4 Weeks Out. You’re probably all thinking, “You can do it! Only 4 weeks stand between you and the finish line!” But here’s the reality. Unless I get hit by a bus on the day of my show (please lord, don’t let that happen!), life will go on.
Let me say that again. Life does NOT end with my show.
But speaking of my show... I recently went and tried on suit colors and cuts to determine the most flattering one for show day. Here's a little sample of the dental floss - aka suit- I tried.
When I started on my journey back in May, I was nearly 26% bodyfat and thanks to a trip to the Dominican Republic at an all-inclusive resort, I have no clue how much I weighed (probably close to 130!).
Over the past 5 years I’ve conquered TONS of fitness-related goals. I’ve done a triathlon, I’ve competed in CrossFit and began teaching barre classes. And now, I’ve become a bodybuilder.
As a lover of the quote “Life is short, have dessert first,” I’ve never been a fan of depriving myself. I always thought I could out train an indulgent diet. During my CrossFit years I worked out nearly every day and lifted heavy weights. I ate paleo and avoided refined sugars and anything “white” in regards to flour/pasta/bread. I was in pretty good shape – I was just constantly hungry and constantly giving in to my cravings so the body fat stayed put. I also indulged in alcohol 3-5 times a week thanks to an intense social/dating life.
It wasn’t until I started working with my coaches in May 2015 that for the first time in my life I put myself (or shall I say was put on) a meal plan.
For those unfamiliar, you’re literally given a list of foods broken out into categories: protein, carbs, fat, fruit and vegetables and the exact quantities you’re supposed to eat at each meal. The plan is completely void of all oils, butter and sodium so everything you see below is either steamed or roasted with pepper and sodium-free seasonings (Hello Mrs. Dash!). As my show has gotten closer, portions have changed and foods are eliminated. If you’re curious, here is my current meal plan:
Meal 1: (Breakfast) 3oz liquid egg whites, ¼ cup old fashioned oats (cooked in water), 4oz berries
Meal 2: (Before workout) 1.5 oz chicken, 4 oz berries, 6 almonds
Meal 3: (Lunch) 3 oz Orange Roughy, 4 oz. butternut squash, 6oz asparagus spears
Meal 4: (Afternoon snack) 1.5 oz chicken, 6 oz green beans, 6 almonds
Meal 5: (Dinner) 3 oz chicken breast, 4 oz. quinoa (cooked in water), 6oz green beans
Meal 6: (Before bed) 1.5 oz chicken, 6 oz asparagus
The workouts currently consist of weight-training for 60-90 minutes 5 days a week along with 25 minute HIIT cardio 6 days a week.
WHAT’S MY POINT?
Preparing for a competition has forever changed me – mind and body. I’ve shed fat and put on lean muscle. And while I love being in this type of shape, I do strive for a healthy and balanced lifestyle. A lifestyle I plan to embrace next month when I transition out of my “cutting” and into “real life.”
Eating the way a fitness competitor eats during prep (and doing their workouts!) is not necessarily the solution. In fact, such a rigid, restrictive plan could potentially lead to failure because of the difficulty to stay the course. I am currently craving BALANCE, healthy HABITS and freedom. I’d love to enjoy a meal that isn’t weighed or measured. Shit, Quest Bar just came out with a pumpkin flavor that I’ve been legit DROOLING over. I’d love to skip the gym one day just because I’m tired – or because I’m on the road with work and don’t want to get up at 4am every day (cutting/contest prep and traveling with a full-time corporate job is EXHAUSTING – I literally come home sick every single time). I’d love to get the small popcorn at the movies, or say yes to ordering dessert on a date. In fact, obsessing over food is a real thing!
Orthorexia: an obsession with avoiding foods perceived to be unhealthy
Thankfully, I don’t think I’m developing another eating disorder, but I will say being this regimented with every single morsel of food isn’t the healthiest way to live. I travel everywhere with my insulated food bag - packed with my food scale to ensure I’m eating the right portions of proteins/carbs (I usually eyeball veggies since you can’t really get enough of them so long as they are free of oils or sodium). I'm always sporting a gallon jug of water (which is a super great habit to get into, btw!).
I hope you don't walk away from this post with negative thoughts – it’s just me keeping it real and telling the truth. This isn’t easy – and it isn’t as glamorous as one might think. It’s hard work, dedication, insane will power and surprisingly, the strength doesn’t come from a physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
As always, thanks for reading and following me on my journey. You guys are the best.