“Life is like a camera. Just focus on what’s important and capture the good times. Develop from the negatives and if it doesn’t work out take another shot.” ~ Anonymous
In 2010, I embarked on a journey to compete in a figure competition. There were several reasons motivating me to take on this new and daunting challenge. Following a lifetime of training for volleyball, I wanted to escape my mundane workout routine. I needed a new goal to re-inspire and re-invigorate my commitment to myself and my training. In addition, I felt that given the number of hours I logged in the gym, I should have had a different reflection in the mirror. So taking my friends’ encouragement and advice, I signed up for my first contest and began the challenging route to the figure stage.
I spent six-months on a strict program. It was a traditional “old school,” cookie-cutter bodybuilding program that consisted of fasted cardio each morning, Costco carts filled with chicken, egg whites, tilapia and asparagus, an all-or-nothing attitude 24/7, and a social life where my best friends included a treadmill and a food scale. With such a rigorous program, physical change was bound to happen. I managed to reduce my body fat to 10% and even won my last competition. In the months that followed, however, I also managed to gain sixty-pounds and lose my menstrual cycle in the same year. Yes, you read correctly, sixty pounds (I will share this experience with you in a future blog post).
These past four-years, I’ve learned so much about myself, my body, and what drives me. My decision to compete again comes down to “taking another shot” and training my body and mind in a completely different way. This time, I will be my own food scientist (wise words from Dr. Eric Cobb, founder of Z-health Performance Solutions). I will enjoy the journey and appreciate the struggles, the wins, the hard days, the PR days, and of course, the lessons learned along the way.
So as I kick off this prep season, my goal is to keep in mind the “why”: to making sure that future females aspiring to compete can do so in a way that doesn’t harm their mind and body. Post competition blues, metabolic “damage”, adrenal fatigue and hormones gone wild are real and serious side-effects of competing. So while I find that it’s all too common to get wrapped up in the politics of competing and the glitz and glam of being at your peak, I hope to utilize these upcoming months as a way to experiment, to learn, and to share my thoughts and new discoveries with you.
Last, I want to mention that this journey will be accompanied by valuable supporters: my dear friend and coach, Marc Santos, who has given me the confidence to experiment, to take risks and most importantly to enjoy the ride. My best friend, Will, who has always offered his unyielding support, positive friends, and a of course my family whose sometimes unspoken words, but open ears offer more than enough love and support.
So here’s to taking another shot. I hope you will join me on this journey.