My Story, Part 4: Metabolic Damage

PART 4: Metabolic Damage

After 3 months of uncontrollable binge eating following my first place win at my Physique show, I was desperate to find a way out of the hell hole I put myself into. For some reason, I thought the answer was to to do all over again but this time in an attempt to earn my Pro Card, which is basically like a ticket to the CrossFit Games in bodybuilding. Once again, I had my self-worth and identity  attached to an outcome, and that outcome being the podium.

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My new coach reverse dieted me a.k.a. put me through a bulking phase in hopes to repair the metabolic damage I had done from the first prep. I continued to gain weight, but this time it was controlled. He gave me a meal plan, and I essentially ate the same foods (different portions throughout the prep) for the next 6 months. 

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Meanwhile, to combat the hatred that I had for my “fat” physique at that time, I decided to take up powerlifting and compete at the U.S. Open. I got pretty strong, squatting 350 in wraps, deadlifting 350 and bench pressing 205 but it didn’t last long because the real focus was to earn my pro card as a physique competitor. 

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When we started the 12-week cut, it took a few weeks for my body to start losing weight- right away, this was not a good sign, but we pressed on anyway. The entire I prep I struggled to lose the weight – I’d lose a couple and then I’d plateau for a while. In fact, my body actually did this weird thing where I’d gain a bunch of squishy water weight in my stomach towards the end of the week and then I’d lose it all overnight after a high carb refeed day. So I basically looked good for about a day and then my body would fill up with water all over again. I didn’t understand it then but I do now- I was overtraining, overstressed, and straight up one big metabolic disaster. There was one day that I weighed in at my lowest weight of 109lbs and the next day I was up to 122lbs! I’d wake up with my face swollen, stomach bloated, and even my pupils dilated (see the pic above). 

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Being my stubborn, hard headed self, I pushed harder thinking I just needed to work harder, train more, and eat even less. Towards the end of the prep, I was up to 5-6 hours a day of training and only 800 calories of food. I was barely… hanging…on. With only a week or two left till the show, I thought about quitting everyday. My circle of friends encouraged me to keep pushing through it because I was so close to the end, but they didn’t realize how much I was training and how little I was eating. I kept it hidden because I was too afraid to pull back on the training, thinking that I would gain weight if I wasn’t burning the same amount of calories. I felt trapped and exhausted. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could hang on.

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I looked like shit and felt like shit, but I decided to go to the show anyway in hopes of a miracle happening and I would miraculously wake up looking like a million bucks. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I checked in, got my tan, and pulled out  hours before the show started.

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The entire 6 months of dieting and and exercising, hours of posing practice, thousands of dollars spent on a posing suit, coach, flights, registration, hair, makeup, and most of all the pain and misery I put myself and others around me through…. all for what seemed like nothing.

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Today, I can see the silver lining in it all. It wasn’t a waste. It was a learning experience, one that I can share with others so that they don’t make the same mistakes I did. Today, I finally realize that my self-worth is not and should not be attached to a podium. Instead, I have the opportunity every fucking day to earn my self-worth… and yes, I said earn because I don’t believe you can have much self pride if you don’t put in the work to get it- but this time I don’t mean the work to win against others, I mean the work to win against yourself. 

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It really is you vs you. That is literally all that matters. It doesn’t matter how you compare against anyone else- what matters is that you continue to exploit your best self day after day after day. That is the competition we should all be participating in, because thats the only one that truly matters.

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It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday. What are you doing today to better yourself??

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#To Be Continued….. PART 5: MY 2018 CROSSFIT COMBACK

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