"Sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward"
A while ago I wrote an article about what is involved in running a competition. Of course we are not talking about a frikandel food competition, because that is not healthy. Although .. Perhaps slightly healthier than a bodybuilding competition, at least in the mental area. Today I will discuss the downside of bodybuilding.
Keep in mind, this is another article from my perspective. I always try to disregard my personal opinion as much as possible and also for this article I have asked around among friends and acquaintances who have also played contests. There were certainly a number of people who were very happy with my view, but there are also plenty who did not experience this 'burden' at all. So don't be put off if running a competition is a bucket list item of yours, but it is good to enter prepared for this period. Perhaps this article can contribute to that.
It ain't all sunshine and rainbows
This article will have a somewhat negative sound, precisely because I want to bring the downside to light. Does this mean that I regret the entire period? Certainly not and I will be playing more competitions in the future.
It is an enormously instructive phase, you will make enormous progress, you will encounter yourself. Good friends will support you and pull you through it and you will look back with pride on the entire period. But now the other side ..
Health is at # 2
First of all, a prep is simply not healthy physically. You will run for a considerable period of time at 110%, push yourself or have yourself pushed beyond what you thought you could do. Starving yourself, drying out .. And this will take time to recover after you have had your match or series of matches; the longer you are in this 'overdrive' phase, the longer your recovery will be. So after the rebound of your match shape you will most likely have to put it in place for a while, or even take a few steps back. I am mentally quite bothered by this. Deload weeks after you've popped up for months and made progress. Your shape that becomes less dry and with that a loss of definition. Mass that temporarily drops. Less pump due to change in your schedules ..
It all strikes me quite spicy after being able to flame for months full. Mentally, this also cuts in best. Your self-image will get a big boost during that prep, but may also not be realistic anymore. I have never felt as small as in the past few weeks, even though I am a lot bigger than a year ago.
That is 1.
As you can read in the previous article, there is a huge amount involved in running an optimal match; the training sessions, nutrition and meetings with your coach will take up a lot of your time and energy and will therefore probably be a temporary damper on contact with your friends and possibly your friend. This was certainly true with me. A prep is therefore a great method to separate the wheat from the chaff, but keep in mind that not all of your social contacts will survive this period, or that it can even be a big test for your relationship.
That is 2.
Mindf # ck all over
When you are so focused on achieving your goal (a good placement at that match), your environment will naturally notice this. Colleagues at work, people in the gym, even in the supermarket and on the street and of course on social media, people will admire your progression and perseverance. What's so bad about that, you wonder? Well, nothing at all. It's great that people express their appreciation in this way and everyone, including you, is happy with a compliment. You will have days during your prep that a comment from a stranger or a compliment from a gymbro pulls you through the day.
But after your game this will of course decrease. As I said, your shape will (temporarily) decline slightly; not only your self-image will get a tap, but also the image that your environment has of you. Your 'old' physical is no longer your baseline, but your competitive shape.
Finally another point;
During the preparation for your competition, your life will be greatly influenced by everything around your competition, as I said. Your training and your cardio will take a lot of time. Preparing meals, measuring with your (posing) coach, everything that can give way will give way to achieving that one goal. The 'gravel' with which social media is filled. You have a goal, you bite into it and you will achieve it anyway. And then there is that Sunday .. Awarding has been ... Sunday night to bed .. And then you wake up on that Monday morning .. Now what? Goal away.
For some, this will feel like a huge void that is hard to fill. A large part of your self-esteem and appreciation that you have received from others in recent months was due to your physical progression and determined reliance on that competition. But what now? Completely in combination with point 1 and therefore the knowledge that for the time being you will only have to make it to the place to recover, this can be a bit of searching.
Okay, that's quite a bit!
The points described above are also the reasons that I have been less active on instagram and on youtube for a while. I have picked up reasonably well, although there will be no special shape updates at the moment. I will also automatically start YouTube again. Perhaps I will make a vlog about this subject soon if I have the time.
I am currently in the middle of this phase, which has fallen a lot harder than I had previously thought. So I don't have an answer for everything, but what I can give you is the following.
1. It is not an endless sprint
Accept that after a while of sprinting you have to walk a bit quietly or even have to rest against a fence to recover. Your body is not a machine, even though you looked like this during your competition. After having driven full throttle for a while you will really have to refuel once when the light starts flashing. You can also choose to drive your entire tank dry and see how far you get, but there is a good chance that you will stand still in a very awkward place.
2. Be a friend to your loved ones
Try to maintain important social contacts and express your appreciation or apology when needed. If for once you have dropped out against your brother, coach, girlfriend or best friend for free, let them know that you've been a jerk or a bitch and say sorry. Otherwise, those last few weeks can become spicy and lonely. And a shame if there is no one in the audience for you.
3. A good coach makes the difference
Find a coach that guides you well, not just right up to the race, but also for the period afterwards. Make sure you have a plan to get the most out of your rebound, keep working in a structured way, and do not overdo yourself. A bit more lightly dealing with your food is fine and also enjoys the fact that not every meal is that narrow anymore, but if you let everything go it is very difficult to get back into the rhythm (believe me ..)
4. There is more to life
Take this period to focus on the things that you were on a lower level or even completely ignored during your prep. Visit your family or friends more often, go do fun things, make progress at work, learn something new, do a course, focus on your studies .. Make sure that sport is not all that your whole life revolves around, but you develop also in other areas.
5. Stay realistic with your frame of reference
Try to ensure that your prep shape does not become your new 'baseline'. Take progression photos regularly and try to keep this as a frame of reference. Like I said before, I feel small at the moment, while I am still quite a few pounds heavier than six months ago and not really fatter either. Try to be objective here.
Take this period to recover sufficiently. Take your time for this! Both mentally and physically you need periods of rest; As my mother said last, "your health is your greatest asset." We often realize this only at the moment that intervention makes little sense. Don't work against a burnout, don't train yourself.
So, take the rest you need and you will be able to get full gas again soon enough!
Jan Willem van der Klis