Walking Off the Stage
You just accomplished an enormous life goal, and it feels amazing! First and foremost, enjoy that feeling, celebrate it, brag about yourself, post a million pictures on social media, own your achievement…NO MATTER the judges results.
That said, the reality that each person is in-it-to-win-it and when that win doesn’t happen it can be very defeating and disappointing. Nothing will change the results, but there is post-show analysis that can help you learn from the experience. Ask yourself these questions:
What was the competition like? Each show is different and the level of competition can vary depending on who attends. Review the other competitors in your class, was it tough competition, did your body fit with that organizations ‘look’, was someone else just a genetic freak? If so, give them the props they deserve, but don’t take anything away from yourself. You can never control who shows up on stage that day. Even if you did your best, looked the best you ever had and gave it your all…someone else has too and that someone else may just have better genetics than you….you have to realize that in this sport, there will always be someone better. You must only compete with yourself to be better each time.
Where there external factors? A range of unpredicted mishaps can happen that can impact your performance. Did you have an unexpected case of stage jitters? Was the show format not what you expected? Did you have a wardrobe malfunction or bad hair day? Look at the things that could have been a factor, acknowledge them and make a plan for next time.
Were you prepared? This is where tough love comes in. Did you really train and diet as hard as you could? Did your peak week go wrong? Were you as dedicated to your stage presentation and posing practice as you had planned? Only you can answer these questions. If you take a hard look and the answer is yes, you were the 100% best you that day, bravo….you already won….PERIOD! If not, admit to yourself where you slacked and make a change next time.
The most important thing to remember here, is that the judges placing and trophy or lack thereof, do NOT define you…nor are they representative of failure in any way shape or form. Your journey is your own, being on stage is the celebration of that journey….YOU are the only one who can define your success!
How to Handle Post-Show Blues
The competition “high” is what drives people to enter this intense sport, and is what keeps you going through the many grueling days training. But what do you do when the high has worn off? Many competitors will actually find themselves in a slump or even full-blown depression, it is a normal response. However, how you manage this phase is crucial. Unfortunately, an unmanaged case of the “blah” can quickly become major bad lifestyle habits like over eating, inactivity and weight gain. You don’t have to be a doctor to understand that this becomes a vicious cycle of deeper depression, leading to more bad choices, and so on.
Here are some simple Do’s and Don’ts to guide you post show…..
- Do have a reverse dieting nutrition plan on hand to handle reintroducing calories slowly so as not to overwhelm your potentially compromised and slower metabolism…leading to rapid weight (yes FAT gain)
- Do have a plan to reverse out of your cardio (2-a-days, etc). Just like reversing out of your diet by adding calories slowly week by week, you must also reverse our of your cardio slowly.
- Do keep moving….but feel free to scale back your hard-core gym time for a while, especially if it’s lost it’s appeal to you due to over training and other factors. Focus on other sports you love, tennis, biking or yoga, etc.
- Do set a new short-term goal. Now is a great time to run that 5K with your girlfriends or try those zumba classes your sister has been begging you to do.
- Do have some guidelines you adhere to (reverse dieting), start adding back (slowly) those things that you enjoy and are healthy, clean eats, but had eliminated during competition prep. If you eliminated things like dairy, fruit, grains, wheat and gluten…trying to reintroduce these things all at once will wreck havoc on your digestive system. You must add them back in slowly you’re your body will revolt. Your body actually “forgets” how to process these foods when taken out for long periods of time.
- Do keep your water intake HIGH! You will inevitably ignore the warnings and gorge yourself on all the bad things you were craving during your contest prep…so it’s important to keep the water high to help flush the system.
- Don’t try to maintain your competition day conditioning for a long period of time (unless you are doing back to back shows)! It is dumb, won’t work and is unhealthy. Not to mention…why? Have an OFF-SEASON plan to make gains and come back to the stage better than before.
- Don’t try to “wing it”. As a person living and breathing a regimented plan for many months, you must maintain some structure.
- Don’t take “some time” off. Yes, take an active break, but don’t park yourself on the couch for a few days, weeks, months…it will end badly…trust me.
- Don’t use this period as an excuse to partake in unhealthy binging. This leads to weight gain, contributes to “the blues” and damages your health.
Great, I wish I had read this a year ago…because I am a hot mess now
All right, so you blew it. You hung up your suit, and proceeded to become “one with the couch” and eat a diet that would scare Honey Boo Boo. Own it and move on. It is time to get a plan to get back to a healthy lifestyle (no I didn’t say competition and there’s a reason why), yes…planning is a theme here.
Getting back to healthy:
#1 Don’t get consumed with being hard on yourself. Sure, talk about it with other people who get it…talking about it and owning it is part of the process. But then move on.
#2 No looking at pictures right now…old comp pictures, last weeks family picture…you have a temporary ban on pictures…it will do nothing but make you unfocused.
#3 Enlist some help, don’t rely on “old training”. Busting out your pre-comp plan from last year and trying to hit the gym isn’t your best move. You are in a different place now; train the body you have…not the one you used to have.
#4 Make your new goals. If it is a competition a year from now, or just regaining your health and fitness, name it and claim it but understand where you are starting from.
#5 Do NOT use competing as the proverbial carrot to dangle in front of you to lose weight again. It WILL become a vicious cycle and dangerous form of yo-yo dieting. You must get to a happy medium and healthy lifestyle again before you decide on that next competition or you’ll be right back here again next time.
Wherever you are, whatever you decide…own it…plan it…and enjoy your journey!