning!