It’s been a while since I have actually blogged, and I have sort of used social media (my Instagram and fitness Facebook page) as my diary lately. I thought that while some of you may get a lot of info and a clear idea of what is going through my mind during this process from my various accounts, there may be those of you who only see particular feeds and miss out on some of the thought process and journey. So I think it’s time for me to begin blogging again. It won’t always be pieces that are educational or informative, but I think this will be a great mental outlet for me as I walk through my fitness journey.
As many of you know, I have been on a plan to compete in my first bikini bodybuilding competition on October 3, 2015. That’s 12 weeks from now! If you’ve been following me, you are probably aware of the immense pressure I place on myself and the commitment it takes to compete. I have been counting down the weeks since about week 20, and sometimes it feels like it takes forever, and other days it feels like it is disappearing in the blink of an eye!
I hired my coach about 2 months ago and have been seeing really great progress, in fact- faster progress than I ever saw when I was coaching myself. I have found incredible value in having an educated, professional and supportive coach as I walk through my fitness journey, particularly the last several months. When I was coaching myself, I was literally a walking science experiment of my own making. I constantly changed my macros, nutrition plan, and workouts. While I definitely saw progress, it was nowhere near what I have seen since working with my coach. I now have consistency, reliability, and steadiness that I didn’t have before.
One thing that I have found irreplaceable is having someone to get me out of my own head. Competing and working on reaching a goal can make me obsessive. I am already a Type A personality, and hyper sensitive to my flaws and mistakes. I am extremely goal focused and can get tunnel visioned on a goal very quickly. So having a coach that puts up with my impatience, lack of confidence in my efforts, and continually reminds me to be patient, take it a day at a time and to trust the process, has truly been one of the best things. While I have support from my husband, family and friends, I can easily receive positive encouragement as being biased because they love me. To have an outside party see my pictures week to week, look at my social media accounts, and tell me that I am making progress and doing well does wonders for my sanity.
Lately, I have found myself in a struggle between being goal focused/determined vs having some balance and grace with myself. I have countdowns written in my office and at home that serve as reminders for the deadline of Oct 3. Those countdowns to the deadline have become a bit of an unhealthy obsession for me. I found myself beating myself up for things I couldn’t or didn’t do. My coach hasn’t told me to do fasted cardio every morning and then go to the gym after work to lift and do more cardio. I set that as a goal for myself. So while it’s not an unreasonable feat for someone preparing to compete, it quickly turned into something I told myself I needed to do and when I felt my body presenting physical challenges, I mentally and emotionally beat myself up over the failure.
Throw in the mix that I have taken on more responsibility at work (which I am grateful for and love!) along with trying to be a good wife and keep my OCD tendencies at bay, and you have a hot mess of stress and anxiety. I’ve never associated listening to my body when I need a rest day, or changing a workout schedule with guilt. And yet here I was doing exactly that. While my diet overall has been really on par, not really missing the mark and being really consistent, I still found myself being really disappointed in myself. So over the past week I have been mentally and emotionally wrestling with what it looks like for me to have healthy boundaries with fitness.
Boundaries are really important to me. Establishing with myself, and often others, what is expected and where those boundaries are give me clarity and safety. It allows me to know when I have crossed a line into obsession, or really any behavior that isn’t true to myself. I started to realize that I had removed all boundaries with fitness. Anything to reach my goal was fair game. Now, don’t get me wrong- I haven’t done anything crazy! But I just realized I had lost all balance. I read recently a great blog post by a teammate that talks about some of the more unglamorous sides of competing. And it made me realize that I need to establish what my boundaries actually are.
So, where do I draw the line? October 3 is not my be all, end all hard and fast deadline. Now, I am still far enough out that I still may be ready in time. But I’m not going to obsess over it. If I am ready by then, GREAT! If not, there’s always next season. The stage isn’t going anywhere. It’s not worth me losing my sanity and balance. It’s not worth the extra stress and anxiety. Instead, my goal is really to reach my health and fitness goals at some point. I don’t think I am far off or that it will take forever. I’m currently sitting at around 19% bodyfat, which is completely healthy and maintainable. I’ll still aim for lower, but I’m not unhappy with where I am at.
I have some strength goals that I want to accomplish in 2015, and I think I will easily hit them. I love the way that I eat every day, I love my workouts and my schedule. What I do now is absolutely sustainable for years to come. I thoroughly enjoy it. Really! So the plan now is to keep going. Not to push harder and obsess. But to take it a day at a time, celebrating small changes and victories, and practice a little bit more balance. That does not mean I eat outside of my macros all the time or skip workouts. What it means is that if there is an appropriate time and place those things can happen without any guilt.
I hired my coach for 16 weeks, but I have found this guidance to be irreplaceable. So that means for me, that it doesn’t stop at 16 weeks. I plan to continue with my coach and my team for the foreseeable future. Someday I will compete. Maybe October? Maybe next spring? But I’m not going to worry about it or force myself into a show. I’m going to enjoy life and my love for this lifestyle.
I hope that answers any questions people may have had after the last few weeks of social media posts! If you have more questions- feel free to ask in the comments! I hope to continue posting on my fitness journey, and not feel constrained to having well thought out and put together posts, but to really include more of these type of posts. Just real, raw, honest content. :)