Hello everyone! This weekend I messed up my back, BAD… thank you, single leg squats. So, I’ve been lying in bed heating the injury, taking whatever I can for the pain and sleeping in weird positions. There was no way I could even think about sitting down to write anything for the blog. So, this week I’m actually going to share with you all something I wrote for my personal online journal a few days before my first (and only thus far) competition. Things I learned to do and not to do, etc…
So, with 4 days left until the competition I wanted to write a little something about all the things I learned over the past TWENTY or so weeks. I want to have it as something I can look back on, and also something that those of you who plan to compete can hopefully read and take certain things into consideration and be prepared for.
First lesson learned
(and probably the biggest) no matter what GURU you have training you, if you don’t mesh perfectly and feel like he/she is putting just as much into YOUR prep as YOU are – it ain’t gunna work! At the beginning of this whole experience I can honestly look back and see how skewed my view was because I was training with a very well known trainer. Unfortunately, I had SUCH high hopes that I was willing to look past all the obvious truths about the whole thing. I was in the mindset of, "well, I don’t really understand WHY I’m doing this, but hell, my trainer says so, so it MUST be right!"
Um, NO… Who does an hour to hour and a half of cardio a day PLUS circuit training 6 days a week, 18 weeks out from comp day? Sigh..
Listen to your GUT, Sarah! It’s almost always right… Sadly enough, I had concerns brought to my attention from others – the concerns were dead on and I didn’t listen, I didn’t want to hear it.
And what had happened by the time I finally gave in and said screw this? - I had become over trained and had to salvage weeks of doing the wrong thing. I was left high and dry with a diet that was continually "promised" to be in my hands "next week" and ultimately ended up having to make last-minute decisions and changes to my prep that should never had happened.
I was lucky enough to have a truly amazing coach come in and rescue me 8 weeks out, but a lot of damage had already been done.
So lesson ONE, and biggest lesson learned as far as prep/diet/training goes: Be sure to have a trainer/coach as involved in YOUR prep as YOU are. And to be on the SAME PAGE.
Trust the process. Something I definitely had to learn to do, especially towards the end (and still am as of today). Up until 3 weeks before hitting the stage, I still didn’t think I’d be ready, and in all honestly there was about 80% of me that didn’t believe in myself. Gosh, so much can change in so little time. It’s easy to forget since we don’t see the changes daily ourselves, but comparing pictures has been a huge mental relief for me. Major changes in short periods of time that I wouldn’t notice otherwise. Trusting the diet, the training, is actually somewhat difficult. But it’s definitely a must-do.
Having bad days and moving on. They happened. 6 of them to be exact (days that I didn’t stick to meals 100%) in the last 16 weeks. Not too shabby, for me, as a personal goal. But still, could I have done better? Yes. Did I? No. And am I mad at myself? Nope, not at all. It is what it is, I did what I did, no going back in time, no regrets, no "could haves" This is my first show, it’s a learning experience, next time I WILL do better, and better, and better. Maybe if I was competing in Ms Olympia, then yeah, regrets and guilt. But, um, this is a novice competition where I’ll be standing up next to girls who most likely made the same mistakes as me. But to me, it’s about LEARNING from it and MOVING on. For example, I now know, that after a certain amount of time into the diet it is NOT safe to have any nuts in the house, peanut butter is first to go, then almonds. They attack me when least expected.
Dealing with people who don’t get it or think they do. SO many people don’t get it. This has been really frustrating to deal with. You have the people who are truly interested in what you’re doing and ask intelligible questions, and show excitement for you, these people are a-ok in my book.
Then there’s the ones who THINK they know a thing or two. They watched some "special on TV once" about bodybuilding and all of the sudden KNOW the look I want. They bug. They ask questions about the diet, try to actually GIVE advice, then ask for advice in the same sentence, then insult you in the next by questioning your ability to "actually look like that?!" Ugh.
Then there’s the ones that ask a million questions, "what are you eating", "how do you get your stomach flat", "I started doing 200 situps a day, so I should start seeing my abs soon", the worst has to be "we’re concerned, Sarah, you’ve lost a lot of weight, really fast. What you’re doing to yourself right now is not healthy, we’re scared for your health"… all of that while chowing down on clam chowder and beef jerky.
Since I work in an office setting I don’t get a break from this. Plus, the women, they’re the worst, it’s like they have something out for you because you’re losing weight and looking great and they get frustrated because they cant pinpoint what I do RIGHT and what they do WRONG.
Oh! And don’t forget the gym "friends" … some of whom true colors come out in times like this. They expect that I’m competing in Ms. Olympia or something and start whispering behind my back "oh, she’ll be in for a real shock when she gets on that stage. She’ll look like a fool!"
Being selfish/putting yourself first. Surprisingly for the first time in my life I’m being selfish. In a GOOD sort of way. I’m putting MY goals first, my feelings first, my wants and desires first. I’m single, so this isn’t bad for me right now. This is more of a life lesson, but without prep I’m not so sure I’d be able to have reached this epiphany. This sport forces you to be a bit selfish, and for ME, it’s been a good thing for sure.
Self confidence. I still have a problem here, as I think most of us do. But this whole getting on the stage in a tiny suit and heels for all the "world" to see is definitely forcing me out of negative self-talk patterns, getting past my stage fright (bought a book that helped!!), moving past my anxiety about "looking like cow/fool/idiot up there" and actually believing in myself, that I can do this, that everything will be fine, I wont look ridiculous and even if the worst thing possible were to happen – guess what? Tomorrow will come and I’ll live through it.. and, on top of it all I might just fit in fine with everyone! When I first decided to do this back in April, I’d literally lay in bed at night and give myself a panic attack thinking such negative thoughts about myself and being on that stage. Now, I think about being up there and I feel EXCITEMENT. No doubt I’ll be nervous, shaking, and scared shitless moments before going out there… but this whole process has been a huge growing experience.
I hope you all enjoyed reading about my experience and lessons learned, and hey, hopefully it helped at least one or two noobs out there :) It was an experience I wouldn’t change for anything in the world. I learned a lot, I think I may have learned more about what NOT to do next time, but that’s even better in my opinion.
Ok, off to heat the back more… Oh, and by the way, the holiday disaster recovery plan I wrote about last week is working quite well!