If you’ve been following me here on my blog or over on my Instagram, or if you know me personally, then you probably know that I’ve been training to compete in a bodybuilding competition happening in March 2017. Over the past few years, I’ve grown a love (and almost an addiction) for fitness, and it’s basically become my life! I love health and fitness, and it’s benefitted my life in so many ways that I want to share it with the world…so I do that through social media and soon, personal training.
Well, my fitness journey during my competition prep has been a bit of a bumpy ride. I made my decision to compete this past Spring. I was hitting the gym consistently, feeling pretty good, and ready to take on a new challenge. In the Summer, I lost my focus a bit but was still training consistently and eating well for the most part. I started seeing my abs come through and felt quite lean all over. Then October hit and I turned 30, and according to everyone I’ve talked to recently, that’s when it all catches up to you and your metabolism changes. I don’t know how much of that I believe but the timing was impeccable! In a few short months, I gained 20 lbs pretty much out of nowhere. No joke. Some of it I’m sure was muscle, as I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, but a lot of it was also fat. My clothes didn’t fit properly, I’d have to unbutton my pants to sit, my skin constantly felt tight all over my body, I felt bloated 24/7… and I’m not sure why I’m saying this in past tense, because this is how I feel right now. For the past month, I’ve been very consciously trying to lose the excess fat in preparation of my competition by doing fasted cardio almost every morning, drinking lots of water, sticking to my meal plan, and lifting weights 6x a week…but instead, I just gained a couple more pounds. As you can imagine, this became very frustrating and stressful, and the pressure to be ready to step on stage in March increased each and every day.
So here’s the kicker – I’ve decided to drop out of the competition!
That’s right, I will no longer be participating in the fitness competition. Before you judge me or feel sorry for me or do any of that negative shit, know that I don’t see this as a failure at all, but rather as a win! It’s been an incredible learning experience, and I truly believe this a positive step and the right move towards my own personal health and well-being. This whole prep was going against all the health and happiness tidbits that I promote, and it had me feeling very stressed and overwhelmed. I was trying to juggle two jobs, study for my personal training course, work on self-development and my overall health, maintain a social life, take care of my dog, and complete other small projects.
Regarding the weight gain, I felt like it was partially due to stress and my body resisting all of it, because how is it that I’m working my ass off at the gym and eating well, yet still constantly gaining weight?! My body has never reacted this way, and it felt very unnatural.
I’m not completely shutting the door on competing in the future (I’ve already paid for the 2017 membership and ordered my shoes lol), but the fact is, you don’t see all the struggles that some competitors go through pre- and post-competition, you don’t see them break down or gain eating disorders, you only see the glitz and glam and them looking in amazing shape on stage. Training for a fitness competition is INTENSE, and props to all of those who reach the finish line…I have SO much respect for all of you.
So, the new year brings a fresh start! I will take this opportunity to set new targets, get my health back on track, focus on my priorities, and learn to be gentle with myself. My fitness journey is certainly not over, it has only taken a slight turn and the process will only become more enjoyable from here on out. I’ve learned a LOT along the way – where my limits are, who my support system is, what my priorities are… and now that I’ve gained clarity, I can focus on what I love and what’s important to me. Since making this decision, a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I feel incredibly excited to move forward.
A HUGE thank you to all of my friends, family, and colleagues who were so supportive of me and cheered me on. I am incredibly blessed to have such amazing people in my life.
January will be the month of getting my shit together. I will be clearing mental space in order to take care of myself and repair my overall health, and in turn, that will give me more energy to help others and spread wellness!
Thank you for reading this and being on this journey with me. I hope it has inspired you and opened your eyes to see that you always have a choice. Just because you’ve committed to something, it does not necessarily mean you are locked in and confined to that specific decision. You can change your approach and still achieve the same goal in the end. My ultimate goal was to get in the best shape of my life and inspire others to live a healthy, happy, fit life. I chose the drastic route that ended up being too much, so now I’ve simply chosen the route that is healthier for me, mentally and physically, and that’s a win in my eyes.