I remember my first figure competition and the time leading up to it but mainly show day, I felt good, looked good and only for a short while was I “ripped” beyond normal!
Then it was done, the excitement died down and I felt like ” wow, its over already?”.
I started feeling sad for myself and looking in the mirror, mentally destroying myself. Every piece of “fat” I saw, I would pinch and critique. I would constantly be on the scale everyday determined to stay the same size. If I didn’t see the “lines in my abs” I would buckle down hard and harder.
I would restrict myself that it felt like I was in a “box” all by myself that it would make me more angry. My spouse didn’t know this and I didn’t feel like he would understand. I would grow attached to the image just because people got so excited over it and I felt like it was a proud moment which it was.
It is easy to get drawn to a specific appearance especially when it draws in people to boost your ego with how good you look but when its all over, it is only you. Its you who has to convince yourself of what is normal and what isn’t but then you become obsessed and develop the mentality of what your physique is supposed to look like.
Is it the fitness models in the magazines or is it the normal you? Sometimes these issues can lead to binge eating or a terrible version of a “rebound”. Now is this normal?
To a degree it is, but at the same time how do we move forward from these obstacles? Do we see ourselves as stage ready all the time or should we see ourselves as a person that enjoys working out, eating food that is good for you, and having a healthy mind, body, and spirit but not so obsessed with appearance.
Also is winning really everything? Do we hear about folks that lose or didn’t even place top 10 those can also become part of the negative thinking? So how do we transition to what is normal after a competition, well some of these tips could help you or someone else:
Remember every experience in the journey to the stage as a positive
The journey to the stage is something that not many people know about or want to experience but you chose to pursue this! There should be no regrets after and the obstacles overcame during the process will only make you stronger and stronger. The small obstacle after the show is living the lifestyle of a healthy and happy person with balance of good food, friends and family.
Accept Your Body For the Condition It was and will now be
Your body is expected to change, no one person can maintain the low body fat you were at to get to the “stage” appearance. As much as we appreciate the attention from it and how happy you felt doesn’t mean that where you will go will be any less important. The intent is to rest, recover, and continue on a path that will become a normal way of life. Gaining a few pounds will happen but gaining a lot of weight in a short period time may or may not be good for you. Just make sure to take things steady and things will fall into place as it should.
Don’t associate exercise as punishment
I say this because sometimes you will eat something that isn’t apart of your regular routine and suddenly feel like doing exercise will “undo” this or it will be used as a form of punishment. It should not feel like that if you have something like a burger and fries that 2 hours of cardio will undo this.
Its not a magic trick or going in a time machine but purely a choice that is made. We make conscious decisions all the time, like if we run a red light do we go straight to the police station and report it or do we go back to the same light and not run it? Either way there is a point where we need to make decisions and have little regret or minimum worries over something that is not that big of a deal.
Establish a balanced regimen
Decide how you want to function from here on out, add another goal to just get on a regular schedule. Just slowly get back into the routine of things which should not be anywhere near restricted dieting as if you are preparing for a show. Find your way to some yummy things every now and then find that happy medium. Every person is different as to how they bounce back. Its all about recovering the right way.
It will take a bit of time, it is an emotional process and so structured to where you needed to eat at certain times, have a set schedule and more. Now it is the back end to where you shouldn’t feel as stressed. It is just finding what works for you. It will take time so relax and just go with the flow!
These are only a few tips from what I have learned going through this process of Returning to Normal Post Competition. There are so many other ways to deal but the most important things is having a positive attitude towards this change, being patient, and finding a routine that fits comfortably into your lifestyle.
Also understand you can only control so much so keep your head up and focus on just getting back to what is normal with life beyond the stage.