There are only 16 days left in my contest prep, that’s right, just over two weeks until I hit the stage again. Which means that I’m in that final phase of dieting down and trying to take off any remaining body fat while maintaining as much muscle as possible. Both carbs and fat are drastically reduced, while protein intake is massively jacked up. What does this all add up to? A very drained and exhausted individual.
I started my final fat loss phase a few weeks ago and I can honestly say that it hasn’t been easy. Not only am I doing 5 days of weightlifting (thankfully not too heavy and not lasting longer than 1 hour), but I am also still doing fasted cardio 6 days each week. On top of that comes posing practice, which is so tiring. With posing I have been aiming for 15 minutes of practice each day for the past three weeks which might not sound like much, but imagine trying to hold certain position, while contracting and pulling in your muscles without letting go or squeezing and wearing 5 inch heels at the time…it’s not easy at all. As of next week though that will increase to one full hour of posing each day.
Nutrition-wise, all I can say is that it’s working very well and I don’t feel hungry or have any cravings, but I’m am definitely feeling the effects of this diet. Like I mentioned I am tired all the time. My pre-workout stack definitely helps to give me a boost so that when it’s time for cardio or weights, I’m good to go, but within minutes of finishing up my energy tanks massively. Outside of the gym I basically want to lie down and sleep all the time. I’m even feeling it with my mood; the amount of angry journaling that I have been doing these past few weeks has been like nothing I’ve ever written before. The tiniest thing annoy me or things that I wouldn’t really care about bother the hell out of me. It’s very frustrating.
Thankfully though I have the support of a great coach and last week when I sent her my weekly progress pics, I made sure to tell her exactly what was going on and how I was feeling. Her immediate response was that she could she the misery in my face in the pics (see below), but that my energy and mood are an indication that my current plans are leading me to the fast track of overtraining. This is a big no-no with contest prep as it leads to hormone fluctuations which ultimately halt progress and impact how I look and feel on show day. This is why so many potential competitors with the best intentions don’t end up completing their prep or binge eat or don’t respond well to their final diet. They come up onstage looking flat or bloated without any good definition, they feel terrible onstage and some don’t even make it there altogether.
In my case, all that rage and exhaustion can also indicate elevated testosterone which is perfectly normal for this phase especially once a woman’s body fat percentage drops below 15%. However, it can also mean that I may peak too early and not be able to maintain the physique or respond to the pre-show carb-load. Again, this is why some athletes come out looking deflated onstage. So my coach and I have made some tweaks to make sure that I’m okay to get through the next 16 days in one peace without punching people in the face on a daily basis. My diet initially had no added fat, so that’s changed now and we’ve added coconut oil to my first and last meals of the day. It’s glorious, every bite tastes so much better now! My coach also sent me some great motivational videos to psych myself up before each workout and told me that when my mood starts to get intense, to direct it all towards her with angry emails. Yes, she told me that it’s totally fine for me to do this because she gets it, she’s been there and she knows exactly what it feels like.
On my part, if I feel tired I will just take a nap; sleep is my best friend. I’m also going to be starting off each morning with a few minutes of quiet meditation to get centered and indulge in hot bubble baths every few days to take the edge off. That’s the absolute best that I can do for myself to make sure that I feel good about what I’m doing and why I have chosen to compete. I love bodybuilding, I love this lifestyle. The last leg of the journey is always the hardest, but I’m so close that I can see it and feel it everyday. Two weeks out, that’s all that’s left and I know that it’ll fly by so fast. I can’t wait to be onstage again and get to experience the culture and community of competing again. Being in that environment and focusing on presenting my best, as opposed to just beating the person next to me, is what really matters and soon enough I’ll be up there again rocking it onstage!
Start Strong, Finish Strong