Thanks heaps to all who commented on my last post, they really made my day :)
Chelle asked me how many kilos were lost and found throughout the journey – in the ‘before’ pic I was about 66kg. This is a little heavier than I what I used to maintain, we had just come back from a cruise and were heading into Christmas, need I say more?! I competed at about 50kg (dry) and am currently maintaining between 54-55kg. As I’ve mentioned before, even though I’ve gained this weight reasonably slowly over the last 3 months, you get so used to be a certain way that feeling the fat creep on definitely plays with your head! However, I must remember that once upon a time, I never dreamed I’d comfortably maintain this weight! I starved and cardio’d my way down to 57kg once before when I was about 19 before promptly rebounding! I have to make a huge effort to stay positive and continually remind myself that I am slim and healthy.
A couple of you mentioned how much healthier we look in the ‘after’ shot, which I think is much more apparent from that choice of photo from the comp. I chose it because it is one of the few Ali and I have together AND it is offstage and after the night show, not as glamorous as those taken onstage so you can see how we really look. Ali had won his division so competed for the overall and ended up being dyhydrated for a lot longer than me.
So is competing unhealthy? You could definately argue the point either way.
Even if I decide never to compete again, I would never discourage others from doing so because it was the most challenging, character building time of my life to date and I owe a lot to my personal journey. I love the lifestyle of eating clean foods and training hard. I enjoy seeing the changes I can make to my physique and getting super lean is a fool proof way of seeing just how much (or how little!) muscle you actually have. I’m aware that different coaches have different methods and that some are far more effective and healthier than others. But I would venture to say that pushing through to that level of conditioning, especially for women is not the most healthy thing in the world and doesn’t come without its risks. No one should pretend otherwise. If it were just a matter of time and discipline, why wouldn't some people look stage ready all year?Why do there seem to be so many figure athletes plagued by hormone imbalances and adrenal fatigue?
I justified competing by the fact that the extreme conditioning is merely temporary. However, pushing yourself to such a place can certainly have effects that take longer to rebalance. I would definately advise other competitors to brace themselves for post comp and have a strategy in place for easing into an 'off season'. The body strives to maintain the status quo and doesn't seem to like sharp changes in routine! I think the term is homeostasis - A good example is 'peak week' when competitors water/sodium load then cut it out and deplete then carb up.
I like to see people educate themselves and make informed choices. Decide what your values, priorities and goals are and live accordingly. Decide what you are willing to commit to and whether you can manage any potential risks. Stop talking and act. In other words, whatever you are – be a good one!
ps you might be wondering about my picture... it cracked me up! reminds me not to take life so seriously :P
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