Well, hello again.
Firstly, I definitely need to say a big thank you to all ya’ll. I had no freakin’ idea my last article would blow up like that, seriously… More people than the population of Wagga Wagga read my article, google it, kinda cool, kinda mind blowing, kinda wtf just happened.
From all the comments I received, the thing that was consistent with nearly all of them was the mention of writing a ‘post comp’ article. I’m not going to lie, I kind of wanted to avoid that because it is pretty controversial, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised that there is so much that needs to be said.
There is for some reason a stigma attached to the post show date/post competition phase, and guess what…
It’s not a nice one.
We have large amounts of support in the lead up to comp, social media being a driving factor here, but post comp comes around, and we are more or less left to fend for ourselves.
We aren’t encouraged to speak about this transition, we are almost shunned from the ‘fitness community’ if there is any mention of a struggle, and instead of supporting other’s who we KNOW are having a rough time adjusting, we tend to talk to everybody else about them, besides them.
What the heck is that all about, seriously?
So, yes, you bloody betcha, I’m going to address it.
And I want to break the stigma.
I want you to know its okay to feel like you’re struggling, it’s okay to admit that you’re having a rough time adjusting, it’s more than okay to reach out, and that it’s okay (and completely normal) to make some mistakes along the way. But most of all, I want you to start supporting those going through these situations, and trust that they will pay that forward, either for you after your next show or for someone else.
So hopefully you have read my article on the 10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Decide To Compete, if not, click right there.
And lets get to it. Here are 8 things I have compiled through my own experience and a ton of conversations with fellow competitors about what you can expect post comp. As like my other article, these may or may not be applicable to you as an individual, so please keep that in mind.
1. Your stomach to be a bottomless pit.
Like, the pit where there is no bloody end in sight. The biggest thing I noticed coming out of comp and transitioning into reverse dieting was that I was always flippin’ hungry. No matter how much my cardio was decreased and my calories increased, I would still never feel ‘satisfied.’ So, warning, don’t expect your issues with being ‘hangry’ to just disappear after the comp date has come and gone. In some cases, they may even get worse… (hello, yes, this was me).
Yas, 10 plz.
2. To feel like you want to try and fill that bottomless pit… Most days.
Your body is hungry and you want to feed it, naturally, and that’s fine if you’re prepared to put on body fat. But most people I know freak the fuck out when they see their abs slowly start to disappear. Sorry to tell you ya’ll, this is the reality if you roll with this approach. I personally struggled with reverse dieting so I went back to maintenance calories almost ASAP, and yes, I did put on bodyfat at quite a fast rate.
This is ultimately your choice at the end of the day, but you need to realise that there are consequences either way. It is not a free pass to fairy land once you are off the stage, regardless of whether you won or not.
3. To kind of despise the foods that were once your staples.
You guys thought I was done with the asparagus thing, huh?
Seriously though, it has been four months since my comp and I have eaten the green stalks once, regardless of their price! Even with flexible dieting, it is normal to become a creature of habit. You have some meals that just become staples because you don’t really have to think about it a whole lot, ESPECIALLY towards the end of prep.
So yeah, it is completely normal to feel a little repulsed at the thought of having fish or pumpkin or even laughing cow cheese triangles (I was having like 8 a day, lol) on a daily basis, so find alternatives. Just because you overdosed on eating specific vegetables doesn’t mean you get away with eating none at all.
Experiment with new foods and find what works that doesn’t make you want to projectile vomit.
Count me out for the next 7.5 years.
4. To feel like you want to jump back on stage for the following season, or possibly another show in a couple of weeks.
THIS. Mary mother of god, this.
Let me put it in a super simple way. The stage produces a fuck load of endorphins. You have literally worked super hard for 12-40 weeks for this one day. You get all tanned (hashtag Dorito mode) and glitzed up, eat a whole packet of rice cakes smothered in peanut butter, have your family and friends there cheering their lungs out for you, have your bikini like “totes on point” AS WELL as your body, and your smile all day was as big as Ashley Kaltwassers glutes (girl, you on fire). What’s seriously not to love?
Oh, that’s right, the fact that you will have to do your cardio and maybe some extra for a few more weeks, months even, and potentially decrease your calories again just so you can enjoy that day once more. Hello, reality.
If you can do that, all the power to you girlfriend, but please let the idea of that settle for a week or two and your routine to normalize again before you book your flights, register and announce it on social media.
