Competition Perspective…Under your control or not so much? Pt 2
Why are you competing?
This is the question you should ask yourself before you take
your first step towards competition preparation. Are you competing because:
·You want to push your fitness to the next level
·You want to use this as a marketing tool for
·You want to get your face into fitness modeling
·You want to cross it off your bucket list
·You want to attain “pro” status
Whatever your reason to compete is…keep in mind that it is all
about you! From my experience, I have
seen many competitors (myself included) get wrapped up with the supposed
stardom from competing. If you are clear
on your reasons why you are competing, nobody will be able to detour your goals
or make you do things that you DO NOT want to do.
If you have read my website you know:
·That my competition career started out as a way
to push myself to the next level. At
first, I started as a bodybuilder just to see how far my body can go.
·Then fitness competitions came on the
scene. I knew as a bodybuilder I could
not go anywhere because I was too small.
I started to think if I am successful as a fitness competitor, I can better market
myself as a trainer.
·As I competed in a few smaller competitions, I
realized I would love to get a fitness modeling career going. All I had to do is to place well in nationals
or better yet turn “pro” as a fitness competitor.
·At my first NPC Fitness Nationals, not only did
I placed 5 out of 50 competitors, I earned my “pro” status. Not too shabby?
Once I turned “Pro” with the IFBB, I thought it was going to
be easy to get sponsorship, fitness modeling and/or spokes model jobs.
Boy was I wrong…It seems “Pro” status isn’t what it cracked up to
be. It seems that you don’t have to be a
“Pro” to get the work. As time went on,
I had come to realize that if you have a few connections, a good marketable
look and persistence, you may have a chance.
Just remember, if you do not get the jobs or attention that
you were hoping for, please do not think you are worthless. You have no idea, how many competitors I have
seen go down the dark road of inadequacies. Don’t forget, you did something that about 80%
of the population would not even do. Get on stage in a skimpy little bathing
suit that barely covers your body.
At the end, if you can remember why you wanted to compete,
90% of the time from my experience, is you want to push yourself to the next
level. You are winner…you are worth
plenty…nobody should make you feel otherwise…..
This is the second post of “Competition Perspective…Under
your control or not so much?” series. If
you missed the previous post, please check here
. If you have any questions in regards to
contest prep or post competition schedule, please contact me at www.marieallegro.com
. I am also available for everyday
fitness/wellness questions. Check back
soon and thanks for visiting.
Congratulations…You just did your 1st fitness/figure/bikini/physique competition…Now what? Pt 5
As the weeks go on after your competition, take your time getting back together with your friends. If you try to make up time too quickly, you can burn yourself out fast. Remember... you just went through 16 weeks(more or less) of intense dieting and training. Now it is time for you to enjoy and savor the time with your friends and family.
It would be no surprise after all the weeks of dieting and secluding yourself away from your friends and family, so you would not make anyone uncomfortable…You find it a challenge to work yourself back to meeting with them.
I remember when I was preparing for my competitions, one of my best friends, Linda said to me two months before my shows, “Give me a call after your show so we can hang out like regular people”. Believe or not, I was not offended…if anything, I understood her. I appreciated that she gave me my space to do what I had to do and not make me feel guilty for choosing to compete.
I even had to stay away from my family a month prior to the competition. During the preparation phase you need to surround yourself with positive reinforcement. Though I know my family loves me and wants me to do well, they may not have understood the whole dieting phase. You know how some cultures see plumpness as being healthy.
With my family, it was easy to get back to our usual gatherings. The Monday after my competition, my mom would make my favorite two dishes…and she made it with love and a big smile. She wouldn’t show it but I could tell she enjoyed every moment as I inhaled dinner.
During my years of competition, I have learned who my true friends are. As I mentioned above, my best friend Linda gave me the space that was needed for me to prep for my competition. She didn’t give me any guilt trips for not spending time with her. To come to think about it…I was blessed that most of my friends understood and gave me space.
This is the final post in the series “Now What?” If you missed my previous posts, check it out here
. If you have any questions on this topic or any other questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. There is more to come. Check back soon. Thanksfor stopping by……
Congratulations…You just did your 1st
fitness/figure/bikini/physique competition…Now what? Pt 4
dysmorphia and depression
After 16 weeks
(more or less) of dieting, training, posing, walking, anything and everything to
do with competition, it is now Monday morning after your 1st show,
what are you going to do now? After
dedicating 6 days a week and 2-4 hours a day to training and preparing for a
competition, you may be left with a feeling of emptiness. Don’t be surprised feeling depressed too because
all the anticipation of stepping on stage to compete…the climax has come and
gone. The feeling of worthlessness may
appear as well because everybody who knows you may have been complimenting you
with an abundance of accolades. Now,
with your competition, the climax has also come and gone for your friends and
The one thing you
need to keep in mind…
are the same awesome person the week before your competition as you are after
the competition. Nothing has changed
except that you can return to your normal life.
What helped my clients and me is to plan your following year. If you decide to continue competing, you will
need to listen to the judges’ feedback and work on a plan to make the
improvements necessary. This should keep
your mind occupied. Whether reshaping
your body or revamping your off season diet, this should keep you busy and not
dwell on the emptiness of not having a competition to focus on.
factor that may occur is body dysmorphia.
