My Figure Competition Days
I started competing in 2009 at the suggestion of a good friend and training buddy. My first experience competing was like many of the horror stories you may have read online. Working out until exhaustion twice a day, eating the same foods for every meal and taking a lot of supplements. My self-esteem and body image took a huge hit during those years. I was still competing in 2014 and under a new coach, I thought that prep was healthier by comparison. I dieted for 25 weeks for that final show. 25 weeks of eating perfectly measured chicken, tilapia, broccoli, asparagus, oatmeal and eggs on rotation. 25 weeks of hard training 6 days a week and waving bye-bye to my social life. Even though I won my class, I ate an entire carrot cake backstage and over the next several months, I gradually gained back fat in place of the muscle I lost during my prep.
I didn’t compete again after that and I spent many years working to reestablish my relationship with food, workouts and the concept of rest. I don’t regret the years I competed. There were so many moments of camaraderie with fellow competitors in the gym and backstage, admiration for what my body could do when challenged and of course, celebrations when I won. However, the cons outweighed the pros and much of that admiration and celebration was temporary. I embraced every struggle to find my own balanced routine, and used what I learned on my personal journey to become a more effective and empathetic coach and mentor in my training business.