Monday, May 18, 2015
6 Lessons Learned: First Week of NPC Bikini Competition Prep
Fitness is 100% mental. It's not easy spending hours in the kitchen prepping meals. It's not easy leaving an all day music festival to eat a piece of salmon out of your car. It's not easy socializing with friends at a weekend cookout with lobster tails, cake, and snacks flowing - and saying no. I've begun eating before social gatherings, making bottled water my best accessory, and discovering creative ways to push the temptation that comes to the forefront of my mind aside. I've had dreams of fro-yo and medium rare filets, but I remind myself of my goal, of why I started, and the temptation melts away. My desire to get in the best shape of my life, to challenge my mind to push harder than it ever has before is much more powerful than a piece of cheese, roll of sushi, or glass of wine. Sometimes people don't understand, and that's ok. It's been a challenge figuring out how to keep up a social life during prep (and I'm only one week in!) but I'm realizing those that love me and respect my goals are more than understanding and supportive.
It's you vs. you, but a great coach helps. While I wholeheartedly believe prepping for a bodybuilding competition (bikini, figure, or otherwise) is a mental sport and test of willpower and determination, I do believe a great coach and team can make all the difference. Beyond writing up my meal plans and training schedules, my coaches provide me 24/7 support with any and all questions I have along the way. Sometimes it's a motivational quote, other times it's an alternative suggestion for foods I used to rely on (quest bars, coffee creamer, flavored yogurt, etc) that I have since eliminated, I feel as though I have experienced, knowledgeable cheerleaders in my corner. And it's awesome.
I have a new found love for sleep. Maybe it's the two-hour, heavy-lifting sessions in the gym, or the sugar deprivation, or the mental exhaustion, but I have NEVER slept better than I did the first week of prep. Come 9pm, my eyes are so heavy I found myself asking Lucy if she'd walk herself just so I didn't have to.
Hello, my name is Jenn and I am a chocoholic. My Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Coffee Creamer. A small square of chocolate after lunch. A handful of chocolate chips after dinner. I never realized how much chocolate I was eating until I couldn't eat it anymore. These days, the only form of "chocolate" I am allowed is the flavoring from my whey protein powder. As luck would have it, I happened to be PMS-ing throughout my entire first week on prep. Queue the chocolate cravings! During the first few days, I felt like I could push a small child out of my way for a brownie. Walking through the grocery store, my eyes immediately darted to the fresh baked cookies. I had to remind myself why I started, wipe the drool away and keep on keeping on.
There's no substitution for lifting heavy shit and putting it down. Over and over again. On day one of prep, I had to throw deuces to the notion that 10lb dumbbells and light leg days were going to do squat (pun intended) as I get ready to compete. I needed to increase my weights and challenge my body to push outside my comfort zone - making the last 2-3 reps of each exercise extremely difficult, without compromising form. I may have reluctantly groaned as I slid a few more plates on my squat rack, grunted as I heaved heavy dumbbells overhead during shoulder day, but I got it done. I have NEVER been as sore as I was after my first leg day (heavy squats, deadlifts, leg extensions, hamstring curls, weighted front lunges, etc). I'm talking four days of wondering if I'll ever be able to pee with decency again. And just when I finally feel like my legs and glutes are feeling better, leg day has rolled around once again (I'm currently training legs twice and glutes once per week)!
It's working. I'm happy to report in just my first week, I've lost almost 5 pounds! I'm not supposed to be paying much attention to the scale, as it'll probably stay the same as I put on more muscle, but the good news is whatever body fat I do have stored up is coming off. This'll help later on as I lean out right before showtime. As you may know, the more lean muscle mass we have, the more fat we burn. More muscle, less fat - win win!! I'm slowly becoming more comfortable getting more creative during meal prep (every meal doesn't have to be ground turkey and green beans) and I'm getting even more comfortable politely saying no when I'm offered a plate of food, invitation to dinner, a drink, etc. On my weekend Costco run, I busted out a container of bell peppers and cottage cheese and ate it - no fucks given! I'm coming into my own and taking my competition prep seriously. I haven't had one "cheat" or "slip up" in my diet or training regimen yet! Mind > Matter all day errry day.
Did someone say pizza?!