The day you step on stage, you will probably be in the best shape
ever. But you have to keep in mind the
body you present on stage is not the real you.
Remember you had to carb, sodium and water deplete a few days before
your competition. Depending on your
height/size, we can be talking about a 4-8 pound difference. In addition to the depletion, you had to cut
your calories to about 1000- 1200 calories/day.
Which is not feasible, especially if you live an active lifestyle. Be prepared to gain (if you slowly add back
in the depleted items) back a few pounds a few days after your
competition. Please know that you
deserve one meal (burger/ice cream/pizza) after your competition. However, do
not eat everything in sight or your body will balloon up. If you follow my previous blog, you should be
able to maintain a comfortable and realistic weight.
thing to remember, at 115lbs (just a number I chose) as you were losing weight
is the same look as you are going back up.
It is amazing how some competitors think they look totally FABULOUS at
115lbs as you are coming down but think they look out of shape at the same
weight as you are returning to a realistic weight. Something to think about, huh?
Keep in mind you
are FABULOUS no matter where your weight ends up because you did something not
everyone can do. Be proud of your
accomplishment! You are one rocking
is the fourth post in the series “Now What?”
If you missed my previous posts, check here.
Check back soon for my next installment… Rekindling relationships
. If you have any questions on this topic or any
other questions, please contact me at email@example.com
Return toregular eating habits
After about 16 weeks of deprivation from your favorite foods (hamburgers/ice cream/chocolate…) the first thing you want to do after stepping off the competition stage is devour anything in your sights. But is that the smartest thing to do?
Speaking from experience, I understand nothing would make you feel better than a huge plate of fries or a bowl of ice cream. However, after weeks of dieting your metabolism has slowed down and the water depletion the last few days before your competition can cause your body to go off course. You will need to slowly add back regular food and water into your eating habits to avoid your body from bloating.
Here are some thingsthat worked for me and my clients. Slowly add back the following:
·Water - As you depleted water out of your diet for the last three days before your competition, your body is craving it and will soak it up as quickly as you drink it. To avoid your body from swelling up, I suggest the following:
1) Slowly drink about 1 quart of water once you step off stage. Stay with about a quart for a few days.
2) After about 5 days, add another 4 – 6 ozs every couple of days. 3) After 10 days, you should be back close to ½ gallon of water. If your normal intake is higher than ½ gallon then you should be back to it about 2 weeks.
·Sodium – Though the RDA recommends no more than 2400 mg a day, your body has been deprived of sodium the last few days before your competition. To avoid your body from swelling up with the addition of water and sodium, I suggest slowly add about a few 100 milligrams of sodium every 2-4 days after your competition until you reached your usual intake.
·Carbohydrates - Just like water and sodium, the last few days of “carb depletion” before your competition (except for the loading up phase), your body is craving for carbs. This is another aspect of your food intake that needs to be slowly added back into your diet. To avoid bloat, if your contest prep had your carb intake about 25 – 75 grams a day, I would suggest the following:
1)Increasing your intake to 100 grams a day for about a week.
2)After about 7-10 days, increase to 150 grams of carbs a day.
3) You should be back to your regular intake of carbs in about 2 weeks.
·Calories– If this is your 1 competition, I recommend working with a nutrition coach with experience with this type of preparation. Your nutrition coach should have a pre-contest plan and post- contest plan as well. If your diet consisted of 1200k, your nutrition coach should have a plan ready for you to slowly to add a few hundred calories every few days once your competition(s) are over. I had my clients add about 100 calories every 3-4 days. If my clients’ caloric intake was about 2000 calories prior to contest dieting, I would have them back to that amount in about 2 weeks.
·Sugar/desserts/yummystuff – This should be a no brainer. One serving, once a week…
This is the third post in the series “Now What?” If you missed my previous post, check here.
Check back soon for my next installment… Avoid body dysmorphia and depression
. If you have any questions on this topic or any other questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
* Please be awarethat I am NOT a registered dietician. All the above suggestions are strictly from my clients’ and my ownexperiences.
How to adjustback to a less hectic workout schedule
As soon as you wake up the Monday after your show, you realize you don’t need to hit the 1st of 2 cardio sessions a day anymore. You also realize you don’t have to train 6 days a week of weights and cardio at an hour a clip each. Wow! Almost three hours are given back to you.
How do you adjust your workout to a less hectic schedule? After you take two weeks off from the gym, for a few weeks:
·Go back to one cardio session a day at 30-45 minutes 4-5X per week
·Choose a less impact cardio to give your joints abreak
·Do a total body conditioning program 2 – 3X perweek
·Choose lighter weights for your total body conditioning program
After 6- 8 weeks working out with this suggested program, go back to your regular weight training program. Whether it is a 3 days on and 1 day off or 2 days on and 1 day off program, your body should be rested enough to go back to hitting it hard. You should also have gotten feedback from the judges and start working on the body parts that need improvement.
If you are working with a trainer/coach, you should start a new plan for the upcoming shows/year within a month. After a month of not thinking about competitions because I want my clients to just breathe a second, we hit the ground with a new plan. "Failing to plan is planning to fail". Something to think about when prepping for a competition!
This is the second post in the series “Now What?” If you missed the 1st post in this series, go here
to read it now. Check back soon for my next installment…Return back to regular eating habits.