My last show is done for 2011, but that doesn’t mean I’m sitting around and pigging out every day. Well, actually I did pig out a bit the first four days after the NPC Sacramento Show last weekend, but that’s now done.
What I’m doing now is starting to prepare for next year and passing on the lessons I've learned to future competitors.
THE MISTAKES I MADE (SO YOU DON'T MAKE THEM)
While I was happy with my results this year, especially with how my body was looking at the Tahoe Show, I wasn't raining smart — I was only training hard.
I went into this thing in April 2011 and pushed my body 120 percent every day. By October, I was beginning to feel the drain, but I continued to push myself even when my body was complaining.
My last show was hard. I was mentally and physically exhausted. My heart wasn’t in the training and I just wanted to rest. Plus, my body was not working well. I went from having diarrhea two weeks before to being severely bloated and constipated the week of the show.
I might have looked healthy and tan, but I wasn’t feeling that way. I was feeling like poop (but not being able to poop – lol!).
These problems had nothing to do with my training program, but me. You see, I wanted to transform into Jaime Baird or Vanessa Campbell instantly.
I now know that to look like the pros, it takes months – even years – to slowly build the muscle and transform your body into that level. I wasn’t giving my body time to repair and build up muscle. I was constantly pushing. And because I had booked four shows in 6 months with only 4 to 8 weeks between each of them, there was no down time.
Of course, I tried to squeeze some in.
Yup, I’m a do-it-all girl. So I would follow my diet plan to perfection up until the show and then when the show was over, I would eat chocolate or cake or whatever I couldn’t have on my plan. But because I knew I would be back on my training diet right away, I would overindulge and eat as much as I could.
My poor stomach and liver. They would go from clean eating to having to process tons of sugar and bad carbs for a few days, to back to super clean eating. This wasn’t a healthy lifestyle. This was madness.
TIME TO PRACTICE A HEALTHY, BALANCED LIFESTYLE
In 2012, I’m not going to make these mistakes. Actually, I’m starting them now in November. I figure after all the punishment I put my body through, it deserves some tender loving care.
Here’s my new plan:
1) Don’t over-compete – I will not be booking back-to-back shows. Instead I will make sure I have at least 8 to 12 weeks between shows. This way I can maintain balance in my life instead of trying to cram all the “fun” I can handle in a week and then go back to back to being an NPC angel.
2) Don’t book shows when busy – This year I booked shows that happened a week after coming back from vacation. This was a mistake. At the time I thought that because I would already be fit and trained from the previous show, I could simply maintain that level of fitness until the next show and go on vacation in between. In reality, I couldn’t focus on my holiday as I was worried about training, and then when I got back, I had to scramble to get my body where it should be for the show.
3) Accept that it’s okay to cheat sometimes – This year, I was in “all or nothing” mode. When on the plan, I was 100 percent on the plan, but when not on the plan, I was 100 percent bad. My goal now is to be 90 percent on the plan all the time, but forgiving myself if I cheat every once and a while.
4) Make it a lifestyle — This is a continuation of number 3. It’s unrealistic to believe I will never have a glass of wine, eat chocolate or have Chinese take-out again in my life. So instead, I’m aiming for moderation. I’m going to eat clean most days, but on special occasions, I’m going to enjoy life and the food that comes with it. Of course, if it’s two weeks before a show, I’ll still have to resist, but the rest of the time, I’m going be flexible.
I do love how strong I feel and how healthy I felt when I was paying attention to what my body needed. Now it's time to do it right -- and not just be focused on the win.