Junior Nationals Journey and Beyond Part 2 by Becky Clawson
Two weeks out:
Cardio, lifting and diet remain the same (I get changes and adjustments every 3 weeks on season). I went to Columbus to train and get feedback from my coach and according to him, I was looking better but still a little flat. So I was off to take my weekly cheat meal…I have been eating Chipotle lately. Lots of good carbs, plus protein and veggies and a sodium boost. Plus it is clean enough not to upset my stomach! I must admit, those cheat meals help my energy levels too.
One week out:
As I said before, I always go down to Columbus to see my trainer, Mike Davies, a week before a show. This way he knows exactly what I look like and how I need to dry out over the coming week. The response was good: I looked fuller than I did before and that is great for me! I have done 5 shows this year and my body has changed a lot during the season. Because of this, my final week prep has been drastically different each time! Plus, after doing so many shows, you have to do different things to get it to respond.
Diet: I ate only 7 meals per day this time and believe it or not, this was hard for me! I am used to eating more often so I got a little hungry! But the purpose was to keep my metabolism in check by spacing the meals out. My protein sources were egg whites, flank steak, chicken, orange roughy and tuna. Carb sources were Cream of Rice, yam, oats, grapefruit and veggies. I was still drinking 2 ½ gallons of water per day and did not cut until Friday. Then I dropped down to 1 gallon. Supplements stayed basically the same although we added some flax and B-6 along the way.
Lifting: Again I combined body parts but I started on Sunday to ensure my last training session would be Wednesday evening.
Cardio: Cardio was very light this time. I still used the bike and the treadmill but the sessions were short and I was finished by Wednesday. Some of my teammates did cardio once we got to the hotel on Thursday but I did not have to. I also did not have to sit in the sauna to drop any water from the flight.
The whole week before the show was pretty smooth. I was a bit fatigued but I think it is due to the fact that I have done 5 shows in 3 months time J
I arrived in New York City Thursday evening and thankfully so did my bags! I took a cab to my hotel to meet up with my teammates. We did not stay in the host hotel as there were 5 of us rooming together and we needed a bigger suite! I roomed with Elisha Archibold, Jennifer DeJoya, Caity Hunt, and Amber Steinmetz.
Upon arriving, I basically settled in and rested before applying a few coats of tan. I always procrastinate before starting all that. But it was nice to get in early enough to relax a bit!
Friday morning, I woke up early to shower and get ready for a photo shoot I had that morning. (I had a great time working with ya JC!) Then it was off to check in and then back to my hotel. Mike came to our hotel to check our conditioning that afternoon and we also had someone come to our room to spray on our tans. Once we got a few coats on and all of us had finished our shoots for the day, all we had to do was relax and kick our feet up…and we were all really tired! We went to bed early but not before Mike came back once more (after the pro figure prejudging) to check us out. I had been very flat earlier in the day but I had 3 carb meals in by the time he came back and I was starting to get fuller. I was having trouble with my abs (they were not as crisp as they usually are) but that is the area where I hold water so this was not unexpected. Mike said that a thin film of water was OK, it would be gone by prejudging.
Saturday morning before prejudging started off early as usual! I always have to get up early to start eating and of course to fix my tan, style my hair and do my makeup. Our wonderful helper came to our room at 6 am to do our last coats of tan! My trainer called periodically throughout the morning to check on us and he advised us what foods to bring to the venue based on our condition. I brought extra Cream of Rice to help me fill out.
Once we made it to the venue and saw our trainer in person, we got specific instructions. I was still not as full as we wanted so we made a few adjustments. I kept a close watch on the time we would go on so I knew exactly when to eat what and when to start pumping up. I pumped up slower and a little less than normal just to make sure I didn’t wind up losing the pump and going flat on stage!
Finally it was time for the one piece round. I have been working on my model turns and made a slight change to one relaxed pose and I tried it out here. It went over pretty well! From watching the judges I knew they had at least noticed me. I could see them pointing to me and commenting so that was a start! They looked at me quite a bit in the line up as well, so I felt like I had probably improved over Junior Nationals. And I was the first girl called out in the second call out! I was pleased.
After this round we had a very long wait until the two piece round. It was almost two hours before we got back on stage! I was a little nervous because my abs still had not come in before the one piece round….my coach advised me to be patient. He was right about me filling out in time before…I was nice and full for the first round! And sure enough, my abs did improve before the second round of judging.
Stepping onstage for the two piece round, I was amazingly relaxed. I actually remember thinking, “I should be nervous or something!” But I wasn’t, probably because I am so rehearsed and I have done this so often this year! And lo and behold, I made first callout! I was so thrilled to be standing up there with 3 of my teammates as well. Four out of five girls were from the Fitness Factory! Not bad! We all remarked later that it was so wonderful that we were all having such a good show.
After prejudging, we only had a few hours to rest before finals. My teammates and I got the OK to go and eat a salad but we kept the water intake to a minimum in order to hold our conditioning…we were hoping at least one of us would be going up for the overall!
After eating lunch, we trekked back to the venue and prepared for finals. We were all feeling good about our efforts and especially the fact that our coach told us we had all peaked exactly the way he wanted us to.
After all was said and done at the night show, I ended up taking 4th place!! I just couldn’t believe it! But I think I was even MORE excited about the fact that two of my roommates got their pro cards! We all had a great show and now it was time to celebrate! We had a number of reasons….plus it was Caity’s birthday! We went out and had sushi and of course ice cream! We went around the city and even hit the after party. We finally made it back to the hotel and I caught about an hour of sleep before I had to get up and get to the airport! I was almost sad to leave because we had such a great time!
So now that Nationals are over, I have begun a new phase of prep. My coach and I decided against doing USA’s for a number of reasons. 1) It is a very expensive show to travel to, 2) the climate and long flight make your contest prep a little tricky, and most important 3) it would be my sixth show in 3 months and that is a bit much for my body! So we made the decision to take a 2 week break to recuperate before launching into contest prep one more time. I have taken a two week “mini off season” to rebuild and refuel. Cardio is minimal and low impact and I have even taken a week off of lifting! I am eating lots of food but it is all nutritious. Then it is back to contest dieting and training for seven weeks. My final show of the year will be North Americans.
While I am very excited to do another show (I just LOVE to compete!) I am already very satisfied with my efforts this year. I began the season thinking I might only do a few shows and I will have done six by year’s end! Plus I will have done 4 national level shows and my placings have been very consistent. I do not take that for granted! My goals were just to get out there and get my feet wet on the national scene and I think I have accomplished that J I cannot wait to compete once more and then begin my off season, during which I will continue to build and complete my physique. I am not sure exactly what is in store for next year but I cannot wait…I look forward to training (and even dieting!) hard and continuing to learn about myself and my capabilities. I am excited to continue working with Mike Davies and I am also so happy that I get to continue my journey with all my wonderful teammates and friends that I have gotten to know this year. I truly believe the friendships you forge along the way are as wonderful and valuable as any part of your contest prep! Without them as a constant source of support and inspiration, I would not have achieved anything this year!
So until next time...