6 things I learned during competition prep

For anyone who follows me on social media, you will know that a week ago today I competed in my first bodybuilding bikini competition. I had the most amazing time and I’m still buzzing from the experience. The day was so much fun and my prep as a whole has been an incredible experience. I have honestly loved the journey and for this to only be the beginning makes me proper bloody excited.

I could reel off a loooong ass list of things I have learned during prep but for now i’ll just stick to a few! Below I’ve gone into detail of the 6 main things that I’ve taken from this prep.

1. Discipline, consistency and the occasional sacrifice = results. Simple. 

I’ve always had pretty good discipline with myself. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and very competitive so when I set my mind to something, I have to achieve it. However I’ve never really set myself such a big mental and physical challenge like prepping for and competing in a bodybuilding competition. It’s a different sort of challenge as it really does take over your life, not in the sense that I had no life or that I did nothing but think about prep and my comp, but most decisions you make will have to be dictated by your prep in some way.

Dieting and training for a competition takes a hell of a lot of discipline and willpower which I didn’t think I had, I mean I love M&M’s too much to give them up for 16 WHOLE WEEKS! I’ve started diets before and got into pretty decent shape but then kind of fallen off the diet train after 4 weeks or so. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been in AWFUL shape but likewise I’ve never been in INCREDIBLE ‘competition ready’ shape. But apparently I can be disciplined and stick to a plan and achieve a physique I never thought possible.

What I’ve truly realised is that if you’re not disciplined and you’re not consistent then you wont get the results – it’s simple. I mean that’s something we all know in the back of our minds and something I’ve always known. Whether your goal is weight loss or weight gain during recovery, consistency is what will get you to your goal and ultimately that’s what has got me to my current physique. No fads or quick fixes, just consistency and the occasional sacrifice.

Yeh there’s been times during prep when my mum has made a mega roast dinner and sticky toffee pudding dessert which I’ve had to stare at longingly or when I’ve had to scale down my alcohol intake on a night out or when I’ve had to say no to the easter chocolate and other goodies at work but they were the sacrifices I wanted to make and had to make in order to stay consistent. The results speak for themselves.

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2. Planning is KEY.

While I’m reasonably organised, I can be a bit useless at planning and being organised (my mum or Darren are great at helping me with organising my life!). Planning is essential during prep. To remain consistent with your diet, you need to make sure meals are prepped in advance, you have snacks on hand for when hunger strikes and the Starbucks muffin is calling your name. Training sessions need to be planned, not only when you’re going to train but what you’re going to be doing in each session. Planning when I was going to train each day really helped when those feelings of ‘I cant be fkin arsed with the gym today’ came! Having training sessions from my coach written down and planned out made it easier to just crack on and get it done.

When I didn’t plan was when I messed up basically. So write shit down, plan your week, plan each day in advance so life is as stress free as poss and you can just focus on being ace.

3. I’ve found confidence and peace with myself.

When I was suffering with my eating disorder, I also suffered with awful anxiety. I would wake up everyday and immediately feel sick with nerves and that was just the norm for me. If thrown into a social situation I would hate it. I’d over analyse EVERYTHING and wonder what others were thinking of me – did I look OK, was my makeup in place, was my hair long enough, would people like me, would they think I was funny, should I have said that, what did I bring to the situation. I could go on. Once I had recovered from my eating disorder, there were definitely still some elements of my anxiety present and my confidence was still pretty low. Going through this prep however and achieving such a big goal has given me a HUGE boost of confidence. Knowing that I have achieved this and I am fully capable makes me so happy and makes me realise that I’m doing alright in this crazy thing called LIFE. It’s made me realise that I don’t need anyone’s acceptance cos I am me and that’s fine. I’ve met so many incredible people along my journey and realised that I have nothing to fear in social situations. We’re all human and I have nothing to prove to anyone. I have become so comfortable in my own skin, it’s crazy. I am me and that’s awesome.

I reckon a lot of people think that bodybuilders are lacking in confidence, due to how conscious they are of their appearance and I’m sure a lot are desperately insecure and mentally not alright but coming this far has made me realise how capable I am, how mentally strong I am and how awesome my body is. It’s OK to love yourself and think you’re doing great, and that’s where I am at. Some people won’t like that but that’s coooool wiv me!

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4. I need to trust my judgement and realise that I know a lot.

As with any journey, there will be doubts. You will question yourself and worry about the smallest things.

Prior to starting my prep I had been lifting for over 3 years and over that time have learnt A LOT about diet, training and the fitness industry. Most of my knowledge I owe to my number 1 fan and wonderful boyfriend Darren. This journey was obviously a new one for me but having followed a lot of people who have competed and having read an awful lot about the process, I was pretty clued up. It’s been amazing having my coach Josh to message whenever doubts have come to mind and when I’ve needed reassurance but I’ve realised that I sometimes need to trust my own judgement too and have that confidence to believe in what I know. That’s obviously something that comes with experience but it’s definitely something that I have realised over the last 14 weeks.

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5. My body is pretty much A MACHINE.

Before I started prep I was on a high calorie intake. I was a bit scared when starting prep that I was going to have to stop being a scoffer and that I was going to ‘ruin’ my metabolism again but I’ve realised that my body is a machine. Going into prep with a healthy body and one that is in a very good place in terms of metabolism and overall health has meant that my calories have barely been dropped throughout my prep and I’m still feeling energised and happy. With the exception of rest days once or twice a week, my calories haven’t dropped below 2150.

From everyones YouTube videos and Instagram posts that I had seen prior to starting prep, I honestly thought I was going to be getting to the end of my prep hating life, on like 1600 cals, doing excessive cardio and relying on coffee and jelly to bring me happiness but that’s not been the case. I’m not special and everyone is fully capable of getting their bodies to a truly healthy place before starting prep, you’ve just got to be patient. (I’ll write a more in depth post about whether you’re ready to compete).

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6. People won’t get it. People won’t want to support you and that’s OK. The people that matter will be there for ya.

Bodybuilding and competing are weird concepts. I mean it’s probably not ‘normal’ to eat like 6 times a day, to track what you’re eating, to weigh out your food, to train up to 6 days a week, to prance around on stage in a bikini, to choose to go to the gym over going out on the piss but who’s to say what ‘normal’ is anyway??!

There will be some friends who probably won’t like what you’re doing. They won’t get why you’d want to miss a night out on the piss or why you can’t just order something off the menu at a restaurant and they’ll probably think your half naked physique photos are self indulgent.

At first the fact that some people weren’t supporting my journey really got to me but as I’ve gone on and met some ace people who understand what I’m doing and want others to do well, I started to not give two shitzzzzz.

A lot of explaining has had to be done throughout prep about what/why you’re doing but the people who care and support you will want to learn and understand. The people that don’t won’t. And that’s OK. Don’t let that affect you. You do your thing and leave them to get on with theirs.

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My cheer squad ❤