How My Show Went and Post-Show Feels
It's a little over one week past show, and I am finally carbed up and rested enough to compose a blog post of my post-show thoughts and feels.
First: If you know me, you know competing in a bikini competition was NEVER something I planned on! In fact, I used to hardcore judge this type of thing...and by "this type" I mean anything involving sequins, superficial judging of your physical appearance, anything involving bright lights, fake tans, parading around with all eyes on you.... In fact, that describes my worst nightmare.
So the fact that I not only chose to compete, but actually did, and loved the entire experience, shocks me. But truly guys, I LOVED it. I thought this would be a one-time thing, but somewhere around March I'd already decided I'd be competing again. The bug bit me...it's official.
But enough about the future--here are my top 5 takeaways now that I'm one week out from my show last week (in no particular order.)
1. Seeing your body change is truly addicting in the best way
Since November, I have been 100% devoted to training specifically for this competition, lifting heavy every day, prioritizing sleep and hydration, eating according to a meal plan, etc.
And every single day I woke up STOKED to have a mission and goal bigger than working out just to work out (not that there's ANYTHING wrong with that, but I had been in "coasting" mode for yearrrrss and needed to level up somehow.)
At first I felt a little superficial and almost egotistical to be so one-tracked minded and focused on my own body. But then I realized, screw that! I spent over a decade hating and picking apart my body. I've spent countless years putting my health and wellbeing last, and taking care of everyone else's needs.
Being self-centered is a necessary part of self care, and taking these months to be so hyper-focused on my own health was SO needed. By being what some might call selfish, I finally healed so many body hang-ups and old toxic body stories I was still carrying around with me. Get selfish! Give yourself permission to focus on you. I dare ya!
2. I can't imagine bodybuilding as a non-vegan.
While my colleagues were complaining about not having room in their daily calorie allotment for anything other than tilapia and asparagus, I was eating giant rainbow colored salads, bowls, pancakes DAILY, oatmeal with pb and fruit, delicious zoodle bowls, etc!
The fact is that 400 calories of vegan food is SO much more than 400 calories of steak or eggs, for example. You get to eat MAD volume, color, nutrients, and variety. I've done this world as an omnivore, living off of egg whites, whey shakes, 100 calorie sugar free jello packs, and nasty whey protein bars. Noooo thanks! Vegan is the only way to go.
3. Having a Why is Everything
I truly would have never done this show just for kicks--there was nothing fun-sounding about prancing around a stage almost naked, in front of judges with clipboards. I did it to prove three huge, bigger-than-me points.
1. That vegans can do anything
2. That Beachbody workout programs and meal plans work3. That I could overcome my insecurities about my body
No matter what your goals are, I always tell my clients, you GOTTA have a strong why! Losing weight? Getting abs? Looking hot? NOT enough. Find something deeper that drives you and keeps you up at night (but like, get your sleep y'all....sleep makes abs.)
4. The post-show binge urges and depression are REAL.
Let's get into the not-so-glam. I've been struggling a little y'all.
Since the show ended, and since I ate the last morsel of my post-show Impossible vegan burger and fries (and then polished off my friend's leftover fries, and a cupcake, and a margarita, anddd Trader Joe's plantain chips...) I've definitely felt a huge post-show letdown.
It feels EXACTLY like back in my ballerina days, when the curtain went down on a show you'd been putting sweat and literal blood into for MONTHS. You carry around so much excitement, adrenaline, and single-minded focus for that one day, and then in a matter of minutes, the lights go down and the show is over. I was relieved to be done for about an hour tops, and then I felt a huge wave of "okay but...what now?"
I think a large part of this struggle is that I didn't actually achieve the peak conditioning level I was going for, because honestly I didn't give myself a long enough period to lean out before my show. The day of my show, I felt I had reached 95% of my ultimate goal body. So to get that close, and then pull away, and start putting weight and muscle back on, feels unsatisfying on a certain level.
However, I'm just getting started in this sport! And since I've already decided to do another show this winter, I know I can't waste any more time in a deficit, if I want to start building muscle.
And I have to remind myself--I LIVE to show people what vegans can do. And people already know vegans can get skinny ;) It's time to show them now how STRONG we can get too!
5. Give yourself permission to experience a roller-coaster of emotions.
If this point wasn't already beat to death in the above point ,I want to underline that with this sport, you will experience an absolute variety-pack of emotions from good to bad.
The week of the show, I was tired, nervous, elated, all at once. In the last week, I had trouble sleeping at all and kept waking up to night sweats. I was cold all the time when I was awake. I had to drink pre-workout a couple days a day to have enough energy to function. That's just the unglamorous truth.
At the same time, taking the state, strutting my stuff and being insanely proud of my body and what I'd achieved...being able to give a giant middle finger to all my old body insecurities, and doing it with one of my best (vegan) friends, was truly the most magical experience of my life.
It was the best and worst of times, but it was all SO worth it! Just don't look at competitors and assume we're all walking around 24/7 feeling shredded and confident. There's a lot of literal tears and frustration that goes into this sport, but like any big goal, if your why is strong enough, it's so, so worth it all.
Have you competed? Do you want to? Does it terrify you or sound exciting? Let me know your thoughts, and stay tuned for lots more of comp-talk from me....I'm just getting started!
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