It’s a huge, huge, HUGE decision to make, and I am inclined to say you’re in a pretty vulnerable position for the following week because of the mixture of emotions that prep provides.
Take your time. Let it settle.
Dorito mode, ENGAGED.
5. You may feel like a lost, 2 month year old puppy for the week or so after.
You know those ones that can’t find their feet for a little while and stumble down the stairs multiple times a day?
Yeah. This happens. This happened, should I say.
After my comp I went back into the gym 2 days later and felt like I had lost my purpose. There was no date staring back at me every time I opened my phone. No extremely small pair of bikini bottoms laying on my bed that I knew I had to squeeze on in a few weeks, and certainly no extra cardio that I would question about adding in to ensure I was ‘ready’.
Just me, myself, and the place where it all began.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you should jump into powerlifting just because I did, not at freakin’ all, because its not for everyone. But I will tell you that it is super nice to set some small (possibly even big) goals that are not based around your aesthetics. Adding 5kgs to your personal best on your squat, your deadlift or even your shoulder press is a good place to start (and it usually avoids that whole booking another show ASAP situation I mentioned up there ^).
Try different things, learn different skills and most of all, have some damn fun with it! It’s why we started in the first place, remember?
Which brings me to this…
6. FREE TIME.
Hollah the heck at me.
This is the PERFECT time to focus on something apart from the gym. Take up a course, paint your damn nails (or hang out with me and I’ll paint them), get a puppy, learn to cook some new foods, catch up with your friends regularly, read more books, write a damn book if you want, the list is endless so don’t ever preach that the gym is your only hobby!
Alberto Nunez (most shredded human, evah) once quoted:
“Diversify your happiness portfolio.”
For those who don’t follow me on Instagram, firstly @beyonschae, do it. Secondly, meet my baby, Kaia, she isn’t always this dopey looking.
7. Your life NOT to change if you win or place.
I know, this sucks to read because you have invested so much, but this is reality and so, so, SO applicable.
Life doesn’t change if you won or came 2nd or 3rd in your class in your local comp, like, at all. You may get a sponsor of some sort, or become a brand ambassador, but the chances of you waking up the day after and be able to waltz around like your shit don’t stank with a red carpet entrance into the gym (if you do, email me gym name, may just compete so I can pretend my shit doesn’t stink and salsa dance my way into a workout), are so damn slim.
Life goes on. *insert Life Goes On by LeAnn Rimes, either me singing it, or her, whatever*
8. Your body perception to be a little warped.
I like to leave these ones right till the end.
Coming out of comp is not easy, to say the least. There will be a million little things running through your head and you will most definitely have some down days when you look in the mirror. You won’t feel lean like you did on comp day, you won’t feel like your abs are as chiseled, or that your glute/hamstring tie in is as prominent.
Actually, that’s more than okay.
Competing as I have said before is often a temporary physique. Temporary means that it is only there for a small/ish period of time, so I can’t stress how important it is to not get attached to that stage lean look.
Every time you look in the mirror, I want you to look at something positive about yourself, and I’m not talking about your body aesthetics.
I want you to literally look at yourself as a whole. A person who is just in this vehicle. What makes you, you? What makes the people around you in your life stick around? And answer this truthfully because I can assure you its not that you have a quad separation 24/7.
Take a moment to appreciate yourself for all your intrinsic values. Kindness, your positivity, the support you offer to people, how you compose yourself in tough situations, your ability to learn in adversity, your darn sense of humour, or how you always act with good intention.
How can you possibly let abs, shoulder striations or your back definition ever define you as a person when you focus on all those qualities? How can you let them define how you feel about yourself, as a whole?
I’m telling you right now that you shouldn’t, and that you can’t.
If you need a friendly reminder of this, I want you to ask yourself why you are close friends with the people you are. It’s not their appearance that supports you in hard times, right? It’s not their bulging bicep that offers you advice when you are down in the dumps, right?
Be kind, guys and gals, always. You are NOT your body.
I LOVE how I look in this photo, blows my mind, but I never got attached to this look, for good reason.
If you repost, share or comment on this article, I have one thing to ask of you.
Use the hashtag #IMHERE, or if that is too upfront, include a yellow love heart if you simply want to show your support of others in our fitness community.
Lets talk about it. Lets raise an awareness. Lets support those who are going through what is all too familiar. Lets ENCOURAGE the conversation to happen.
Lets break that fucking stigma.
All my love,