Life After Competing

What a confusing time for so many of us! Now, believe it or not you are not alone in your feelings of loss, cluelessness and heads full of questions.
What do I do now? How do I train? How do I eat? What’s normal? I can’t want to lose my body I worked hard for etc.

Many people think I don’t think or feel these things, I do, I just don’t like showing it, it’s not my style. But I notice the extra weight I put on, and don’t love how my clothes fit any more, I wonder if people notice or care, but I laugh about it to those that comment.
I’m not saying this because I don’t like how I have changed since the competition, I love it in fact, I have extra energy for my workouts, I enjoy being able to cook the food I make, and if I hadn’t gone through such changes I wouldn’t have gained the muscle that I was hoping too. So I might think and feel the things we all do, but I choose to embrace them, I am comfortable with them and understand it must happen. This is something we must all learn.

For many of us, we now love the way we look on stage, and it is something we never felt we could possibly achieve. But it has come at a cost, we havent eaten out for months, shared dinner with our loved ones, had dessert, slept in, and not continually thought about what we weigh, or fat % and what we put in out mouths.

This change from complete control and knowing what you are doing to reach your goal, to having that taken away can be scary!
One thing I tell my friends and people I talk to, is it might be a great idea to set up another goal, get a photo shoot, stay fit for summer etc. Some people work best when given a workable goal with a timeframe, some people can just keep going.

Now the questions about what to eat, I have heard so many people question whether greek yogurt is healthy, vegetable soup, fruit and even a slice of whole grain toast with avocado and tomato, the answer? Yes, of course it is! It’s also healthy to allow yourself to treat once a week. It’s all in moderation! Don’t eat a loaf of bread, a tub of yogurt or a whole cake for dessert. Think about it and listen to your body and when it is hungry instead of getting caught up in the rush from the sugar. A cheat meal can be anything that you want, but that’s what you need to remind yourself, it is a cheat ‘meal’ not a cheat day, night or everything you can see in-site. Moderation is key. And you know what, if you stuff up a little, just make sure you are back into your healthy lifestyle the next day! Don’t let yourself fall in a rut of not going to the gym because your body feels yuck, really it has all this new energy from the ample fuel you gave it, go burn it and use it to benefit you! Don’t think that because you ate so much the night before you shouldn’t eat today, even if you’re not hungry this will play havoc with your body and it’s metabolism, just get back into the motions and in a day or two you will be fine!

The other thoughts that might be going through your head though from doing the above, even if you are in control is the fact that your six-pack may now be a bit softer or disappeared all together, and you might not like that all that much. But please remember that you were something like 10%BF on stage, this is very low and to maintain it, you will need to maintain the diet you were on to get ready. So as soon as you eat some more carbs or good fats, add in a treat meal or even milk back into your tea, you will see a difference. There is a reason you were not allowed to have it to get ready for your competition, so don’t expect to stay like that if you have it now.

Sometimes people are very unsure of how to train. Generally after a comp they are strongly encouraged to take at least a week off to recover and get back into the swing of things. For many, this is hard, they have a routine and they like to stick to it. For me the gym is my me time, so not doing it makes me feel as though I don’t get this. But after months of strenuous exercise, your body needs that break so listen to it and do it. If you feel good and want to get back into the gym mid-week that’s okay, but allow a couple of days!

Many can also be sure of now how to train. They are confused, to get ready for the comp some have had to do cardio and weights daily, is this much still required? What do I do to keep they weight off? The answer? It depends on your goal, if you want to just get back into a normal lifestyle then do what makes you happy, if that’s an hr long walk with the dog, a spin class, boxing or yoga then go for it! It’s all exercise. If you are continuing to prep for another comp, you will want to have a discussion with your trainer, as more than likely cardio will be a no go zone, for me this was my favorite part!

All of a sudden you are also forced to make choices in public, where once you went to that cocktail party you easily said no to the yummy food going past, although you eyed them off you knew they were strictly not allowed and so you did not touch. Now however the choice is yours, and the deep-fried prawns on sticks look as tasty as ever. It’s now up to you to make the choice. But try one, if you want, just say no next time they pass. Moderation.

I think the most important thing to remember is to be prepared for it, make sure you understand that you will not look ready to step on stage forever, it might be nice but it is so hard to maintain and not necessarily healthy. Once you have come to terms with this, I think you will be okay.
Sure your clothes might fit a little tighter than before, but I bet those jeans look much nicer now your but has some more cushioning! Oh, and did I mention your boobs, they come back, yay!

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About nfrain

A passion for a healthy life, body and mind. A discussion of my experiences and thoughts with some tips and tricks along the way.
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