Honestly, this post has been a long time coming. I competed in my first and only NPC Bikini show in June of 2014. Since then the majority of people in my life have asked: ‘When is your next competition?’ or ‘Do you plan on competing again this year?’ For a while, my answer was “Not right now, I am busy with my career or other things in my life” or “No current show set, I am enjoying life and not having to stick to a show preparation schedule with workouts and meals.” On my other social media sites (hello Instagram), I finally voiced that I don’t plan on competing again anytime soon. Well, after a short debate, I decided I don’t plan on competing in a bikini or fitness competition ever again. I wanted to fill you in on how I came to this decision and why. I wanted to finally discuss my real reasoning behind it so that if you plan to compete in the future or you are struggling with the same decision, it can help inspire and educate you. I am adding pictures from the day before and day of my NPC bikini competition but in no way mean to glamorize this post.
1. I want to focus my energy on other aspects of my life outside of my body. Competing and bodybuilding in general is all about sculpting your body. When you walk into a gym, you are surrounded by wall-to-wall mirrors. I love lifting and have become addicted to the way feeling “strong” makes me feel but don’t feel the need to constantly be worrying about my body. Wondering if I am lean enough for the judges, or if my glutes are big enough, shoulders round enough, or hamstrings popping enough. My body is a representation of my lifestyle but not the END-ALL BE-ALL of my existence. It is not worth the energy to me anymore. I have so much else in my life I want to accomplish outside of competing, earning a pro card, getting lean, and looking good on stage.
2. I saw some dark sides of the fitness industry. The saddest part? All of the hundreds and thousands of ‘coaches’ out there who have been in the industry for awhile and take advantage of girls and guys who are looking to compete. There are SO many coaches who have no qualifications and charge people thousands of dollars for a 12 week competition preparation diet and training. And what is the diet and training? Usually very low calorie, low carbohydrate, with lots of cardio. ANYBODY can tell you to eat that little and do that amount of exercise and help you get shredded. It’s like people lose their minds when they are in competition prep and think that their coach knows EVERYTHING about their own body. When in reality, they don’t know your body. Only you know your body. There are other dark sides-the supplements people feel they have to take, being part of a certain team just to place well, etc. This is just the tip of some of what can go on (drug use, etc) and I don’t even know it all.
3. Body dysmorphia. The feeling that you are just never lean enough. Even the week before the show, I was uncertain to whether I was lean enough. Then, you look back several months later and think, WAS I CRAZY?! I was SO lean. How could I not see it? And I think almost anyone who diets down for a show, photo shoot, vacation, etc can go through this. Especially the feeling afterwards that you are just never good enough because you don’t look like you did on competition day or week. I did NOT do ANY extremes that many people go through (fasted cardio, water/sodium manipulation, 2-a-day workouts, consuming unnecessary supplements) but still was at an extremely low body fat and weight. I was under what is considered a healthy BMI and was at 10% body fat. To be a healthy functioning woman, you must have at least 12% body fat. I see most girls still trying to chase this leanness. So many girls say “Can’t wait to shred again” or “I feel so flully” in the off season. This is just SO sad. Why can’t these girls realize they are in shape, exceptional athletes, smart, and still probably leaner than 95% of the population? Body dysmorphia. Even when I got that lean, I knew it wouldn’t be sustainable yet somehow it is still hard to gain back the weight and be OK with it. You have to realize that that lean body was not you-only a symbol of the extreme time and effort you put into it. Even if you have the time and effort to maintain it, you will need to get over the fact that it is NOT healthy to look like that. Even if you can maintain it doing 10 minutes of cardio like I had been able to, your body still craves homeostasis. It is OK to put on some weight-that is what reverse dieting is for! I am not saying you need to gain 10-20 lbs after the competition like many girls do because they went to such extremes, but you need to at least be HEALTHY! And because of body dysmorphia, I don’t want to get myself that lean again only to know I will have to put back on a little weight. Because I am beautiful the way I am now, and don’t need that mentality anymore.
Please email me or comment below with your thoughts. Thank you for reading!