Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Real Truth About Bodybuilding

When I first started getting into figure competitions and the bodybuilding worlds, my trainer warned me that it was going to be really rough. At first, I thought he meant physically exhausting from all the hard work at the gym, but it was much more than that. I wouldn't get the true picture of his warning until about a year later. There is a much darker, uglier side to bodybuilding than people would imagine.

Before we get into all that, I was just want to state that this these are my opinions based on my experiences in the bodybuilding world. I am sure this is not the case for everyone. Everyone is different and all trainers have unique expectations of their clients.

About a year ago I started my food plan that I would be on for the past year. I was eating way more than I was used to. I felt good, I wasn't starving myself ever, and I ate 5 meals a day. It was the first time in my life I ever used a food scale. I never measured out portions before or weighed meat. So it was all new and exciting to have so much control of your exact caloric intake. I was still having cheat meals here or there because I was trying to bulk up. I started out with no muscle at all. I gained around 5 lbs of muscle over about six months.

After being on that food plan for about 8 months, my body started to lean out on its on. Nothing crazy, but I lost 2-3 lbs by my body fat decreasing while adding more muscle. During all those times I spent at the gym, I talked to many bodybuilders to get advice. Many bodybuilders are obsessed with perfection. No body part is ever cut enough, they need to get more lean or drop more body fat, or improve for their next show. There is nothing wrong with wanting to get better, but there comes a point where it gets obsessive. My trainer continued to warn me do not fall in that trap since it so easy to do. I told him that would never happen with me.

Flash forward another couple of months and my leaning out diet had begun. Not super restrictive, but about 300 calories less than what I had been eating. At that point I finally saw what my trainer meant. It was not just the physical effort of working out, but it plays a tole on your mentality. I saw myself getting obsessive with weighing everything. If a potato was 2.6 oz instead of 2.5, I had to cut that .1 of an ounce off to hit my macros right.
(what my freezer was typically filled with)

I was that person becoming obsessive. I was that person where it stopped being fun and felt more like a chore. I didn't think it would happen to me, but it did. If I was hungry I couldn't eat out of a meal. Technically I could, but then it would just be more of a hassle to re-work my menu plan for the rest of the day. Everytime I left the house I had to make sure I packed up enough food since I had to eat every four hours.

Chicken, 99% lean ground turkey, tuna, salmon, brown rice, oatmeal, potatoes, green vegetables, and peanut butter were pretty much the only things I was allowed to have. Even fruit and greek yogurt was off limits. It was so hard eating ground turkey at 9 o'clock at night before bed. Ugh, it grosses me out just thinking about it. I'm not complaining about it since it was my decision to go on this diet and compete, but it really does play a role on your mental state.

You don't realize how much it will affect your life. I skipped hanging out with friends at night so I would have enough energy to get up in the morning to workout before school or work. I felt guilty when I would get sick and felt like I was going to lose pace with my workouts. The boyfriend and I hardly ever went out to dinner on real dates the past year because I couldn't control or figure out the calories in my food.

So the point of all this rambling is what you see of a bodybuilder's life isn't always the full picture. There are many sacrifices and ugly things that come with the territory. I finally understand what my trainer meant that it can become too obsessive. Perfection doesn't exist, which is something I constantly remind myself. People that chase perfection are chasing happiness. If you are happy in your life, you don't need to be perfect. Bodybuilding takes a greater tole on your mentality way more than the physical.

Doing a figure competition is still something I want to do one day. Sometimes things in life just happen that is out of your control and you have to go with it. I wasn't meant to do the competitions in September. I don't want to view this as a failure even though I've worked so hard over the past year for it. There will always be more shows.

I feel like gaining this knowledge of what to expect and experiencing the lows of being on a figure competitor's diet has taught me alot. I feel so much more prepared of how to prep for future shows.

Do you ever struggle with perfection or failure?

12 comments:

  1. I am loving the "You were born to be real, not to be perfect" quote. I need to remind myself of this on a daily basis!!

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    1. Me too. I am type A so this is always a struggle.

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  2. I used to track all my food in hopes of losing weight and I became that obsessive person too; I am much happier (and weigh 10lb less!) since I stopped doing that!!

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    1. That's awesome, good for you girl!

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  3. I'm glad you shared this because i have to admit many of the figure competitors I knew were so obsessed it turned me off. i was really lucky to meet Laura Hall and read Candy this year who while are clearly focused I don't think they are obsessed and it's great to see.

    I'm not that way with food, but I am always struggling with feeling like I need to do more or do better

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    1. Yes I am so glad you could relate to this too. I need to take a break before it got worse.

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  4. I love how you are so honest! I can definitely see how this lifestyle can become obsessive. I feel I can be obsessive with my diet/workout schedule and I am not entering a competition. I try and look at just being healthy and active the majority of the time. Turning down opportunities to socialize because of this shouldn't be! You look so fit so the past year was a great learning experience for you. Enjoy life... YOLO :)

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    1. Thanks! I think I was obsessive before this, but this just took it to another level and I used it as an excuse.

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  5. I loved reading this post! I know you were on a specific diet and dessert of ground turkey wouldn't have been my favorite. In fact I just don't think I could do it. I think its great you have chosen to do whats best for you!

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  6. Thanks for your honest, I was the same way when I trained for my competition and I was miserable. i became so restrictive that I lost hair, i was moody and simply not feeling like me any more. The sad part is, I still loved being on stage at the end!

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  7. I've been researching information on bodybuilding for a little while now. I'm thinking about getting into the sport, so I'm looking for a good starting point, but there seems to be so much conflicting information out there It can be a little confusing. Would you suggest hiring a professional fitness trainer to help me learn exercises?

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    1. Yes def hire a trainer! Not only will you learn tons of knowledge but they will understand what you're going through. Just make sure you don't hire one that puts you on a cookie cutter plan. No one should be doing hours of cardio& cutting out all their sodium for 4 months. Good luck!

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