Today is May 8, 2017 and I’m 6 weeks out from my Jr. Nationals Show in Chicago, IL. The biggest thing I have to say about my current journey is that, in comparison to my last prep, this one is different in so many ways- from mindset to nutrition, to training style, motivation, progress, temptations and distractions. You’d think it’d be easier my second time around, but it’s not…here’s why.
During my last prep, I was fucking hungry for success. After being suspended from CrossFit in March, I was angry, frustrated and determined to achieve a certain fitness status as I had put SO much work into my level of fitness that year. I was confident that I was going to qualify for the 2016 Games that year. After being disqualified, I felt like I had unfinished business, that I had something to prove to myself, and my first bodybuilding show was my outlet.
Despite it being a stupid local show with a cheesy plastic trophy, I was willing to die for that 1st place finish. It was more about the accomplishment and satisfaction that I’d get from that win than the actual attention or trophy. So, needless to say, I was driven as hell, and there was absolutely no chance that any girl was going to work harder than me…and it showed on stage. I got one compliment after another about how great my conditioning was, yada, yada yada… but it wasn’t a surprise to me- I got out exactly what I put into it, a champion mentality and a champion status.
A NEW PERSPECTIVE
This time around, things are a bit different. I’m no longer angry about my CrossFit suspension. Instead, I see it as a blessing in disguise and have had spent a lot of time reflecting what it is I want out of life and what makes me happy. For the longest time (10 years to be exact), I thought that the only way I could be happy was if I placed top 10 at the CrossFit Games. Although that was a fun and challenging journey that has made me who I am today, I’ve realized that I have been so freaking close-minded and selfish for the last 10 years of my life! Of course, that’s just part of the process when you’re trying to be a professional in whatever you’re space you’re in, but what an eye-opener it is when you step away from the sport you’ve been obsessed with for so long. In the end, we all just want to look good and feel good, right? Well I thought CrossFit was the only way to achieve that, but I have learned that is not the case- the opportunities to achieve such fitness success are endless
Needless to say, my perspective on winning and competing has been a little different this time around. Of course I want to win and will do whatever it is I need to do to bring my best on stage, but this time around I just don’t feel as confident that my physique is good enough to bring home the gold medal and pro card… and its way too late now to make it better.
The only thing I currently have in my control is my “conditioning” (leanness) on stage. I didn’t really take a break from my first show to when I started prep for this show, so I never really got a chance to make the changes I wanted or needed to improve my physique- stuff like widening my back, building up my shoulders, and improving my biceps and triceps.
So as of now, it all comes down to who shows up on show day and what level of conditioning they are in… I have to keep reminding myself that these things are completely out of my control, and should only be focusing my efforts and intensity on what I can control, which is working my ass off in every time I step into the gym and following my diet to a “T” (easier said than done, of course).
NOT A LACK OF HARD WORK
I do feel like I’m a little behind the ball as far as conditioning goes sitting 6 weeks out, so that’s been frustrating as well. Its frustrating because I have NOT slacked on training, cardio or nutrition- I’ve been doing my part of hitting the weights as heavy as I can, burning as many calories as I can, and sticking to the diet the best that I can. The diet has probably been the hardest part for me this time around because my calorie intake is certainly less than it was during my last prep with my cardio/training volume being higher. Therefore, cravings and temptations have been pretty bad.
ADDICTION TO CALORIE-FREE FOODS
They’ve been so bad that I started to look for ways to increase the volume or satiety affect of my food. I experimented with calorie-free sauces and sweeteners such as Walden Farms and Stevia Its been about 2 weeks after incorporating these foods into my diet, and I’m just now realizing that that was a bad move and will be removing it from my palette after today. Once I introduced those sauces and sweetness into my diet, I got hooked on them.. and i mean hooked. Two Stevias per day turned into 10 very quickly, and I started to eat the Walden Farm sauces by the spoonful rather than as just as a sauce on my food. I craved the sugars non-stop and have been addicted to them ever since I started using them. Before I added them to my diet, I was totally fine with just plain old sea salt on all my food… that damn sugar, whether its artificial or not, is just so darn addicting and I’m hoping I can kick the habit. Lesson learned.
WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD
All in all, I’ve been putting in the hard work needed to be stage lean but my body doesn’t seem to be responding as well as I’d like it to and I’m not sure why. Am I training too hard? Not eating enough? Not recovering enough? I don’t know. All I know is that my will and hard work is not the reason for my lack of progress, and that is one of the worst feelings in the world. I plan on pushing the needle for another week or two before I decide if my body will be ready for the stage or not, a decision I’m not excited to face. Stay tuned to hear what happens next.